A Guide To Getting Around The Maldives

Published on: Feb 18, 2021
Alyce Gibson
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The Maldives is considered to be the very definition of paradise – and for good reason! 

There are no traffic jams, day after day of clear skies and the beaches are wonderfully secluded and peaceful – perfect for that romantic getaway or quiet trip as a family. 

When it comes to airport transfers, you won't need to worry about packed buses or unreliable taxis once you arrive either. With Best at Travel return transfers are always included, whether it’s by seaplane, speedboat or domestic flight.

It's safe to say that transport in the Maldives is either very fast or rather slow, there's very little in between. But, getting to your resort is just part of the fun of your holiday when you choose to travel to the Maldives. Here, we've given you a breakdown of the options available for your airport transfers and detailed just some of the ways you can get around upon arrival. 

Airport transfers – How to get to your resort in the Maldives 

Nearly all visitors coming to the Maldives will arrive into Malé International Airport (also known as Velana International Airport), which is served by frequent flights from a wide variety of destinations around the world including the UK direct flights are available from London with British Airways. Once you arrive, you'll need to make your way to your resort, which is likely on another island altogether! Here are just a few ways to get to your final destination.  

By sea – speedboat or ferry 

Boats take the place of cars when it comes to travel within the Maldives, with most locals opting for inexpensive public ferries or semi-private speedboats. 

Many visitors also use private charter speedboats which provide a fast, direct service between the various islands, although the convenience does come at a greater cost. What could be more fun than a dashing ride over the water to your island resort in a luxury speedboat?

All of the islands in the Maldives are connected by ferry, so if you do fancy island hopping this is likely the easiest way to get around but may require some careful planning to ensure you can get back to your resort with ease. 

By air – seaplane or domestic flight

Another option for reaching more far-flung resort islands is via seaplane. Be aware, however, that many boats and seaplanes do not operate at night, so you may have to spend a night in Malé if your flight arrives late or departs early. 

There are three terminals in Malé airport: an international terminal, a domestic terminal for flights within the Maldives and a seaplane terminal. 


Seaplanes are a popular choice when it comes to transport across the Maldivian islands and are a fun experience. They can carry around 15 tourists at a time, quickly and easily and don't require landing strips, as they land directly on the water. These planes are typically very small – many people can't stand upright in them! – but the compact seats are worth it for the incredible views of the islands as you fly to your resort. 

Your luggage is usually placed at the back of the seaplane in a small compartment or strapped in place to ensure it doesn't slide around during take-off and landing. 

If you've opted for a seaplane, when you arrive at Malé airport, you'll need to find the check-in counter for the company you have a flight booked with. There are two companies to choose from, Maldives Air Taxi and Trans Maldivan Airways. These should be easy to find with lit-up signs to look out for within the arrivals terminal. 

Domestic flight 

Domestic flights typically operate at night, when seaplanes do not, and these planes can take anywhere between 35 to 60 people. This means that no matter when you arrive in the Maldives, you'll always find a way to reach your resort. You can also opt for a combination of a domestic flight and a speedboat – you'll definitely be arriving in style. 

Domestic flights can take you to 16 regional airports across the islands and there may be a couple of hours wait before you can board once you arrive in the Maldives. The domestic airline terminal is a short walk from the main arrival terminal at Malé airport, so you shouldn't need to run for your connecting flight. 

Do I need to book Maldives airport transfers separately?

If you’re booking your Maldives holiday with Best at Travel we will always include return transfers in the price and advise you which method of transportation is available – you may have a choice of seaplane or speedboat depending on your resort. 

In addition, most resorts in the Maldives can help arrange tours or private boat or plane charters for sightseeing and diving.

How to get around islands in the Maldives 

Islands in the Maldives are relatively small, and easy to explore on foot or even by bicycle – which many resorts offer either complimentary with your room, suite or villa or at an additional cost.

The only locations where you may need to use a car or a motorbike to get from A to B are the island cities of Malé, Hulhumale and Fuvahmulah. 

How to get from the airport to Malé city 

If you want to check out the city of Malé before you head to your resort – take a look at our guide here that features inspiration for things to do – then you have a few options:  

  • Public ferry – We believe that the ferry is the best option. The ferry leaves every 10 minutes from Malé airport and is very cheap. You'll need to stop by the Public Ferry counter to buy a ticket and the staff there can direct you where to go next. Bear in mind that only three pieces of luggage are allowed per ticket, so you may need to pay a little more if you haven't packed light! 
  • Bus – You'll need to take the bridge bus and this stops on the south-west side of the city. 
  • Taxi – A taxi will take you across the recently built Sinámalé China Maldives Friendship Bridge, directly into the city. 

Feeling clued up when it comes to airport transfers and getting to your resort? Take a look at our range of Maldives holidays to find the perfect luxury break.

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