Spread through the Indian Ocean like a string of glittering pearls, the Maldives come washed by turquoise waters and fringed by beaches so white you'll need to have your sunglasses on to see them. The result is somewhere so idyllic that it's hailed as the honeymoon capital of the world. That rep brings with it five-star resort hotels with infinity pools and overwater bungalows, meaning this is a top place to crank up the pampering and relaxation. But cheap flights to the Maldives can also signal adventure. Resplendent coral gardens and massive manta rays await divers in Hanifaru Bay. There are rustic guesthouses serving spicy Dhivehi cuisine on lesser-known atolls. Meanwhile, surfers book tickets here to ride the glassy waves that roll into the South Atolls.
The hectic, haphazard capital of the Maldives is the antithesis of the resorts – sizzling with curry stands and topped by elaborate mosques.
Huge meetings of whale sharks and manta rays draw snorkelers and scuba divers to this legendary inlet in the Baa Atoll.
Maafushi's cotton-white sands and azure shore waters are the stuff of travel brochures. Come to laze in hammocks and snorkel your days away.