Maldives has always been on my list of places to explore. I mean what’s not to love? Beautiful pristine beaches that are stuff that dreams are made off. Shawn and I managed to explore just one of the atolls in a week and we slowly began to realize that even though the country is small, there are numerous beautiful islands in Maldives to explore. So how do you choose? It is a difficult choice. While we were interacting with a number of other travel bloggers we realized that no matter which island they chose, everyone had fun. If Maldives is on your bucket list, you may want to take a look at the islands that they chose. They’ve included notes on how to get there and where they stayed which is particularly helpful. Enjoy the visual tour of some of the most beautiful places in the country.
Note that the islands in the list are a mix of both local and resort islands. Local islands tend to be more budget friendly and resort islands are more luxurious. Both ways of travel are worth exploring.
We are going to keep trying to add to this list as time goes by. You can use the links below to navigate through the article and read about the island of your choice.
Soneva Fushi Island
Soneva Fushi Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll
GETTING THERE: A seaplane from Male airport takes around 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a domestic flight to Dharavandhoo airport, which is a 15-minute speedboat ride from Soneva Fushi.
WHERE TO STAY: Soneva Fushi is the only resort on the island. This extremely high-end resort represents barefoot luxury at its finest. This is where the rich, successful (and yes sometimes famous) come to really unwind, unplug and connect with nature, whilst knowing that they are going to still be treated to the finer experiences in life: exceptional cuisine, warm, friendly personalized service, and one-of-a-kind experiences that make for a truly unforgettable vacation.
Villas range from the one-bedroom Crusoe villas all the way up to a nine-bedroom mansion, with many three and four-bedroom villas in between. The design of the villas at Soneva Fushi is in fitting with the entire Robinson Crusoe ethos of the island. They are wooden and rustic in design, allowing you to feel at one with the beautiful natural surroundings, but ensuring that comfort is still paramount. Sustainability is at the very heart of Soneva’s ethos and great care is taken to minimize the environmental impact of the villas.
If you tire of lying on a beautiful beach, lazing by your villa pool, cycling around the island or exploring the house reef, there are plenty of excursions on offer. These include private sandbank experiences, dolphin cruises, snorkelling with manta rays, private dinner experiences and much more. At first it can seem odd that such a high-end luxury resort has chosen to maintain a rustic chic vibe, when the rest of the Maldives is trying to out-bling each other. But after you spend a few days here, you get it. There’s real heart and soul at Soneva Fushi. The beauty of your surroundings and the ‘no news no shoes’ motto gets under your skin and you can’t help but fall in love with the island.
By Marianne from Mum On The Move
Thoddoo Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Thoddoo Island
GETTING THERE: By private transfer speed boat (arranged with your hotel) or local ferry, which leaves Male around midnight and takes around 3 hours, and costs $20 pp one way.
WHERE TO STAY: Serene Sky Guesthouse
We visited the Maldives during our big trip around Asia, as an impulsive side trip between India and Sri Lanka, from which there are many inexpensive flight options. Over the past 5 years, the Maldivian government has allowed local guesthouses to operate, which means you can visit without paying thousands of dollars a night to stay in a private island. We searched for many different options on TripAdvisor and stumbled on Serene Sky Guesthouse due to the many positive reviews. It is located on Thoddoo island, which is around 67km (42 miles) from the capital, Male.
Thoddoo island is small, you can cover the entire distance easily in half a day. It is famous for its fruits, particularly papayas, pumpkins and coconuts, which they export in abundance. There are also a handful of beautiful beaches, in particular a “bikini” beach for tourists. What we also love about Thoddoo Island is that it is surrounded by many healthy thriving coral just off the beach, making it a paradise for snorkelers. There are also a few diving schools based on the island which can take you further afield, which we did and loved.
At Serene Sky Guesthouse they have snorkelling equipment for guests to use. They also arrange water sports and also fishing outings. We went on one fishing boat ride early in the morning and caught a big fish, which we barbecued later for dinner back at the guesthouse. We found the locals on Thoddoo island to be quite shy towards foreigners, but extremely friendly and sweet hearted. At no stage did we feel that anyone was trying to rip us off. We loved our time here and would go back in a heartbeat.
By Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys
Laamu Island is the of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Laamu island
GETTING THERE: Laamu island can be reached on a domestic flight from Male followed by a short speedboat ride.
WHERE TO STAY: The only resort on the island is the Six Senses Laamu which is a stunning 5 star resort with overwater villas with their own private pool.
Six sense is a luxury eco-friendly brand with multiple hotels and resorts across the world. The brand’s resorts usually feature organic gardens that are located on site, a strong focus on wellness and sustainability and solid links to the local culture. Maldives is not an exception and you will be able to enjoy meals with herbs and vegetables that are grown on the island (and which you can visit), partake on cooking demonstrations and be sure that the resort is conscious to the environment and respects its surroundings and marine life.
Aside from that, Laamu is located near a few local islands which you can visit on days trips to learn more about Maldivian culture. One of the best-known surf breaks in the Maldives is nearby too (you could almost paddle from your own overwater villa) so the island is a destination for surfers. If you like to dive there are several dive sites nearby, most notably a manta cleaning station where you can get up and close with these majestic animals.
By Mar from Once In A Lifetime Journey
Hadahaa Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Hadahaa Island
GETTING THERE: 1 hour flight from Male Airport to Kooddoo Airport, then a 30 min speed boat ride
WHERE TO STAY: Hadahaa is the home of the Park Hyatt Hotel in the Maldives
Hadahaa is on the North Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Alifu) and is the island home of the Park Hyatt Hotel. From the minute your Park Hyatt representative meets you in Male, you know you are going to have an amazing experience. The team at the Park Hyatt will organise all transfers from Male and all you have to do is relax and get taken care of.
The Park Hyatt has 50 villas ranging from standard Park Villas, Park Pool Villas, Deluxe Park Pool Villas, 2 bedroom Park Villas perfect for families, Park Overwater Villas and the new addition Park Pool Overwater Villas. The island is tiny, you could walk around the whole island in 15 mins, but don’t think there isn’t enough to do at the Hadahaa.
We spent 8 days on the island and with the amazing house reef surrounding the island, snorkelling was number one on our list. I also learnt how to scuba dive while on Hadahaa by the expert dive team on the island and totally blame them for my new expensive obsession. You can go kayaking and swimming in the crystal-clear Maldivian water. If that’s not enough, the Vidhun Spa is an experience you’ll ever forget, with professional therapists and very comfortable private villa treatment rooms, I suggest you make a visit there anyway.
By Sally from Our3kidsvtheworld
Haleveli Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Halaveli Island
GETTING THERE: Getting to the Maldives is very much part of the adventure. We flew into the capital of Malé from the UK. From here, we took a sea-plane from the local sea-plane jetty. The flight to Haleveli was twenty five minutes. The views of the islands and reefs from the sea-plane were spectacular.
WHERE TO STAY: There are a huge number of island resorts in the Maldives. We opted for Constance Haleveli and were extraordinarily happy with our choice.
Haleveli is a small island, ringed by perfect white sandy beaches and crystal-clear sea. It’s an easy walk around the island, something we did most days. Accommodation comprises of beach villas and over-water bungalows. We opted for a beach villa, which over two storeys, easily accommodated our family of five. Constance Haleveli offers everything needed for a perfect beach holiday. Hours can be spent at the beach and in the warm crystal-clear sea. There are plenty of other activities too, including water sports, tennis, beach games and amazing snorkelling just off the shore. Children are well catered for with a kid’s club and associated activities.
The Maldives are often thought of as a honeymoon destination, but they are increasingly becoming a family destination. If you’re looking for a family friendly resort in the Maldives, then consider Constance Haleveli. You won’t be disappointed!
By Nicky from Go Live Young
Rasdhoo Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Rasdhoo island, Alif Alif atoll
GETTING THERE: the most affordable way of getting to the island of Rasdhoo is via local ferry from Male but doing so may be a bit tricky as the ferry doesn’t run daily. The more expensive speedboats run on a more frequent schedule.
WHERE TO STAY: typical resorts are not found on the local island of Rasdhoo, but instead the island is home to some more basic but comfortable hotels and guesthouses.
The island of Rasdhoo is perfect for those wishing to experience the Maldives on a budget, without missing out on what makes the Maldives such a special destination. Rasdhoo is home to a reef just a few meters out of its pretty bikini beach, ensuring that beach lovers can spend their time either lounging away on the soft white sand shaded by coconut trees, or snorkelling near the reef amongst the myriads of colourful fish.
Divers can explore the waters around Rasdhoo and beyond, with one of the several dive schools located on the island, many of which offer both single dives and multi-dive packages. In fact, one of the advantages of staying on Rasdhoo, is its close location to the uninhabited Madivaru and Madivaru Finolhu islands, where divers can encounter large sharks, eagle rays, and other large fish, as well as smaller fish such as eels and parrotfish, in and around the abundant coral.
There’s no need to be a diver to enjoy the Madivaru area though. Snorkelers are just as likely to encounter a diverse array of marine species, whilst the sand bars around the islands are spectacular! Rasdhoo itself is rather charming with a number of convenience shops, mosques and restaurants, mostly inhabited by friendly local fishermen and their families. The island is the perfect relaxing getaway if all you want to do is enjoy the slow sleepy island vibe!
By Michelle from Cheeky Passports
Adaaran Prestige Vadoo Island
Adaaran Prestige Vadoo Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Male Archipelago
GETTING THERE: Adaaran Prestige Vadoo is a private island that is best reached on a boat provided by the resort. It takes around 30 minutes from the airport and just around the same amount of time to get there from the capital Male.
WHERE TO STAY: You don’t need to travel far from Malé to get to experience the beautiful islands of the Maldives. One of them is in the Malé archipelago, and it is a private island home of a fabulous resort – Adaaran Prestige Vadoo. This is an incredible place to stay when visiting this small yet unique country. While it is a fantastic honeymoon resort, this at the same time is a great place for anyone who seeks peace, relaxation and wants to experience water sports. The atoll is tiny, so much so that takes no longer than 20 minutes to walk around the island. The setting is idyllic to say the least: the transparent waters of the Indian Ocean; the coral reef; the palm trees and the fine, white sand make it all paradisiac.
All villas at Adaaran Prestige Vadoo are over the water, facing either sunset or sunrise views. They all have direct access to the water; they all have a very large veranda, and a small yet beautiful plunge pool. They are just the ultimate place to sip a flute of icy cold cava (which is provided to all guests) while admiring the stunning views – one of the ultimate things to do in the Maldives.
The resort has a gorgeous pool (not that one needs it, with such incredible waters!), tennis courts, a spa that offers a great range of treatments, three bars and two restaurants (one of them is a fabulous Japanese restaurant). Honeymooners have the option dine on the water: a small table is set for them and service comes from shore. Annexed to the resort there is a small diving centre, and the reef is accessed directly from the shore. It is a great way to get introduced to diving for the less experienced ones. Other activities for guests include fun tubing and stand up paddle boarding.
By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Adaaran Fulidhoo Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Fulidhoo Island
GETTING THERE: To get here, ride a ferry in Male or Maafushi en route to Fulidhoo Island. The ferry has limited schedule and only runs thrice a week.
WHERE TO STAY: I suggest staying in Galaxy Sunrise, which has affordable beautiful rooms and its own restaurant.
Fulidhoo Island is one of the underrated islands in Maldives. It’s not as frequented as the backpacker center that is Maafushi, possibly due to the fact that it is about 3 hours away from Male. Fulidhoo is just a small island and you can explore it on foot in half an hour or so. There’s a small community here including a school, a church and several houses and a handful of accommodations as well as restaurants. The great thing about Fulidhoo is its sheer island beauty and the fact that here you can enjoy more peace & quiet.
Like other islands in Maldives, it private and public beaches. Its public beach has soft white sand, baby-blue waters and is just picture perfect. I always say that it’s like the Maldives I see on postcards. The water is nice and refreshing, and when it’s low tide you can walk quite far away from the shore. Aside from beach bumming, there are other activities in Fulidhoo that you can do including island hopping and fishing. Most people though just prefer to stay here for days to relax, and this is what I’d recommend for you to do as well.
By Katherine From Tara Lets Anywhere
Hulhumale Island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Hulhumale Island, a local island in the Maldives and just 6 km away from Velana International Airport.
GETTING THERE: The best part is you don’t have to go for any ferry/speed boat/sea plane to reach this island. You can get there shortly with 10 to 12 minutes by car from the airport.
WHERE TO STAY: Hulhumale Island can be the best beach destination for you if you’re looking for a budget holidays even in the Maldives. There is plenty of budget to mid-range accommodations beside the beautiful Hulhumale Beach. There are some luxury hotels and many good restaurants as well in the Hulhumale Island.
H78 Guest House is the best option for budget travelers. This budget hotel offers complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi to all standard amenities. You can also get a room and balcony with the beach view. The Catch 78 restaurant belongs to this hotel. H78 also provide free airport shuttle service for their guests. Moreover, for luxury or mid-range travelers Hotel Ocean Grand is the recommended one to stay.
I enjoyed my three days solo travel in the Maldives on a budget. It was fun to explore Hulhumale Island by walking and biking. Also loved hoping Villingili and Himmafushi islands from Hulhumale Ferry Terminal. These two local islands are very close to Hulhumale Island. For adventure lovers, there are water sports to try in the Hulhumale Island or don’t just miss to go for a day tour trip by boat.
By Nafisa from My Own Way To Travel
Gan island is one of the gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Gan island, Addu Atoll
GETTING THERE: Getting to Gan island can be a bit tricky if you are heading to it via Male. It would require a journey either by ferry or by seaplane. It also has Maldives’ second international airport with flights directly to the island.
WHERE TO STAY: There is just one hotel on the island called Equator village resort. It is a mid-range hotel with all the perks that you could want. Since Gan island is connected to other islands via a road, you could stay at cheaper resorts. You may want to read our guide to accommodation on Addu atoll if that fits with your budget better.
Gan island has a lot of history despite being such a small island which lies far away from Male. It once served as a military base in colonial times. Today, it acts as a secondary airport. The island is quiet and peaceful. You would need to rent a cycle or a motorbike if you want to move around the other islands. There are a couple of places where you can snorkel at. If you stay at Equator village, you can just swim off the reef.
There are other things that you can enjoy too… The swimming pool or the indoor games for example. The unique food in the Maldives certainly merits tasting. You could also head out for dives or ask the hotel to arrange a romantic evening for you if that piques your fancy.
By Penny from GlobeTrove
Tracey believes that Kandima is one of the most gorgeous islands in Maldives.
LOCATION: Dhaalu Atoll
GETTING THERE: The 3km long Kandima resort is located in Dhaalu Atoll, 170 km from Male International Airport. The main island in Dhaalu Atoll is Kudahuvadhoo, which is where the domestic airport is located that serves Kandima. Many who arrive at Male International Airport will take a short 30 minutes domestic flight to Dhaalu Airport, followed by a fast 20 minutes boat ride to Kandima. Alternatively, there is a 40 minutes seaplane transfer from Male direct to Kandima.
WHERE TO STAY: Kandima Resort
Kandima is a new ‘lifestyle’ resort, opened in February 2017. A common perception of a Maldives holiday is one of lying on a beach doing nothing all day. You can of course do this here, but there’s so much more on offer besides. All generations are catered for: from the very young, to the elderly; couples to families, and to honeymooners too. You can be as active, or as sedate as you wish to be. They have a water activity centre where you can learn to scuba dive, jet ski, parasailing, windsurfing and sailing. Bookable activities include night reef fishing, dolphin sunset cruise, snorkelling out on the reef, and a pro-kitchen cooking masterclass.
Kandima has an extensive kids club, called Kandiland, catering for children of all ages. They offer a range of activities every day; you can check the schedule on your room TV. The resort offers a total of 274 ‘rooms’ ranging from Sky and Beach Studios, to Beach Villas with Jacuzzi, Beach Pool Villas with Jacuzzi, Aqua Villas, Aqua Villas with Jacuzzi, Ocean Pool Villas and Honeymoon Aqua Pool Villas.
When it comes to dining, there are ten different restaurants and bars, catering for all tastes. ‘Flavour’ and ‘Zest’ are the main buffet restaurants. A standout feature at Kandima is the swimming pool – it’s huge at over 100m long (longest in the Maldives). The pool is child-friendly, with one end being quite shallow (even the deep end is only waist deep). The pool wraps around Breeze, a fabulous bar area. There are sunken seating areas in the pool too – a lovely place from which to watch the sunset. Kandima is a beautiful, contemporary, ‘cool’ resort. We would go back tomorrow if we could!
By Tracey from Pack The PJs
There are just too many gorgeous islands in Maldives to see. It makes it hard to choose to visit just one of them. While a large number of the resorts in Maldives are luxury resorts. If you look hard enough, you will find that a number of local islands that have budget accommodation for backpackers. No matter where you go, one thing is for sure, Maldives will always treat you right.