7 magnificent reasons to visit the Maldives

An image of a beach in the Maldives
by Limara Salt
22 September 2023

Made up of 1,200 coral islands surrounded by crystal clear waters, the Maldives has beauty and adventure in equal measure. A popular destination thanks to its stunning beaches and perfect year-round weather, the Maldives is heaven for adventure-seekers, honeymooners and everyone in between.  

And if you’re itching to book your next big trip, you can book a Virgin Atlantic reward seat to the South Asian state with Virgin Red from 25,000 Virgin Points*. Need convincing? Read on.

Swim with sharks  

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has plenty of options to see and swim with sharks. With over 26 species of shark including whale, grey reef and tiger, it’s a must to get close to these incredible mammals – and it’s pretty safe, too.  

But if you’d rather keep a distance, spinner dolphins are commonplace in the Maldives and there are numerous tour options to see them jump, swim and travel in pods.  

An image of sharks swimming in the Maldives

Dive into Dhivehi cuisine 

A fusion of Sri Lankan and Indian food, the food of the Maldives is known as Dhivehi cuisine, and there’s plenty to whet your appetite. Given the location, seafood is a staple with coconut being a prominent ingredient in popular dishes. Try the Mas Huni, a nutty smoked tuna dish, banana flower salad, fried yams, and Bis Keemiya, a delicious afternoon snack similar to a spring roll or samosa.   

Eat under the sea 

Speaking of food, have you ever eaten food fresh from the sea while sitting under it? Opened in 2005, the Ithaa restaurant is five metres below sea level and the transparent roof offers a 270-degree panoramic underwater views as meals are enjoyed. This is a luxury option for guests who want a dining experience to remember. 

Visit the Vaadhoo Island  

Located around five miles from Male International Airport, Vaadhoo Island is a must-visit. As one of the Raa Atoll islands, it’s famous for the bioluminescent water, aka ‘sea of stars’, that gives the water a brilliant blue sparkle at night. It can be experienced yearly and given it only takes a 15-minute speedboat to get there, it’s on every visitor's wish list.  

An image of a glowing beach in the Maldives

Catch sight of the coral reef  

The underwater world of the Maldives has a biodiverse environment equal to rainforests, with over 1,000 species of fish and nearly 200 species of hard coral, and it has to be seen to be believed. Kuda Kalhi, Malé Atoll, Alimatha and Lankanfinolhu Island are great options for seeing different types of reefs, but heed advice from the locals so you can enjoy its beauty without disturbing the environment.  

An image of the coral reef in the Maldives

Make time for Majeedhee Magu 

While the Maldives may not be primarily known as a shopping destination, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the culture while picking up some beautiful pieces. Majeedhee Magu is a sprawling street market in the centre of the city offering heirlooms and jewellery, along with traditional Maldives’ dress known as libaas. Soak up the bustling atmosphere and immerse yourself in everything it offers before heading to the beach.  

Relax on the beach  

Let’s face it: nobody goes to the Maldives unless they love a beach day, and the islands have plenty of them. After a lagoon? Try the Baros Island. Want to see emerald water? Go to Kandolhu Island. Keen for tranquillity? Visit Baros. Love to jetski? Vabbinfaru Island Beaches is for you. The list is endless so grab a towel, stock up on sun cream and get out there. 

And since every beach day needs a beach read, why not sign up to Readly and earn up to 750 Virgin points as you access thousands of magazines and newspapers? 

An image of a white sand beach in the Maldives

Virgin Atlantic will operate a winter seasonal three-times-weekly service to the Maldives from London Heathrow. Tickets are on sale now, for flights commencing on 22 October 2023. Visit Virgin Atlantic to find out more.

So what are you waiting for? Starting from 25,000 Virgin Points* you can book a Virgin Atlantic flight to the Maldives.  

Not a Virgin Red member yet? Time to fix that. Sign up to Virgin Red today and start earning Virgin Points on your everyday spending.

*Points rate quoted is based on the Reward seat points prices for return Economy flights from London. Taxes, fees and carrier-imposed surcharges apply and vary according to choice of cabin, departure airport, destination and date(s) of travel and are subject to change. Reward flights are subject to availability. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership required.