Bone-white powdery sand that stretches for days… check. Sweeping expanses of crystal-clear turquoise waters… check. Tall, arching palm trees swaying gently in the warm breeze… check. Glittering reefs teeming with rainbow-coloured schools of fish… check. With a checklist like this, it can be only the stunning archipelago that is the Maldives, home to arguably the most magnificent beaches on earth.
The Maldives is a real-life water world – this South Asian island nation in the Indian Ocean is 99 per cent water and one per cent land, with the many picturesque islands surrounded by their own true-blue lagoons. This makes this sun-soaked holiday destination the ultimate beach lover’s paradise. But with close to 1,200 islands in total – 106 of them resort islands – where, oh where, do you begin your beach bumming?
Hailed as the best beach in the Maldives, Nalaguraidhoo Beach in the South Ari Atoll (100 kilometres from the Malé airport) draws people from all over the world every year. It’s no wonder, given its stretch of glorious white sand, sapphire lagoon and the overwater bungalows of the island’s resident resort. The South Malé Atoll boasts the private and serene Cocoa Island, which features just 33 overwater bungalows and a shallow lagoon that’s perfect for paddling the day away or a spot of snorkelling.
Alternatively, a short 35-minute seaplane flight from the capital of Malé brings you to much-loved Reethi Beach on the Baa Atoll. You’ll find it on tiny Fonimagoodhoo Island, which measures a mere 600 metres by 200 metres. Despite its small size, it’s home to lush green flora, fine white sands, tranquil lagoons and a dazzling reef to explore and enjoy. You can reach the various islands and beaches of the Maldives by airplane, seaplane, speed boat or ferry, depending on their distance from the Malé international airport.