Exotic and utterly romantic, both the Maldives and Seychelles are among the world’s dreamiest destinations. They come surrounded by mesmerizing, diamond-glinting waters and sands of such pristine white you’ll have to squint to see them. Many think of these island chains as strictly honeymoon destination resorts. However, either the Maldives or Seychelles is just as suitable for adventure seekers, families, and group travel…
They are lands where tropical coral reefs frame white-sand beaches, where idyllic islands topped with coconut trees slope straight out of turquoise waters, where sea turtles and basking sharks meet along the shores, and deluxe hotels with infinity pools beckon those on the hunt for luxury. But where should you go?
That’s where this guide comes in. It will delve into several aspects of both destinations to help you choose the one that’s right for you and your travel crew this year. We’ll look at everything from the general vibe to the ease of getting there, and even touch on the food offering and the cost of a trip to both places. Let’s get started…
Maldives vs Seychelles: Overall vibe
For that unrivaled luxurious stay, it is the Maldives that reigns supreme. Relaxing vibes radiate across these islands. However, the overall vibe is very “resort–y”. While other people do come here, the Maldives is the most popular destination for a honeymoon arguably on the planet and it shows. It’s worth remembering that privately owned hotels have only been allowed to operate here in the last 10 years, so budget-friendly, casual stays are relatively new still.
On the other hand, visiting Seychelles is more flexible and diverse. You are not so dependent on where you are staying, since most of the islands are lived-in, not just dominated by a resort hotel. You’ll be able to head out and find local restaurants and bars if that’s what you’re after. While there is more energy in Seychelles, it is still a quiet and reserved destination.
The Maldives is influenced more by South Asia. That means the capital has unique curry houses and there’s plenty of places to sample spicy food. The Seychelles, meanwhile, are influenced more by France and Africa, so you get bakeries and crunchy croissants in the morning, along with fine-dining establishments that wouldn’t look out of place in Paris.
Maldives vs Seychelles: Getting there and around
Both the Maldives and Seychelles are far-flung destinations in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Seychelles is roughly 930 miles off the coast of East Africa and the Maldives sit 620 miles from the tip of southern India. So, as you can imagine, getting to either isn’t going to be the easiest.
Getting to and around Seychelles is slightly more straightforward than the Maldives. Seychelles International Airport is connected to Nairobi, Paris, and the Middle East with multiple airlines operating into the runways. Flights from Nairobi (on the mainland) take around 3 hours to the main island, Mahe. Mahe is a good place to stay to remain close to the airport and is home to some of the best hotels in Seychelles. An additional domestic flight or ferry may be required if travelers are staying on these other islands:
- Grand Anse
- La Digue
- Silhouette Island
When it comes to getting to the Maldives, the flight from Sri Lanka’s capital in Colombo to the main island, Male, is only an hour long. Big airlines, like Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, fly here with stopovers in India and the Middle East. However, Male island is not the picturesque setting you probably have in mind and not many tourists choose to stay here, unlike Seychelles’ first island. To reach the iconic bungalows hanging over the water, you need to hop across via speedboat or seaplane to travel between islands in the Maldives. That’s usually something that’s organized by your chosen resort.
Maldives vs Seychelles: Landscape
Despite the fact they are both tropical paradises, a whopping 1,300 miles separate the two island chains. They are both situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean but actually have pretty differing geography and landscapes.
The Maldives is made up of thousands of tiny islands and low-lying reefs covering a whopping area of 90,000 square kilometers. Most of the interest lies beneath the water within the vibrant and thriving reefs. But as far as the land goes, the Maldives only offers beautiful beaches with sugar white sand and the odd palm tree swaying in the ocean breeze.
If you want to see an interesting landscape then you need to head to Seychelles. 115 larger islands make up this nation. They are loaded with dramatic geology, dense rainforests, and diverse nature reserves (as well as gorgeous beaches and clear waters). Mountains and cliffs give the edge to Seychelles for this category!
Maldives vs Seychelles: Beaches
Clearly, you love beautiful beaches! Both of these destinations offer stunning stretches of sand with the Indian Ocean lapping at the shoreline, often dubbed as some of the best beaches in the world. However, there are some clear differences in the grain of sand that make the beaches in the Maldives and Seychelles incredible in thier own, different ways.
The Maldives offer dreamy sugar-white sand, warm waters, and desert island scenes. If you are searching for the perfect beach, then any of the sandy stretches across the country’s tiny atolls will be ideal. There are miles upon miles of undisturbed beaches; stretches that are completely untouched by civilization and other sections where you will only be disturbed by a waiter asking if you want another cocktail! The extensive coral reefs surrounding provide a natural barrier to the tiny islands. This maintains calm waters, provides the idyllic tropical paradise we all dream of, and gives the Maldives the most beautiful beaches.
Seychelles’ beaches are equally spectacular. However, they are far more rugged and provide rawer scenery. The sandy beaches have a deep golden hue with sea-swept cliffs and horizon lines around every corner. One of the most iconic beaches in Seychelles is Anse Source d’Argent. There you will be greeted by shallow waters splashing up against prehistoric granite boulders and a gorgeous stretch of golden sand.
Winner: Draw. The beaches in both places are, quite rightly, famous all around the globe!
Maldives vs Seychelles: Weather
Tropical islands situated near the equator are superb year-round destinations. Warm temperatures and endless sunshine are consistent. Although, there are some seasonal patterns to note, making some periods of the year more desirable to have the best weather in either Seychelles or the Maldives.
|Best Season||November – April||June – September|
|Wet Season||May – October||December – March|
Shoulder seasons on either side of the peak season are always a good time to visit the Maldives or Seychelles. Temperatures will be slightly cooler, but still pleasant, and most places will still be open to serve food, drinks, and activities. Visiting either place in the wet season will give you discounted room rates at the cost of short and intense rainstorms.
There is no clear winner for us when it comes to choosing based on the climate. The Maldives has a longer and warmer peak season, though the shoulder seasons are not as reliable as Seychelles.
Maldives vs Seychelles: Things to do
Sandy beaches are at the center of what both the Maldives and Seychelles offer to holidaymakers. It is no surprise that beach relaxation is one of the top things to do at both destinations!
Things to do in the Maldives are mainly based around the resorts. Some offer tennis courts, swimming pools, movie theatres, and activity-packed kids clubs. However, things to do in the Maldives are limited due to the small landmass. Many people opt to head out on a dive boat to explore reefs or, when the season allows, surf the beautiful and uncrowded waves.
Seychelles offers everything the Maldives does and more. There are vibrant reefs to explore underwater and tropical waves to surf reached by boat. But the difference is on land. Diverse flora, fauna, and a hilly landscape make Seychelles fantastic for nature lover’s to explore. From hiking trails to dense rainforests and coastal mangroves, this paradise is perfect to get out and discover the natural beauty of the world. Make sure you climb Morne Seychellois, located in the Morne Seychellois National Park. This peak stands a staggering 3,000 feet above sea level and gives you the best views across the islands.
Maldives vs Seychelles: Accommodation
Iconic overwater villas, private island resorts, and uber-luxury are what these two beautiful destinations are known for. However, both Seychelles and Maldives have an assortment of accommodation types to suit a range of budgets. Seychelles offers tidy guesthouses as well as luxurious spa resorts. The Maldives also has plenty of affordable hotels (and places to stay targeted toward surfers) dotted across the deserted islands.
Overall, the Maldives has more accommodation options than Seychelles. There are over 700 to choose from listed on booking.com, while Seychelles has just under 600 properties listed. And it may be hard to believe, but there is a bigger range of cheaper places to stay in the Maldives that don’t compromise on quality than in Seychelles!
Need some inspiration on where to stay? Check these places out:
|Under $500/week||Akiri Surf Residence||Beau Vallon Villa Apartments|
|Under $2000/week||Mi Lugar Maldives||Le Bonheur Villa|
|Above $5000/week||Raffles Maldives Meradhoo||Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island|
Many of the hotels in the Maldives and Seychelles include at least breakfast in the room rate. While we can all dream of the incredible private plunge pools and slides into the ocean from a bungalow hanging over the water, there are other places to stay that make these Indian Ocean islands more affordable and accessible for lower budgets.
Maldives vs Seychelles: Food
As island nations, both Seychelles and the Maldives depend heavily on seafood. While there are some basic crossovers, each place has a distinct flavor to provide tourists. Breakfasts are typically included in resort stays and consist of tropical fruits.
Seychellois cuisine is heavily influenced by African culture with some elements of French and Indian cooking. There are plenty of spices, including ginger, lemongrass, coriander, and tamarind, along with fresh coconut and local fruits. Curried meats, lentils, and vegetables, as well as rice, are in abundance. A few local specialties include:
- Bat curry – a delicacy in Seychelles, and yes, it really is made with fruit bats.
- Ladob – eaten sweet or savory. The sweet version is ripe plantain and sweet potatoes boiled with coconut milk, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla, resulting in soft fruit and a creamy sauce. The savory option uses salted fish, cooked in a similar way as the sweet, with plantain, cassava, and breadfruit, but using salt instead of sugar.
- Shark chutney – shark is (unfortunately) on the menu in Seychelles, so may not be for everyone. Boiled, skinned, and finely mashed, then cooked with squeezed bilimbi juice, lime, fried onion, and spices.
Maldivian cuisine draws upon Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine. So expect plenty of spice, rice, and coconut throughout the dishes. Tuna is one of the most common fish served, though you will find a diverse range of other delicious shellfish and seafood. Gulha is the national dish and a choice snack for locals. It’s a deep-fried pastry ball filled with smoked fish such as Maldive fish or tuna, along with desiccated coconut and onions. Other meats are traditionally served for special occasions, although resort restaurants will offer a range to suit most tastes.
Maldives vs Seychelles: Price
We all know that the Maldives is expensive. Seychelles isn’t that far behind it either! However, these typically luxurious destinations can be traveled to on a tighter budget with costs cut on premium accommodation, alcohol, and dining out. Here is a comparison table to breakdown the costs of an average vacation to each place:
|Cost for 1 week/person||$1,676||$1,079|
There are other factors you need to consider when carrying out your own research. Think about the price of flights and travel insurance as these will affect the overall cost of your trip to Seychelles or Maldives.
Conclusion, Maldives or Seychelles?
Choosing between the Maldives and Seychelles seems like an impossible task at first. However, breaking it down and considering all the different factors that make up your trip can be a good way to decide the tropical paradise that’s right for you. The good news is that both places are pretty awesome. They each come with those paradise beaches of sugar-soft sand, boast coral gardens for snorkelers, and have idyllic bays laced with coconut trees. The Seychelles has more of a lived-in feel than the Maldives, which means it’s better for culture lovers. The Maldives is more of a resort destination that’s great for folks looking to be pampered from the moment they check in. The Maldives is a touch harder to get to, though, and the Seychelles is probably just a little cheaper overall.