Your quick reference guide as to what you can expect from The Maldives, where you need to go, why you should go, who should go and when you should go.

The Maldives are made up of a chain of nearly 1,200 coral islands, most of them uninhabited and none measuring more than 1.8 metres (six feet) above sea level. With its abundant sea life and sandy beaches, The Maldives are a tropical paradise.

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean to the south west of India and Sri Lanka. Visitors from the UK can fly direct to Male or via the Middle East, India or Sri Lanka. Upon arrival in the capital Male, guests are whisked off to their resort by speedboat, seaplane or for the more remote resorts further afield, domestic flight.

The Maldives are the ultimate tropical paradise, pretty coral islands boasting lush green vegetation, fringed by powder white beaches, surrounded by reefs teeming with brilliantly coloured fish. Lavish overwater and beach bungalows many of which have private pools and outdoor bathrooms, invite guests to luxuriate in the privacy of their own villa, while all myriad facilities including award winning Spa’s, water sports, world class diving, deep sea fishing and on the larger islands tennis, even golf, will assure anyone nervous of itchy feet are in no way short of ways to while away the hours.

There is a resort to suit everyone in the Maldives. From empty nesters and honeymooners to families and friends, romantic opportunities are in abundance coupled with complete relaxation, while activity and adventure lie in wait for those who fear boredom and indolence.

Today The Maldives are a year round destination. Weather patterns have become blurred and as such there is no ‘bad’ time to go. Your best chance of good weather is between December and April with rates peaking over Christmas and New Year. You are more likely to expereince storms from May to November, though you can still expect warm weather, skies may be cloudy and the humidity is higher. This is the shoulder season when you'll benefit from better rates and offers, as well as less croweded resorts, with the exception of August.

The transitional period toward the end of October and beginning of November has brought more rain to the region in recent years but as with all tropical destinations, rain can be expected at any time of year, even in peak months.

Diving is good year-round, although a basic rule is that life on the reef is more varied and visibility better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and from the eastern side of any atoll December to April.

The surfing season runs from March to October, which is when resorts are cheapest.