The Maldives are a bucket-list location for travelers all over the world. Well known for their picture-perfect beaches, overwater bungalows, fresh food, and luxury spas, the islands are a popular holiday destination, particularly for couples looking for a dreamy honeymoon escape.
But which of these stunning islands is the right choice for your Maldivian holiday? They all offer a picturesque escape, but depending on what you’re looking for from your holiday, some may be better than others. Here, we give you our top picks.
For beach lovers
Wherever you choose to go in the Maldives, you’ll likely be very happy with the choice of beaches. White sand and gently waving trees mean you should be spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful spots to lay down your towel and watch the world go by.
However, there are a few that really stand out. Mudhdhoo beach, on the island of the same name is one such hidden gem. Part of the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, its unique selling point is that it welcomes millions of tiny bioluminescent plankton to its shores. At night, they glow in the dark, making a remarkable spectacle that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime sight.
It’s no surprise that the geographical nature and crystal-clear waters of the Maldives make it a great holiday choice for those who love scuba diving. It’s possible to dive all year round, but the rainy season (May-November) should be avoided if possible, as strong winds mean that visibility is often poor. However, if you’re willing to risk only being able to dive for a few days, going at this time of year can mean that you’re rewarded with manta ray sightings.
Again, because of the Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll is a popular choice for divers visiting the Maldives. It contains 75 different islands, with Fulhadhoo Island being one of the most famous, due to its small population. This gives it a more untouched feel than some of the bigger resorts. However, if you want dive training or supervision, you may be better off choosing an island that has a registered PADI dive centre, such as Vilamendhoo Island in Ari Atoll.
Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash
There are no end-of-high-class resorts available in the Maldives, meaning that it’s relatively easy (although not cheap) to find yourself a gourmet food experience in this amazing place. If you want to get a taste of the luxury life, then Soneva Fushi on Kunfunadhoo Island may well be the right place for you. With previous guests including the Beckhams and Madonna, you can be sure of a 5* dining experience.
Elsewhere in the Maldives, the food focuses on making the most of local ingredients – meaning a lot of seafood. Popular dishes include curries made of fish or lobster with coconuts, as well as chapatis served with tuna steak. Seafood doesn’t just feature at dinner either; breakfast dishes like Mas Huni grilled tuna with chili and onions are sure to kick start your day in the most flavourful way. For that extra special Maldivian touch, seek out traditional snack options like Masroshi – a hearty combination of tuna, coconut, onion, and peppers, wrapped in fried dough.
With the climate crisis looming, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of your holiday. Whilst the Maldives is a natural paradise, away from the pollution of cities, it’s hardly impact-free. Just getting to the islands requires a plane trip, and then potentially an internal seaplane or boat, and a lot of supplies have to be flown in.
Therefore, looking at sustainability when it comes to choosing your island is important. Amilla Fushi, in Baa Atoll, produces its own drinking water and grows a lot of produce on the island, giving it better eco-credentials than a lot of its neighbors. Or, if you want to stay with a more well-known hotel brand, then make sure that you check out their sustainability policies before you travel. You could also choose an island that is close to the main international airport on Hulhule Island, to ensure that your onward travel is as short as possible.
A perfect escape
You can’t really go far wrong with a holiday to the Maldives, but there are certain islands that may suit you best if you have a specific activity or ethos in mind. Make sure to read up on your options before you book, so that you can simply look forward to your break in paradise.
Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash
*This article has been contributed to Owl Over The World.