If you open a satellite map of the Indian Ocean …
Location: South Asia
Area: 300 km2 (only land area)
Population: 557 426
Official languages: Dhivehi
Other spoken languages: English, Arabic
Ethnic groups: Maldivians
Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR); 1 USD=15,45 MVR; 1 EUR=17.07
Basic facts: The Maldives are Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
- The Maldives consists of 1192 coral islands, grouped in atolls on an underwater ridge.
- The Maldives feature some of the richest coral ecosystems in the world. The country is the archipelago with most sandbars in the world.
- The Maldives are divided into 26 geographical atolls and 19 administrative divisions, also called “atolls”. Their names are sometimes different and can be confusing.
- The official religion in the Maldives is Sunni Islam.
- The Maldives are the lowest in elevation country in the world, with maximal natural altitude 1,5 m above sea level.
10 best destinations and routes in the Maldives:
Male and Vaavu Atolls: This is the most visited part of the Maldives, consisting of three atolls- North Male, South Male, and Vaavu. Here is Male, the capital of the country.
Ari Atoll: One of the largest atolls in the Maldives, known for some of the most popular diving sites in the country.
Baa Atoll: An atoll in the northern part of the archipelago, known for several first class diving spots, as well as the UNESCO Heritage site Hanifaru Bay.
Thiladhunmadhi Atoll: The largest atoll in the Maldives, located in the northern part of the archipelago, relatively offbeat and less visited, but with some interesting underwater and on land sites.
Laamu Atoll: An atoll in the southern part of the archipelago, well-known for its historical sites.
Raa Atoll: An atoll in the northern part of the archipelago, relativelly offbeat, only recently open for tourism, rich in interesting diving sites.
Ilhavandhippolhu Atoll: The northernmost atoll in the Maldives. The Mamale Kandu channel (strait) separates the atoll from the Lacadives.
Fuvahmulah Atoll: A unique small atoll in the deep south of the Maldives, known for its unique lagoon structure forming lakes that are lower than the sea level.
Thaa Atoll: A large atoll in the south, closing the eastern and western side of the archipelagos, known for its archaeological sites and excellent diving spots.
Addu Atoll: The southernmost atoll in the Maldives, located in the Southern Hemisphere, with the second largest city Gan is located, great for diving.