Atolls of the Maldives

The Maldives, a tropical paradise situated in the Indian Ocean, is renowned for its stunning atolls, which are ring-shaped coral reefs encapsulating lagoons. These atolls are the defining feature of the archipelago’s geography, distinguishing it as a unique destination for travelers and marine life enthusiasts.

Scattered across the turquoise waters, the Maldives offer a glimpse into a vibrant underwater world, supporting an incredible diversity of marine species and delicate ecosystems.

Formed from the remnants of submerged volcanic islands, these coral structures have taken thousands of years to develop into the breathtaking landscapes seen today.A

The Maldives is made up of 26 natural atolls comprising over 1,000 small islands, each with its own character and charm. They are not only a source of natural beauty but also the foundation of the Maldivian way of life, influencing local culture, cuisine, and traditions.

Atolls such as Baa, Raa, and Lhaviyani have become key attractions for the archipelago’s booming tourism industry. Visitors can explore the shallow lagoons with gentle tides, perfect for snorkeling, diving, and observing an array of tropical fish and coral species. Above the water, the islands are just as captivating, with white sandy beaches and lush vegetation offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life

Map of Atolls in the Maldives

The atolls of the Maldives truly embody a paradise on earth for those seeking tranquility and natural splendor.

Maldives atoll map

The 20 Administrative Atolls In Maldives

The Maldives comprises 20 administrative atolls, each with its unique geography and cultural heritage. These atolls host a variety of local communities and are the geographical divisions for the decentralized administration of the archipelago.

Haa Alifu Atoll – Thiladhunmathee Uthuruburi

Haa Alifu, the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, consists of 43 islands. It is often recognized for its historical significance and natural beauty.

Haa Dhaalu Atoll – Thiladhunmathee Dhekunuburi

South of Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu has 23 inhabited islands and is known for its coral stone mosques.

Shaviyani Atoll – Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi

Shaviyani Atoll, also in the north, comprises 51 islands, offering pristine lagoons and rich underwater life.

Noonu Atoll – Miladhunmadulu Dhekunuburi

With its luxury resorts, Noonu Atoll attracts visitors to its 71 islands for tourism and recreation.

Raa Atoll – Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi

Raa Atoll is home to 88 islands featuring vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine biodiversity.

Baa Atoll – Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi

Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, has 75 islands and is renowned for its unique underwater ecosystems.

Lhaviyani Atoll – Faadhippolhu

Lhaviyani Atoll is made up of 54 islands and is a hub for watersports and diving activities.

Kaafu Atoll – Malé Atholhu

Kaafu Atoll includes the capital Malé and its neighboring islands, making up 107 islands that are the administrative and economic center of Maldives. The atoll is also known to have some of the best surf breaks in Maldives.

The administrative division of Malé or Kaafu Atoll includes the geographical or natural atolls of North Malé Atoll, South Malé Atoll, Gaafaru Atoll, and Kaashidhoo Island. 

Alif Alif Atoll – Ari Atholhu Uthuruburi

Alif Alif Atoll also known north ari atoll, with its 33 islands, is celebrated for its dive sites and luxury resort accommodations.

Alif Dhaalu Atoll – Ari Atholhu Dhekunuburi

Adjacent to Alif Alif, Alif Dhaalu Atoll (south ari atoll) includes 30 islands known for their picturesque water villas and coral gardens.

Vaavu Atoll – Felidhu Atholhu

The administrative Vaavu Atoll is made up of Felidhu Atoll and the Vattaru Reef. The atoll is composed of 19 islands, attracting travelers seeking tranquility and excellent fishing spots.

Meemu Atoll – Mulaku Atholhu

With 33 islands, Meemu Atoll is a favorite destination for its traditional culture and untouched natural beauty.

Faafu Atoll – Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi

Faafu Atoll, a group of 23 islands, offers a serene atmosphere and is celebrated for its rich traditions.

Dhaalu Atoll – Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi

Dhaalu Atoll encompasses 56 islands and is admired for its flourishing arts and crafts scene.

Thaa Atoll – Kolhumadulu Atholhu

Thaa Atoll, consisting of 67 islands, is famous for its untouched beaches and local handicrafts.

Laamu Atoll – Hadhdhummathi Atholhu

Laamu Atoll contains 82 islands and is significant for its historical ruins and vibrant underwater life.

Gaafu Alif Atoll – Huvadhu Atholhu Uthuruburi

As part of the largest natural atoll in the world, Gaafu Alif has 82 islands and is revered for its diverse marine habitats.

Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll – Huvadhu Atholhu Dhekunuburi

Gaafu Dhaalu, with 153 islands, provides visitors with authentic local experiences and secluded island retreats.

Gnaviyani Atoll – Fuvahmulah

Gnaviyani Atoll consists of just one island, Fuvahmulah, unique in its geological formation as a solitary island atoll.

Seenu Atoll – Addu Atholhu

Seenu Atoll, the southernmost atoll, with 23 islands, holds historical importance as a former British naval and airbase.

Natural Atolls

The Maldivian archipelago is famed for its stunning natural atolls, each with distinct qualities that contribute to the overall beauty of the nation. These ring-shaped coral reefs are home to vibrant marine life and offer unique landscapes above and below the water.

Rasdhoo Atoll

Rasdhoo Atoll is known for its pristine waters and is a hotspot for divers seeking encounters with pelagic fish. The atoll contains a few inhabited islands, with Rasdhoo Island being the capital.

Goidhoo Atoll

Goidhoo Atoll, often called Horsburgh Atoll, features three main islands and is celebrated for its lush vegetation. It is less populous, making it an ideal spot for a tranquil getaway.

Gaafaru Atoll

Gaafaru Atoll is a single island atoll famous for its historical shipwrecks. Divers flock here to explore the depths that tell stories of the past.

Makunudhoo Atoll

Makunudhoo Atoll stands out due to its oval shape and is one of the westernmost atolls. Being somewhat isolated, it maintains a serene environment with a traditional Maldivian character.

Thoddoo Island

Thoddoo Island is a lush agricultural land, famous for its watermelon cultivation. It doubles as a natural atoll, offering stunning beaches and dive sites.

Kaashidhoo Island

Kaashidhoo Island is the largest island in the Kaashidhoo Atoll and is pivotal in Maldivian agriculture. The natural atoll structure contributes significantly to the island’s protection and abundance.