Time difference: GMT +5 hours
Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (USD used in resorts)
Flight time: 10 hours
Scattered like tiny jewels across the glittering sapphire expanse of the Indian Ocean, the islands of the Maldives number some 1,190, mostly uninhabited. This is the place to live out those Swiss Family Robinson fantasies of fluttering palm trees, blissful shores and thatched treehouses on stilts peering out into the big, deep blue. With many resort’s having their own private islands you’ll feel away from it all in the best way possible: without skimping on the luxury. It’s the obvious but never wearying choice for a holiday in the sun.
Most people come for the location, and why not? Carved out of hundreds of tiny atolls speckling life across the ocean, the Maldives is surrounded by water and therefore by beaches too. Most visitors will arrive into the capital, Male, a surprisingly modern city that rises theatrically from sea level with one of the most picturesque airport landings on Earth as you cruise over flashes of green in a sea of blue. But once you’re here: you’re off. On a seaplane or, for less far-flung resorts, a private motor launch, speeding over or across the sea to your hideaway. The Maldives is a sunken garden under the sea, so while the beaches are some of the best you’ll ever encounter the diving is up there with the best too. Don your apparatus and descend into the crystal-clear water to spot gliding rays, graceful reef sharks and a kaleidoscope of colourful fish and coral.
While there’s no getting away from the fact that this is the quintessential honeymoon destination, what may surprise you is that the Maldives is actually incredibly well set up for families. Most resorts offer morning-til-night kids clubs, babysitting, special kid-friendly facilities such as dedicated pools and even children’s menus. You can decamp to a resort en masse and teach them to dive, swim, surf, or even at some resorts let them loose in an art studio. Mini David Attenborough’s will love learning all about the wildlife, while some spas even cater to their smaller guests with special treatments just for kids.
With temperatures varying very little throughout the year (hovering around a balmy 28 degrees), plus sunny skies, relaxing spas, luxury resorts and more beaches than you could ever dream of lazing on in your lifetime, plus fabulous watersports, this is one destination to tick off your list – if you’ll pardon the pun.