A practical guide to the Maldives
National holidays and celebrations
A deeply religious and devoted Muslim nation, the Maldives embraces a range of Islamic and patriotic holidays. The following dates are observed as holidays across all the islands and atolls so it's always recommended to bear these in mind before booking.
Ask one of our travel experts if you're not sure when it's best to travel.
- New Year's Day: 1st January
- National Day: Usually celebrated between January and February on the 1st of Rabi' al-awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar.
- Independence Day: 26th July
- Victory Day: 3rd November
- Republic Day: 11th November
- Birth of the Prophet (Mawlid al-Nabi): Usually in January or February, according to the Islamic calendar.
- The Day the Maldives Embraced Islam: Usually in February or March, according to the Islamic calendar.
- Start of Ramadan: Celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, this 30-day long fasting period can also affect government office hours.
- End of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr): Celebrates the end of 30 days' fasting.
- Hajj Day: Celebrating the pilgrimage to Mecca, the exact date changes according to the Islamic calendar.
- Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha): Lasts four days and starts one day after Hajj Day.
- Islamic New Year: Varies according to the Islamic calendar.
Money and currency
The national currency in the Maldives is the rufiyaa (Rf) but the value of this is pegged firmly to the US dollar, so the exchange rate between these currencies rarely ever changes.
While many resorts do accept euros and British pounds, we recommend changing your currency into US dollars as this is more widely accepted throughout the country. Most major resorts and large shopping centres will also accept major credit cards and travellers' cheques but in smaller stores or markets you will need to pay in cash.
Of course, if you stay in an all inclusive resort, the chances are you probably won't need much cash. Although a few $1 bills may come in handy for tipping purposes.
Surrounded by the Indian ocean it comes as no surprise that the seafood is exquisite across the Maldives, particularly tuna. Because of its relative proximity, Maldivian cuisine is also heavily influenced by Indian and Sri Lankan food.
A typical Maldivian meal will be hot, spicy and heavily flavoured with coconut (a tropical favourite). For a real taste of the islands, try the traditional dish "garudhiya", consisting of a clear fish broth with sides of lime, onions and chilli. Savoury snacks include deep fried fish called "hedhikaa".
Curries are also popular but usually served with roshi (a flat bread similar to Indian roti) or papdhu (like the more familiar poppadoms). We also recommend trying fihunu mas (grilled fish with chilli), thelui mas (fried fish with chilli and garlic) and bajiya (pastry filled with fish). There are plenty of places to sample the local cuisine across the islands and in the capital, Male.
Most resorts will also have an ample menu consisting of more familiar international dishes, so don't worry if you're not in the mood for experimenting.
The Maldives is a traditional and devoted Muslim country so you will need to respect the local customs and regulations. Even though tourists are warmly welcomed and sun bathing encouraged, it is strictly forbidden to get naked or topless on any of the islands or atolls, no matter how secluded they might be.
Radiant sunshine, cobalt blue waters and all-year-round temperatures of around 30°C make the Maldives the perfect tropical destination for any time of year. With cool winds coming in off the Indian ocean, the climate remains beautiful and pleasant perfect for escaping the winter blues.
- The two distinct seasons are the northeast monsoon from January to April (dry season) and the southwest monsoon from May to December (rainy season).
- The lowest lying country in the world, the Maldives is unaffected by relief weather patterns. Its position close to the Equator also means that the temperatures stay fairly consistent all-year-round.
- Low levels of rainfall and low humidity during the dry season make February to April the best months to visit.
- Weather in the Maldives is generally stunning. However, during the rainy season and even at other times of the year, storms can hit. Don't let this spoil your holiday, just sit back and enjoy the experience as they tend to be short and dramatic. It really won't be long before the sun is shining again.
Maldives Holidays Browse all
Peace, relaxation and luxury come as standard in this amazing Indian Ocean getaway
- Benifit from water bungalows that allow unfettered access to the ocean waters also featuring private sun decks
- The Main Restaurants’ theme nights highlight cuisines from around the world ranging from Asian to Western fare
- Easy acces to capital city of Male, where you can extend your experience of the Maldives
Discover two destination in one unforgettable holiday
- The award winning Hilton Abu Dhabi is conveniently located in the heart of the city, 30 minutes from the airport and close to the marina shopping mall. The hotel has a private beach club so guests have the best of all worlds.
- Relax, unwind and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit
- Experience stunning views over the pure white sands and crystal clear ocean with your nearest and dearest
Paradise Island suits a range of lifestyles from relaxing at the Araamu Spa to surfing the great waves.
- This magnificent spa is almost completely surrounded by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, creating a perfect location for relaxing and theraputic treatments
- Paradise island is just one kilometre long and 230 metres wide, surrounded by pristine beaches and off shore reefs that teem with excellent marine life waiting for guests to explore
- fresh produce arrives daily for the master chef and team to deliver sumptuous dishes, delicately flavoured. Restaurants include japanese, italian, 24 hour a la carte coffee shop and main restaurant serving international buffets
Explore stunning coral reefs in your private piece of heaven on earth where the sparkling white sands will caress your toes as the warm turquoise waters gently kiss your skin.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, top-shelf beverages and selected sports all come included in the price of your stay
- Discover the stunning coral reefs, go out on a fishing trip or have a go at water skiing, amongst other activities
- Overlook the Indian Ocean from your room and step out onto the white soft sands the Maldives is famous for
Do the castaway experience in style and live your Robinson Crusoe dream
- Lose yourself in over 3 km of pristine beaches and aquamarine lagoons
- Beautiful bungalows nestled in the tropical gardens or on the beach, right over the lagoon
- Sample mouth-watering delights at a wide selection of dining options from flavours of the Orient to Mediterranean delights
Treat yourself to an Maldivian experience like no other in North Malé
- Spectacular all-inclusive package available - Unlimited food & drink, sunset cruise, non-motorized watersports and discounted spa treatments!
- Regarded as having some of the best coral reefs and finest marine life in the Maldives
- Impressive luxury rooms with everything you'd expect from a luxury 4-star resort
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