If you visit any travel forum and ask about a perfect island getaway, you’ll notice an interesting thing. Commenters will instantly divide into two camps, trying to convince you to choose either the Maldives or Seychelles. A lonely voice here and there might suggest Zanzibar (which I’ve already written about HERE), Bali or Mauritius. Sadly, nobody will pay much attention to those suggestions, as the main battle unfolds. Funnily enough, most of the “choose the Maldives!” people have never been to Seychelles, and vice versa. 😀
Since I’ve been fortunate enough to visit both destinations, I thought it might be a good idea to shed some light on this subject from my own perspective. Or rather, put some fuel to the fire, because I also have a strong opinion about which destination is a better choice. 😀
Looking from the perspective of someone living in Qatar. Both destinations can be reached from Doha with a direct flight, which is amazing. It takes a bit less than 5h to get to the Maldives, while a flight to Seychelles is approx. 45min longer. You can expect to pay slightly more for a flight to Seychelles, but that’s justified by the difference in distance. Last time I checked, you could expect to pay around QAR 3,300-3,700 for an adult ticket if you planned to travel in December.
What makes the difference then? For one thing, it is not uncommon to experience strong turbulence along the route to Seychelles (a pilot friend of mine mentioned that it’s quite normal on this itinerary). We did, and it was not the finest of my moments (trying to fill in the visa application card while desperately stopping myself from throwing up on it instead).
Another aspect that could make a big difference, especially if you’re traveling with overtired kids: I found the immigration and baggage claim process to be much quicker and more effective in Male Airport.
Looking for accommodation in the Maldives? Think: fancy all-inclusive resorts on private islands. That’s the thing. If you’re going with kids, you’ll be looking for a place to stay at a decent standard. In the Maldives, it basically has to be a hotel or a resort. Most of them are simply amazing but come with a hefty price tag. On the other side of the spectrum, you have quite basic beach inns, which are a good option for solo travelers or couples on a budget. In my opinion, the Maldives lack mid-range accommodation options. It has to be mentioned that we did manage to found one though! Ranveli Village Resort was a great place to spend our short break.
In Seychelles, on the other hand, you can find an abundance of amazing guesthouses with a much lower price tag. What’s also worth mentioning is that you can run across wonderful accommodation at a very reasonable price only because it doesn’t have its own beach access. This, by the way, is not an issue at all, as the most beautiful beaches in Seychelles are public and that’s where most tourists go, too! We stayed in Colibri Guest House, which I can recommend for its five-star views and an authentic feel to it. It’s one of the “beach-less” properties so not really expensive! Also, they make the best orange & passion fruit juice. 🙂
Summing up, even though technically you will find more accommodation choice in the Maldives, options are definitely more diverse in Seychelles.
There has to be a clear winner here. 🙂
The Maldives is a typical beach getaway destination. The beaches are beautiful, with soft white sand and crystal clear water. In every resort, there are plenty of water sport options to choose from (we did snorkeling and kayaking, enjoyed both!). Unfortunately, that’s mostly it (unless you wanna count spa treatments as holiday activity 😉 ). You do have a couple more options if you decide to stay on the main island (Male). However, in my humble opinion staying there means losing the feel of what the Maldives is all about – beautiful resorts hidden away on small secluded islands. 🙂
In Seychelles, it’s next to impossible to be bored! The beaches are amazing too (Source d’Argent and La Digue beaches are internationally recognized as ones of the most beautiful beaches in the world). But there are so many other things to do! Our favorite activities included hiking in Fond Ferdinand (featuring climbing up to an amazing viewpoint) as well as exploring Vallee de Mai (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mind you). We also really enjoyed biking around the beautiful La Digue Island as well as visiting giant tortoises at Curieuse Island. We did have a guide throughout most of the activities, the wonderful Nigel from New Indigo Seychelles. He tailored day trip activities for us, based on what we mentioned we’d like to do. Indigo team have their own boat, so island hopping is no issue at all – the sky is the limit. 🙂
Winner: Seychelles, hands down!
There are luxurious resorts in Seychelles (check out especially Raffles, it is spectacular although we were in no position to afford it, so had to settle on grabbing lunch there at one point 😀 ), but when it comes to luxury, there’s no place like the Maldives. There, you get countless options to choose from, all oozing glamour and opulence. As mentioned before, we went for mid-range alternatives in both destinations, so you will have to do your own research. This might help:
One thing is for sure – the Maldives offer a much bigger choice in that department.
Both destinations are perfect to travel with children and there’s no clear winner in this category.
In the Maldives, luxury resorts usually offer kids clubs, and often even provide babysitters upon request (check with them before you book!). Plus the beach is always a win with little humans!
In Seychelles, there’s an abundance of off-the-beach activities to choose from (think: nature reserves, botanical gardens, bike riding etc.). I’ve mentioned some of them above, they’re all suitable for kids!
Sorry, Team Maldives! If given a choice to visit again the Maldives or Seychelles, I would jump on a plane to Seychelles, without any hesitation. 🙂
This is mostly due to the versatility of this destination and an abundance of things to do there! I do acknowledge though that if you’re a fan of chilling on a beach in a luxury resort and not doing much else, the Maldives will probably work better for you. 🙂