As far as long haul luxury goes, the Maldives rank as one of the world’s top destinations, thanks to their superior beaches, their cobalt blue waters and the incredibly warm welcome that every visitor is sure to receive. An iconic destination, offering some of the world’s best diving and one of the most popular wedding holiday getaways to boot, this Indian Ocean island paradise offers an experience that few can compare with.
Tourists travel from all over to experience what are some of the world’s most incredible diving spots in the Maldives and come face-to-face with its wealth of marine life. One of the most popular dive spots in the island is ‘Lion’s Head’ a protected aquatic sanctuary. Here, divers have the opportunity to swim alongside tunas, sharks, turtles and a variety of other multi-colored fishes. Not to mention, they can get up close to some amazing coral reefs.
A short seaplane ride from the capital city of Male brings divers to Kudarah Thila, another of the Maldives favorite dive spots, known for its abundant underwater life. Among the highlights here are the spectacular schools of barracudas and reef sharks. Kudarah is recommended for more experienced divers. For beginners, the Banana Reef may offer a better diving experience. Fishes here are tamer and more responsive to divers, to the extent that it's possible to feed them underwater.
A dive at the Maldives Victory Wreck will also be unforgettable. The ship, the Maldives largest wreck which sank in 1981, has become a reservoir of fascinating aquatic life and will take several dives to explore in full.
For non-divers, the Whale Submarine is the best way to enjoy the magnificent underwater world off the Maldives. A pressurized submarine will take tourists to see the deep blue waters and colorful coral reefs without having to worry about actually getting their feet wet!
Aside from going underwater, there’s also much to enjoy above the waves at the Maldives. The islands are one of the most resort-rich destinations in the world, with hundreds of world-class lodgings dotting its magnificent beaches, the vast majority of which are located in the region known as Kaafu, which encompasses the North Male Atoll, South Male Atoll and the islands of Kaashidhoo and Gaafaru.
Lazy tourists will want to take full advantage of the excellent spa facilities available at just about every resort, such as the five-star Anantara Resort or the Kurumba Maldives. Meanwhile, those looking for more excitement will surely want to take advantage of the excellent surf, particularly at the beaches near the North and South Male atolls, and Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.
One thing that every visitor must do is to enjoy a boat cruise across the sunset aboard an authentic wooden boat. The majority of cruises involve a visit to one of several uninhabited islands, where guests can experience a truly authentic desert island paradise, before returning for a pleasant voyage home, sipping cocktails and enjoying the live entertainment from the traditional Maldivian band aboard the boat.
At the end of a busy day, be it surfing, diving, boating or simple pampering, be sure to sample the exquisite fresh seafood for which the Maldives is so famous. Fresh seafood dishes such as red snapper and king prawns are served at their best in dozens of fantastic beach-front restaurants.
Finally, don’t forget to stop off at the island’s capital city of Male. Hardly a city, in fact its population only numbers around 100,000, nevertheless Male is the only significant urban center in the Maldives, and is home to an authentic Islamic bazaar (great for souvenirs) and had plenty of other worthwhile sights.
Main attractions: Lion’s Head, Kudarah Thila, Maldives Victory Wreck, Banana Reef, Kaafu, Anantara Resort, Kurumba Maldives, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Male
Budget for one week: €1,500
Taxes and gratuity: Tipping is recommended
Official language: Dhivehi
Area: 115 sq mi
- Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
- Primary Socket Types: Euro, British, Indian
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter
- 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
- Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter