Mosques & Museums
Male has an array of historic mosques to check out, as well as a first-class National History Museum that's essential for anyone interested in the unusual origins of this island nation. Don't miss the superb Old Friday Mosque with its intricate carvings.
The capital has a great range of places to eat, and after being in a resort the low prices and wide choice will seem like thrills in themselves. Even on a budget there’s plenty of choice: don’t miss traditional Maldivian ‘short eats’ at any local teashop – delicious!
Shop Till You Drop
Male is all about trade and commerce, and its mercantile atmosphere is infectious. Don’t miss the catch being hauled in, cleaned up and sold off at the fish market, or the crowds at the produce market. But for a real slice of the shopping action, head down Chandhanee Magu for souvenir shops and then wander the main avenue of the city, Majeedee Magu.
North & South Male Atolls
Few atolls have the concentration of excellent, world-class resorts that can be found in North and South Male Atolls. Whether it’s small and romantic (Cocoa Island by COMO), super-glamorous (One & Only Reethi Rah) or back-to-nature luxury (Gili Lankanfushi) you're after, you’ll find the right resort here.
North Male has several excellent surf breaks on the eastern side of the atoll. There are a few nearby resorts and guesthouses that cater to surfers, and the best thing of all is that surf season coincides with Maldivian low season!
The small island of Maafushi in South Male Atoll has become the centre of Maldives' thriving independent traveller scene. Here you'll find scores of guesthouses, a bikini beach and cheap diving.
Whale Sharks & Hammerheads
There are two unique wildlife-watching opportunities in Ari, unfortunately at opposite ends of the atoll. In the south, swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, while in the north, dive with hammerhead sharks at Hammerhead Point.
Don’t forget your PADI certification or at least your mask and fins for some snorkelling in North and South Ari Atolls. You’ll see an incredible array of marine life on the reef, from sharks and moray eels to turtles and rays.
When it comes to beaches, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Every single one of the dozens of resorts and guesthouses here has access to perfect white sand and an amazing turquoise lagoon with warm, clear water.
Pristine Underwater World
The lack of resorts and the Unesco Biosphere Reserve in Baa Atoll makes the north one of the best places to dive in the country. Live-aboard dive boats can take you to even remoter locations than the resorts.
Take a trip to Utheemu in the country’s very far north if you’d like to see some real Maldivian cultural heritage. The island is home to Utheemu Palace, the perfectly preserved 16th-century mansion of Maldives' national hero.
Perfect White Sand
In the remote Northern Atolls are some of the most extraordinarily perfect beaches you’ll ever come across. What’s more, the relative lack of resorts means that even beyond your resort you’ll find plenty of perfect uninhabited islands with equally brilliant sands.
Fabulous Marine Life
Addu Atoll has some stellar snorkelling and dive sites including Manta Point, a busy cleaning station and the British Loyalty wreck, a torpedoes supply ship sunk in WWII. Do not miss diving in Gnaviyani, Laamu or Dhaalu atolls either.
Lap of Luxury
The Southern Atolls are home to some of the most impressive luxury resorts in Maldives, including Shangri-La Villingili, Six Senses Laamu, St Regis Vommuli and Niyama Private Islands, all setting new standards for pampering and style.
For the truly intrepid independent traveller, the south is a great place to explore alone. Check out the island of Fuvahmulah with its two inland lakes and traditionally isolated community, or visit Maldives’ second largest city, Hithadhoo.