High season in Maldives, with Europeans coming for their winter holidays. The first week sees the end of the festive season, which means some minimum stay requirements might exist at some resorts. Expect perfect sunny days.
New Year's Day
The year begins with a day off to celebrate the start of the new year.
The peak of Maldives high season, February is a superb time to visit, with gorgeous sunny days and clear waters for snorkelling and diving. Chinese new year sees a brief but noticeable surge in tourist numbers.
This holiday celebrates the expulsion of the Malabars from India. The occupiers were expelled by Sultan Hassan Izzuddeen after their brief occupation in 1752. Calculated using the lunar calendar, its dates for the next few years are 8 February 2019, 28 January 2020 and 16 January 2021.
High season rumbles on, with accommodation booked out across the country. When Easter falls in this month, expect price hikes for the European school holidays. Weather remains idyllic with perfect conditions for snorkelling and diving.
Start of low season still sees quite a few crowds, especially over the holidays in Europe. Room prices drop and the weather is less predictable as the rainy season begins, though the sea is at its warmest.
Commemorating all Maldivian martyrs, this holiday is marked on the day Sultan Ali VI died at the hands of the Portuguese in 1558. Calculated using the lunar calendar, its dates for the next few years are 06 April 2019, 25 March 2020 and 14 March 2021.
Surf season begins in North and South Male Atolls, which sees surfers flocking to resorts and guesthouses with good access to the breaks. This is the coolest time of the year weatherwise. Whale shark spotting season begins.
The Islamic month of fasting is an important religious occasion that starts on a new moon and continues for 28 days. Expected starting dates for the next few years are: 5 May 2019, 23 April 2020 and 12 April 2021.
Rainfalls are frequent in June, but clear skies are common and temperatures warm. Surf season continues in North & South Male Atoll and room rates remain low. Manta ray spotting season begins in the Northern Atolls.
Kuda Eid marks the end of Ramazan, with the sighting of the new moon in Mecca, and is celebrated with a feast and family gatherings. Expected dates for the next few years are: 4 June 2019, 23 May 2020 and 12 May 2021.
Surf season begins in Gnaviyani Atoll, and there is a rise in visitors to coincide with the European summer holidays. Weather remains warm, but storms are not uncommon.
Independence Day Celebrates the ending of the British protectorate (in 1965) on 26 and 27 July and sees floats and dancing children on Male's Jamhooree Maidan
Despite being the rainy season, August is a busy month with school holidays in many countries. Surf season ends in Gnaviyani Atoll, but starts in Gaafu Dhaal and Addu Atoll, so many surfers simply move on.
Also called Festival of the Sacrifice, this religious holiday begins 66 days after the end of Ramazan and is the time when many Muslims begin the pilgrimage (haj) to Mecca. Calculated using the lunar calendar, it starts on 12 August 2019, 31 July 2020 and July 20 2021.
Height of the rainy season and peak low season, September's a good time for surfers and travellers more interested in cultural exchange and activities than the perfect tan. Rain remains common, though temperatures average a pleasant 27°C.
The last month of the low season, October marks the end of the wet monsoon, but you can expect severe storms and highly unpredictable weather. The surf remains excellent across the country and accommodation prices are low.
This holiday commemorates the day Mohammed Thakurufaanu and his men overthrew the Portuguese on Male in 1578 in a mutiny that saw the islands regain independence. Calculated using the lunar calendar, future dates include 29 October 2019, 20 October 2020 and 9 October 2021.
November is shoulder season, when prices start to rise again, although weather is still unpredictable and can rain for days, even though it's hot and humid. Manta ray season comes to an end at Hanifaru Bay.
Victory Day celebrates the victory over the Sri Lankan mercenaries who tried to overthrow the Maldivian government in 1988. A military march is followed by lots of schoolchildren doing drills and traditional dances, and more entertaining floats and costumed processions on 3 November.
Republic Day commemorates the foundation of the current republic, founded in 1968 on 11 November. This is celebrated in Male with lots of pomp, brass bands and parades. Sometimes the following day is also a holiday.
The birthday of the Prophet Mohammed is celebrated with three days of eating and merriment. The approximate start dates for the next few years are 9 November 2019, 28 October 2020 and 18 October 2021.
Although the weather isn't as predictable as in January, you can expect lots of sunshine, but little rain. The festive season, which brings with it surcharges and minimum stay requirements at some resorts, is a popular time for Europeans.