Returned to the mercy of the soft, lapping Indian Ocean, the Maldive Islands have undoubtedly become one of the most beautiful tropical places in the world.
The whole country can be found spread across the turquoise waters from the India Subcontinent from the powdered beaches of the northerly atolls to the earthy sea shacks and fishing hamlets of the southern islands.
Many visitors will arrive in the vibrant and pulsating town of Male, packed on its own island pinprick with spice-scented marketplaces and large mosques.
Most people will also not be lingering long before they hit the seaplanes or the boats for the shimmering private bays in their selected resort.
Recently, new local hostels and the discovery of waves began turning the Maldives from a honeymoon hotspot into surfing, adventure, and backpack – paradise now seems to be open to all.
Explore the best spots on the Maldives:
The city of Male, the capital of the atolls of the Maldives, is thrilled with scooters and cars, and Indian bazaars stacked with coconuts and spices, which is a place that is too small for it to feel frenetic.
And that’s because it’s there.
While it is rarely visited, the town is crammed down into an islet in the north male’s atoll (most tourists bypass the town by seaplanes that head straight for their destination).
But, like the Freitag mosque in the 17th century and the golden Islamic Centre, it manages to fit some interesting sight between its streets.
Another must is the male market maldives – please make sure your haggling skills are raised.
2. Hulhumale Island
The island of Hulhumale is growing and growing on the sparkling waters of the Capital of Malof maldivese, while the sprawling urban areas of the city are being re-housed more and more land.
It is also home to the international Velana airport, the most important gateway to these heavenly islands.
Don’t be detracted from how it all sounds, however – Hulhumale is indeed a lovely place.
On its eastern haunch, it has a wonderful – if artificial – beach with a bowl of leafy neighborhoods, a glassy mosque, and planned walkways over the Indian Ocean.
Maafushi may not have many of its nearest brothers in the extensive luxury resorts and opulent 5-star hotels, but it has plenty of charm.
Sadly devastated in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami maldives, its salt-washed fishing jetty and industrial sailor’s huts have been busy rebuilding in the recent decade.
Another thing that helps is that local guest houses have their rights opened up that make Maafushi one of the best off-beat island getaways for budget tourists.
Naturally, beaches with palm tree lapped waves, and a clutch of homemade coffee shops can be expected at the coast.
4. The Evil One
The beautiful Utheemu site occupies a special place in history in the Archipelago nation, on the far northerly corners of the Haa-Alif Atoll, the most north-eastern part of the Maldives Island chain.
It was the house of revered Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu-the leader that in the late 16th century was credited with expelling Portuguese invaders.
Of course, the usual white sand and the lap-filled waves of the Indian Ocean are marked by a legacy such as the Utheemu Ganduvaru, the beautiful wooden castle where the renowned leader grew up.
The people of Gan Island (more on this one later) were the people living here in the 19th century maldives between the leafy streets and narrow-knit housing blocks. In the run-up to the Second World War, the British transformed Gan into a base and shipped the locals in the Seenu Atoll to live on the next island.
This was Feydhoo, a beautiful photo of the Maldivian life today.
Go for walks and sample the local seafood curries – the welcome is always warm. Welcome.
6. Marathon Marathon
Marathon is a big link of the island chain that begins with Gan in the east, along the hillside of the previously mentioned Feydhoo via a coastal highway just above the coral shore of the Seenu Atoll.
The narrow beaches and swaying cocoon palm groves are as long and thin as a finger on the Indian ocean.
Like in Feydhoo, local people are laid and charming, and spicy and seafood-rich cuisine.
Be sure to walk down Link Road and fly between coffee shops and suppliers of sandwiches between the palm trees.
7. Iceland of Veligandu
Over the lapping waters of the Indian Ocean, gleaming red and yellow, the romance of sunsets; luxurious bar cocktails in the resort; turquoise shoreline bobbing sea kayaks and soothing, crystal-clear waves roll out of the interior lagoon.
Welcome to the magnificent island of Veligandu, which has long been one of the Maldives’ top destinations for couples.
Honeymooners and new-weds are a common sight on the thin west edge of the North Ari Atoll, a long finger of land, with lots of opulent seaside villas and suites.
8. Reef of Banana
Many visitors to the Maldives Islands will come to the islands for just one thing: diving.
And in the country, there is a little place better than at the Banana Reef to donate the SCUBA equipment and suits.
This multicolored dash of corals and seaweeds is underwater between the islands of the North Atoll. The islands of the Male Atoll are very different.
It’s served by countless equipment that guides excursions to reveal the strewn snappers and bulbous sponges, the reef sharks, and the coalescent barracudas.
9. Island of Thulusdhoo
It is the spirit of the Caribbean, which seemed to be driving the Island of Thulusdhoo.
This spark in the Male Atolls is largely uncovered and is surrounded by a large amount of sand that is spread out by bulbous cocoon trunks.
Naturally, the beaches are great and local people like to draw a good sizzling seafood grill onto their fading fishing boats sometimes.
All of this is very much in line with Thulusdhoo’s other pastimes: surfing.
Seek the fun left roller barrels of Villingilimathi Huraa in the immediate neighborhood.
10. The Ladies and Gentlemen
Fuvahmula promises to the rest of the Maldives something slightly different.
First, the spot on the Indian Ocean map really doesn’t have any neighbors nearby and it has its own atoll.
The lake, which is rare to be observed in this flat country, is also peppered with the occasional interior lake.
The sandbanks around Banging beach make for collapsing rollers, cool salt spray (a break from the usual relaxing lagoons), and the closeness to the Earth’s equator is hot weather all year long.
11. Iceland of Alimatha
Alimatha is located on the eastern edge of the Maldives, in the renowned Felidhe Atoll. It offers luxury huts, pristine sandy beaches, and – especially – some of the most celebrated SCUBA springs around. The most beautiful and beautiful islands are in Alimatha.
The resort that covers the island is often visible to enthusiastic divers who come all over the coast to search for the beautiful coral groves and seaside walls.
They are packed with jackfish, morays, and ages, and their popular evening diving packages are known for their high visibility.
This sub-section of Addu City in the Old Seenu Atoll may be reached at the same causeways connecting Gan to Maradhous, which is large, at least on a Maldivian island, and highly populated, (again at least on a Maldivian island).
On its southern edge there are mangroves, marshes and shrub grounds, and cafe grounds on the north side of the island and occasionally minarets from the local mosques.
Hithadhoo oozes above all a charming, lived-in atmosphere; one that’s hard to find in the heavy-duty country.
Kuredu is the self-proclaimed jewel in the Lhaviyan Atoll, home to the Maldives’ archipelago in the northern and central areas.
It is entirely covered by a single resort, a boomerang-shaped island that features rustic bamboo shacks and ranges of those all-embracing overwater bungalows overlooking the waves.
All of this is surrounded by its own private powder-sand fringe, and is considered one of the country’s most advanced snorkeling and SCUBA destinations – strong currents and waves often make it hard to see Mantas and tropical schools.
Kuredu also has a complete 9-hole golf course, which is unusual.
The Gan airport, the second largest in the entire Maldives, and the British Royal Air Force’s famous previous airport during the second worldwide war, is the main feature of Gan. Today, the island has gone from military importance to tourism and is gradually gaining popularity in the Addu Atoll.
The crowds are not just attracted by accessibility (thanks to the airport) since Gan has earthy small fishing restaurants and small stretches of shiny sand that are generally entirely free of visitors. Nice. Nice. Nice.
15. Iceland of Kunfunadhoo
If you follow the luxuries and romanticism of the Maldives, then the opulent Kunfunadhoo Island resort is probably not going to be deceiving – it is always hailed as the country’s most indulgent resort.
Through a large hall of style wood, visitors enter between cocoa palm trees.
It rises up on the cocktail decks above the jungle, or the beaches on the sultry breeze with candles flapping.
Add a few swimming pools, swimming bars, and dining on a small private sandbank with only the Indian Ocean as a backdrop, and it’s easy to see why you’re really popular!