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Southern Atolls

The Southern Atolls have a justified reputation for independent mindedness. In 1959, the southernmost atolls broke away from Male's rule to form the short-lived United Suvadive Republic before being forcibly taken back under the control of the central government a few years later.

The past few years have seen dozens of new resorts opening here, as well as several new airports, making the entire region very well connected to the capital. Outside the resorts, the Southern Atolls have largely retained a traditional way of life, though guesthouses – now operating on many inhabited islands – have brought new perspectives on the world, foreign visitors and change to the region.

Live-aboards explore the south's pristine dive sites, while surfing boats visit the most remote breaks of the most remote atolls, such as Gaafu Dhaalu and Addu. Welcome to the dreamily perfect world of the southern Maldives.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southern Atolls.