The Maldives vs Seychelles: Which Destination is Calling For You?

At first glance when comparing the Maldives vs Seychelles, both of these destinations look to offer the same experience: sitting on pristine beaches sipping fruity cocktails, or endless snorkelling opportunities in turquoise waters. The two may not be near each other – you’ll find them over 2,000 kilometres apart – but you may think you could have the same vacation in either country! Don’t be fooled, though: there’s far more to the Maldives and Seychelles than meets the eye.

It’s time to dive deeper, and explore which sun-kissed, Indian Ocean destination is calling for your next tour!  

Hut overlooking the water in the Maldives

Spend the night in a bungalow overlooking the Indian Ocean | © Ishan @seefromthesky/Unsplash

Republic of Maldives Republic of Seychelles
Capital CityMaleVictoria
CurrencyMaldivian rufiyaa Seychellois rupee
LanguageDhivehi, and English is widely spokenSeychellois Creole, English and French
Population436,330 (2017)95,843 (2017)

Maldives

Why you need to visit the Maldives

If the thought of powdery, white-sand beaches make your heart beat fast, we can assure you that the Maldives will undoubtedly deliver on the wow-factor you’re looking for. But if you’re worried that the Maldives are strictly for honeymooners, you’d be mistaken!

While the Maldives were once reserved exclusively for travellers with high-end budgets staying at luxury resorts, in the past few years tourism to the Maldives has shifted, and travellers even on a shoestring budget are taking notice of this idyllic spot just off the coast of Sri Lanka.

View of Male, the capital of the Maldives, from above

Spend time in the capital, Male | © timo/VisualHunt 

When to visit the Maldives

The Maldives boasts a humid, tropical climate year-round, and thanks to its position on the equator, the archipelago rarely sees any significant fluctuations in temperature. As for the best time to go, January to March is when the temperatures average between 25°C to 31°C  with clear, blue skies on most days and less frequent rainfall.

If you plan on visiting the Maldives over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, keep in mind that there will be a huge price spike, and most resorts will require a minimum of a five nights’ stay.

What to see or do in the Maldives

When you’re surrounded by the Indian Ocean that stretches to the horizon and beyond, water is sure to be a feature in most activities. Here are just some of the best things to see or do in the Maldives:

  • Go island hopping: Just because you’ve booked 7-nights at an island resort doesn’t mean you can’t leave to go exploring. Some of the best islands to visit for a day trip include Dhigurah, Maafushi, Fulidhoo, and Guraidhoo.
  • Learn about the history of the Maldives: When you need a break from lazing by the beach all day, visit the National Museum in Male which contains a collection of ancient artefacts, the National Art Gallery, the Mulee-Aage Palace, the Tsunami Monument, or  Sultan Park.
  • Spend time at the local markets: From fish markets to local produce markets, and smaller artisan markets, Male is filled with bustling shops where you’re bound to find a treasure to take home.
  • Explore beneath the surface: The Maldives are well and truly famed for their atolls and vibrant coral reefs, which make for some of the best diving or snorkelling spots in the world. Some of the best places to visit are in the Ari Atoll, where snorkelers and divers can enjoy warm, crystal-clear waters and the thousands of colourful fish that can be spotted near the islands of Vilamendhoo, Maafushivaru, Velidhu, Mirihi, Kandolhu or Bathala.
  • Learn to surf: As we said, the Maldives aren’t all about beachside cocktails, and there are plenty of surf spots for you to enjoy. Some of the best waves are at Coke’s Beach or Cinnamon Island Dhonveli, or, if you’re staying at the Six Senses Laamu, you can access the infamous Ying Yang break.
  • Enjoy the nightlife: The Maldives has some incredible unique nightlife for those looking to party the night away! Visit Subsix, the world’s first underwater nightclub, or kick back at one of many resort bars for a more lowkey experience.
Tsunami Monument in Maldives

Tsunami Monument in the Maldives |© David Stanley/Flickr

What to eat in the Maldives

  1. Boshi Mashuni: This Maldivian staple featuring shredded banana leaves and spices is a mix between a salsa and a salad, and is found in the more traditional restaurants in Male.
  2. Huni Roshi: Similar to a chapati bread, this dish can be ordered to accompany most meals.
  3. Bis Kamiya: A delicious, deep-fried, vegetable snack, similar to a spring roll – but better!  
  4. Garudhiya: This fragrant fish soup might not be suited to all travellers, but it’s most definitely worth a try if you’re feeling adventurous.
Three people snorkelling in the Maldives

Snorkelling is one of the best things to do in the Maldives | © Ishan /Unsplash

Seychelles

Why you need to visit Seychelles

Whether it’s an active adventure, a romantic getaway, a sailing cruise tour, or a solo escape, the Seychelles ticks all of the boxes, as the diverse and vibrant natural beauty is hard to beat. With 115 islands across the Indian Ocean, a trip here is the obvious choice for travellers who enjoy spending their time surrounded by nature with hardly another soul in sight. And the best part is that the islands seem to have escaped mass tourism.

However, its relatively off-the-beaten-track reputation may change shortly, as more and more travellers make their way to this archipelago.  

White sand beach with blue water

Relax on the beach in Seychelles | © Jean-Marie Hullot/Flickr

When to visit Seychelles

Thankfully, Seychelles is a year-round haven for travellers to lap up the sunshine and enjoys a humid, tropical climate where the temperatures are consistently high. As for the best time to visit, April, May, October, and November will mean fewer visitors and high temperatures, and the diving visibility is at its best across these months.

During the high season (December to March, and July through August), the temperatures will be extremely humid, and cyclone activity across the Indian Ocean may cause heavy, grey cloud-cover.

What to see or do in Seychelles

Don’t be tricked into thinking that Seychelles are limited to sunbathing by the beach or pool. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite activities to fill your days.

Seychelles boardwalk through forest

Explore Vallee de Mai, Praslin, Seychelles | © So Seychelles/Flickr

  • Spend the day sailing: The number one way to explore the surrounding islands is, of course, by boat. Take your pick from a private charter or a small group tour to see the very best diving or snorkelling spots on offer. Or, you can take a little picnic and stay on the boat as your skipper guides you around.
  • Dive, snorkel, dive, repeat: It’s no secret that the diving and snorkelling spots in Seychelles are among the best in the world, but you’ll need to know where to go first. La Digue, Praslin, and Mahé are known as the best places to start, and you can spot eagle rays, barracudas, groupers, and moray eels, to name a few. The good news for divers or snorkellers is that most motorised water sports are restricted for conservation reasons, which means divers and snorkelers can explore without any distractions.
  • Make time for the best tourist attractions: From the markets in Victoria to the Little Ben Clock Tower, or the Seychelles Natural History Museum, there are plenty of must-visit attractions.
  • Get in touch with nature: With a long tradition of conservation, travellers should visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Vallée de Mai National Park. For the more athletic bunch, Morne Seychellois National Park offers unrivaled hiking trails, and Sainte Anne Marine National Park is home to natural sights and plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities. Other noteworthy spots are Aldabra Island, where thousands of giant tortoises live, and Cousine Island; a designated bird and turtle reserve.

While The Maldives boasts several unique nightclubs, the nightlife in Seychelles is much more laid-back. You won’t find many clubs or casinos here, but some of the larger hotels will have bars and other evening entertainment, such as live shows and movies.

What to eat in Seychelles

  1. Ladob: This simple, yet delicious dessert featuring bananas or potato cooked in coconut milk is a must-try during your time in Seychelles.
  2. Octopus curry: A firm favourite between both visitors and locals, octopus curry is a must-try; and the unique seasoning of local spices is an experience you won’t want to miss.
  3. Grilled fish: When your living the island life, you must try grilled fish cooked with chillies over an open fire.

The Maldives vs Seychelles: which is best?

While the decision may feel impossible at first, there are certain considerations that may make it a little easier for you! If your dream trip includes a busy itinerary of diving and snorkelling while still enjoying a little luxury in a resort, the Maldives’ built-up tourism industry may be best for you. However, if resorts aren’t you’re thing and you’re looking to kick back and relax on pristine, secluded beaches, Seychelles may be calling your name! It’s important to carefully consider each destination and what they have to offer before making your decision, but one thing’s for sure: no matter which you choose, it’s sure to be an incredible escape!

What’s next on your must-visit list? Let us know in the comments below and inspire our community of travellers.