Find the best island for your holiday

If there is a problem with the Maldives then it is one of the choices. Shimmering in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this is a kingdom made up of many spectacular jewels. Around 1,200 small islands offer some of the most beautiful sights and clearest seas on Earth. Out of these, only 200 host any human beings but choosing between them is almost impossible. Not only that, but new resorts are being added all the time, each with its own unique charms.

We have tried to narrow that choice down to five locations and, whilst we would love to be stranded on any island in the Maldives, we believe these are amongst your best options when it comes to a holiday that combines the wonders of nature with the elements of civilisation you expect from a luxury break.

Gasfinolhu: best for privacy

True, every island in the Maldives seems to offer the same wondrous beach experience of white sands, waving coconut palms and turquoise waters. However, Club Med Finolhu Villas on the island of Gasfinolhu has the added edge of beautifully designed accommodation that makes you feel a part of the natural landscape.

You can choose between eco-luxury beach villas that offer your own private stretch of beachfront or, even more dramatically, over-water bungalows where the sounds and smell of the ocean become part of your natural waking state. Simply sit and stare as the water’s topography changes every second due to the pancake flatness of the islands. Alternatively, take paradise to a new level by ordering a drink served by a personal butler in your bungalow or book in a massage before deciding to dive into the ocean a few steps from your accommodation.

Gasfinolhu itself is full of character with one of the longest stretches of beaches in the Maldives. There is even a cinema by the shore if you can tear yourself away from the natural postcard beauty. Just five minutes away by boat you can take advantage of the amazing facilities at Club Med Kani where the kids will enjoy a huge array of sports and fun activities, the restaurant serves fresh local food and entertainment by night almost matches the immense relaxation by day.

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Milaidhoo: best for for romance

The Maldives is an ideal destination for honeymooners or simply couples who want to share some special moments in a special place. Located in the Baa Atoll, Miliaidhoo stands out as a true romantic, even in this pack of heartbreakers.

The adults-only vibe makes Milaidhoo an excellent destination for those who may want to take a break from loud voices, Peppa Pig and constant demands. There is not a single water slide in sight, just peace and calmness.

The island can be traversed in just over 10 minutes which provides some idea of its intimacy. Despite this, it still feels uncrowded allowing you to enjoy more special moments together and only chat to others if it is your choice.

At one end of the island is a charming array of shops and restaurants and at the other accommodation looking out over glorious views. Romantic dinners can be on the agenda at night while fun daytime activities such as dolphin watching expeditions will provide memories you can both share for a lifetime.

Malé: best for cultural experiences

If you would like a holiday where you can take a break from the sun, sea and sand then Malé’s collection of islands could be the perfect choice. It is certainly the simplest place to reach in the Maldives with the International Airport being based on its doorstep. It is also where you will meet more locals than anywhere else with a population in Malé city of over 250,000. This was traditionally the island of the kings and explains why so much more of modern life has settled here. It means you can go deeper into the Maldivian culture and find out what life is like away from the tourist dreams of the main resorts.

There are plenty of attractions to visit on the island including beautiful mosques, markets and museums. Most poignant is the monument to the tragic tsunami of 2004. There is also a wider variety of accommodation options including lower budget hotels.

Once you have had your fix of buildings and cultural attractions, head to the North Malé Atoll for the best in local scenery and a dazzling array of beaches, snorkelling opportunities and places where you can enjoy a meal while staring out at the infinite blue water. Whilst Malé may be atypical in its modernity, you are never too far away from unrivalled natural beauty when you visit the Maldives.

Kani: best for luxury

The island of Kani has been described as the ‘green garden’ of the Indian Ocean. Words are fairly worthless in trying to describe the sheer joy and beauty of its long beaches and utterly transparent waters. If that was not enough, Club Med has added an extra layer of luxury to the experience of Kani, making it a remarkable location for families, couples and solo travellers.

The resort is set on a private atoll in a tranquil turquoise lagoon. Your choice of accommodation includes bungalows in the garden or by the beach. Club Med’s Exclusive Collection offers houses on stilts that put you in the thick of the colourful sea life that swarms around the shores of Kani.

The Kani resort will keep children busy and happy with its wide range of activities including a flying trapeze school and sailing lessons. You will enjoy the meditation on the beach or simply a lazy but perfectly concocted cocktail by the pool as you stare around at the wonders Kani has to offer. Dinner takes place at The Vehli where you can pick and choose from local delicacies while eating out under the stars on the terrace. Staff will arrange your boat trips or scuba diving adventures so you have plenty to talk about as the sun goes down.

In short, Kani is a place where you can experience true luxury in a true paradise. A holiday everyone deserves at least once in their lifetime.

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Fihalhohi - best all rounder

Finally, let us take all the good bits of a holiday in the Maldives and compact them into one island. You really cannot go wrong with Fihalhohi. It has the romance, natural beauty and things to do that make up the ideal break in paradise.

Situated only 45 minutes from the airport via a thrilling speedboat ride, it is one of the most accessible islands in the Maldives. The environment has been carefully protected meaning the surrounding ocean is one of the best places to investigate a teeming world of manta rays, coral and sea turtles.

Inshore, the island’s resorts offer modern accommodation, little necessities such as wi-fi as well as a restaurant for dinner and several charming bars to watch the world go by with a glass in your hand. Wherever you go on the island, the ambience is relaxed, the sun is warm and everything eases any stress left in your body. It is the perfect encapsulation of why this part of the world should be high on your list of places to visit.

Five islands, five ways to experience the Maldives, five possibilities for your bucket list. Which one will you choose?