Best Islands in Maldives for your Once-in-a-Lifetime Maldives Vacation

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Malediven Vacation – A dream for so many of us. When booking this special holiday, of course, you want to make sure that you choose the best island in Maldives for your Once-in-a-lifetime vacation. While I was working in the Maldives, I was able to visit different islands and while writing my Bachelor-thesis in which the Maldives were included as one of the main examples, I could get familiar with even more islands in the Republic of Maldives. Also, I was able to collect many different experiences in the Maldives: Read my top 15 here.

There are just so many islands (around 1190 actually). Obviously, it is not easy to decide where to stay in Maldives – Which island is best?

That’s why I put together the most popular and most beautiful islands in the Maldives to help to decide which island to stay in Maldives. We even organized them according to their prices, so you can directly check which fit best to your Maldives-Budget.

However, firstly, I want to show you in which Atolls you can find those best islands in Maldives.

Atolls of the Maldives

In the following map, you can find all the Atolls, in which the most beautiful islands in Maldives are located. The International Airport is located on a small island right next to the capital city of Malé, thus in the North-Male-Atoll. (On the map marked in blue). In this map, you can see how far the distance between your Maldives Dream Island and the Airport is. Therefore, you can tell by looking on the map whether a long boat-trip or an inland-flight are necessary in order to get to your island.

  1. North-Male-Atoll
  2. South-Male-Atoll
  3. Laamu-Atoll
  4. South-Nilandhe-Atoll/ Dhaalu-Atoll
  5. Alif Dhaal Atoll
  6. Ari-Atoll
  7. Alif Alif-Atoll
  8. Thoddoo-Atoll
  9. Baa-Atoll
  10. Raa-Atoll
  11. Lhaviyani-Atoll

The Top Cheapest Islands in Maldives

The following islands are inhabited islands in the Maldives. The big advantage of those islands is that the accommodation here is way more affordable than a stay in one of the Resort-Islands. Another benefit of a stay on an inhabited island is that it is much easier to get in touch with locals and gain some insight into the real Maldives.

Anyway, the drawbacks of staying on an inhabited island are that you are not allowed to walk around, sunbath or swim in your bikini on public beaches. More and more islands are offering so-called Bikini-Beaches now for tourists.

Moreover, you are not allowed to consume any alcohol due to Maldivian law. (Only on Resort-Islands)

The following islands and accommodations are the most popular, best reviewed and my personal favorites. If you are interested in any of them just click on the name in order to receive more information, prices and availabilities.


Hulhumale, Malediven, harbor
Thank you for this Photo to Ibrahim Asad’s Photography

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Express Inn at Hulhumale

Three Inn


Dhiffushi Island, Maldives, Port, by night
Thank you for this picture to Greg Knapp

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Crown Beach Hotel Maldives

Araamu Holiday & Spa

Ameera Maldives

Rashu Hiyaa


Maafushi Island, Malediven, wasser

Location: South-Male-Atoll


Alaka At Mafushi

Arena Beach Hotel

Kaani Beach Hotel

Sun Shine View

Kaani Grand Seaview


Thoddoo Island, Maldives, Beach

Location: Thoddoo-Atoll

Drawback: Either 1 1/2 hour (Fast boat: 35 USD) or 4 hours boat drive (Ferry: 10-20 USD) (+ tax and service charge)


Papaya Heaven


Summer Inn Thoddoo

Veli Thaddoo Inn

Pension Thaddoo Retreat


North ari atoll, maldives, sunset
Thank you for this picture to Gilda

Location: Alif Alif Atoll


Reveli Retreat Mathiveri

Mathiveri Lodge, Maldives

Holiday Mathiveri Inn


Dharavandhoo, Beach, Maldives, Tree

Location: Baa-Atoll

Drawback: 195 USD National-flight necessary


Kiha Beach

Aveyla Manta Village

Royal Island Resort & Spa

LVIS Blancura Hotel

Resort-Islands on the Maldives <500€

The following beaches are the most popular and best-reviewed islands in the Maldives or my personal favorites. If you want to know more about any accommodation just click on the name in order to receive more information, availability, and the latest prices.


bandos maldives, Island, Beach

Location: North Male Atoll


Bandos Maldives Resort & Spa

Kuda Bandos

Kuda Bandos Island, Maldives

Location: North Male Atoll


Malahini Kuda Bandos


paradise island, Maldives, beach, bridge

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Paradise Island Resort & Spa


Meeru island, Maldives by night
Thank you for this picture to Greg Knapp

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Meeru Island Resort & Spa

Bodu Hithi


Location: North-Male-Atoll


Coco Bodu Hithi

Vilamendhoo Island

Vilamendhoo Island palm tree on the beach, Maldives

Location: Ari-Atoll


Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa


ari-atoll-maldives, water villas
Ari Atoll

Location: Ari-Atoll


Sun Island Resort & Spa


Vakarufalhi Island, Maldives, Water villas

Location: South-Ari-Atoll


Vakarufalhi Island Resort


Kuredu-Resprt, Maldives, beach

Location: Lhaviyani-Atoll


Kuredu Resort & Spa


Komandoo Resort, maldives, beach, water

Location: Lhaviyani Atoll


Komandoo Island Resort & Spa


Dhigali Resort, Beach, Maldives, Palm trees
Thank you for this picture to Mohamed Nadheem

Location: Raa-Atoll


Dhigali Maldives

Luxury Resort-Islands in the Maldives

The following beaches are the most popular and best-reviewed islands in the Maldives or my personal favorites. If you want to know more about any accommodation just click on the name in order to see more information, availability, and the latest prices.


huvafen fushi, maldives, beach, pool
Thank you for this picture to Huvafen Fushi

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Huvafen Fushi


laamu six senes beach maldives

Location: Laamu-Atoll


Six Senses Laamu


Dhaalu Atoll, maldives, nilhande atoll, from above
Dhaalu Atoll / South-Nilhande-Atoll

Location: South-Nilandhe-Atoll


Niyama Private Island Maldives


Thank you for this picture of Meedhoo to Alessandro Caproni

Location: Dhaalu-Atoll


Adaaran Prestige Water Villas


Mirhi Resort, Maldives, Beach, Palm trees

Location: Alif Dhaal-Atoll


Mirihi Island Resort

Luxury Resort Islands >1000€

The following beaches are the most popular and best-reviewed islands in the Maldives or my personal favorites. If you want to know more about any accommodation just click on the name in order to get more information, availability, and the latest prices.

Lankafushi Island

Gili Lankafushi, Maldives, Water Villas

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Gili Lankafushi

Chaaya Island

chaaya island, cinammon dhonveli, maldives
Thank you for this picture to Maurizio Abbiateci

Location: North-Male-Atoll


Cinnamon Dhonveli

Cinnamon Dhonveli Water Suites

Reethi Rah

Reethi Rah Resort Maldives, Beach
Thank you for this picture to Sarah Ackerman

Location: North-Male-Atoll


One&Only Reethi Rah


maadhoo, ozen, resort, maldives, pool

Location: South-Male-Atoll


OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo

Have you been to the Maldives? Which is your favorite island? Let me know in the comments below.

Want to know how to travel the Maldives on a budget?

Check out this Maldives on a Budget post by taraletsanywhere.


About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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13 thoughts on Best Islands in Maldives for your Once-in-a-Lifetime Maldives Vacation

  1. My favorite (and basically the only island I visited there!) was the Kuramathi. I was initially supposed to go to Kuredu, but by the time we had it all figured out, it did not have any availability left. So Kurmatahi it was and now I can’t imagine having been anywhere else! It was an experience of a lifetime, and Maldives still is one of my most favorite holidays ever taken!

  2. I had no idea about any of those details you mentioned about not being able to wear a bikini on the inhabited islands. I guess all we see are the beautiful resorts. But this is a super helpful guide, but I do want to eventually get there and experience both the resort side and the local side.

    • Hi Jessica,

      It’s true. We all imagine Maldives like relaxing on the beach in a Bikini and a cocktail. I think it is important to also see the “real Maldives”

  3. Wow never knew Maldives has so many options . Each one looks equally beautiful. I am sure it must be really confusing. Thanks for putting it together

    • Hi Madhu,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, there are so many islands in the Maldives. It’s hard to choose 😀

  4. Wow all these islands look incredible. Thanks for including some cheaper ones too! Dream destination for me one day 🙂

    • Hi Leanne,

      It’s true. Many people are surprised that you can actually also visit the Maldives on a budget

  5. Great post and super informative, every picture looks amazing I don’t know if I could choose just one Island!


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