Dreamy villas, idyllic beaches, world-class diving and uber-luxurious spas make the Maldives the perfect antidote to urban living.
Aerial views of the Maldives
Once you’ve indulged in some proper R&R, there’s plenty more on offer too. Here’s our list of 8 things to do in the Maldives.
1. Visit a local fishing village
There is no better way to immerse yourself in traditional Maldivian island life than by visiting one of its fishing villages.
Fishing is at the very heart of Maldivian life and these villages are thriving local communities. Fish is sold daily at the beach or harbour and this is where locals gather and hang out.
2. Spend the day on a deserted island
The Maldives is made up of many atolls (rings of reef or coral islands). Take a boat and a picnic and spend the day on an untouched beach on your own deserted island, then swim in quiet waters for a uniquely Maldivian experience.
3. Night fishing
Set sail at sunset in a traditional dhoni (a wooden Maldivian fishing boat) and experience the tranquillity and peace of floating over the reef at night. Try the traditional Maldivian pole and line fishing technique, then take your catch back to shore where it can be cooked for a late night feast by a world-class chef.
Coral reefs at Constance Moofushi
4. Explore the Maldives by seaplane
The air is the perfect place from which to take in the stunning Maldives landscape of turquoise ocean scattered with beautiful coral islands of white sand and lush greenery. Pick out the luxury resorts and deserted islands from the air as well as the reefs and even some of the larger marine life. This is a once in a lifetime experience so be sure to bring a camera.
5. Explore the rich coral reefs
Whether you’re snorkelling or scuba diving the combination of stunning coral reefs and year-round high visibility has made the Maldives one of the reef diving hotspots of the world.
The sheer number of reefs in the area means that you can explore a different dive site every day with a wide variety of beautiful marine species from Giant Manta and Whale Sharks to turtles, lionfish, snappers and eels. The area has 187 different species of coral, home to more than 1,000 species of fish.
6. Visit the oldest mosque in the country
The Hukuru Miskiiy, or Friday Mosque, in the capital Malé dates back to the mid-17th century with outer coral-stone walls intricately carved with patterns and Arabic text. Inside, the elaborate woodcarvings are a stunning feature well worth visiting. Just opposite the mosque is the white Munnaaru Minaret, also dating back to the 17th century, historically used for calling the people of Malé to prayer.
Shop ‘til you drop in Malé
7. Shop ‘til you drop in Malé
Whether you like the vibrant buzz of local markets or prefer shopping for arts and crafts or modern handbags and fashion there’s plenty to keep you happy in the country’s frenetically paced capital. The bustling Malé Fish Market at the northern waterfront where the fishermen from across the region bring their catch. Down the road is the general Local Market where produce including fresh fruit and vegetables, street food and handmade sweets from across the atolls are sold. For everything from clothes and perfume to electronic goods visit Majeedhee Magu and for souvenirs and local crafts check out Chaandanee Magu.
8. Experience the history of the Utheemu Palace
Utheemu Island in the Haa Alifu Atoll is famous as the birthplace of one of the Maldives’ greatest heroes, Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu who defended the islands from the Portuguese in the 16th century. His stunning wooden palace is perfectly preserved on Utheemu and is a historic treasure showing how Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu and his wealthy dynasty of sultans lived.