Regions in Maldives
The Maldives consist of 26 atolls, or atholhu in dhivehi – the origin of the English word. These are not individual islands, but huge ring-shaped coral formations hundreds of kilometres wide, fragmented into countless islands.
Naming the atolls is complex, as the atolls have both long traditional Dhivehi names such as Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi and snappy code names such as Baa, which refer to administrative regions and can consist of more than one geographical atoll. The code names are actually just the letters of the Dhivehi alphabet, but because they are easier for non-Maldivians to remember and pronounce, the code names are popular in the travel industry and are therefore used here. Of the 20 administrative atoll groups, only (parts of) 10 are open to tourism, and from north to south these are:
- Lhaviyani (Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi)
- Raa (Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi)
- Baa (Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)
- Kaafu (North and South Male Atoll). Location of the capital Male and the airport, home to most Maldivian resorts.
- Alifu (Ari). To the west of Kaafu, the second most popular group.
- Vaavu (Felidhu)
- Meemu (Mulak)
- Faafu (Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi)
- Dhaalu (Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi)
- Seenu (Addu). The southernmost atoll, the second largest in population and home to Gan International Airport.
Cities in Maldives
- Male – the capital and largest city
- Seenu – second largest city and short-lived home of the Suvadive secessionist movement
Other destinations in Maldives
- Kuredu – one of the inhabited islands of Lhaviyani Atoll
- Rasdhoo – small inhabited island and the capital of North Ari Atoll
- Ukulhas – small, 1 km long island of Alif Alif Atoll