The Republic of Maldives consists of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean approximately 417 miles (671 km) south-west of Sri Lanka. The 1,190 coral islets cover an area of 35,200 square miles (90,000 sq km). The Maldives is well known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear turquoise lagoons and amazing coral reefs.
The capital is Malé where the government as well as the financial and commercial centre are based, with many shops and restaurants as well as a lively fish market. The capital is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and the Maldivian people share a common rich history that can be traced back to differing cultures, including from India, Sri Lanka, and North Africa. Islam is the main religion on the Island and Islamic architecture is a feature of many famous landmarks of the Maldives. Maldivians are considered hospitable and welcoming to tourists.
The Maldives offers a wealth of water sports from canoeing, fishing, surfing and parasailing to diving and snorkelling and much more. There is also a rich heritage and culture to explore in the villages and heritage sites of the Islands, such as the National Museum, and local handicrafts available in village markets. Accommodation options also extend beyond the luxury resorts to include guest houses, smaller hotels and ‘liveaboard’ boats where you enjoy the amenities of staying on a yacht which may include a spa and you benefit from its diving facilities.