How can you decide on the best islands in the Maldives when there are 1192 of them to choose from? For one, only 200 of these are inhabited. And only 80 are home to gorgeous luxury resorts where you can set up base! That makes matters simpler, does it not?
The best islands in the Maldives are set apart by their spectacular coral reefs and marine life, powdery white sand beaches, plethora of water sports and sailing excursions, and of course, dazzling sunrises and sunsets. All the islands form a part of the 26 atolls of the Maldives.
Whether you prefer lazing on your own private deck with a cocktail in hand or romancing the underwater with endless snorkelling and diving trips, Maldivian islands will not disappoint. Though it’s hard to choose, let’s take a look at the 32 best islands in the Maldives:
32 Best Islands in the Maldives
Home to Baros Maldives, Baros Island is just a 25 minute-long speedboat ride away from Maldives International Airport. Dreamy beaches are offset by lush jungles in the backdrop, and walking through the palm groves is as much a pleasure as lying on the sand. One of the best things to do in Baros is to go on a sandbank picnic.
Located in North Ari Atoll, Kandolhudhoo is home to Kandolhu Maldives, a splendid luxury retreat. Just hop on to a seaplane at Male International Airport, and you’ll be at Kandolhu in 25 minutes. The resort offers one of the most vibrant house reefs in the Maldives. Many famous wrecks and diving sites are within close distance.
3. Rangali Island
Thanks to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Rangali Island on Alif Dhaal Atoll has become a tourist magnet. The world’s first underwater villa and the finest underwater restaurant in the Maldives make this resort a must visit. The island is ideal for families as there are special diving excursions for kids.
Vihamanaaufushi Island is the setting for Kurumba Maldives, one of the oldest and best loved Maldivian retreats. With a plethora of family and children’s activities and an all-inclusive plan that takes care of all meals, this resort is a great choice for vacationers.
5. Kuda Finolhu
Also known as Kanufushi Island, Kuda Finolhu in Baa Atoll hosts the Finolhu Baa Atoll resort. Accessible by seaplane from Male International Airport, the island is known for its spectacular beaches. Baa Atoll is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and the island reef is full of precious marine life.
6. Velaa Private Island
Velaa Private Island is set on an island of its own, forming a part of the Noonu Atoll in the Laccadive Sea. The eco-friendly resort features villas fashioned from local materials. Velaa is named after Maldivian sea turtles, and the resort’s décor is inspired by their beautiful shells.
Home to numerous resorts including Niyama Private Islands, Olhuveli is an island on Kudahuvadhoo Dhaalu Atoll. Niyama is set on two islands they call ‘Play’ and ‘Chill’. Both islands have a different vibe; Play is all about seaside nature and forests, while Chill focuses on beaches and spa therapies.
8. Cocoa Island
COMO Cocoa Island is actually located on Kaafu Island in South Male Atoll. The private island resort features 33 overwater villas with their own access to heavenly lagoons. The island’s house reef is known to be inhabited by a wealth of marine creatures.
9. Bolifushi Island
Bolifushi Island in South Male Atoll is dominated by the dazzling Jumeirah Vittaveli, a retreat that embodies Maldivian hospitality. The island is just a 20 minute catamaran ride away from Male International Airport. Jumeirah Vittaveli is a family-friendly resort with every possibly amenity and a wide range of accommodations.
10. Randheli Island
Located in Noonu Atoll, the heavenly Randheli Island is occupied by Cheval Blanc Randheli, a retreat that embodies tranquility, relaxation, and visual perfection. The resort crafts various experiences for its guests, including water activities, cooking workshops, and wine tastings. Art lovers will appreciate the exquisite collection at The Maison.
11. Landaa Giraavaru
Landaa Giraavaru is a part of Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The island is best known for its resident retreat Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru. Here, you can not only romance the Indian Ocean but also wander among tropical gardens and forests, making it a complete destination for nature lovers.
12. Vommuli Island
Vommuli Island is sometimes confused with Vonmuli Island, but the latter is uninhabited, while the former hosts The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. The lavish retreat in Dhaalu Atoll is sandwiched between the sea and the rainforest. It boasts of an outdoor infinity pool and impossibly perfect beaches.
13. Amilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi occupies a sylvan island in Baa Atoll and offers luxurious accommodations that embrace the seashore or engulf you in the mysticism of the forest. The island is romantic and secluded, making it ideal for couples. During your holiday, you can go snorkeling and diving or even fishing.
14. Hurawalhi Island
Hurawalhi Island on Lhaviyani Atoll is an adults-only retreat, and the perfect choice for honeymooners. 90 villas are spread across the pristine property that brings the concept of ‘barefoot luxury’ to life. A spectacular undersea restaurant with glass walls and ceiling and star-studded beach nights are some of the highlights.
15. Huvafen Fushi
Located on North Male Atoll, the island is home to the Huvafen Fushi resort. The beautiful landscape seems straight of a film set, completed by stellar resort facilities like an underwater spa and serene white-sand beaches. Villas at Huvafen Fushi are a class apart, featuring plunge pools and inspiring terraces.
16. Sirru Fen Fushi
Sirru Fen Fushi is a part of Shaviyani Atoll and provides the picture-perfect setting for Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi. The resort’s décor is earthy and inspired by the Maldivian ethos. The island and the retreat are worth a visit for their dolphin tours and castaway picnics among other excursions.
17. Reethi Rah
One&Only Reethi Rah is a private island resort in North Male Atoll known for its supreme luxury and wellness programs. Reethi Rah looks like a canvas painted with the brightest of blues and greens. Make the most of this exclusive and secluded location studded with private lagoons and a beach that stretches for 6km.
18. Kuda Huraa
Kuda Huraa is best known for Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa, a retreat designed like a Maldivian village full of tropical gardens and colorful blooms. The hues compliment the vibrancy of the corals surrounding the island. There’s much to do on the island, including spotting dolphins and sharks, and surfing.
19. Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu is located on its own island, ringed by corals and lush with tropical groves. Guests can choose between thatched villas in the heart of the forest and overwater villas leaning into the pristine water. Built around the principle of sustainable luxury, Six Senses Laamu is a dream destination in Maldives.
20. Kunfunadhoo Island
The untouched island of Kunfunadhoo is where Soneva Fushi has set up base. They call themselves a ‘desert island hideaway’, which hints at the seclusion of this Maldivian paradise. The island is ideal for beach picnics, snorkeling trips, sunset cruises, surfing, dolphin-spotting, and star-gazing.
21. Hembadhu Island
If you want to explore Hembadhu Island, book your stay at Taj Coral Reef Resort & Spa which is located on the island’s beach district. The five star hotel has a lovely outdoor pool and suites and villas with sea views and private decks. While on the island, you can feed stingrays and explore wrecks on diving trips.
22. Bodu Hithi
Coco Bodu Hithi is located on its own island in the North Male Atoll. The easy pace of life on the island will wrap you in a cocoon of peace and simplicity, while the ocean teems with hawksbill turtles, manta rays, and sharks. An elegant beach, a thriving house reef, and beautiful palm trees are some of the highlights of Coco Bodu Hithi.
23. Fesdu Island
The superb W Maldives can be found on Fesdu Island in North Ari Atoll. The design hotel exudes luxury and calm with its artful fixtures and ocean-inspired hues. The house reef is one of the richest in the Maldives and the beaches are like a traveler’s dream. In the night, the water glows from the jellyfish and plankton.
24. Villingili Island
Villingili is an island in Addu Atoll, distinguished by its heart shape. Here, you will find Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives, an all-villa retreat that also comes with a 9-hole golf course that is among the best that you could find in the Maldives. The design restaurants and bars offer world-class dining experiences.
25. Emboodhu Finolhu Island
Emboodhu Finolhu Island in South Male Atoll is home to a handful of luxury retreats like Taj Exotica Resort & Spa and others. The scenic island is a great base for exploring nearby sights like Hulhumale Beach, Kurumba Beach, Maldives Islamic Center, Laguna Beach, National Museum, Embudu Beach, and more.
COMO Maalifushi is located on Maalefushi Island. Since it’s the only resort on Thaa Atoll, it has a good reputation for romance and seclusion. The water here is great for diving and surfing. So if you plan to indulge in a lot of water sports during your Maldives vacation, COMO Maalifushi would be a good choice.
27. Kodhipparu Island
Kodhipparu Island is synonymous with Grand Park Kodhipparu, an upscale retreat featuring 120 beachfront villas with their own private pools, as well as overwater villas for ultimate luxury. This island is a good option for families as the resort has a kids’ club, as well as enjoyable diving excursions, spa, and infinity pool.
28. Hadahaa Island
Located on North Huvadhu Atoll, Hadahaa Island is home to Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, a romantic retreat close to Velana International Airport. Gorgeous villas overlook a soft white-sand beach at the resort, which also features a PADI 5-star dive and activity center. So if you’ve been wanting to learn to dive, you know where to go.
29. Medhufaru Island
The world-class Soneva Jani is the main reason why people visit Medhufaru Island on Noonu Atoll. Nestled within a 5.6km lagoon on the island, Soneva Jani features indulgent water villas with unimaginable features like retractable roofs and water slides to plunge you directly into the turquoise water.
30. Veligandu Island
Veligandu Island on South Male Atoll is home to a few exclusive retreats including Anantara Veli, a an adults-only resort wrapped in alluring seclusion. The water here teems with puffer fish and other beautiful marine life. An ocean-front pavilion lets you romance the waves, while dreamy sunset cruises bring you closer to your better half.
31. Huvahendhoo Island
Lily Beach Resort & Spa All Inclusive is a top-notch private island retreat on Huvahendhoo Island, which is easily accessible from Male Airport by seaplane. With its exhaustive all-inclusive packages featuring everything from accommodation and meals to transfers and excursions, the resort lets you vacation carefree.
32. Furanafushi Island
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa sits on Furanafushi Island, which is home to a few other retreats as well. The beachfront resort is quite close to the city center of Male, making it ideal for sightseeing. Among the many facilities are a diving center, kids’ club, and earthy cottages with open-air showers.
You will transit via Male International Airport, so if you wish, you could do a city tour with stops at the Hukuru Miskiy mosque, National Museum, the President’s Palace, the Fish Market, Islamic Center, and the Artificial Beach.
Island hopping in the Maldives is possible, but usually with the aid of your resort’s transport facilities. It is advisable not to pack in too many islands into one trip as the joy of a Maldivian vacation is in embracing idleness! Nevertheless, this list of the best islands in the Maldives should help you plan your vacation and choose the best resort for your needs.