Where is the Maldives?

Updated: 2023-03-08T09:59:00.000Z
Where is the Maldives?

The Maldives is a remote island nation located in the Indian Ocean.

The independent country is approximately 600km (380 miles) to the south-west of India and Sri Lanka. It's part of Asia.


The Maldives is not a single land mass, but rather 1192 individual islands scattered across an area almost 900km in length and 90,000 square kilometres in size. Islands are naturally grouped into rings called atolls.

All 1,192 islands combined have an area of just 298km², making the Maldives the smallest country in Asia.

By comparison:

  • Sri Lanka is 65,610km²
  • The island of Hawaii covers 10,430km²
  • Bali has an area of 5,780km²
  • Malta is 316km²
  • Manhattan is 59.1km²

Despite land making up only 0.33% of the Maldives the majority of islands - around 800 - are uninhabited. There are 189 inhabited islands[1] plus 169 resort islands as of 2023.

The remaining 99.67% of the Maldives is water, which is home to 5% of the world's coral reefs and thousands of species of marine life.

Maldives Map

Our interactive world map shows you exactly where the Maldives is:

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Getting to the Maldives

Over 1.8 million people visit the Maldives every year, and nearly all of them enter the country through Velana International Airport, close to the capital city of Malé.

The region is particularly well connected by the big Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Qatar, which operate connecting flights from the international hubs of Dubai and Doha respectively.

Flight times to the Maldives (MLE) are just over 4 hours from Dubai (DXB), and just under 5 hours from Doha (DOH). Some visitors transit via Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka which is just 1.5 hours from Malé.

Some countries also have direct flights to the Maldives:

  • London to Malé, takes 10-11 hours with British Airways, but note they don't fly this route all year round.
  • Mumbai to Malé, usually 3 hours with a choice of carriers.
  • Singapore to Malé, approximately 4.5 hours with Singapore Airlines or Saudia Airlines.
  • Istanbul to Malé, 8-9 hours with Turkish Airlines.

Once you're in the Maldives you'll still need to get to your resort. Our favourite way to go is by seaplane, but speedboat and domestic flights are also options.


Which country is the Maldives in?

The Maldives is an independent country with its own people, culture, currency and laws. It is not part of any another country.

Where is the capital of the Maldives?

The capital of the Maldives is Malé (pronounced mah-lay). The island city is located on the southern rim of the North Malé Atoll.

Where is the Maldives airport?

The main airport for the Maldives is Velana International. It's located directly next to Malé on a separate island in the North Malé Atoll. The two islands are now linked by a bridge.


[1] The President's Office, Maldives Government. Maldives Inhabited Islands, retrieved 2023-03-01
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