The island capital promises a vibrant mix of different experiences. From your luxury beach hotel, snorkel through underwater gardens of corals and anemones. Greet dolphins leaping past your sailing boat. Venture into the bustling markets and boulevards of boutiques. Or escape into the tranquil atmosphere of ancient mosques and royal palaces.
Shimmering on the horizon, as if floating on water – welcome to Malé, the cultural heart of the Maldives.
Things to do
You’ll get a real sense of how culturally diverse the Maldives islands are through Malé’s music and arts. Hear Africa in the beats of the local bodu-beru big drum. Compare the boat-making skills for Arabian dhows and traditional Maldivian dhonis. And see how Southeast Asia has influenced the exquisite carvings in the wooden beams of the mosques.
The beautiful 17th century mosque, Hukuru Miskiiy and the National Museum with its ancient pre-Islamic relics is an enjoyable walk back in time. Close by is the peaceful Sultan’s Park – perfect for relaxing among the flowers, fountains and trees. For something altogether busier and noisier, pick up Far Eastern souvenirs in the Singapore Bazaar, or join the local throng in the famous fish market. Here, gigantic octopus and tuna are a common sight.
There’s plenty of drama, beauty and excitement to be found in the turquoise waters around Malé. The Protected Banana Reef boasts cliffs, caves and superb soft corals, along with plenty of reef fish and barracuda. Don’t miss swimming through the Vaadhoo Caves and, if you’re feeling brave, take the Embudhoo Express – a thrilling 2km drift dive.
The best place to find intricate wooden dhonis in miniature and other pieces of Maldivian craftsmanship is in the Chandani Magu area.
Top tip from SLH