Thrumming with scooters and cars and Indian bazaars stacked with coconuts and spice, the city of Male – the capital of the Maldives atolls – has the frenetic feel of a place crammed into a slot that’s too small for it.
2. Hulhumale Island
Sat just across the sparkling waters from the capital of Male, the island of Hulhumale is forever growing and growing as more and more land is reclaimed to house the sprawling urban tendrils of the city.
Maafushi might not have the sprawling luxury resorts and opulent 5-star hotels that many of its nearby brothers do, but it’s got plenty of charm.
Sat on the far northern reaches of the Haa Alif Atoll, itself the northernmost of all the Maldivian island chains, the beautiful site of Utheemu holds a special place in the history of this archipelago nation.
Feydhoo’s story is a curious one.
In the 19th century, the people now living between the leafy streets and tight-knit housing blocks here were the inhabitants of nearby Gan island (more on that one later). When the British came in the run up to WWII, Gan was transformed into an airbase, and the locals were shipped out to live on the next island along in the Seenu Atoll.
Joined at the hip to aforementioned Feydhoo by a seaside causeway that runs just above the coral-fringed shores of the Seenu Atoll, Maradhoo is a major link in the island chain that starts with Gan to the east.
7. Veligandu Island
Romantic sunsets glow red and yellow over the lapping waters of the Indian Ocean; cocktails clink in the resort’s luxurious bar; sea kayaks bob on the turquoise shoreline, and crystal-clear waves roll in softly from the inland lagoon.
8. Banana Reef
Many travelers heading to the islands of the Maldives will be coming for one thing and one thing only: diving.And there’s hardly a single better place to don the SCUBA gear and wetsuits in the country than at the Banana Reef.This fruit-shaped dash of multi-colored corals and seaweed-clad sandbanks lies underwater between the isles of the North Male Atoll.
9. Thulusdhoo Island
It’s the spirit of the salt-washed Caribbean that seems to drive Thulusdhoo Island.Largely undiscovered, this speck in the Male Atolls is ringed by wide spaces of sand from which bulbous coconut trunks sprout by the hundred.The beaches are – naturally – great, and the locals love to draw in their fading fishing boats to flint up a good sizzling seafood barbeque now and then.
Fuvahmulah promises something a little different to the rest of the Maldivian atolls.For starters, this speck on the map of the Indian Ocean doesn’t really have any near neighbors, and it occupies an atoll all of its own.It’s also peppered with the occasional inland lake, which is a rare sight to see in this flat-lying country.