If ever there was a beach-centric destination, it’s the Maldives. This archipelago consists of 1200 islands, meaning endless kilometers of shimmering shoreline for the discerning tourist to choose from. The warmth of the Indian Ocean means you’ll never want to leave. And with so many fabulous activities available on beaches in the Maldives, why would you?
Local Island Beaches
The first thing to understand about the Maldivian beaches is that there are three sorts: local ones on local islands, tourist ones on local islands and resort beaches. Which beach you visit depends on where you’re staying.
If you’re in an all-inclusive resort situated on a private island, you’ll be going to the resort beaches. But if you’re staying on a local island (where the Maldivian people live and work) then you’ll be going to a tourist beach on a local island. The local beaches are reserved for those willing to cover their knees and shoulders as the Maldives follows Islamic dress traditions, while the tourist coves are secluded so men cannot peak at scantily-clad foreign women.
1. Artificial Beach, Malé
This isn’t a beach exclusively for travellers but it is Malé’s most popular piece of shoreline and an engineering feat. Artificial Beach was claimed from the sea by engineers to give locals a place to enjoy the divine waters. It’s astonishing but before Artificial Beach, the capital of the Maldives, famous around the world for its amazing beaches, didn’t have its own beach! Thankfully, the government solved that dilemma very nicely.
This part of the coast is well-located and there are plenty of fast food chains nearby for lunchtime. Remember to dress conservatively.
2. Maafushi Island Beaches
Maafushi has a private beach for tourists, where tourists are allowed to go bare-chested or bikini-clad. It’s known as Bikini Beach. The shore is encircled by stone promenades that stretch into the sea.
Although it’s on a local island, Maafushi Bikini Beach offers all the amenities you’ll find on the resort ones like coconut water stalls and sunbed hire. The beach itself may not rival its resort competitors in wow-factor but it’s faultless with cerulean waters and tropical palm trees. If you’re not visiting a resort, you’ll never fault Maafushi: what you don’t know won’t hurt you.
Escape the crowds by heading to one of the Maldives standard-setting luxury resorts. The main benefit to them is the fairytale beaches. They’re well-kept and stunning, as well as allowing all the activities and clothing items that most travellers seek and want.
The best resort beaches are also very exclusive: located on islands accessible only to paying guests and day trippers, ensuring secluded bliss.
1. Reethi Rah Island Beaches
Think tall palm trees rising out of the white sand and pale turquoise waters and you’ve got yourself a perfect image of Reethi Rah beaches.
Reethi Rah has 6 kilometers of stunning shoreline divided into 12 perfect beaches to offer guests. With visibility of up to 50m and an abundance of turtles and Manta rays, this is also a unique spot for diving and snorkelling in the Maldives.
2. COMO Cocoa Island Beaches
The lagoon that surrounds COMO Cocoa makes for shallow, tranquil waters that glisten in the tropical sun. It’s one of the most iconic beaches in the Maldives.
A 15 minute boat ride off the beach will bring you to reefs where it’s possible to snorkel with sharks (these ones are harmless). There’s also kayaking and stand-up paddling on offer. If you can’t drag your feet away from the soft sand, stay on for a gourmet dinner. Meals are also prepared on one of the sandbanks which are just speedboat ride away.
3. Angsana Ihuru Island Beaches
The bright blues and lush greens that characterise the island’s beaches are beaten only by the dizzying, rainbow array of colours beneath the ocean. That’s right: Angsana Ihuru is one of the best spots for diving in the Maldives, if not the best.
There’s a shipwreck that plays host to the amazingly diverse sea life of the Maldives, as well as a large natural reef. You can also go kayaking or sailing on these waters. Keep an eye out for dolphins.
Ever wanted to see the ocean light up and glow in the middle of the night? The Maldives is one of the few places where this happens.
Thanks to ostracod crustaceans, microscopic marine organisms that release light, certain beaches in the Maldives are transformed into light shows when the organisms are stimulated by touch or movement in the water.
Here’s where you can glimpse this natural marvel:
1. Kuredu Island Beaches
The balmy Indian Ocean packs an extra punch at Kuredu. The island is surrounded by a lagoon and waters are tranquil and stunning. Come nighttime, try your luck with the ostracods by stirring the waters. If the organisms don’t budge, look up at the night sky for a starry show instead.
Diving and snorkelling are special experiences that can’t be missed on your visit to the Maldives. At Kuredu, there are over 60 dive sites, offering opportunities to views multi-coloured fish, rays and sharks up close.
2. Fihalhohi Island Beaches
Fihalhohi of the aquamarine waters is a long-standing favourite with visitors. It’s near Malé but it’s easy to feel far from the crowds on this sliver of paradise.
These shores are well-known for coming alive at night with the glow of thousands of ostracods but there are other things to do here. Like almost every beach in the Maldives, diving and snorkelling are available and the day’s viewings won’t disappoint. Another great beachside activity is canoeing, as well as paddleboarding.
3. Veligandu Island Beaches
Another of the amazing private islands, Veligandu is also a prime viewing spot for the glowing beaches. But during the day, the beaches are also busy as guests swim, snorkel or scuba dive in these invitingly sheer blue waters.
Dinners can also be served seaside and the resort has a dedicated spa with treatments inspired by African and Asian traditional techniques. Come nightfall, though, don’t forget to head down to the beaches again.
The Maldives takes great pride in its beaches and the entire tourism industry is geared towards enhancing the natural bounty of the seas. Take full of advantage of this with diving, swimming and sailing in the azure Indian Ocean. Whether they’re labelled public, tourist or resort, the best beaches in the Maldives are stunning and unmissable.