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.

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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


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  1. Hi Roger, my fiance and I are looking to book an water villa for our honeymoon in August. There is such a huge choice. We are tossing up between Baros and Huvafen Fushi. We would like something ultra romantic and luxurious as we will be only going for 5 nights. Can you give your recommendation on the two above or suggest another resort that we might enjoy honeymooning at? Thanks in advance.

    1. R&R,

      Unfortunately I’ve yet to make it to either of those resorts (there are about 90 Maldives resorts with water villas), but I do know from studying the market for all of these years that those are two of the best in general, and the best for honeymoons. Baros is one of the original water villa resorts and it’s a bit closer to the airport than Huvafen Fushi, but both have been updated fairly recently. I’m sure either one would be amazing, and I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. -Roger

  2. hello

    could you advise about a luxurious 5* resort that offers overwater or beach villas with pools villas with pools that are completely private/secluded (not seen by anyone from outside). if all inclusive would be better thanks!

  3. Hi, I can’t see the name of W Resort & Spa. How do you rate this hotel as this property shows overwater villas with private pool

  4. Hi Roger

    Could you please suggest an over water villa resort in the month of November with open bathrooms, private jaccuzzi for the perfect honeymoon and which is not very expensive.

  5. Hi Roger

    Could you please suggest an over water villa resort/ hotel in the month of April (last week) with standard size rooms, open bathrooms, private jaccuzzi etc which leads to a super romantic getaway and which is not very expensive.

    1. Neha,

      Sorry I saw this late. These were the best Maldives deals for April, including a couple of really nice ones at appealing rates. Hopefully you can still get in on one of those. -Roger

  6. halo. i am doing research for my annual holiday. May i know if there is a list of water-villa resorts with private pools which offer all-inclusive package? (inclusive of 3 meals and alcoholic drinks all day). I understand that lily beach resort offer that, may i know which are the ones offering too?

    1. Dan,

      I am not sure of the specific resorts with private pools that also do all inclusive, but I’m sure there are quite a few. You might check out the main article on Maldives all inclusive resorts and find ones you like. I’m sure at least a few of them have private pool villas as well. Good luck. -Roger