Dotted across the clear azure waters of the Indian Ocean, the 26 major atolls of the Maldives account for over 1,000 islands, of which 200 are inhabited. Between them, they are escapism in the most accurate form, with kaleidoscopic coral reefs, crystal clear lagoons, and pristine beaches found almost everywhere.
The population of the Maldives is not quite 400,000. Still, each year the island chain welcomes over a million people to experience its paradise-like charms. It has some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities globally, and visitors can even dine in an undersea restaurant or stay in an underwater hotel.