15 Best Islands In The Maldives + Maldives Travel Guide
27th May, 2023
What are the best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling? How about diving? Which are the best areas for families to head for? What about if you are travelling to the Maldives on a budget? And of course there are the many people who head to the Maldives each year for their honeymoon! The Maldives is a dream destination for many and is a very well-known honeymoon destination for couples. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting the Maldives, then read on to find out about the best islands in the Maldives to visit!
- Tourism in the Maldives
- Where are the Maldives?
- How many islands are there in the Maldives?
- Map of the Maldives
- The best time of year to visit the Maldives
- The best places to stay in the Maldives
- Essential items to pack for your trip to the Maldives
- Best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling
- Best islands in the Maldives for diving
- Best islands in the Maldives for families
- Best islands in the Maldives for budget travellers
- Best islands in the Maldives for honeymoon
- Best islands in the Maldives – further reading
Tourism in the Maldives
The Maldives are one of the best-known luxury destinations in the world, and many people dream of visiting it. In fact, in 2019, the Maldives had 1.7 million tourists visit, according to the official tourism board of the Maldives – the Ministry of Tourism. The average length of stay was six days, and the top 5 countries inbound tourists were from were: China, Italy, India, Russia and the UK. 52.34% of tourists were female, and 47.66% were males, which is about an equal amount of tourists. This is most likely due to the Maldives being best known as a honeymoon destination, so therefore most of the couples would be heterosexual as, unfortunately, homosexuality is illegal in the Maldives.
If you want to travel somewhere safe, then the Maldives is for you as it’s one of the safest destinations in the world. The island resorts are specifically the safest as they are isolated from elsewhere and have very good security. Additionally, if you hate walking up hills, then the Maldives is a great choice as it holds the record for being the flattest country in the world – so biking here is perfect.
There are three main ways to get between islands in the Maldives; these are by seaplane, domestic flight or by boat. The main airport in the Maldives is Velana International Airport (VIA), which flies to 18 domestic and international airports in the country. Most flights to Velana International Airport are from India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Istanbul. The airport is located near the capital of the Maldives, Malé, and can be accessed by bridge or by ferry.
Where are the Maldives?
Where are the Maldives? The Maldives is located in South Asia, in the Indian Ocean. It is about 430 miles away from the mainland of India and Sri Lanka. It is the smallest country in South Asia, and all of the islands in the Maldives make up about 115 sq miles in total.
How many islands are there in the Maldives?
How many islands are there in the Maldives? There are a whopping 1,192 islands in the Maldives; however, only 187 are inhabited. An inhabited island is counted as an island with a town, village, fishing or farming community, an island office, and an island chief. In the Maldives, an uninhabited island can be counted as an island with no humans permanently living there. Although, an uninhabited island can be used for tourist resorts or for agricultural and industrial purposes.
Some islands in the Maldives have also disappeared due to natural causes, usually rising sea levels or from being eroded away. Over 100 islands have disappeared in total.
The biggest islands in the Maldives are: Gan-Maandhoo, Hithadhoo, Fuvahmulah, Hulhumalé and Hulhumeedhoo.
Map of the Maldives
The best time of year to visit the Maldives
What is the best time of the year to visit the Maldives? Luckily, the Maldives is a year-round destination as the weather is relatively always good. For instance, the hottest month is usually April, where the temperature is around 28-31°C, and there is only 6.9cm of rainfall. The wettest month is generally August, as rainfall is around 23.87cm due to the summer months also being monsoon season in the Maldives. The coldest months are August – January, where temperatures are around 27-29°C – so as you can see, it’s not really too cold!
Due to all of this, to same a more specific best time of year to visit the Maldives, then it would be recommended to visit between November and April, as this is when the weather will be warm, and there will be fewer rainy days.
The best places to stay in the Maldives
Where are the best places to stay in the Maldives? The Maldives has so many unique places to stay, but here are some of the most exceptional places to stay that will guarantee you the getaway of a lifetime:
- Holiday Village Retreat – This stunning retreat is located in Bodufolhudhoo, so you will be surrounded by beauty! It offers beachfront views, a restaurant serving the finest foods, and a 24-hour reception. Each room comes with a well-equipped ensuite with complimentary luxury amenities, an HD TV, comfortable beds and a seating area to relax in.
- Dhigali Maldives – A stay here is one that you will be sure to remember for a lifetime. The resort has plenty to offer to guests, such as a spa for guests to unwind in, a tropical garden, and plenty of activities such as snorkelling and windsurfing. Every room at the resort comes with drinks-making facilities, a powerful shower and a big bath for you to soak in, and a seating area to relax in. It’s one of the best places to stay in the Maldives!
- Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon – Located on Alifu Alifu Atoll, this island paradise will make you never want to leave! Guests here can enjoy a modern and cosy guest house all to themselves, an infinity pool, fitness centre, spa and a restaurant with delicious cuisine to suit every taste! Each guest house comes with beautiful ocean views, a flat-screen TV, and semi-outdoor bathrooms – you will have never stayed in such an amazing place before.
- Kuredu Island Resort & Spa – Offering outstanding facilities for guests to enjoy, such as a private beach and water sports facilities, a stay at this resort is one of the best places to stay in the Maldives. Every room has a mini bar, seating area, en-suite with a hot tub and luxury amenities to pamper yourself with. There are lots of activities that guests can partake in also, like golfing, snorkelling, fishing and biking.
Essential items to pack for your trip to the Maldives
If you’ve decided to stay at some or just one of the best islands in the Maldives, then don’t forget to pack these essential items:
- Heliocare 360 Mineral Sunscreen – This fabulous mineral sunscreen is ideal if you’re looking for a natural but effective way to protect your skin from the sun in the Maldives. It offers lasting protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays and will keep your skin moisturised all day long.
- AKASO EK7000 4k Underwater Camera – The sea in the Maldives is beautiful, so of course, you’re going to want to take photos of it – the only thing that’s stopping you is destroying your phone; luckily, this underwater camera comes in handy! It lets you take amazing photos underwater, and you don’t have to worry about it getting wet!
- Gumbies Slingback Women’s Recycled Flip-flops – These recycled flip-flops are perfect for those lazy beach days as they’re so comfortable that you won’t need to worry about getting any blisters. They are also great as the sole is very flexible, so it feels like you’re walking on nothing!
- Hibluco Women Swimsuit Cover-up – This swimsuit cover-up is ideal if you’re going to be doing spontaneous things and don’t want to waste time always getting changed. It’s made of high-quality material and looks very stylish!
- Lealinga Snorkel Set – Explore underwater with this fantastic snorkel set that lets you have fun for longer. It is very sturdy and durable, so it’s safe for everyone to use. It’s a must-have when visiting the best islands in the Maldives!
Best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling
Snorkelling is a very popular thing to do in the Maldives, so what are the best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling?
This tiny island is known as being one of the best-kept secrets in the Indian Ocean. A walk around this island takes less than 5 minutes in total, and it’s very quiet as there are less than 30 villas in total. In order to get to Kandolhu Island, visitors must take a short seaplane ride which takes around 20 minutes, and then go on a speedboat.
It is well known for snorkelling as it’s very accessible, and the reef is twice the size of the island! Here you’ll be able to spot lots of different species that live and swim among the coal reef, such as turtles and rays!
Located in South Ari Atoll, Vilamendhoo is perfect for snorkelers of all abilities. The island is narrow but about 900m long and there is a very popular resort on it, with 184 rooms in total.
The best part of the island for snorkelling is the northern section as this is where most of the coral reef is. It is perfect for beginners as there are lots of shallow areas in order to help you get used to snorkelling – just remember that coral reefs are sharp, so try and avoid getting cut!
Banana reef, located in Kuda Kalhi is a stunning place to go snorkelling. The reef is in a banana shape, which is where its name originated from, so that’s one great reason to see it alone, as it’s such a unique shape! There is so much exquisite marine life that you can spot at this reef and all over the island, such as Palette Surgeonfish, bannerfish, barracuda, sharks, soldierfish and rays.
The best time to go snorkelling here is from late May to July, as this is when there is most marine life in the reef is spotted!
Best islands in the Maldives for diving
Many people will choose to dive in the Maldives. Whether you want to try out diving for the first time, do a PADI course or you are an experienced diver, you will want surely want to know which are the best islands in the Maldives for diving.
Maaya Thila is one of the most well-known and popular places to dive in the Maldives, as it is often featured as one of the world’s top ten places to dive. Here, you can spot plenty of marine life, such as turtles, sharks and frogfish! The coral reef is around 80m in length and starts at 20ft deep, making it great for beginner and advanced divers!
What makes Maaya Thila special is that there are often white-tip reef sharks swimming around the reef. In fact, sometimes there are as many as 20 at one time! So if you’re a shark lover, then this is definitely worth a visit to go diving.
Considered to be one of the best dives in the Maldives, Kandooma Thila is around 300m long and around 12m under the surface, so there is plenty to explore! There is a very well-known cave, known as Jack’s Corner, which is covered in corals and makes a great place to explore. This dive is better for advanced and experienced divers as the sea’s currents can be very strong.
There are plenty of turtles floating that you can spot at this location, as well as some sharks and manta rays. It’s a great place if you want to see fabulous sea creatures.
Mushimasmingili Thila is also known as Fish Head and Shark Point – as it is infamous for being one of the best shark dives in the entire Maldives. Even though it is quite a small dive at just 36m, there are plenty of beautiful coral and natural wonders to see here. What’s more, is that because sharks were once fed here, there are now lots of them to be spotted in this area.
Other than sharks, there are other creatures to be spotted here, such as anemone, barracuda and Napoleon wrasse! It’s a diver’s paradise!
Best islands in the Maldives for families
Believe it or not, the Maldives is a great family travel destination. But which are the best islands in the Maldives for families?
Bandos Island has plenty of family-friendly resorts specially designed to cater to families in the best way possible. They are equipped with plenty of outdoor pools, hot tubs, restaurants serving meals to suit all tastes and dietary requirements, bars, and entertainment for the whole family.
Bandos Island is just a 10-minute speed boat ride from Velana International Airport, making it the perfect location as after a long day of travelling, you can get there quickly and just relax.
This island is one of the best islands in the Maldives to visit with a family. The island is a short distance from Velana International Airport, making it easy to get to by seaplane or speedboat. Around the island, there are plenty of things to do, such as bars, restaurants, BBQ spots, shops and other attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
It is one of the best islands in the Maldives for families due to the number of things to do that the whole family can participate in – and many of the resorts also have great facilities to help cater to families.
Machchafushi Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the entire Maldives due to what it has to offer. There are stunning golden sand beaches that are practically empty from tourists, as well as many activities for families to participate in. Some of the activities on offer include: cruises, fishing trips, island hopping, banana boats and kayaking.
It is a must-visit if you are travelling to the Maldives with your family, especially if you have young children, as there is plenty to do with them!
Best islands in the Maldives for budget travellers
And to many peoples’ surprise, the Maldives can be a budget travel destination- it is not all super luxury and high prices! But which are the best islands in the Maldives for budget travellers?
Thulusdhoo Island is a great budget island in the Maldives as it has so much to offer! It is located about 30 minutes from Velana International Airport by speedboat, meaning that it doesn’t cost much to get to.
There are many great activities available at Thulisdhoo Island, such as snorkelling, diving, swimming or even paddle boarding! If you’re in the mood for something a bit more relaxing, then there are plenty of hammocks under shaded palm trees, which are great to unwind on. You could even take a trip to sandbank island to sunbathe for a few hours.
Dhigurah Island is a nature lover’s paradise, as there is so much natural beauty to be seen and experienced here. It is also known as ‘Long Island’ by locals because it is 3km in length and is only 250m wide! It is perfect for watching the sunset from, as there is so much nature and palm trees that make the atmosphere feel perfect.
There is so much sea life to be enjoyed here, and you can even swim with whale sharks all throughout the year, spot manta rays and turtles, as well as interesting fish in the corals. It is 2 hours from Malé Airport via speedboat.
Dhiffushi Island is located in north Male Atoll, about 45 minutes north of the Velana International Airport. It is relatively small, as it is only 1.2km long and only 200m wide, and it’s even possible to see the other side of the island if you’re standing on one side. It’s the most inhabited island in the east Maldives, making it one of the cheapest.
There are plenty of natural wonders to see here, such as lagoons, coral reefs and beaches to relax on. It is definitely one of the best islands in the Maldives!
Best islands in the Maldives for honeymoon
And last but not least, which are the best islands in the Maldives for those going on their honeymoon?
Fihalhohi is the perfect location for honeymooners, as many of the resorts here are very romantic and offer first-class service you wouldn’t find elsewhere. The large majority of the resorts also offer special packages for people on their honeymoon, so you will get extra special treatment and help you remember it for a lifetime.
There are lots of activities to do on Fihalhohi, such as snorkelling and paddleboarding. Additionally, there are plenty of high-end restaurants serving only the finest, freshest food in very romantic settings.
Biyadhoo Island is perfect for couples on their honeymoon who would like a peaceful, relaxing honeymoon with gorgeous surroundings. It is just a short speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, so it’s great if you don’t want to travel for long or if you’re on a budget. There are plenty of interesting activities to do on this island, such as swimming with turtles or learning how to cook traditional food.
Unfortunately for some, the resorts on Biyadhoo Island are not water villas, but this doesn’t mean that they are bad at all – as every resort on the island offers high-quality services that you will be happy that you had your honeymoon at.
Villingili Island is perfect for honeymooners who would like a luxurious yet tranquil getaway. The island boasts stunning golden beaches that look amazing in photographs, as well as stunning palm trees all over. It promises a truly unique experience for all.
Some activities that couples can participate in at Villingili Island are: Tai Chi, going to the spa, hiking through the tropical forest or simply just relaxing in a comfortable hammock on the beach. It is definitely one of the best islands in the Maldives for a honeymoon!
Best islands in the Maldives – further reading
After reading this post on the best islands in the Maldives, hopefully, you’ve learnt something new about the best islands in the Maldives! Which island in the Maldives do you want to visit the most? Have you ever been to the Maldives? If you liked this post, then here is some further reading I’d recommend:
- The 6 best islands in Italy + essential travel tips
- How to get to the Gili Islands from Bali
- Zakynthos in Greece best things to see and do
By the way- do you have any recommendations for the best islands in the Maldives? Which do you think are the best islands in the Maldives and why?