Surrounded by clear blue waters and soft white sands, the sun-kissed shores of the Maldives have quickly become a destination associated with luxury, relaxation and incredible natural beauty. Continuing to grow in popularity since the 1970s, there’s never been a better time to kick back in your own overwater villa than right now.
If you’re considering a visit to the Maldives, be sure to check out our guide before planning and booking your getaway!
Where are the Maldives?
The Maldives archipelago is located within the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of India and Sri Lanka. Although positioned quite far from its neighbours, the Maldives is generally considered to be a part of the South Asia region, which also encompasses countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.
Comprised of 1,192 individual islands, the Maldives is both Asia’s smallest country and one of the most geographically dispersed countries in the world. Of all the islands that sit within the archipelago, only around 200 are currently inhabited, meaning that there are plenty of beautiful beaches just waiting to be discovered.
The islands of the Maldives are grouped together into 26 different atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs that encircle a lagoon). Each of these atolls is named, helping to make navigating a little simpler, especially when it comes to finding each of the country’s 1,192 islands.
When is the best time to book flights to the Maldives?
If you’re looking to book flights to the Maldives, consider purchasing your tickets in May or June. These two months sit within the region’s monsoon season, when interest is typically at its lowest and flights are generally at their cheapest.
When is the best time to visit the Maldives?
Seeing as most holidaymakers book their flights around three months ahead of their intended travel date, the best time to visit the Maldives falls between July and November. The weather at this time may not be as favourable as during the peak season, but you’ll find a wider selection of resorts to choose from, smaller crowds and fantastic savings.
When is the most expensive time to visit the Maldives?
The region’s peak season spans from December through to the end of February, during which hotel rates tend to increase significantly and tourists flock to the archipelago’s shores, making it the most expensive time to visit. Prices tend to also rise in August, coinciding with the European summer, so it’s best to also keep this in mind when booking your flights and accommodation.
What is there to do in the Maldives?
Home to some of the best beaches in the world, it comes as no surprise that water sports have become a popular pastime with visitors to the archipelago. The white sands and clear blue waters of the Maldives make for the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities including canoeing, fishing, kayaking, jet skiing, kite surfing, surfing and water skiing. Also abundant in marine life, such as whale sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and tropical fish, the warm waters surrounding the Maldives are a great place to snorkel or dive.
If you’re heading to the Maldives to relax, unwind and rejuvenate, the resorts scattered throughout the archipelago offer almost everything you need to help make that a reality. Many offer spa services and laidback activities such as yoga and cooking classes, while the region’s natural beauty provides the perfect setting to simply sit back and soak up the sights. With around 100 different resorts located across the Maldives, you’re sure to find one to match your taste, whether you’re wanting to stay on solid ground or get a good night’s rest in your very own overwater villa.
It’s incredibly easy to spend all your time at the beach or whiling away the hours at your resort, but there’s another side of the Maldives that you should experience during your stay. While you may not have time to venture off your resort island, be sure to sample traditional local cuisine and join in with any cultural activities and excursions where possible. The Maldives is a destination quite unlike any other and the local culture is certainly well worth experiencing.
What should you know before you travel?
The Maldives is an Islamic country, so there are some cultural rules that should be observed while visiting. Pork, pornography, weapons, drugs and alcohol are banned, while modest dressing and avoiding public displays of affection are recommended. A popular destination for sun-worshippers and holidaymakers looking to let down their hair, some of these rules, including the consumption of alcohol and dress restrictions, are not enforced across the Maldives’ many resort islands. If you are planning to travel beyond your resort island, be sure to check the local laws and customs before you do, especially when travelling around religious holidays such as Ramadan.
Rather than four regular seasons, the Maldives typically experiences two distinct seasons – the dry season and the wet season. The dry season is accompanied by good weather and less chance of rainfall, while the wet season often sees more rainy days. Throughout the year, the weather across the archipelago is generally fair, but can be unpredictable from time to time.