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North & South Male Atolls

North and South Male Atolls are home to many of the country’s most famous and best established resorts, and all the islands here are within easy reach of the capital city and Velana International Airport. South Male Atoll is also home to Maafushi, the biggest success story of Maldives' opening up to independent tourism on inhabited islands, where there are now more than 50 guesthouses and multiple dive and water-sports centres, although concerns about overdevelopment abound.

Both atolls have a wealth of natural draws too: excellent dive sites pepper both sides of Vaadhoo Kandu, the channel that runs between North and South Male Atolls, while Gaafaru Falhu Atoll, north of North Male Atoll, has at least three diveable shipwrecks. Some of Maldives’ best surf breaks can be found in North Male Atoll, which is home to a small, seasonal surfer scene, and the beaches are superb almost everywhere.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout North & South Male Atolls.