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13 Best beaches in Maldives

One of the reasons people go on vacation is to experience the feel of the sand beneath their feet, coupled with the wind blowing sea salt your way. To lay on the beach and sunbathe without a worry to interrupt your peaceful thoughts. To look to your sides and out into the horizon to see the vast expanse of the ocean. Nothing else comes close to the serenity of this simple aspect of a holiday. And we think it’s fair to say you can look to the best beaches in Maldives to accomplish all your beachy needs!

Maldives has a lot of great beaches for you to indulge in, spanning multiple islands across various atolls. Due to the large spread, there are certain beaches where it’s better to experience certain activities. So without further ado, here are the 12 best beaches in Maldives for you to indulge in. 

1. Cocoa Island

Cocoa Island
Photo Credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts via Google Images

Cocoa Island is home to COMO Cocoa Island Maldives, a beautiful patch of sugary sand located at South Male’ Atoll. A 40 minute speedboat ride will get you to the resort island from Velana International Airport.

South Male’ Atoll is well known for its marine life. If you’re a keen snorkeller or avid diver, there is a fantastic dive site known as Cocoa Thila that is known as a shark cleaning station where grey reef sharks, white tip sharks and many other fish species call home. Cocoa Thila can be classified as a living tower deep within the ocean and is located along the atoll outskirts. 

The resort also has excursions that’ll take you to various other dive sites close by, one of them being Kandooma Caves. It is located on a nearby island by the name of Guraidhoo. A 25 metre dive is accompanied by Emperors, Oriental Sweetlips and a colourful array of coral reefs amongst other species. 

As for the resort itself, COMO Cocoa Island Maldives is big on privacy and exclusivity. With just 33 overwater suites and villas, this spacious resort will give you the holiday experience of a lifetime. 

2. Landaa Giraavaru

Landaa Giraavaru
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Google Images

Landaa Giraavaru is located in Baa Atoll. The island is home to the renowned Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, surrounded by cerulean waters and unbeatable shorelines. 

As mentioned prior, the resort is located in Baa Atoll, which is classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Due to this, expect to see some amazing marine life beneath the waters. One of the best locations for dives here is Hanifaru Bay, which is teeming with whale sharks, manta rays and parrot fish, to name a few. 

There are multiple other dive sites other than Hanifaru Bay to be experienced so make sure you ask Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru so you get to choose what type of wildlife you’d like to see!

3. Baros

Photo Credit: Booking.com via Google Images

Baros Island is home to a resort of the same name, Baros Maldives. The resort was one of the first to open in the country in 1973, where tourism began in 1972. It rests a cool 25 minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, making the commute to the resort quick, easy and not cost as much as a seaplane flight. 

Baros Maldives has a lot of activities for its guests such as:

  • Excursions
  • Cruises (Private yacht, traditional Maldivian boat by the name of Nooma)
  • Floating breakfast
  • Photo shoot
  • Bed & bath experiences
  • Snorkelling
  • Diving
  • Watersports and more

The resort also has Destination Dining as an activity for couples looking for romantic dinner options. Choose from a sandbank, island, Nooma, piano deck and in-villa dining options and share an unforgettable night of excellent food and spectacular scenery.

4. Reethi Rah

Reethi Rah
Photo Credit: This Island Life via Google Images

Located in North Male’ Atoll, Reethi Rah is home to One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, a resort that has mixed the traditional and the modern into a beautiful blend. It’s one of the largest islands in the atoll and was formerly known as King’s Island. A speedboat takes 50 minutes to get to the island via Velana International Airport, while a seaplane takes 20 minutes.

The resort is stacked to the brim as a hub of hospitality:

  • Accommodation options
    • Beach Villa
    • Water Villa
    • Grand Residence 
    • Grand Sunset Residence
  • Dining
    • Hoshi (Japanese cuisine)
    • Botanica (All-natural ingredients)
    • Earth (pan-Asian cuisine)
    • Rah Bar
    • Fanditha (Sundowner bar)
    • Beach Club
    • Private Dining
    • Al Fresco Nights
  • Experiences
    • Snorkelling
    • Diving
    • Fishing
    • Watersports (jet skiing, seabobbing, parasailing & more)
    • Games at Club One
    • Wellness experiences
    • Tennis
    • Reethi Rah Exploration
    • Seaplane excursion
    • Artist’s Corner and more
  • Events
    • Weddings and honeymoons
    • Corporate events
    • Gala dinners
    • Launch parties, etc

The island has a staggering 12 beaches, allowing for a more private experience, as there wouldn’t be that many people around one spot. The island also has six kilometres of coastline, making watersports an easy and exciting endeavour. A sunset dining experience here would be an unforgettable memory shared with a loved one.

5. Veligandu Island

Photo Credit: Crown & Champa Resorts via Google Images
Photo Credit: Crown & Champa Resorts via Google Images

North Ari Atoll is home to Veligandu Island, which houses Veligandu Maldives Resort Island. A seaplane ride that lasts 20 minutes from Velana International Airport will get you to this idyllic destination, a long island with a unique beach that offers a breathtaking view.

If you’re looking to sunbathe or just relax on the beach, the resort has set up sun loungers at the long end of the island. Here you can see the ocean and the horizon in a 270 degree cone of view, with the other 90 degrees being the flora of the island itself. This mesmerising visage is beaten only by the luxury of the beach experience, as they were made with space and privacy in mind. Choose from an array of beach accommodations such as:

  • Sunset Ocean Pool Villa
  • Sunset Ocean Villa
  • Sunset Jacuzzi Beach Villa
  • Beach Villa

Veligandu Maldives Resort Island is currently under renovation and will reopen on 1st November 2024. They are taking reservations for stays from November 2024 to October 2025.

6. Thulusdhoo Island

Photo Credit: Canopus Retreats via Google Images
Photo Credit: Canopus Retreats via Google Images

Thulusdhoo Island is an underrated gem that resides in Kaafu Atoll. Located 28 km from Male’, it is not a resort island but it has multiple hotels (over 30) of them) to house guests in. The island itself is known for its surf culture as there are a number of surf points close by, with some of the most famous ones by the name of Cokes and Chickens.

Thulusdhoo is home to 1,400 locals and is quite culturally rich even though tourism thrives there. It has an amazing house reef and snorkelling point for underwater adventurers as well, where you might happen upon dolphins, sharks, manta rays and other denizens of the sea.

The island is an excellent budget option for those that may want to stay longer in Maldives and experience true Maldivian culture. The hotels range from $65 USD per night to $165+ USD per night, way cheaper compared to the thousands at resorts. 

7. Hulhumale’ Island

Photo Credit: United Nations Development Programme via Google Images
Photo Credit: United Nations Development Programme via Google Images

Hulhumale’ is a man-made island project that started in 1997. More than 100,000 people call this 4 km2 island their home as of 2021, with the numbers increasing. The island was made to combat the rising housing, population, and space issues in the capital Male’, as it’s a bit too small to comfortably accommodate hundreds of thousands of people. 

The island was made with eco friendliness as a priority, with optimisation to wind penetration within the city so that air conditioning becomes less of a need, creating building blueprints that reduces heat gain, construction of parks, shops close by to the residential areas to reduce vehicle emissions and so on. The island is also being made to be a community-based and social hub with inclusions such as the Fahiveni Community Centre and Indoor Sports Complex & Outdoor Sports Arena, Local Market, Centro Mall, Redwave Mega Mall and SJ Mall, to name a few.

Due to the island’s sizable shores, watersports also flourish in Hulhumale’, with more than 3 centres available for customers to enjoy various water-based activities. Maldivians are big on food and entertainment too, with multiple restaurants, stalls, karaoke spots, gaming rooms and more being available.

8. Fulhadhoo Island

Photo Credit: hudson and emily via Google Images
Photo Credit: hudson and emily via Google Images

Fulhadhoo is located in Baa Atoll and requires a 2 hour speedboat trip to get there. This island is also unique in the sense that the people (around 250 people) built the infrastructure on the eastern side of the island, leaving the rest of it untouched. The flora and fauna thrive in these parts and are a wonder to navigate on foot.

Fulhadhoo is also untouched by resorts, making this a secret gem in western Maldives. The waters are serene and full of life, making diving and snorkelling here a blast. With the chance to see turtles, dolphins and a multitude of reef fish, this island turns into a divers dream. There’s also a small natural pool that formed in one of its lagoons so if you just want to chill in the water, head over to that lagoon.

Due to its small population, the island has an exceptional beach that is in pristine condition. Not many people flock to the island either, so relaxing by the sea has never felt so peaceful. 

9. Ukulhas Island

Photo Credit: Maldives Magazine via Google Images
Photo Credit: Maldives Magazine via Google Images

An island that is just a kilometre long, Ukulhas is home to around 1,000 residents and lies in Alif Alif Atoll. You can get there from Velana International Airport by speedboat in 1 hour 45 minutes.

This island has guesthouses and mini hotels for guests who want to go to a destination that is as on the down low as can be. Ukulhas is quite under-the-radar and is quite a budget friendly spot for those that want to experience the true Maldivian lifestyle. 

They’re big on cleanliness and maintain a no-pollution policy. They even have an excellent waste management system (earning them a Green Leaf Award in 2014) and an yearly island clean-up program! They extend this to the beach as well but the beach (which is quite spacious and can host quite a number of guests) is cleaned much more frequently to accommodate tourists.

10. Omadhoo Island

Photo Credit: Wild Maldives via Google Images
Photo Credit: Wild Maldives via Google Images

Located in South Ari Atoll, Omadhoo Island is located around 70 km from the capital, with a travel time from capital to the island being a 1.5 hour speedboat ride. It houses 1,000 residents.

The island sports a beautiful house reef where sharks, eagle rays, snappers, barracudas and more call home. The beaches are made up of extremely fine sand that sneaks between your toes as you walk across. Most of the island is covered in flora, making for cool and soothing walks. 

You’ll find that Omadhoo is quite a culturally rich island, with fishing being a primary occupation and other traditional activities still being practised to this day. Most of the inner islands are much like this as well so visiting one of them is always going to be an eye opening experience.

11. Dhigurah Island

Photo Credit: Huraa Island Maldives via Google Images
Photo Credit: Huraa Island Maldives via Google Images

Dhigurah is also located in South Ari Atoll and is a bit on the larger side being 4 km long. The name Dhigurah literally translates to ‘long island’ with ‘dhigu’ meaning long and ‘rah’ meaning island. You can reach this island from Velana International Airport within 1.5 hours via speedboat or within 1.5 hours via domestic flight.

The island is famous for manta ray and whale shark spotting and is home to the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, a research-based conservation charity that began in 2006. The island is long but thin and even then, has exceptional beaches that stuns both locals and guests alike. 

The island is well-equipped with dive sites, allowing for exploration on all sides of the island where manta rays, whale sharks, turtles, massive corals and other fish species reside close by.

12. Hadahaa Island

Photo Credit: World Travel Adventurers via Google Images
Photo Credit: World Travel Adventurers via Google Images

Hadahaa Island is home to the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa resort and is located in Gaafu Alifu Atoll, a quick 1.5 hour flight from Velana International Airport. The resort is big on cleanliness & sustainability and it shows with their Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment

This 5 star destination has 51 beach and overwater villas, designed with privacy and ecological friendliness in mind. They also collaborated with EarthCheck for benchmarking their environmental efforts and are also audited by Green Globe. They were also certified Gold due to their top-tier practices.

Due to these initiatives, the island is in such a pristine condition that it’s almost hard to believe that people live there. 10 out of 10 beaches and even better marine experiences await on this gorgeous island.

The beaches in Maldives are truly a sight to behold, with each of them offering a unique experience for all guests. With a lot of these beaches being in local islands and not resorts, it’s important to know how to get there if you’re thinking of island hopping. We hope the best beaches in Maldives are enough to convince you to go check them out and experience them for yourself! As always, visit MadlyMaldives if you want to scratch your Maldivian itch!