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Few people in the world have not heard of this heavenly place. The play of turquoise waves, the fresh breath of the ocean, the gentle sun, magnificent beaches, secluded islands and a vibrant water world that can be watched for hours - all this and much more are the Maldives.

But where are the Maldives exactly on the world map? How do they differ from other islands of the tropical part of the planet?

Island Resort
Island Resort | Baglioni Resort Maldives

Amazing islands on the world map

  • The island dream of all holidaymakers comfortably stretches in the Indian Ocean, or rather - in the Laccadive Sea.
  • The Maldives is located in the Eastern Hemisphere, approximately 700 kilometres from Sri Lanka and 800 kilometres from the nearest airport in India. The rest of the civilized and not very large areas of land lie from the Maldives even further.
  • The geographical position of the islands is remarkable - almost at the equator.
  • Location of the Maldives: between latitudes 1°S and 8°N, and longitudes 72° and 74°E.

Maldives location on the world map
Maldives location on the world map | Source: Google Maps

Maldives in facts and figures

  • The total area of the Republic of Maldives is over almost 90,000 square kilometres, only 298 square kilometres of that is dry land. The population is about 395,000 people.
  • Length - approximately 750 kilometres (from north to south), width - about 120 kilometres (from west to east).
  • The first written record of the islands dates from 947. The Republic of Maldives was formed in 1968, finally replacing the local sultanate.
  • The capital of the republic, Male, is at the same time the largest settlement in the archipelago and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Its area is 6.8 square kilometres. About 135,000 people live here.
  • The Republic of Maldives is called the world’s largest “coral” state.
  • The name of the islands is usually derived from the words “male” (stand out in relief, rise, grow) and “divy” (island).
  • The air temperature here generally ranges from +24°C to +30°C. Extremely rarely, it drops below +17°C and rises above +37°C in April-May.
  • Since the Republic of Maldives is a Muslim state, it is forbidden to swim in a bikini, except on special tourist beaches. You cannot also bring alcohol here (dry law in effect), and you will have to forget about pork dishes during your rest.
  • About two million tourists visit the islands every year.

Tourists in the Maldives
Tourists in the Maldives | Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Geographical features and structure of the islands

The Maldives is a crown at the top of an underwater mountain range crowned with the main local attraction - coral reefs.

  • The Maldives rightfully takes an honourable place in the Guinness Book of Records as a country with the flattest relief (the highest point above sea level is 2.4 meters).
  • Hills and rivers here are as rare as hen’s teeth. You can find only lakes and trees, but only on large islands.
  • The bulk of the islands cannot boast a large size, and the relief is not very diverse - a flat surface covered with sand mixed with organic sediments.
  • There are few land animals, but the abundance of birds and especially aquatic inhabitants is fantastic. For example, fish, according to various estimates, amounts to from 700 to 3,000 (!) species.

Water inhabitants of the Maldives
Water inhabitants of the Maldives

Islands of the Maldives

The Maldives is united in 26 atolls, each of which is surrounded by the lagoon with a depth of 40-90 metres, delighting guests with clear turquoise water and plenty of aquatic inhabitants.

Full map of Maldives
Full map of Maldives

An atoll is an archipelago or an island in the form of a ring surrounding the lagoon, where the Maldives lies. At the same time, these are administrative regions, which may include more than one geographical atollOf the 20 administrative atolls, 10 are open for tourists, but some not in full.

Maldivian atoll
Maldivian atoll | Source: Bing.com

A lagoon is a body of water separated from the main part of the sea by barrier islands or reefs.

  • An interesting local feature is faru - reefs inside the atoll, forming a lagoon inside the lagoon (depth - up to 6 metres). There are also unusual tops of rocky ledges in the Maldives - a kind of underwater towers, almost to the surface, called “thila”. Many Maldivian islands have a “house reef” off the coast, so you can snorkel around the hotel or swim to the reef on your own, without spending money on a boat.
  • In total, there are 1,196 (!) сoral islands and islets, of which a little more than 200 are populated. 7 of them are the largest lands (according to other sources, 8) - namely, one-kilometre-long Hithadhoo, Fuvahmulah of about 4.5 kilometres long, Gan, connected to the neighbours by an automobile 18-kilometre road, and others.
  • About a hundred so-called resort islands are also designed for tourists. Most often, the principle is “one island - one hotel”.
  • Also, relatively inexpensive guesthouses (as for the Maldives) - private guest houses built by locals and located on the inhabited islands - have become popular recently.
  • The Maldives has only one city, which is also the capital, Male, located on four islands in the atoll of the same name.
  • The distance between the islands is from a couple of metres to tens of kilometres. Between the atolls - from 25 to 80 kilometres.
  • The cheapest way to travel between the islands is by public ferry. However, it does not run to all the islands of the Maldives. You can also use speedboats, local dhoni boats and yachts. Private seaplanes (air taxi) and domestic Maldivian airlines fly to the remote islands.

Seaplane at Maldives resort
Seaplane at maldives resort | Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

The most famous and top islands of the Maldives

  1.  Male and its neighbours. Here the capital of the state is situated. The main Maldives International Airport is located here (on Hulhule Island) is. For its construction in 1981, the island area was increased several times, using fossil corals.
  2.  Gan. It’s the southernmost island of the Maldives. A long road connects it with three other islands - Fonadhoo, Kadhdhoo and Mundoo. Kadhdhoo has an airport. Gan Island has many palm trees and other southern flora.
  3.  Fuvahmulah. It’s a unique and most beautiful island in the country. It boasts lush tropical vegetation and freshwater lakes. The population is about 14,000 people. There is also an airport.
  4.  Dhigurah. The island is long (about 3 kilometres) but at the same time narrow (maximum 250 metres). You can find here a fishing village and a vast tropical forest. The South Ari Atoll, where Dhigurah is located, is known as one of the best dive sites in the Maldives.
  5.  Huvafen Fushi. It’s a resort island in the North Male Atoll. Huvafen Fushi Maldives is one of the top five-star hotels in the Maldives. It takes 30 minutes by boat to get to the capital of Male.
  6.  Huraa. The distance to Male is 21 kilometres. Dimensions are 850 by 300 metres. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is only 200 metres away and features one of the most charming hotels with the house reef in the archipelago. There are also several guesthouses and a bikini beach.
  7.  Huvahendhoo. It’s an island with another well-known five-star Lily Beach Resort and Spa, house reef, splendid diving and snorkelling. It also has an All-Inclusive programme and water villas over the lagoon.
  8.  Vihamanaafushi. It’s one of the first and, perhaps, the most famous resort island in the North Male Atoll, which has been accommodating guests since 1972. The five stars of the Kurumba Maldives Hotel are 180 comfortable bungalows and exquisite villas and seven restaurants. Besides, it takes only 10 minutes by boat to Male.
  9.  Ukulhas. This island will interest those who do not want to spend all the money during their vacation. It features three-star hotels with the house reef, a bikini beach nearby (you cannot wear swimsuits and swimming trunks in public places in the Maldives but only on special beaches of resort islands). Distance to Male: 72 kilometres.
  10.   Maafushi. It’s the most popular island (length - 1,275 metres, width - 260 metres) of Kaafu Atoll for a relatively inexpensive vacation because it has plenty of three- and four-star hotels and guesthouses. It takes an hour and a half by ferry to get here from Male.
  11.  Gulhi. It’s another island for budget vacation (as for the Maldives). It has a house reef and a bikini beach and lies 22 kilometres from Male. A local three-star hotel is considered one of the best options for an inexpensive vacation in the Maldives.

It’s just a few islands of the hundreds in the Maldives, each of which is able to transfer its guests to a delightful tropical fairy tale.

Vacation in the Maldives
Vacation in the Maldives | Canareef Resort Maldives

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