The Maldives, a chain of 26 islands lying in the Indian Ocean, are for many the destination for that perfect tropical beach holiday with white sands set against deepest turquoise. Explore crystal clear waters that are home to over 1,000 species of fish and other underwater creatures. Enjoy a range of watersports like snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing, water-skiing or jet-skiing. Treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment. Watch a spectacular sunset with a long, cool cocktail from the comfort of a hammock. Take an excursion to one of the small uninhabited islands or try some night fishing.
For most visitors the pristine beaches and clear blue waters are the main attraction, but there are a small number of attractions. The National Museum on Malé holds collections of pottery, armour, manuscripts, antiquities from the Buddhist era and clothing and furniture belonging to a sultan. Or visit the historic palace of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu on Utheemu island. The sultan, along with his brothers, fought an eight-year-long war in the 16th century to drive out Portuguese invaders.
Things to do
Watersports come top of the list for those who can bother to drag themselves away from the beach and on the Maldives, most of them are covered. Hire scuba diving or snorkelling equipment and head to Manta Point where you can see giant rays being fed and cleaned by wrasses. Or explore Banana Reef, the most popular diving site in the Maldives, or Chayaa Reef, for amazing marine life.
You can also try your hand at a range of other activities such as windsurfing or sailing with a number of islands offering courses for beginners and advanced surfers or sailors. And the Maldives are a Mecca for surfers with the southwest monsoon bringing large swells from May to September.
You can also enjoy parasailing, kayaking or kite-surfing, to name just a few of the other water sport options.
Eating and drinking
Maldivian cuisine is dominated by fish, fruit and spicy curries. Seafood specialities include grouper, tuna, octopus and swordfish. Curries such as chicken and beef are widely available. Or try kavaabu, a deep-fried snack made of rice, coconut, tuna, lentils and spices. On resort islands there are usually up to ten restaurants depending on their size and level of luxury. Cuisine is international and all food aside from seafood is imported. There are bars on all resorts but alcohol, which is pricey, is unavailable anywhere else and not at all on the island of Malé. Local drinks include Sai, or tea, and Raa, tapped from coconut trees which is left to ferment. Or, for something a bit more unusual, visit Umami, a restaurant perched above the sea on stilts. Try beef sushi rolls with scallops and seaweed.
For a spot of nightlife with a difference head to underwater Niyami where you can soak up sounds from top DJs while enjoying a glass of champagne, or underground at 15below, W Retreat and Spa.
We search from 120,000 hotels worldwide to find you the best deals.
Price Match Guarantee
Find the same hotel cheaper within 24hrs when booking with us and we'll give you the difference.
Need help with your booking?
Call us on 0800 093 5555