it feels like paradise once you arrive in the Maldives, and especially at your overwater bungalow resort, the location is quite remote for pretty much everyone. Spread over a huge area just southwest of India, it's many thousands of kilometers from Europe, and even quite a long way from the Middle East as well.

Fortunately, there are many flights into Malé International Airport from all over, meaning that most people will only have to change planes once along the way. The other nice thing is that since these are all long-haul flights you'll be in a proper wide-body plane, so even those in economy class will have a good-sized seat with decent legroom.

If you are planning on staying in one of the overwater bungalows in the Maldives then it's a reasonably priced and efficient flight from Europe. However, if you are coming from North America you might instead consider the overwater bungalow hotels in Bora Bora or elsewhere in the South Pacific, since they are equally nice and much easier to reach from the Americas.

Contents [Show]

Getting to the Maldives from Europe

There are surprisingly few nonstop flights between Europe and Malé International Airport, which is the hub for all visitors into the Maldives. However, the few airlines that do provide nonstop flights offer competitive prices, so if you book early you’ll be able to avoid changing planes in the Middle East halfway there.


London to Maldives

BMI BabyBritish Airways, and SriLankan Airlines all fly nonstop, taking about 10.5 hours each way.


Frankfurt to Maldives

Condor Airlines flies nonstop, taking about 10 hours each way.


From anywhere else in Europe to the Maldives

There are some seasonal charter flights nonstop originating in Paris, Brussels, and Milan, but for the most part nearly everyone is going to be stopping to change planes in the Middle East, in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, or Dubai. More good news comes with the fact that the airlines representing each of those cities is excellent and very comfortable for long-haul flights, so there will be no anxiety of being trapped in a tiny seat and having to buy cold sandwiches as your only nutrition.

 

Flights head to Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai from nearly every major city in Europe, taking about 6 hours. The layovers are usually only an hour or two, with the onward flight to the Maldives taking about 5 more hours. Prices start at around US$1,000 for the roundtrip flight, and tend to be very competitive since there are so many airlines from which to choose. It’s best to book as early as possible since there are rarely fare sales that bring prices down much, and if the planes are filling up on your desired days the price will go up for sure.


Getting from Malé International Airport to your resort

Considering the distance and the time difference, it should be no surprise that every flight will be overnight, whether it’s a nonstop or changing planes in the Middle East. Fortunately, most flights seem to leave Europe in the late afternoon, so you change planes around midnight, or they leave Europe late in the evening, so you change planes around 6am.

 

Once you land at the Malé International Airport you’ll be greated by representives from your resort. Some of the larger ones have their own private lounge, while the smaller ones just have roving employees.

 

The closer resorts to the airport will put you on board a private speedboat for a journey that usually lasts between 20 minutes and an hour, while the more remote resorts will do the same for a sea plane (takes off and lands on the water) for an amazing flight to the hotel, which is often one of the highlights of the entire holiday. This transportation comes at an extra cost and must be arranged in advance, and the sea plane flights in particular are a bit pricey, usually running about US$400 roundtrip per person.


A note about bringing in alcohol to the Maldives

It’s true that alcohol, and most everything else, is quite expensive at resorts in the Maldives, so it’s a shame that this Muslim country is also extremely strict about allowing alcohol brought in inside luggage or duty-free containers. If you show up with any alcohol at all it will be confiscated and kept for you until you fly out, so best not to bring it at all.

 

Photo by Craig Grobler on Flickr


RELATED POSTS
8 thoughts on "Editor’s Choice: 6 Best Maldives water-villa resorts with excellent scuba diving"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All Comments
  1. We have a group that is looking for a resort with scuba diving for the end of July. It would be several couples and some teenagers. Are there any resorts where the diving is included?
    Thank you
    Sam

    1. Sam,

      I’m not aware of any Maldives resorts where scuba diving is included or even heavily discounted. The good news is that almost every island offers diving and most offer instruction. So your best bet is to find a resort that you like at a reasonable price, and the diving package will probably also be reasonably affordable. Best of luck with this. -Roger

    1. Kelly,

      I’m glad this site has been helpful. Our list of scuba diving resorts will cover snorkeling as well. For the most part, snorkeling below water villas in the Maldives isn’t very exciting because there aren’t large reefs inside the lagoons where the resorts are located. In general the resorts all offer boat rides to nearby reefs, and many of those boats to go the same places. Most resorts seem to offer at least one if not two snorkeling boats per day, and they are usually included in your room price. There are probably some exceptions though. And of course the larger resorts are more likely to have more boats and departures than small resorts. So my advice would be to choose a resort based on everything else and then check to see if they offer snorkeling trips. If so then check the TripAdvisor reviews by searching for "snorkeling" and you’ll get the reviews that mention it. -Roger

  2. Hello
    We are looking for an OWB that has a pool for May. Would you have a recommendation for which would be best? We have heard you want to be in the Northwest in May to avoid bad weather

    1. Lori,

      After having read literally thousands of Maldives resort reviews, I see very few that ever mention any weather disappointments. Still, the weather in the north might be less volatile during the summer season, and you can get a great deal at some of the resorts up there.

      Specifically, have a look at the Beach House at Iruveli Maldives, which is a 5-star resort that is as far north as you can go in the archipelago. In May they are offering their huge water villas (110 square meters) for only around US$550 including all taxes, and each has a plunge pool out on the terrace.

      If that one doesn’t work for you, let me know and I can probably find one or two others, but this is the best one that comes to mind. -Roger