How to Explore Northern Maldives

Maldives Travel Inspiration

Book Your All Inclusive Vacation and save 25% in Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts, Maldives
Book Your All Inclusive Vacation and save 25% in Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts, Maldives

June, 2024

Five atolls of northern Maldives—Baa Atoll, Lhaviyani Atoll, Raa Atoll, Noonu Atoll and the most northern Haa Alifu Atoll—can be a tempting combination for travel focused on relaxation, adventure or diving.

The first Maldives UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, famous for its incredible manta rays and whale sharks experiences at Hanifaru Bay is here, with pristine beaches surrounded turquoise lagoons and dramatic landscapes where the variety of experiences seems endless. There are more than 60 luxury resorts in the northern Maldives, where Anantara Kihavah is known for award-winning underwater restaurant, and the Soneva hideaways are the favorite of sustainable luxury. The local islands are perfect for cheap holidays in the Maldives and transfer options are very doable with ferry, spead boat and flight.

Here’s our lowdon on everything you need to know about the islands of Maldives northerly region.

The Most Beautiful Beaches

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Maldives

Whether beach near you villa or romantic beach escape the Maldives is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Anantara Kihavah boasts the beaches that are fine around the island, but the widest and best on the north side, so the guests of the Beach Villas on this side catch the sun most of the day. As for the beaches at Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, it's beautiful anywhere : wide, clean, covered with fine powdery sand. An absolutely beautiful all beaches around the island at Hideaway Beach Resort are unspoilt with wonderful fine sand. Finolhu Baa Atoll has the longest (1.8 km) sandbank of all the famous Maldivian resort islands - expect to spend a lot of time explorering it. A beautiful sands of The Standard, Huruvalhi, the beach is a truly gorgeous sight.

Best Beaches in Maldives

Where to dine Underwater

fUnderwater restaurants in Northern Maldives

Dining underwater is a growing trend in the Maldives that enables diners to enjoy a great food and incredible underwater views all at once. Luxury undersea restaurants are the most unique dining experiences in the world, and the Northern Maldives boasts the 3 breathtaking underwater restaurants.

The Hurawalhi's star attraction is the world's largest all-glass undersea restaurant, called '5.8 Undersea', which allows you to dive into gastronomic pleasures to a depth of 5.8 meters. The menu concept is a tasting extravaganza from several dishes, also available with wine, and comments by the sommelier. Signature The Sea at Anantara Kihavah stands out from all the best dining experience with a seasonal five-course lunch and a set menu for a four-course dinner served in the glittering glass walls three meters below the sea level, providing the perfect setting for the underwater adventure. A fully submerged underwater The H2O by Chef Andrea Berton at You & Me by Cocoon Maldives treats diners to a 360-degree view of the Maldives' incredible marine environment, as they dine on gourmet cuisine that's unrivalled in the Maldives.

Maldives Underwater Restaurants

Where to swim with Manta Rays and Whale Sharks

family villas with pool+slide at Sun Siyam resorts, Maldives

Diving or snorkeling with Manta Rays or Whale sharks is one of the most breath-taking experience in the Maldives.

The highlight to the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the world-famous Hanifaru Bay is a vital feeding and breeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks in the Maldives. Between. May to November you have an excellent chance of seeing these incredible sea giants while snorkelling here. From June to November the Northern Atolls see manta rays in vast schooling numbers, however the best time of year for general diving and weather is between January and May. North of Malé, you can also spot manta rays in Lhaviyani Atoll during the northeast monsoon, the best months being October to March. From January to April, in Raa Atoll manta rays are often sighted at Sola Corner cleaning station. The atoll's peak manta season is between August and November. With this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, experience-seeking guests can observe these pelagic creatures in their natural underwater habitat in Noonu Atoll during the manta ray season from December to April.

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Exciting Water Sports

family villas with pool+slide at Sun Siyam resorts, Maldives

For adrenaline junkie we can recommend Siyam World with a new fleet of custom Mini Mokes; adrenaline-pumping Seabreachers; Jetpack CudaJet and “the world’s first water bike”, Manta5’s Hydrofoiler XE-1, providing guests with three more eyepopping ways to motor away from the Maldives mainstream.

The Northern Atolls of the Maldives remains an unexplored surf destination, with limitless potential. The best time for surfing the Northern Atolls is during the South-West Monsoon season, from April to October, with May-August period being the peak wave season. The 13 known surf breaks in the Baa Atoll area are located in 4 different areas, and are only accessible by boat.

Kuredu Resort is a stunning island in the Maldives, offering a luxury kitesurfing getaway that’s tough to match for the scenery alone. Kuredu offers a large area of flat shallow water inside the reef which is perfect for practicing your tricks or learning to kitesurf. Kite Surfing in Heritance Aarah provides professional Kite Surfing instructors are ready to teach everyone what Kite Surfing is all about to help you fly.

Top Water Sports in Maldives

Where to play Tennis, Golf, Padel

Stay fit in Maldives playing tennis at Hideaway Beach resort with RTC

While Maldives offers an array of experiences for everyone, land sports enthusiasts may wonder if they can play on this idyllic islands.

Vakkaru Maldives partners with Tipsarevic Luxury Tennis to see some of the world’s top players lead tennis clinics and tutorials exclusively for guests of the luxury resort. Stay fit playing tennis at Hideaway Beach resort with RTC, offering highly trained tennis coaches and courses for guests. Tennis lovers of all playing levels can enjoy world-class coaching and personalised tennis programmes at Jawakara Islands, Finolhu and Joali thanks to partnership with internationally-renowned tennis coaching LUX Tennis.

Hotels for Tennis Lovers

As padel tennis is the world's fastest-growing racket sport, padel courts at the Maldives luxury resorts are great addition for active travellers. Siyam World has introduced padel to its ever-evolving list of things to do at the luxurious island playground. The newest padel tennis court at Atmosphere Kanifushi adds to the rich selection of sports and recreation activities. With a three padel courts, two of which are covered Jawakara Islands Maldives offers an exclusive padel program designed to elevate skills against the backdrop of a stunning beachfront setting.

Padel courts in Maldives

Wether you are a avid golfer or a beginner, a some of the best Maldives resorts offer fantastic golf experiences, including large golf courses, driving ranges and ‘au courant’ golf clubs on the private islands. Kuredu Golf Club boasts a full-size driving range and a large Hux-ley putting green to perfect your stroke. Jawakara Islands Maldives boasts an unique golfing experience with a 9-hole pitch and putt course inspired by iconic global holes. Practice your short game on the putting green, enjoy a game with friends and family or even indulge in some solo practice at the Hideaway Golf Centre.

Golf in Maldives

Holistic wellness is a real thing in the Northern Maldives

family villas with pool+slide at Sun Siyam resorts, Maldives

Anantara Kihavah offers personalised wellness retreats for the guests to elevate their wellbeing at a luxury wellness sanctuary in the Maldives. Tailored for 4, 6, or 8 nights, this wellness escape blends tranquil yoga sessions and Ayurvedic treatments. Collaboration with 'Ananda in the Himalayas' the most indulgent hideaway and private island resort, The Nautilus brings a first of its kind wellbeing experience that is personalised, luxurious and truly one of a kind in the Maldives. Regularly throughout the year, Hurawalhi Maldives also introduces a series of wellness retreats for guests to harmonise with the healing surroundings for well-being and utilise the brilliance of the ocean and the resort’s luxury offering. Idyllic island resort Amilla Fushi wins the award for ‘Leading Wellness and Spa Resort’ in the Maldives and in South Asia for a second consecutive year. The Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat’s extensive menu at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru offers innovative one-off and multi-day treatments, including traditional Ayurvedic Immersions and intensive Panchakarma cleansing. Focused on wellness, the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, tucked in the Baa Atoll UNESCO biosphere reserve, elevates the concept of “wellness” beyond mere buzzwords. Here, your journey towards a revitalised mind, body, and spirit isn’t an afterthought, but the very heart of the experience. Focused on wellness, the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, tucked in the Baa Atoll UNESCO biosphere reserve, elevates the concept of “holistic wellness” beyond mere buzzwords. Recognized as the best destination spa hotel, here your journey towards a revitalised mind, body, and spirit isn’t an afterthought, but the very heart of the experience.

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Most spectacular house reef snorkeling

fMost spectacular house reef snorkeling in Maldives

A memorable and unique experience snorkeling in the Maldives is the easiest way to enjoy the underwater wonders where the house reefs are the best snorkeling sites.

Discover the breath-taking beauty and rich biodiversity of the Anantara Kihavah' renowned house reef which was recently crowned as the Best House Reef in the Maldives in the 2023 Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards Southeast Asia. Whilst all of the snorkelling sites around the Lhaviyani Atoll spoil the snorkellers with beautiful sights, there is one particular site that is always cited as a favourite with a wow factor: Kuredu Caves, a.k.a.’Turtle Airport’. Eagle rays, mantas and sharks are also frequent visitors to the house reef of Hideaway Beach Resort. With a live house reef Hurawalhi Island offers a fantastic snorkeling experience, including a night snorkeling with a marine biologist. New opening for fan of snorkeling is Avani+ Fares Maldives. The island is located in a channel and, and thanks to currents in and out of the atoll, the reef is teeming with fish. The best place to snorkel is around the eastern half of the island, right from the beach. Nature and luxury go hand in hand at Hurawalhi and the island’s house reef is no exception. An amazing marine life is right here, on the doorstep, varied and fantastic, and about as far from normal as any other in the Maldives.

Maldives Snorkeling Guide

Most Popular Resorts for Divers in the Norhtern Maldives

family villas with pool+slide at Sun Siyam resorts, Maldives

Popular among divers Kuredu is the home of Prodivers' PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre – one of the largest and longest running diving and snorkelling companies in the Maldives. Prodivers offers a full range of daily excursions and courses for beginners and experienced divers and snorkellers alike. Famous Kuredu Express and Kuredu Caves sites are right on your doorstep the island offers exciting diving opportunities on some of the most vibrant reefs in the Maldives. Vakkaru, Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort and Milaidhoo island provides an unforgettable diving experience in the Maldives.

Best Dive Resorts in Maldives

The most romantic escapes

family villas with pool+slide at Sun Siyam resorts, Maldives

A special place for romance in the Maldives Hideaway Beach has captivated travelers’ hearts, seeking an unforgettable escape. With miles of crystalline waters in sight, the natural beauty of the island transports couples into tranquility and passion, where they can rekindle their love and create timeless memories. A small, intimate, boutique resort, Komandoo island is a true adults only sanctuary with only those over the age of 18 permitted – a rarity in the Maldives. Located in the Raa Atoll, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas is a 5-star, adults-only all inclusive resort in every respect, and the service, including a personal butler for each room, is exceptional. Amilla has re-imagined honeymoons and couples’ breaks with a host of new romantic, creative, and adrenaline-fuelled experience and even revitalising activities.

In the Northern Maldives' most romantic resorts you can take the love to the next level with the collection of experiences designed especially with honeymooners in mind. Nestled a five-minute boat ride from Alila Kothaifaru resort, The Shack is a private sandbank to dine, unwind and celebrate special moments. On this pearl of soft powdery white sand amid the turquoise lagoon, the vibrancy of an open kitchen and bar and the feel of the ocean breeze create a remarkable sense of openness and connection to the ocean for a relaxed dining experience. Dream Island experience at Hurawalhi Island Resort is the ultimate romantic escape and if you’ve ever had the romantic notion of you and your loved one being castaways on a desert island, Hurawalhi Maldives can make your dream come true with an idyllic escape.

Collection of Experiences

Local Islands for cheap holidays

Local Islands for cheap holidays in the northern Maldives

Accessible by domestic flights and speed boats from capital of Malé the local islands of the Northern Maldives are perfect for budget travelers to get the local culture and way of Maldivian life.

Developing at a high pace Kamadhoo is a charming local island in Baa Atoll, Maldives. With white, sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons and an epic marine adventures Kamadhoo tunes in to the simple beauty of the Maldives for an amazing and affordable holiday experience. A home to Kamadhoo Inn, the island recently welcomed the opening of Clarks Exotica hotel with modern accommodation including rooms with immaculate ocean views. Also, the newest guest house and restaurant Akomadoo Retreat proudly opened their doors in 2023.

Sofaire Hotels reports it is on track for the late 2024 debut of luxury resort in the calm embrace of Haa Alif Kelaa island, Maldives. Famous for the most beautiful beaches, Kelaa is a stunning island on Haa Alifu atoll in the Norther Maldives.

Famous for its crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches, good snorkeling, comfortable budget accommodation and warm hospitality of locals Fulhadhoo is an idyllic island getaway for a cheap holidays in Maldives, in 2 hours by speedboat from Velana International Airport. Island Luxury Fulhadhoo Boutique Hotel offers 8 spacious and luxury rooms with an infinity pool and restaurant on upper floor.

Located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Maalhos Island is famous for its spectacular house reef with rich Marine biodiversity.

How to Travel on a Budget

The Most Exclusive Island Hideaways

family villas with pool+slide at Sun Siyam resorts, Maldives

.There's a special breed of hotels there in the Maldives that cater to the most tasteful of luxury travelers, so profoundly unforgettable and special you want to keep them all to yourself. The most luxurious resorts in the Northern Maldives take full advantage of the fact that they are perfectly located in one of the world's most beautiful destination, which is visually stunning with crystal clear waters, white beaches and abundant marine life.

For people looking for the best-of the best in an all inclusive, ultra-premium at any time and anywhere, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi is the first top-end five-star, truly all-inclusive resort in the Lhaviyani Atoll.

As one of the leading family friendly Maldives island resorts, Anantara Kihavah creates a private pool luxury escape in Baa Atoll unlike any other, tailor-made just for you. Expect the greatest Maldivian adventures including snorkelling with Manta rays, experiencing the best underwater dining and wining, and staying in the most sough-after luxury pool villas.

Intimate and stylish, Milaidhoo Island it’s about enjoying the natural environment in understated luxury. Tucked in the heart of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, surrounded by powdery white sands and nestled beside a colourful coral reef, Milaidhoo Maldives is a luxurious natural wonder.

With its slick, modern architecture, and all-encompassing attention to detail, Amilla Maldives has become the holiday destination of choice for the rich and famous, who have called this island their favourite place.

New bohemian luxury, The Nautilus Maldives is a highly exclusive, fully private resort of 26 beach and ocean houses. A privately-owned island in the heart of the Baa Atoll , The Nautilus Maldives has the serious ambition of being noted as one of the leading luxury resorts in the world.

A new era of over-water luxury, Soneva boasts three sustainable properties in the Maldives including newest Soneva Secret in Haa Dhaalu Atoll. Working hand in hand with the environment Soneva resorts craft beautiful, beyond bespoke experiences where discovery is a way of life.

With a posh jungle interior and a sparkling 2-kilometre lagoon, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is a sophisticated Maldives resort with fantastic facilities set on private island in Baa Atoll. The combination of innovation, healthy lifestyles and environmental programs is all about this resort. If the cost don't bother you, you will not be disappointed in Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru.

10 Best Exclusive Resorts in Maldives

Family Holidays

Family Holidays in  Maldives

Whether your are planning a grand family reunion, a multi-gen family getaway, or simply a fun family holidays, look no further than Siyam World Maldives. With the Premium 24hrs WOW! All-inclusive, the resort truly has something for everyone, making them an irresistible option for family travel. Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa is a sanctuary for playful kids and devoted parents – everyone can find their happy place here. Finolhu Baa Atoll is a family haven where it has suitable adventures and The Oceaneer’s kids club with full calendar and exciting activities. All newly renovated, Beach Pool Villas and Lagoon Villas are perfect accommodation to stay with children and the all inclusive meal plan makes the trip really easy. With spacious family accommodation, children's favorite food in every restaurant, array of activities at Kids Club make Sun Siyam Iru Fushi a perfect pick for family travel to the Maldives. Good news: Up to two children under 15 years of age can stay and eat for free there. New family-friendly destination in Maldives Jawakara Islands has announced its accreditation for safe, professional, and exhilarating childcare by Worldwide Kids (WK). This recognition is reserved for upscale resorts that uphold global standards in childcare training, health, and safety, while continually enhancing the experience for families and their young guests.

Maldives Family Guide

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