Maldives, the sunny side of life. That’s the welcoming motto of Maldivians to visitors of this remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean. White sand beaches, warm turquoise waters, and plenty of sunshine define this part of the world. Luxury island getaways in the Maldives are meant for travelers who love being outdoors. Activities here almost always center around the ocean. Visitors can scuba dive beautiful corals and see unique fish with Diving Bluetribe Moofushi, snorkel Banana Reef, or deep sea fish with Maakeyolhu Fishing Charters. There are tons of water sports, golf courses, luxury accommodations, and local cultural experiences to enjoy. To get the vacation started, dive into these 25 things to do in the Maldives.
1. Banana Reef
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West of Farukolhufushi Island in the North Malé Atoll is where divers, snorkelers, and swimmers will find the magnificent Banana Reef. Shaped like a banana (how it got the name), it’s perfect for both advanced and beginner divers; the reef offers small canyons, overhangs, and soft coral. In the center of the reef is a large overhang formed by the ocean’s currents. Here, divers and snorkelers will see large schools of oriental sweet lips, snappers, and fusiliers. On the south end of the reef there’s a wall with some smaller caves filled with red tooth trigger fish. Banana Reef is a protected marine area.
Itha Wathanee Hingun K., Thulusdhoo, Maldives
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Hulhumalé sits north of Malé and the airport, which it is connected to by a causeway. It is essentially an extension of Malé proper. Hulhumalé is a manmade island – coral and sand were dug up from the lagoon and laid across the top of the reef, forming about a 1.8 square kilometer island. The project was set in motion in 1997 to relieve some of the population growth occurring on Malé. Guests will be able to enjoy an authentic Maldivian dining experience with a local family or take a trip out to the local reef for some snorkeling and afterward enjoy some Maldivian tea on the sandbank.
3. Artificial Beach Male
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On the eastern side of the island of Malé, Artificial Beach is a favorite of the locals, as it’s the only swimmable beach in the capital city of Malé. This is made possible because of the breakwater that protects the beach. Guests will find a limited number of travelers here in comparison to locals, and revealing swimwear such as speedos and bikinis are prohibited. This beautiful beach has become more than just a place for relaxation and leisure swimming. It is starting to become a hub for entertaining cultural activities like parades, carnivals, and live music. Travelers can catch a sunset followed by a bite to eat at Breakwater, Dinemore, or Oxygen Café.
Capital city of Malé, North Male’ Atoll, Maldives
4. Male Fish Market
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Located on the island of Malé along the inner harbor on the north side of the island, Malé Fish Market is west of Republic Square. This is truly one of the best ways to connect with the locals here as well as see how the Maldivians go about their daily business. With no set hours, the best times to visit the market are in the afternoon and early evening, since that is when most of the fisherman come in with their catch of the day. Tuna is the most popular fish caught and sold here. Visitors can grab some fresh fruit and fish for a delicious and authentic Maldivian dinner.
188 Ibrahim Hassan Didi Magu, Malé, Maldives
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5. Mulee'aage Palace
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This beautiful colonial-style building is located in the historic center of Malé. It was built in 1906 by the Sultan Mohammed Shamsuddeen III for the purpose of his son’s residence, but he was overthrown before that could happen. The building then became the private residence for the President of the Republic of the Maldives. It is still the president’s private residence and is therefore not open to the public. Medhu Ziyaarai, tomb of Abul Barakat Yousef Al-Berberi, who brought Islam to Malé, is on the property. Intricate white carvings on the exterior of Mulee’aage and a well-manicured landscape make it interesting to see.
Mulee’aage, Medhuziyaarai Magu, Henveiru, Malé, Maldives
6. National Museum
© National Museum
The National Museum is located on the island of Malé. It sits inside the Sultan Park, and was previously a part of the Sultan’s Palace. The museum was opened for public display in November, 1952. Visitors will find a large collection of historical artifacts that belonged to the Sultans, some of which include paper and cloth manuscripts, dress worn by kings and queens, photographs, armor, arms, and anthropological objects from the pre-Islamic era. The lower level of the museum is dedicated to medieval periods, and the upper level displays objects representing the modern era, including the famous Maldivian lacquer boxes.
Chaandhanee Magu, Malé, Maldives, Phone: +96-03-32-22-54
7. Secret Paradise
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Secret Paradise is headquartered on the manmade island of Hulhumalé, which is an extension of Malé proper that sits just north of the airport. Secret Paradise puts an emphasis on experiencing local Maldivian culture and tradition. Travelers can visit Hurra Island to learn about how locals live a simpler life. While there, visitors can check out the freshwater lake and mangrove swamps. On the way back, they can lie on the ferry roof and soak in the starry night sky. Guests may also enjoy a full day of island hopping, a walking tour on the smaller island of Villimale, or a dinner experience with locals in their home.
Huvandhumaa Hingun, Maldives, Phone: +96-03-35-55-90
8. Tsunami Monument
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Located on the southeastern part of Malé Island on the Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Tsunami Monument is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The core has vertical iron rods symbolizing the lives of those lost, the steel balls represent the country’s 20 atolls, and the upwards design signifies the rising waters. The victims’ names are engraved on the monument. The waters surrounding the monument provide some of the best surf in Malé. Local street vendors sell beverages and local foods near the monument.
Thin Ruh Park, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Malé, Maldives
9. Fulhadhoo Beach
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This beach is located on the island of Fulhadhoo. The island itself is located in the Southern Maalhosmadulhu Atoll, about two hours northwest of Malé by speedboat. It is nearly uninhabited, as there are only about 250 people who reside in a small village on the east side of the island, and guests will really feel like they’ve found a little piece of paradise in this remote location. With bright white sandy beaches, abundant palm growths, and blue and turquois colored lagoons, guests will be left in awe at just how special this beach is. The island is equipped with a medical center and several rural shops.
Fulhadhoo Island, Southern Maalhosmadulhu Atoll, Maldives
10. Maadhoo Beach
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This beach is located on the island of Kuda Finolhu, which sits just south of the island of Maadhoo, in the South Malé Atoll. This uninhabited island is is a little more than half a mile long, and about 165 yards wide. Day trips can be arranged to this beach for guests to enjoy a one-of-a-kind picnic experience with beautiful sandy white beaches, plenty of vegetation, and crystal clear waters in the lagoon. There are beautiful walking paths for visitors to explore at this idyllic location. The picnics are customizable to the size of your group and the duration of your stay on the beach.
Location: Kuda Finolhu Island, South Malé Atoll, Maldives
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Completed in 1994, Theemuge is located on the north side of capital of Malé in the North Malé Atoll. Previously the official residence of the President of the Maldives, it now serves as the site of the Supreme Court. The first democratically elected president thought the three-story Presidential Palace, it was too high maintenance and returned to the old Mulee’aage Palace, which continues to serve as the president’s residence today. Historians believe the Theemuge Dynasty was the first Muslim rule of the Maldives, which is how the building acquired its name. Unlike now, when Theemuge was the Presidential Palace, it was only open to guests on Eid-al-Fitr.
Orchid Magu, Malé, Maldives, Phone: +96-03-00-73-06
12. Adaaran Club Rannalhi
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Adaaran Club Rannalhi, on Rannalhi Island in the Kaafu Atoll, offers luxury accommodations for Maldives vacationers. The 96 standard rooms are modern and upscale with island décor and either terraces or balconies. They also offer 34 spacious, luxury Water Bungalows with modern room amenities, privacy, an exclusive sun deck, and direct access to the ocean and the island’s natural surroundings. Resort amenities include beach sports, fishing, wind surfing, snorkeling, diving, and other water sports. Chavana Spa offers Ayurvedic massage and spa services. Guests can dine in the Club Rannalhi main restaurant, main buffet, award-winning Dhoni Bar, or the more casual Bungalow Bar.
Rannalhi Island, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives, Phone: +96-06-64-26-88
13. Fua Mulaku Island
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Located in the middle of the Equatorial Channel, Fua Mulaku Island is on the southern end of the Maldives. This secluded island is located outside the tourism zone in the Maldives, so a special permit and local guide are needed to reach this exotic getaway. Once here, guests will enjoy the white soft sand beaches of Thundi Beach, as well as the lake and water park at Dhadimagi Kilhi. The fertile island is home to many vegetable and fruit farms. Visitors will find oranges, mangos, and pineapples galore. The best time to visit is between December and April during the island’s dry season.
Location: Fuamulaku Island, Gnaviyani Atoll, Maldives
14. Huvafen Fushi Underwater Spa & Resort
© Huvafen Fushi Underwater Spa & Resort
Huvafen Fushi Underwater Spa & Resort is located on Nakatchafushi Island northwest of Malé and the airport. This resort is an absolute paradise for nature lovers. It’s surrounded by picturesque beaches in the heart of a serene lagoon and enveloped in lush vegetation. This resort offers the first underwater spa of its kind in the Maldives, where guests will have the tranquil experience of seeing many different marine species during treatments. The resort offers luxurious bungalows that overlook the beautiful turquoise and crystal clear waters. You’ll also find a yoga pavilion, swimming pool, gym, and a variety of watersports activities.
Location: Nakatchafushi Island, Kaafu, North Malé Atoll, Maldives, Phone: +96-06-64-42-22
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Isdhoo Island is located well south of the island of Malé and is part of the Haddhunmathi Atoll in the southern part of the Maldives. Visitors will find that this island is rich with Buddhist history in the pre-Islamic time period. On the island, guests will find historical ruins from the Maldivian Buddhist era. In the ruins, visitors will also be able to view Lomafanu, which are ancient royal edicts that have been etched on long copper plates held together by a ring of similar metal. These documents are an important part of the history of the Maldives.
Isdhoo Island, Haddhunmathi Atoll, Maldives
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Malé, the capital island of the Maldives, sits just west of the airport island of Hulhumalé in the North Malé Atoll. This island is densely populated and filled with tall colorful buildings and historic mosques. Here travelers will find the National Museum, Sultan Park, and the pristine Artificial Beach. It is the hub of the Maldives’ political, economic and cultural affairs, and virtually all of its imports and exports pass through here. Malé is the best example of modern Maldivian life. With many restaurants, shops, and lively markets, visitors won’t want to miss spending time in this lively city.
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17. Velaa Private Island
© Velaa Private Island
Velaa Private Island, a luxurious retreat in the Noonu Atoll is 187 kilometers north of Malé. The private island offers a truly one-of-a-kind experience to those visiting the Maldives. Velaa offers a variety of luxury accommodations, including the Sunrise Water Pool Villa, Beach Pool Villa, Beach Pool House, and Ocean Pool House. Guests can enjoy the turquoise ocean and its endless tranquility at the Spa Bungalow or keep their golf skills sharp in paradise at the Jose Maria Olazabal designed practice area. Visitors can also experience numerous water activities, including jet skiing, wake boarding, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Velaa, Noonu Atoll, Maldives, Phone: +96-06-56-50-00
18. Male Local Market
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Malé Local Market is located on the northern waterfront a block away from the Malé Fish Market. Compared to the normal hustle and bustle of the neighborhood, guests will find this particular block a tranquil place to shop. Vendors sell their products from individual stalls. Some of the foods visitors can expect see include local vegetables, nuts, breadfruit chips, fruits, yams, bottles of pickles, packets of sweetmeat, and bunches of bananas on rope hanging from the ceiling. There are some international options here as well. To bargain for the best prices, travelers should be prepared to use local currency.
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Guests will find this travel and adventure agency in the city of Malé. Cruise-Maldives offers a variety of tours, cruises, watersports, and guesthouses. There are 36 options when it comes to tours and watersports, some of which include Club Med, Centara Ras Fushi Island, surfing, jet skiing, and even a seaplane tour. They also offer 16 different cruises like the Gurahali, Honors Legacy, and Hope Cruiser, to name a few. Guests decide the length of trip. Guesthouses are another option here; with eight choices, sun-seekers may find their favorite at Ameera Maldives, or the Dreams Arena.
M. Ahigasdhoshuge Fareedhee Magu, Malé City, Maldives, Phone: +96-07-55-07-72
20. Diving Bluetribe Moofushi
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Bluetribe Diving leads dive tours out of its headquarters at Constance Moofushi Resort on the island of Moofushi, the west side of the Ari Atoll. With expert dive guides and 37 incredible dive sites, Ari Atoll offers a variety of beautiful corals as well as unique stone fish and scorpion fish. Guests can dive with white tip reef sharks, gray reef sharks, tuna, eagle rays, and manta rays. If divers are lucky enough, they may catch sight of a whale shark, as this is one of the few places in the world where they can be seen.
Constance Moofushi Resort, Ari Atoll, Maldives, Phone: +96-06-68-08-38
21. Extreme Maldives Water Sports
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Located on Furanafushi Island in the North Malé Atoll, Extreme Maldives Water Sports is partnered with the beautiful Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Extreme Maldives offers a variety of water activities, including parasailing, catamaran sailing, wake boarding, knee boarding, surfing, and water skiing. Guests can also take a Seabob (a luxury underwater sled) out for a truly unique experience. This underwater scooter opens up a much larger range of exploration around the North Malé Atoll, as do jet skis. If guests are looking for something a little more family oriented and relaxing, the dolphin cruise and reef snorkeling are highly recommended.
Furanafushi Island, North Malé Atoll, Maldives, Phone: +96-06-64-20-10
22. Maakeyolhu Fishing Charters
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Maakeyolhu Fishing Charters, located on the island of Malé, offers guests a one-of-a-kind fishing experience. Maakeyolhu means “head fisherman” in the local language here, which is appropriate considering this group has over 25 years of experience fishing these Indian Ocean waters along the archipelago. They offer two styles of fishing. Their specialty is popping, a technique using properly displayed surface lures, and the other method is jigging. Guests can catch a variety of fish like barracuda, dogtooth, red bass, and even some yellowfin tuna. Maakeyolhu is a catch-and-release fishing guide service, possibly the only one in the Maldives.
181, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Malé, Maldives, Phone: +96-07-77-40-00 or +96-07-78-11-51
23. Maldivian Surf Club
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Located on the island of Gan and centered in the Laamu Atoll, Maldivian Surf Club offers travelers the opportunity to surf some of the most beautiful breaks in the world. The club operates mainly out of the Reveries Diving Village, though they do work with many other local resorts and guest houses on the island. They transport guests and boards to 10 different crowdless surf breaks – Laamu Hithadhoo, Laamu Maabaidhoo, and Laamu Olhuveli, to name a few. The southwest monsoon generates powerful swells in this area, giving surfers ideal rolling left breaks. The best time of year for surfing the Maldives is between March and November.
Bodu Magu, Gan, Maldives, Phone: +96-07-55-32-14
24. Maverick Style
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Maverick Style is a water sports and dive shop operating out of the five star Kurumba Maldives Resort located on the island of Vihamanaafushi in the North Malé Atoll. Maverick Style’s team is comprised of highly experienced individuals who put an emphasis on guest satisfaction and safety. They offer a wide range of water activities such as jet skiing, power boating, wind surfing, kayaking, glass bottom canoeing, parasailing, and stand up paddle boarding. They also cater to children with activities such as tube and banana boat rides, knee boarding, and jet skiing with an instructor. Maverick Style caters to families, couples, and individuals to tailor experiences just right for them.
Kurumba Maldives, Vihamanaafushi, Maldives, Phone: +96-06-64-74-14