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It’s well-worth spending a day getting to know the colourful town of Male, the Maldivian capital. Start with the hustle and bustle of the traditional fishing boats being loaded and unloaded at Male’s harbour, before wandering over to the excellent market to see the island’s bountiful fresh produce on display. Don’t leave without sampling a sweet and refreshing coconut juice from one of the local vendors. Then, stop by the Hukuru Misikiiy Mosque, built over 350 years ago, with its delicate coral stone structure and intricate carvings. There are also some lovely local handicraft shops where, amongst other things, you can buy gorgeous jewellery made from local coral.

The Maldives are truly a little bit of paradise on earth, and offer you the opportunity to unwind, relax and escape the daily grind. The islands are the perfect place to find yourself doing nothing more strenuous than admiring the view, reading a great book and sipping cocktails from your own private sundeck. Many of the first-class resorts have in house spas offering a range of exotic and luxurious treatments. For something extra special, why not take a trip to the world’s first underwater spa, where your treatment takes place in an underwater cabin surrounded by tropical fish on all sides.

The Maldives boasts access to an enviable array of underwater and marine life, and for those who can’t sit on a sun lounger for too long, it also offers some excellent opportunities for thrilling water sports. Try windsurfing, wakeboarding or paragliding to get an amazing aerial view of the jewel like islands in the turquoise ocean. For those who want to delve deeper under the surface on a luxury holiday, there’s a fascinating underwater world waiting to be explored - the Maldives are famous for being home to manta rays and whale sharks.

Many of the resorts are situated on their own dedicated islands, surrounded by lush vegetation and tropical wildlife, with picture-perfect accommodation. The islands’ capital, Male, is a good base close to the action and conveniently situated for the airport. Here you’ll find luxury accommodation like the Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort which is surrounded by natural vegetation and palm trees. The other two thousand islands dotted around the Indian Ocean are accessible either by seaplane or by water taxi and each provides a tranquil escape and every possible luxury. For an unforgettable experience, opt for one of the beach villas such as those in LUX* Maldives, which sit on stilts out in an island lagoon, protected by the natural coral reef. As well as offering absolute privacy and perfect isolation, you can practically step out of bed and into the ocean.

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