The Maldives is undeniably one of the most quintessentially beautiful spots on the planet. Offering a perfect combination of luxury and simplicity, it’s no surprise that these islands are incredibly sought-after and sit at the top of most bucket lists.
Comprised of more than 1,000 coral islands across 26 atolls, varying from tranquil powdered beaches to bustling harbours, it’s an idyllic holiday spot for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
What to Do:
The islands in the Maldives are well-known as world-class diving destinations thanks to the crystal blue waters teeming with a diverse array of marine life. Most resorts have a house reef close to the shores enclosed by shallow water which serves as a large natural swimming pool - just perfect for paddling in.
You can take a night dive with grey reef sharks or go hammerhead spotting thanks to the country’s ban on shark fishing. If paddling with the big fellas isn’t for you, most lagoons are popular with harmless baby lemon sharks which can be easily spotted in the crystalline waters.
If you’d rather stay above water, the Whale Submarine offers trips through colourful displays of coral and reef fish up to depths of 40m. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime underwater experience where you can really get up close and personal with the sealife.
Chartering a boat is a great way to see what the varied country has to offer through island-hopping. With so many islands, it seems a shame to visit just one. You can experience something new on each island you explore - a revitalising spa treatment or gourmet dining experience, perhaps?
Visit the islands’ capital, Malé, if you get the chance. It’s a stark contrast to the peaceful serenity of the other islands in the country, serving as a bustling and vibrant fishing hub. Although compact, there are plenty of shops, markets and restaurants housed in colourful pastel buildings to explore.
Where to Eat:
The world’s first underwater restaurant is located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Serving fresh fish and local cuisine five metres under the sea, Ithaa offers panoramic views through its glass walls of the underwater haven surrounding it. Expect to feast on contemporary European cuisine in a six-course set dinner menu.
In Malé, drop in the midtown Seagull Cafe which occupies a two-storey position, with an ancient tree growing through the terrace. Enjoy a light bite here of sandwiches, pasta and freshly-caught fish. Afterwards, enjoy the city’s best ice cream in the popular gelateria attached!
Alcohol is not available in Malé - if you really want to, you can take the airport ferry to Hulhule Island Hotel and enjoy a tipple. There isn’t much nightlife either. Instead, locals enjoy strolls along the seafront, followed by a picnic until late.
Alcohol is readily available on island resorts, however, with bars serving delicious cocktails and ice cold beers. Sails Bar is situated in the heart of Baros Resort with daybeds and hammocks for relaxing with a signature cocktail in hand, or premium beverages as the sun sets.
Where to Stay:
In the Maldives, each resort sits on its own private island. From boutique hideaways to sprawling all-inclusive resorts, there’s something for all budgets and requirements.
Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi feels wonderfully remote but it only a one hour seaplane journey from Malé. You can expect unspoilt views, immaculate beaches and even an underwater art gallery! With 120 chic villas including over-water bungalows, you’ll never want to come home. Rooms from £465 per night.
Coco Privé is a little slice of tropical seclusion (if money is no object!). A favourite with the rich and famous, and even royalty, this island comprises five guest villas oozing sophistication. A dedicated team of staff is on-hand 24/7 to provide meals and drinks, as well as unlimited spa treatments. It’s a hefty £34,430 per night for 10 people on the entire island - we can only dream!