Best Island In Maldives

Best Island In Maldives

7 best places to visit in the Maldives for surf, diving and nature

Nov 11, 2020 • 5 min read

How to choose the best Maldives island for your travel style

Maldives, Island on sunny day

Let’s get one thing straight: Not all atolls were created equal. But on the plus side, the Maldives has thousands of sun-drenched islands, and discovering the perfect one for your trip is all part of the fun.

Every resort in Maldives is its own private island but choosing the right one for you can be difficult. Want to kick off your Indian Ocean holiday in style? Our guide will help you know what to look for in the hunt for your ideal island, whether you’re searching for affordable options or five-star resorts with brilliant dive schools.

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Standup paddleboarder in the turquoise waters off the shore of the Patina Maldives resort

The distance dilemma

Yes, your sun-kissed island resort might be wonderfully secluded, with no other atoll in sight, but remote locations inevitably crank up the price – not simply because there are higher costs to cover (such as getting supplies to the resort in question) but because it’s likely you’ll need to pay for a short domestic flight or a seaplane flight to get there. Seaplane transfers are the most expensive option (expect to pay anywhere from US$300 to US$900 for a round trip), while domestic flights to one of the Maldives’ smaller airports (followed by a boat transfer) will be slightly cheaper.

The good news? Some of the best Maldives resorts are just a boat ride from Malé’s Velana International Airport, so don’t write properties off simply because of their close proximity.

We recommend: Patina Maldives, the Fari Islands

A brand-new resort on the new Fari Islands development, Patina Maldives, the Fari Islands is a 45-minute speedboat transfer from the international airport. Fancy a spot of island-hopping? Traveling between islands in the Maldives can be expensive, but Patina Maldives is just a short shuttle-boat service from the Fari Islands’ other resorts (a Ritz-Carlton and a Capella), so there’s no chance of claustrophobia setting in.

Where to stay for the best food

It may sound self-indulgent, but trust us – knowing your culinary criteria can make or break a holiday. That tiny, exclusive island you’ve got your eye on might well have a Michelin-starred chef, but even the most delicious seafood will soon look rather plain after you’ve eaten your way through the restaurant’s menu in the space of two days. In summary, bigger is often better if food is a priority.

We recommend: Siyam World Maldives

Opened in October 2021 on the island of Dhigurah, in Noonu Atoll, Siyam World Maldives has eight restaurants, including one with an underground wine cellar and one which specializes in Japanese cuisine. It’s also incredibly family friendly, making it perfect for anyone visiting the Maldives with kids in tow.

Where to go for downtime

Why are you going on holiday to the Maldives? If you’re dreaming of lazy sunbathing sessions on the country’s best beaches, your priorities will be different than those of the adrenaline-fueled traveler keen to try every high-octane activity available, whether it’s swimming with manta rays or learning to dive. As a rule, smaller resorts are great for crowd-free downtime, while larger ones are best suited to families and active types.

We recommend: Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

For the best of both worlds, consider Baa Atoll’s Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, where there’s a wide range of activities and experiences on offer, but where you can also escape your fellow islanders by signing up for a rather cool activity – a night on a nearby deserted island.

A couple on a dock watching a colorful sunset at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Money talks

It’s a myth that you have to be a millionaire to holiday in the Maldives, although without a little research, costs can easily spiral out of control. Travelers keen to make the most of their hard-earned cash should familiarize themselves with the packages on offer to make sure they’re getting the best value for money. Options can range from bed-and-breakfast only packages to to ones which include all meals and drinks, along with certain activities.

We recommend: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

A private island in North Male Atoll that’s one of the best spots in the Maldives for honeymoons, the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa not only has a huge range of room categories, it also offers a brilliant selection of packages, including Island Romance packages, which have fantastic added extras designed with couples in mind.

What to look for in sustainability

Taking a second to consider your destination’s sustainability credentials won’t just benefit Mother Nature, it could also save you serious amounts of cash. If an island is producing its own drinking water, growing its own vegetables and transporting guests by boat rather than gas-guzzling seaplane, there will be lower outgoings, which means less costs to cover – all of which translates into lower room rates.

We recommend: Amilla Fushi

Another Baa Atoll resort, Amilla Fushi excels in the sustainability stakes. Reverse osmosis is used to produce drinking water, jams, pickles and spa products are made from plants grown on the island and crushed glass is transformed into building materials.

Ditch the over-water obsession

It’s easy to become fixated on recreating the images associated with the Maldives, famous for its over-water villas, but there are downsides to these much-sought-after accommodations – and in fact, there are numerous reasons to choose a villa that isn’t over the water.

They’re typically the priciest accommodations and the furthest from resort facilities, and the vistas – usually of the sea and nothing else – aren’t necessarily much to write home about. Over-water villas are designed for privacy, so views are often restricted by high walls framing the decking – unlike beachfront villas, where there’s often more to look at, whether it’s a cute lizard or a parrot fish zipping through the shallows. There’s usually better noise insulation courtesy of surrounding greenery too.

We recommend: Kuramathi Island Resort

Located in the natural atoll of Rasdhoo, Kuramathi Island Resort is a teardrop-shaped island where walking trails weave through lush greenery, much of which provides privacy for the large number of villas set back from the beach.

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Snorkelers filming and swimming near a manta ray in Hanifaru Bay, Maldives

Timing is everything

Let’s get one thing straight: there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit the Maldives. But considering the season is important if you’ve got your heart set on certain activities. If you’re planning on swimming with mantas, for example, a stay on a Baa Atoll resort between May and November is your best bet, although July to October is a great time for manta sightings elsewhere. If you’re planning on a surf session, you’ll need to visit between April and October.

We recommend: frequent holidays

To ensure you experience the Maldives’ best bits, schedule a holiday every month without fail. We’re joking, but you get the point: think what you want to see and do, and brush up on the different areas’ seasonal selling points.

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Colourful coral grouper on a healthy, vibrant tropical coral reef at Richelieu Rock, Similan Islands.Colourful coral grouper on a healthy, vibrant tropical coral reef at Richelieu Rock, Similan Islands.

Nov 11, 2020 • 5 min read

It’s no secret the world’s coral reefs are in serious trouble. Here’s how travelers can help protect them for generations to come.

7 best places to visit in the Maldives for surf, diving and nature

Maldives, Maafushi Island, beach, woman, windsurfers,

Choosing where to go in the Maldives is a big decision. There are 1200 or so islands, within 26 atolls, spanning an area the size of Portugal. So where, exactly, should you include in your dream itinerary?

Fly-and-flop newlyweds looking for desert-island seclusion can’t really go wrong: pick your budget, find your paradise. But there’s plenty more to this special slice of the Indian Ocean, attracting the gamut of travelers from backpackers to big families. Nature lovers and activity bods can have their cake and eat it with some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world, while surfer’s flock to certain atolls for a special sort of swell. These are the best places to visit in the Maldives.

Snorkelers film a manta ray from the surface as it glides by beneath them

Baa Atoll

Best for manta rays sightings

This Unesco protected biosphere reserve is home to the largest gathering of manta rays found anywhere in the world. Head for Hanifaru Bay in June to November when the zooplankton they feed on is at its most bounteous.

If yours is a big-budget trip then the place to stay is the atoll’s newest resort, Seaside Finolhu Sandbank. Built around four dainty islets, the resort is home to 1.25 miles (2km) of pristine beaches and a show-stopping 1.1-mile (1.8km) sandbank – the longest of any Maldivian resort.


Best for historic architecture

Instead of passing through capital Malé to your paradise island, spend a day taking in this micro city’s historic spots. Start with Mulee’aage Palace, the official residence of the President of the Maldives and a dazzling example of dak bungalow architecture.

Then it’s onto the Old Friday Mosque. Built in 1656, this coral-stone beauty is the oldest in the Maldives. Officially, it’s a no-go for non-Muslims, but if you’re modestly dressed and visit outside of prayer time, you’re likely to be welcomed in. It’s worth it, just to see the fine lacquer work and elaborate wood carvings.

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Two surfers ride breaking waves

North Malé Atoll (and Huvadhoo Atoll too)

Best for surfing

From March to November the Maldives’ best-loved swells rise up from the outer reefs of the North Malé Atoll. Thulusdhoo is the island to stay at, where reasonably priced guest houses host a friendly surfing crowd. Or there’s upmarket Cokes Surf Camp, whose break is where intermediate and advanced surfers catch their biggest waves.

Those in the know have started to swerve this well-established spot in favor of the waves on the southern rim of the Huvadhoo Atoll. A large concentration of breaks in a short distance means the best way to surf this region is by boat charter. Looking for a luxury stay while you’re there? Ayada Maldives is perfectly placed.

South Ari Atoll

Best for whale-shark spotting

Biggest fish in the sea? The whale shark. The best place to see them in the Maldives – if not the world – is the South Ari Atoll, where these majestic giants dwell year round. You’ll see the greatest number of them in the channel to the south of the atoll from May through to December.

As an alternative to the better-known and more costly resort islands in the atoll, Omandhoo is a quiet island that has only recently started welcoming tourists. When you’re done with the whale sharks, there are barracuda and turtles to spot on snorkeling adventures in its surrounding reef.

A scuba diver explores a reef covered with soft coral with schooling bigeye and snapper in the Indian Ocean just at the Maldives

Lhaviyani Atoll

Best for diving

You don’t hear much about this part of the Maldives, which is surprising considering how good the diving is. Kuredu – the best established diving resort in the area at the northern tip of the atoll – is known for its shipyard site, with two wrecks to explore. There’s a good chance of seeing manta rays here from May to November.

If being the only dive boat in view is a priority, head south to Komandoo. The waters around this luxury resort are so unexplored, enthusiasts are regularly finding new dive sites, with fifteen species of shark found so far.

Addu Atoll

Best for nature parks

The southernmost of the Maldives’ atolls, heart-shaped Addu has its own distinct character (and dialect) with a range of activities and sightseeing spots you won’t find elsewhere. Start with a guided tour of Addu Nature Park or canoe in the Bedhi bay area to wend through red mangroves teeming with stingrays and sharks.

Addu City is a place to experience proper island life, where you’ll hear the daily call to prayer as local fishers return with their catch. On the island of Gan, pay your respects at the British War Memorial before signing up for a thrilling descent with the nearby skydiving school.

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Best for budget accommodations

Noisy, colorful, cosmopolitan – Maafushi is the best place to experience the Maldives on a budget. Backpackers looking for a lively atmosphere will find it on Bikini Beach, with booze boats and floating bars just off shore if you insist on a drink (note: alcohol is prohibited on all public islands).

Maafushi may not be the most attractive corner of the Maldives – its four beaches get busy and there’s near constant building works at the moment – but it’s a lot of fun and a good spot for snorkeling day-trips and other water sport excursions.

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Top 10 Best Islands to Visit in The Maldives in 2023

Best available rates and exclusive benefits

Most Popular Luxury Water Villa Island Resorts in Maldives

Updated March, 2023

Which Maldives Island is perfect for You? Few words inspire travel wanderlust – the sparkling crystal blue water, a palm-fringed white-sand beaches, and fantastic marine life, we could go on and on. But there are more 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 atolls splashed out across the Indian ocean, so where does a traveler even start?

We’ve pulled together 10 of our favorite Maldives islands—some well-known and some resorts worth discovering—along with our insider tips on how to get the most out of your getaway to these idyllic isles.

  • Adaaran Prestige Vadoo
  • OBLU SELECT Lobigili
  • Siyam World Maldives
  • Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives
  • Reethi Faru Resort
  • Hard Rock Hotel Maldives
  • Meeru Island Resort and Spa
  • Atmosphere Kanifushi
  • Kandima Maldives
  • OZEN Reserve Bolifushi
  • Scubaspa Yang, Maldives
  • Emperor Serenity, Maldives
  • Maldives Aggressor II, Maldives
  • Carpe Novo, Maldives
  • Scubaspa Ying, Maldives
  • Azalea Liveaboard, Maldives
  • Blue Force One, Maldives
  • Blue Voyager, Maldives
  • Ocean Divine, Maldives
  • Emperor Leo, Maldives
MALDIVES RESORT Packages, Offers and Promotions
  • Cora Cora Maldives – 40% OFF, in Premium Inclusions and flexibility
  • Hideaway Beach Resort – BOOK DIRECT – 25% OFF
  • Anantara Maldives – UP to 35% OFF, Anantara’s special offers
  • OZEN COLLECTION – Save 25% on Luxury All Inclusive Plan
  • Crown and Champa Resorts Special offers: Up to 25% OFF for stays from now into 2023
  • Outrigger Maafushivaru: 40% OFF + sunset cruise + complimentary meals and more!
  • Constance Maldives – UP to 45% OFF, for stays until 29th Sep 2023
  • Fushifaru Maldives: 35% discount and 2 Kids STAY Free!
  • Baros Maldives: 41% off – Special Offer with airport transfers, HB included
  • Milaidhoo Island, Baa atoll – 41% OFF (B&B)
  • Kuramathi SUPER SAVER: 45% OFF All Meals Included
  • Adaaran resorts: – SECRET DEAL OFFER – EXTRA 10%

1 The Nautilus Maldives

Best Experience for: New Ultra Luxury Resort in Baa Atoll, couples andfamilies, gourmet dining, activities, swimming with mantas

The Nautilus island is your luxury private hideaway in the Maldives where every experience is tailored to you. Since tourism began in the Maldives in 1972, tourists has since been spoilt year upon year with more and more properties to choose, experiences and concepts to choose from and enjoy their island getaway. However, this all changed when The Nautilus was incepted in February 2019.

A celebration of the individual spirit, The Nautilus offers liberation and freedom unconditional. Space to share, to meet, where guests are encouraged to be themselves and shape their own personal journey. Because in the end, it’s these simple, elemental pleasures – that ability to simply be – that form the greatest luxury of all.

Here are just a few reasons why The Nautilus truly is the best island in the Maldives. Learn More

2 Huvafen Fushi

Best Experience for: Overwater Bungalows, Undewater Spa, Beaches, Gourmet Dining

Just 30-min by speedboat from Male airport, Huvafen Fushi ideally mixes Maldivian style with hip and chic features; thatched villas on the outside and on the inside, unique amenities, sophisticated design, contemporary furniture, high-tech equipment, and last but not least cool events which all contribute to make Huvafen Fushi a truly dreamy island.

Home to the world’s first and only underwater spa, the ultimate in luxurious privacy and intimacy Huvafen Fushi is a bucket list item in its own right but once you arrive there are plenty more experiences to tick off your list. But, it’s worth noting that once accomplished, you’re likely to want to add them back on again and set to repeat each year! Learn More

3 Heritance Aarah – Premium All Inclusive

Best Experience: Couples, families, gourmet dining, beach, diving

Offering the perfect combination of exclusivity and comfort, Heritance Aarah is all about exclusive luxury with a touch of Maldives’ traditions. One of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, the main attractions of Aarah are beautiful white beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and a hipnotic marine life on a house reef. Heritance Aarah is al about full privacy and an ideal tropical beach experience on a paradise island. For guests seeking a haven for pure relaxation or an active holiday retreat with the whole family, Heritance Aarah promises to offer endless choices with a unique Premium All-Inclusive holiday plan (download plan) and some of the largest beach villas in the Maldives.

Accessible by a scenic 40-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport, Heritance Aarah offers 157 villas and suites separated by tropical vegetation for privacy, and designed and built with a fusion of indigenous Maldivian and modern architecture.From evocative flavours that will have your taste buds in raptures of delight to gourmet creations that combine authentic local ingredients, the resort’s restaurants offer something truly distinctive, start from France and Italy to the Middle East, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Mexico and Japan – and three bars including space exclusively for Ocean Suite guests, a poolside bar and an open-air rooftop venue.. Be it intimate fine dining to candlelit dinners on the beach, each experience embodies a culinary journey of discovery. Read Full Review

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4 Milaidhoo Island Maldives

Best Experience: honeymoon, beach, diving, swimming with mantas

Hide away in the Baa Atoll UNESCO biosphere reserve is Milaidhoo Maldives, a mash-up of boutique resort and a paradise island, where the reinvented luxury blends perfectly with white-sand beaches. Upon arrival you’ll quickly transition to “island time,” finding that time has stopped, barefoot is as norm, and things need to be done differently. Read Full Review

Features 50 contemporary Maldivian style pool villas, every guest is assigned an Island Host to help create meaningful experiences and cater to their every need. Designed for couples, Milaidhoo is known for its romance and destination dining offerings – any dream can become a reality, from sunset dolphin cruises to sailing to a deserted sandbank for an exclusive beach picnic. So with that in mind, let’s check out a few reasons to visit the Milaidhoo island that many travelers touts as “The best tropical escape in the Maldives.” Read more

5 Hard Rock Hotel Maldives

Best Experience for: families, couples, activities, shopping, dining, entertainment

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is the five-star beach resort you’ve been looking for. Nestled in Emboodhoo lagoon, minutes from The Marina @ CROSSROADS, the resort offers world-class accommodations, stylish design, and the service that made it famous. Hard Rock Hotel in the Maldives takes inspiration from the tropical surroundings, incorporating authentic notes of regionally-inspired music memorabilia throughout.

Expect a lot of activity above and below the water every day, mind-melting event experiences, indulgent spa treatments and cuisine from Michelin-star chefs you’ll never forget. Whatever your vacation idea, when you stay at Hard Rock, you have arrived. Here are just a few reasons why Hard Rock Hotel Maldives should be your next getaway. Learn More

6 Baros Maldives

Best Experience: Honeymoon, Beach, Spa, House Reef Snorkeling and Diving

Award winning boutique, private island of 75 overwater and beachside garden villas and white sand beaches set in a turquoise lagoon, just 25 minutes by speedboat from the Male Airport. If a dreamy getaway or a staycation with your loved one is beckoning, Baros Maldives offers a quality time laced with romance. Book Directly and be entitled to receive astonishing benefits from Baros, one of the top romantic resorts in the Maldives.

Surrounded by clean, warm waters and snow-white sands, with groves of coconut palms and fragrant flowers, this cozy resort landscape is really worthy of fainting. The team is serene modern rooms (including water villas), fine dining, a fantastic spa, a large swimming pool and water entertainment from a luxury yacht to diving and yoga. Read more

7 Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives

Best Experience for: Couples, Families, Groups, Beaches, Activities, Nightlife

Located in the UNESCO world biosphere of Baa Atoll, Finolhu was born out of a desire to bring a fresh wave to the uninhabited island experience. One of the Maldives’ most luxurious resorts, Seaside Finolhu is new barefoot chic experience with the self-styled island playground. With its 2km-long white sand beaches, 125 newly transformed beach and over-water villas, award- winning dining experiences, vibrant performances at the Beach Club and a line-up of daily activities amid a turquoise blue lagoon surrounded by some of the most stunning sandbanks in the Maldives, Seaside Finolhu is the right place to be!

To be at Finolhu is to live on the verge of two beautiful worlds – a marine fantasy and a magical island paradise; that’s why we call Finolhu the wonderland and a place of dreams. Here are just a dozen reasons why it’s our favorite hotel in the Maldives right now. Read more

8 VARU by Atmosphere – A Premium All-Inclusive Resort

Best Experience: All-Inclusive Resort, Couples, Family, Diving, Spa, activities

VARU by Atmosphere is Premium All-Inclusive Resort found on the north-west edge of Malé Atoll. The brand new hotel reflects the local heritage and culture of the Maldives throughout its estate, with signature Maldivian-style design elements informing the look and style of the property. The ‘VARU Plan’ goes beyond the typical All-Inclusive concept, and includes villa accommodation, all food and beverages, special dining experiences, in-villa services, excursions, spa treatments, and more. As for the name VARU is a term from the local language Dhivehi, meaning “strength, resilience and life in abundance. Accessible by a 45-minute speedboat journey from the main Velana International Airport, VARU by Atmosphere boasts 108 luxurious villas and four restaurants and bars. Additional resort facilities include a dive and water sports centre, ELENA spa, gymnasium and kids club. Read Full Review

9 Hurawalhi Island Resort

Best Experience: There are no kids on the island, a magnificent large overwater villas with stunning views; Superb house reef snorkeling, a fantastic ‘5.8 Undersea’ restaurant

Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives – this is incredible, extraordinary and absolutely original. Ecologically innovative, a 5*-star resort, the world’s largest underwater restaurant, tropical champagne pavilion, stylish villas and politics just over 15 years old, and with no other resorts in the neighborhood as far as the eye can see – Hurawalhi Island Resort offers its own look at Paradise. Besides the amazing diving and snorkeling opportunities available at Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives, what else should guests do, staying at the hottest and most popular luxury resort of Lhaviyani Atoll?

At Hurawalhi Maldives there is no lack of activity, the only problem is the choice – we hope that our offerings will help you! We have collected the best 5 experiences – moments of staying at the hotel that will make the holiday of your dream so unusual: Read more

10 Constance Moofushi Maldives – All Inclusive

Best Experience for: All Inclusive, Honeymoon, Beach, Spa, Diving

When people think about a romantic beach getaway they dream of fine white sand, crystal waters, luxury accommodation and exceptional service. Whether they know it or not, all of this can be found in Constance Moofushi Maldives – All Inclusive.

Enjoy the Crusoe spirit of Constance Moofushi and plunge into the joys of barefoot luxury. At Moofushi romance is everywhere from fun diving trips to spa treatments, relax and unwind at this luxurious all-inclusive Maldives resort and share your passions with the one you love. Learn More