Best Islands & Beaches in the Maldives

Discover the best beaches and islands in the Maldives – perfect for newlyweds wanting to savour intimate moments together in a unique and serene environment.

The Maldives is legendary for gorgeous beaches and idyllic, unspoilt tropical islands washed by gentle sea breezes, including the following…

Nalaguraidhoo Island

Relax on a long crescent of soft, powder-white sand that shelves gently into a beautiful turquoise lagoon.

This is one of the Maldives’ best beaches, encircling the tiny palm-fringed Sun Island or Nalaguraidhoo, known locally as the ‘Flower of the Indies'.

Discover your own ‘Robinson Crusoe’ island complete with every facility you’ll need to enjoy this exclusive tropical island paradise.

Swim to the nearby reef to snorkel or dive amid colourful reef fish as they flitter above the coral, go kayaking or windsurf the lagoon, admire a magical sunset overlooking the Indian Ocean while sipping a cocktail, then savour a romantic dinner on the beach or from your over-water bungalow. Enjoy a post-sundown fishing trip followed by a barbecue of your catch right on the beach.

Where to stay…

Nalaguraidhoo Island is home the Sun Island Resort & Spa, which features over-water bungalows and a wide range of sports and recreational facilities. The island is located in South Ari Atoll, about 100km from Malé airport but less than a 40-minute flight by seaplane.

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Veligandu Island

Accessible by a short 20-minute plane ride from Malé, Veligandu Island on North Ari Atoll offers an 80m-long pristine white-sand beach that hints of gold before shelving into the clear, warm waters of the lagoon.

Veligandu island offers some of the best diving facilities in the Maldives. Swim or snorkel the inner reef and dive the offshore reef amid colourful reef fish.

Relax beside the fresh water swimming pool, dip your toes into the white-sand beach and enjoy sailing, kayaking and windsurfing.

North Ari Island is 58km long and is home to around 50 islands (including the capital Malé). In addition, there are also numerous uninhabited sandbanks, coral patches, farus and submerged shoals.

Where to stay…

The luxurious Veligandu Island Resort, which features both over-water and beachside bungalows.

Kuredu Island

Set on the northern reef of Lhaviyani Atoll (or Faadhippolhu Atoll), Kuredu Island offers more than 3km of stunning beach that wraps the lush palm-fringed interior, just a 35-minute sea plane ride from Malé.

Swim or snorkel the inner reef, kayak the lagoon or head offshore for a day or night dive in the Lhaviyani Atoll, which features a dive site containing two wrecks – look out for manta rays and more than six species of shark as well as an abundance of reef fishes.

Lhaviyani Atoll comprises about 52 islands of which only five are inhabited.

Where to stay…

Kuredu Island is home to the multi-award winning Kuredu Island Resort, which features a range of beach and overwater villas as well as cosy, thatched-roof bungalows.

The resort offers a wide range of leisure activities including a spa, golf, cycling, beach volleyball, tennis, badminton, parasailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, kite surfing and PADI-accredited scuba diving courses.

By Maldives standards, Kuredu Island Resort is large (around 300 bungalows and villas), and the nightlife in Kuredu with six restaurants and a number of bars is a bit livelier than some of the other Maldives resorts.

Kunfunadhoo Island

Set on Baa Atoll, Kunfunadhoo is a classic honeymoon resort island ringed by a stunning palm-fringed ivory-white beach that gently shelves into a turquoise lagoon that is perfect for windsurfing, snorkelling and canoeing.

Where to stay…

Kunfunadhoo island is home to the exclusive Sonevafushi by Six Senses resort, which offers a range of creature comforts including a holistic spa, a hilltop observatory for star gazing and a number of water sport activities including diving and sailing.

Kunfunadhoo Island is located on Baa Atoll, just a 30-minute flight by seaplane air taxi. Situated on the west of the Maldives atoll chain, it consists of 75 islands of which only 13 are inhabited with five islands developed as resorts.

Ihuru Island

Located on North Malé Atoll, Ihuru Island is a truly idyllic sun-kissed island paradise, fringed with palm trees fronting an immaculate sugar-white beach that shelves into a deep blue lagoon.

Just a short 15m swim away lie reefs where you can snorkel with green turtles above coral that teems with colourful fish. Relax on the beach, windsurf or paddle the lagoon.

Where to stay…

Lodge in one of the chic beachside villas at Angsana Resort, which features holistic spa pleasures and numerous leisure activities, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Malé.

Baros Island

Baros is a private coral island fringed with palm trees, hibiscus and bougainvillaea and a gorgeous powder-white beach that shelves gently into the blue lagoon.

The waters around Baros are perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving, with a choice of more than 30 world-class dive spots nearby, including Manta Point, where you can dive down to a 18m-deep ledge and get within touching distance of up to a dozen giant manta rays, some up to 3m across.

Where to stay…

The island's only resort, the exclusing Baros Maldives, is a multi award-winning boutique luxury resort with a long history of outstanding service excellence.

Baros Island is located in the central southern part of North Malé Atoll, about 20 to 25 minutes by speedboat from Malé.

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Cocoa Island

Dip your toes into the sugar-white sand of this small private island, home to the Cocoa Island resort, built in traditional Maldivian style with all modern comforts.

Cocoa Island is renowned for its COMO Shambhala Retreat, where rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapies include a dosha (body type) consultation as well as massages and facials.

Choose from a range of water sports including swimming, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling – there are more than 20 nearby dive sites to explore spotting manta rays, sharks, reef fish and turtles.

Where to stay…

At the elegant Cocoa Island Resort, choose from 33 overwater wooden bungalows that are converted wooden dhoni fishing boats. Split-level suites have sundecks, Balinese day beds and direct access to the turquoise lagoon, while villas come with a dedicated butler.

Cocoa Island is located on South Malé Atoll, about 45 minutes by speedboat from Malé.

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Huvafen Fushi

Unwind on the picture-perfect island of Huvafen Fushi ('Dream Island'), formerly known as Nakatchafushi, this private resort island is set within its own lagoon in a secluded corner of North Malé atoll.

Relax on the beach or beside the infinity swimming pool, go scuba diving and snorkelling, try game fishing or sign up for a relaxing sunset cruise or yoga class.

Be pampered with a facial or massage in the resort’s spa, which features the world's first underwater massage treatment rooms.

Where to stay…

Enjoy creature comforts at the island’s only resort, the exclusive Huvafen Fushi Maldives. The resort offers three restaurants and even a wine cellar, where ytou can choose a bottle for that private dining experience.

Huvafen Fushi is located in North Malé atoll, around 24km from the airport and about 55 minutes by speedboat from the airport.

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Meeru Island

Dip your toes into the dazzling 1.5km-long powder-white sand beach on idyllic Meerufenfushi Island, home to Meeru Island Resort – the third largest resort in the Maldives.

Choose from a huge range of sea and land activities including windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving – there are more than 50 dive sites just a short boat ride away from the Ocean-Pro Dive Centre, which offers a full range of PADI dive courses.

On land, you can play tennis, cricket, beach volleyball, badminton, football and miniature golf; the resort even has a golf driving range.

Where to stay…

Meeru Island Resort offers a huge choice in accommodation from garden rooms, beach villas and water villas to honeymoon suites, all featuring traditional tropical décor and all modern comforts.

Meeru Island Resort is located on the easternmost tip of North Malé Atoll, around 55 minutes by speedboat from Malé.

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Dhigufinolhu Island

Awaken to the sound of rippling waves, spend a lazy morning on your private sundeck over the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean or take a plunge in your private infinity-edge pool.

Kayak to a desert island for a seafood and champagne luncheon, go sailing, enjoy water skiing thrills, fly in a sea plane or go game fishing for tuna.

Enjoy a magical sunset on a traditional dhoni fishing boat while cruising alongside playful dolphins or go scuba diving, with a choice of more than 20 dive sites a short boat ride away.

Where to stay…

Spread over two idyllic islands in the South Malé Atoll, Anantara's stunning Maldives resort offers a choice of over-water suites and stylish beach villas and bungalows overlooking palm-fringed sandy white beaches.

Dhigufinolhu Island is located on South Malé Atoll, a 35-minute speedboat trip from Malé airport.

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Latest update: Best Beaches & Islands in the Maldives: 10 September, 2022