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About country Gallery Where to stay

The Maldives is a unique place in the world. The archipelago country consists of almost 1,200 islands, 200 of which are inhabited by Maldivians and 80 more are equipped to service tourists. The country is actually a collection of 26 distinct archipelagos stretching 900 kilometres north to south in the Indian Ocean. Therefore it would be a mistake to assume that a holiday in the Maldives would be flat as a tropical postcard – the country offers great variety and hundreds of islands to discover and enjoy water adventures.

The Maldives has a local mostly Muslim population of over 300,000. Another 1.5 million tourists come every year to visit tiny Maldivian islands, some of them no bigger than several square kilometres. The capital Malé also reminds of a rafter city, surrounded on all sides by crystal-clear water. Over a third of the nation's population live in this interesting city and the surrounding islands.

The climate here is mostly determined by ocean streams and monsoons. Air temperature stays around 28° C throughout the year, but there are in fact two seasons in the Maldives: the dry season (November to April) and the rainy season (May to October). Mind, though, that the air conditions are quite changeable in the many islands of the Maldives, therefore predicting weather for your holiday may be difficult. In July and August, however, one can be sure to be caught by rain and strong winds.

The Maldives has a reputation among holidaymakers looking for luxury and exclusivity. However, the country has many affordable hostels and communities living further away from the clamour of tourists.

Besides its sunny beaches and palm trees, the Maldives' greatest treasure is the fantastic coral reefs. They are home to over 1,100 species of fish, 5 see turtles, 21 dolphins and whales, 400 molluscs, 83 kinds of starfish, 48 shrimps, 145 crabs and over a hundred species of other crustaceans. The best way to observe this water world is from the islands and coral reefs around the capital Malé. On the other hand, the Maldives in its entirety is like one big coral reef of breath-taking biodiversity.

Magnificently breaking waves are another popular tourist attraction, pulling growing numbers of surfers every year. Those looking for more privacy and emptier beaches should go to the more remote Maldivian atolls.

The country's entire traffic takes place on water. Public ferries commute between the main settlements, complemented by private boats used by locals and water taxis. High-speed engine boats take people to luxury villas and on more expensive tours around the islands. The Maldives also boasts a network of planes capable of landing on water. These connect the remotest Maldivian atolls and islands to the capital Malé with under-90-minute flights.

The traditional Maldivian cuisine is heavy on seafood and rice. In terms of spices and ways of preparing food, the Maldives is close to India and Sri Lanka. Popular local snacks include various fish fried in oil. Spicy curries, coco milk, Indian spices are also there in abundance.

Although most resorts will serve alcohol, many local Muslim communities and towns will not. Our advice is to respect local customs and not expose too much flesh. With a little regard to local culture, your holiday in the Maldives can be pleasant and gratifying.

 

Where to stay

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