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Holidays to the Maldives
from as little as £1,809
7 nights in Kurumba Maldives, Malé (Maldives), departing London Gatwick on 03 / Mar / 2024 with EmiratesSubject to availability, prices correct of the last 24 hours
Explore the Maldives
Maldives holiday packages
From £1389 per person 7 nights, Bed & Breakfast Includes return flights, transfers, and hotel Travelling May '24View holiday
From £2169 per person 7 nights, Half Board Includes return flights, transfers, and hotel Travelling May '24Call 0203 139 7579 to book
From £1549 per person 7 nights, All Inclusive Premium Includes return flights, transfers, and hotel Travelling May '24Call 0203 139 7579 to book
From £1698 per person 7 nights, Full Board Includes return flights, transfers, and hotel Travelling May '24View holiday
From £1549 per person 7 nights, All Inclusive Premium Includes return flights, transfers, and hotel Travelling May '24View holiday
From £1709 per person 7 nights, Full Board Includes return flights, transfers and hotel Travelling May '24View holiday
The Maldives travel guideMaldives holidays… what to expect
When is the best time to visit the Maldives?
The Maldives is warm and sunny all year round, but has a dry and wet season. The best time to visit is in the dry season between November and April. If you travel in the wet season of May to October, expect heavy downpours and 5-10 inches of rain per month with strong winds.
Take a look at our climate a chart below.
Visitors to the Maldives may choose to spend much of their time on the country’s incredible, palm-fringed beaches, simply relaxing, sipping a drink and enjoying the beautiful scenery. For those who tire of lazing on the beach, however, there’s plenty to see and do.
Diving and snorkelling
The Maldives offers one of the most extensive coral reef systems in the world, and this is home to incredibly diverse, colourful marine life. Even if you’ve never dived or snorkelled before, this is the place to do it! Among the Maldives’ many incredible sites for diving and snorkelling are:
Fotteyo (Vaavu Atoll)
Fotteyo features underwater caves and arches, covered with soft corals that compete in colour with an array of colourful marine creatures – among them barracuda, hammerhead and reef sharks, manta rays, tuna, grouper and triggerfish.
Hammerhead Point (Rasdhoo Atoll)
More experienced divers should consider a descent to Hammerhead Point; there’s a 200-metre drop just beyond the reef, and the water here is so clear you can see for miles.
Hanifaru Huraa (Baa)
UNESCO has declared the Baa Atoll a World Biosphere Reserve, thanks to its rich marine life. Hanifaru Huraa is the focal point for divers, with a marine ecosystem that’s astounding in its beauty and variety.
Manta Reef (Ari Atoll)
Also known as Madivaru, Manta Reef lies at the end of a channel with strong currents. These carry plankton from the atoll out to sea, where manta rays feast on them. Reef dwellers include parrotfish, snapper and Napoleon wrasse, and beyond the reef slope, you’re likely to encounter turtles, tuna and a variety of sharks.
Shark Point (North Malé Atoll)
Shark Point gets its name from the various sharks that frequent the area, including white-tip and grey-tip reef sharks. Stingrays, jackfish and fusiliers are also common. A further attraction of this protected marine area is a series of underwater caves.
Fish Market (Malé)
Fishing is central to the livelihoods of many Maldivians, and freshly caught fish and seafood is a core feature of the local diet. For an interesting, “fishy” experience, head to the bustling Fish Market in Malé. Here fishermen lay out their catches, including octopus, tuna, grouper and an array of other locally caught fishes. In case you’re squeamish, note that fish get gutted in the open.
Grand Friday Mosque (Malé)
Malé locals are rightly proud of this mosque, which opened in 1984. Its golden dome, supported by pristine white marble, is visible from afar, and the mosque is the largest in the country. It has become symbolic of the city of Malé.
Old Friday Mosque (Malé)
The Old Friday Mosque in Malé was completed in 1656 and continues to awe visitors with its intricate carvings on coral stone. You can request special permission to see the fascinating lacquer and wood work in the interior of the mosque. A well-preserved minaret dating back to 1675 overlooks the mosque and its surroundings, which include a cemetery with magnificently carved tombstones.
National Museum (Malé)
Located in Sultan Park within the Maldivian Royal Palace compound in Malé, the National Museum houses an interesting collection of historical artefacts, including textiles, weaponry, carvings and lacquerware. In 2012, a mob destroyed many of the most valuable pre-Islamic pieces in the museum, including a collection of ancient Buddhist coral stone carvings. The remaining collection is nonetheless of interest.
Top 5 things to do in the Maldives
Diving or snorkelling in any of the incredible sites along the coral reefs; in many places, the water is so clear you can see for distances of over 40 metres, and it’s so warm that divers often don’t wear wetsuits.
Swimming and enjoying water sports in sun-warmed lagoons.
Touring some of the world’s most beautiful islands on a traditional boat known as a dhoni; you can stop off at pristine, uninhabited beaches and small fishing villages.
Old Friday Mosque
Visiting the Old Friday Mosque in Malé; this is the oldest mosque in the country, dating back to 1656, and is made from coral stone that has been intricately chiselled with Quranic writings.
Sit back and unwind on a powder perfect beach with spectacular glistening water views knowing you are in paradise.
Maldives food and drink
The Maldivian diet depends heavily on fish and other seafood, coconut and starches such as rice, sweet potato, cassava, breadfruit and the screw pine fruit. The most popular fish, eaten fresh or dried, is skipjack tuna.
Fish and vegetable curries are eaten across the islands. Commonly used vegetables include eggplant, pumpkin, a tropical vine called chichanda and the pods and leaves of the moringa tree. Thanks to Indian influences, flat breads like chapatti and paratha, known locally as farata, are popular. Also try the Maldivian version of the samosa, known as bajiyaa and typically filled with a spiced mixture of onion and fish.
The Maldives isn’t famous for nightclubs. Instead it’s the perfect location to sip drinks while watching glorious sunsets, or to lie on the sand at night and see what stars really look like in a tropical sky with no light pollution from your surroundings.
However, for those who like to party, several of the larger resorts in the Maldives offer entertainment. For example, Club Med Kani provides live performances every night. Other resorts known for their evening entertainment include Kuredu, Paradise Island and Sun Island. For world-class DJs, also try W Retreat, Niyama and Huvafen fushi. And for a the largest lifestyle hub in the Maldives, visit CROSSROADS, home to Hard Rock Hotel and The Beach Club, a world-renowned beach club from Ibiza.
Maldives lifestyle and culture
The Maldives may be in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but the islands are close to historically important trade routes and, as a result, its people have been exposed to a range of different cultural influences.
In looks, language and culture, Maldivians have much in common with both India and Sri Lanka. The population is largely of Indo-Aryan origin and the language of the Maldives, called Dhivehi, is closely related to the Sinhala spoken in Sri Lanka. It also shares many features with languages spoken in North India. Don’t be surprised if you find Maldivians watching Bollywood movies.
African slaves have also left their mark culturally, for example in the “Boduberu” drumming performances of the Maldives, which are thought to have African roots.
Early inhabitants of the Maldives were Buddhist, as evidenced by a number of Buddhist sculptures and archaeological remains.
Since the 12th Century AD, the Maldives has been a Muslim country, and Islam remains a powerful force, shaping people’s traditions, practices and laws.
Thanks to the thriving tourism industry in the Maldives, English is now widely used in both commerce and government.
Muslim practices and laws
As a visitor to the Maldives, it’s important to respect the country’s Muslim traditions and laws. Most travellers stay in resorts, where Muslim rules and norms are relaxed to accommodate foreigners. Elsewhere though, note that you should:
- Dress conservatively, ensuring your shoulders and thighs are covered.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking in public.
- During the month of Ramadan, avoid eating and drinking in public, except in tourist establishments.
- Avoid public displays of affection, like kissing, hugging or holding hands, with anyone of the opposite sex.
- Avoid nudity on beaches, which is prohibited.
- Ask politely before photographing local people.
Maldives events - what's on when?
On Hajj Day in January, many Maldivians join Muslim pilgrims from around the world in travelling to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The three days following Hajj Day are national holidays, and those left at home participate in family gatherings and celebrate with food and games.
The day after Hajj Day is known as Eid-ul-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. On this day, Muslims commemorate the time when Ibrahim prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac to God.
El am Hejir
El am Hejir, or the Islamic New Year, is celebrated in February. It marks the departure of Mohammed from Mecca and his move to Medina.
On National Day, Maldivians celebrate their independence and national culture. This day commemorates the defeat of the Portuguese by Mohammed Thakurufaanu in 1573, and is held on the first day of Rabee-ul Awwal (the third month of the Islamic calendar), which falls in either February or March. It’s marked by country-wide parades and festivals.
Eid-Milad Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday)
On the 12th day of Rabi al-awwal, Muslims celebrate the birthday of Mohammed. In the Maldives, people celebrate for a period of nine days with feasts, parties and parades. The festivities are especially colourful in Malé.
On Islam Day, which usually falls in April, Maldivians celebrate the introduction of Islam to their country. It’s said that a traveller named Abu al Barakat brought the religion to the Maldives, converting the country’s then Buddhist king, in 1153.
On July 26th, Maldivians celebrate their independence from Britain, achieved in 1965. A military march, followed by a parade with colourful floats and traditional dancing are held in Republic Square on the capital island of Malé. Throughout the other islands of the Maldives, people celebrate with food, music and dance performances and parades.
Annual Whale Shark Festival
On August 29th, the annual Whale Share Festival will enter its third year. The festival is the result of collaboration between conservationists and local communities. It features exhibits by local artists, performances by schools, street decoration, storytelling and a procession, complete with Boduberu drummers, costumes and giant models of marine creatures. The festival is designed to celebrate the incredible marine diversity of the South Ari atoll, with a specific focus on protecting the whale shark and its habitat.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, starting in August or September. During this month, Muslims around the world fast during daylight hours. Maldivians join in the fasting, and offices and government departments tend to close early. Ramadan ends with the first sighting of the new moon, marking the end of the ninth month.
Celebrated over three days, Kuda Eid marks the end of Ramadan. Across the Maldives, families enjoy feasts, visit friends and relatives and make donations to local charities. The period is also marked by live music performances, sports matches and marches.
On November 11th, the Maldives commemorates the day when it became a republic, in 1968. There are colourful marches and parades, especially in Malé, and families everywhere enjoy the holiday.
Each year on December 10th the Maldives celebrates its fishing industry, which is so crucial to the country. This is an excellent opportunity to sample fresh skipjack tuna, mackerel and other local fish.
Key facts about the Maldives be in the know
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