13 Best things to do in Maldives

If you checked the dictionary for the meaning of “relaxation”, a photo of Maldives would probably pop up. However, there are plenty of exciting and interesting things to do in the Maldives. Read on to find out more about the best things to do in Maldives. Paradise awaits!

The Retreat from above | best things to do in maldives
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If you checked the dictionary for the meaning of “relaxation”, a photo of Maldives would probably pop up.

Raved as an idyllic and exclusive tropical paradise, Maldives seduces pleasure seekers to its enthralling and intimate isles. The island nation is located in the Indian Ocean near the equator and has over 1,190 islands, 200 of them inhabited. The magical features of the tropical islands are its mystic clear waters, powder-white sand beaches, and intriguing marine life.

The Republic of Maldives is fascinating in its uniqueness; it is considered the lowest and flattest country in the world with a maximum elevation of 2.4 meters above sea level while being Asia’s smallest nation in land area and in population.

As one of the most popular holidaying destinations in the world, Maldives is paradise to honeymooners, family vacationers, adventurous friends, or the curious solo traveler. Most travelers would choose in favor of staying at any of the impressive selection of luxurious resorts to unwind and immerse themselves in serenity.

However, there are plenty of exciting and interesting things to do in the Maldives. Read on to find out more about the best things to do in Maldives. Paradise awaits!

1. See and explore Malé

Male' City, Maldives | best things to do in maldives

Male’ City, Maldives | Nattu, Flicker

Malé, the capital of Maldives, is a quaint and charming city. Covering only about two square kilometers, it is one of the world’s smallest capitals. However, culture and adventure are compressed into the tiny city, with a handful of sights, museums, and markets to see. The best thing is, since the city is so compact, you can tour it in its entirety in a couple of hours!

Explore the beaches, small local cafes, and delightful shops in the city. For a better learning experience, opt to join a half-day walking tour of Male. Visit the local fruit and vegetable market and the nearby fish market to glimpse the day-to-day life of its people in the capital. The friendly and helpful locals are usually Muslim, so be mindful and respectful of their practices.

Malé
Malé, Maldives
Get directions

Best place to eat near Malé according to locals and visitors:
• Tandoori Flames Malé (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• SubMore Central (4.7/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• De Public Lounge & Arabian Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Arabian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Malé.

The best hotel to stay near Malé based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Paradise Island Resort, Maldives (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

2. Have a perfect escape at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

The Retreat from above | best things to do in maldives

The Retreat from above | Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean surrounded by the best diving spots, amazing coral reefs and whale shark spotting areas. It’s like an island paradise with tropical greenery and unparalleled views featuring architecturally designed structures. It is about 100km from Malé International Airport reachable by a 30-minute scenic seaplane flight.

It is home of the world’s first underwater restaurant, Ithaa, a five meters below the surface of the ocean dining experience. You could also find here the famous Muraka. This is the best place to escape from stress and city life. A great time for family bonding and meditation. Plan your visit at this paradise island any time of the year.

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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Rangali Island Rangali, 20077, Maldives
Stay cost: $$
Ph: +960 668-0629
Get directions

Best place to eat near Conrad Maldives Rangali Island according to locals and visitors:
• Water Villa Restaurant (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Manta Restaurant (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• East Bar (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

The best hotel to stay near Conrad Maldives Rangali Island based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

3. Discover history at Utheemu Ganduvaru

Utheemu Island, Ganduvaru resicende | best things to do in maldives

Utheemu Island, Ganduvaru resicende | Andreas Faessler, Wikimedia Commons

The famous Utheemu Ganduvaru is the home of the Maldivian saint Sultan MohamedThakurufaanu, the best saint the Maldives has ever known. This historic place displays the 500-year-old wooden interiors, including swing beds, lamps that burn coconut palm oil and elaborate wooden carvings that the sultan grew up with his family. Together with the island’s scenic beauty and historical significance, this small palace would be a great stop over when you visit Maldives. See the Maldavian life as you take a tour on this small island.

Utheemu Ganduvaru
Hasanbe Koshi Magu, Utheemu, Maldives
Admission: Free
+960 650-0052
Get directions

Best place to eat near Utheemu Ganduvaru according to locals and visitors:
• Sunset Pool Cafe (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Samsara Restaurant (5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Cafe de Smile (4.6/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Utheemu Ganduvaru.

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The best hotel to stay near Utheemu Ganduvaru based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa Maldives (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

4. Enjoy watersports at Hulhumale Island

Young caucasian man kayaking in sea at Maldives | best things to do in maldives

Young caucasian man kayaking in sea at Maldives | My Good Images, Shutterstock

Hulhumale is a man-made island known for its clear waters, picturesque landscape, lively culture, and warm people. It is a must-visit island, an unmatched splendor of beauty and freshness. This artificial island was created mainly because of land shortage and for housing purposes. But then it is the making of the thrill of the future, paving way for commercial and industrial development.

The beaches around the island are dazzling with exciting watersports like scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding, snorkeling and many more. You can also do parasail or kitesurf at your pleasure. Visit the island during the low season if you don’t like crowds that start from May through September. Peak season for tourists starts from December to April. Plan your visit now!

Hulhumale Island
Malé, Maldives
Admission: Free
Get directions

Best place to eat near Hulhumale Island according to locals and visitors:
• Meltz (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• QUAINT MALE (4.7/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Plated (4.8/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Hulhumale Island.

The best hotel to stay near Hulhumale Island based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

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5. Sail to the sunset

Sunset and sailboat, Maldives | best things to do in maldives

Sunset and sailboat, Maldives | Vollverglasung, Shutterstock

For a shorter adventure yet still a satisfyingly romantic one, consider taking a sunset boat cruise to see the nation in its finest state. For about 60 minutes, the soft lull of the calm waves will take you around the island on a motorized sailboat or a traditional small boat, dhoni, as you watch the majestic Maldivian sunset. Sail away to the sunset and watch as the bright and exotic landscape is gradually painted with astonishing splashes of color, welcoming the night. You may even get the chance to spot dolphins during your ride!

6. Go diving at Banana Reef

Banana Reef | best things to do in maldives

Banana Reef | Royonx, Wikimedia Commons

Banana Reef is one of the oldest reefs discovered in Maldives. And it is one of the first diving sites discovered on the island. Known for its banana shape, this protected area is best for beginners and advanced divers alike with a depth ranging from 5 to 30m.

It has amazing landscapes such as the famous pinnacle, dramatic cliffs, overhangs and adventurous caves. The corals are illuminating making it an amazing underwater experience. Longing for fantastic diving opportunities and spectacular vacations with your family? Then visit Banana Reef. It could be reached through taking a speed boat.

Banana Reef
Banana Reef, North Male Atoll, Maldives
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Best place to eat near Banana Reef according to locals and visitors:
• Rehendhi Restaurant & Bar (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Tandoori Flames Malé (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Reef Club (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Banana Reef.

The best hotel to stay near Banana Reef based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives (8.6/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

7. Take underwater tour with Whale Submarine Maldives

Whale Submarine Maldives | Whale Submarine Maldives

Whale Submarine Maldives is considered as the world’s deep diving largest tourist submarine in existence. Described as a sight of Male, it is not for whale watching but for observing life on a reef. It has 50 comfortable seats and could go down water up to 150 meters. Up to date, this submarine has performed more than 2000 dives safely. The submarine experience will lead you to encounter sea creatures at closer range and colorful display of corals and different types of reef fish. Book your tour now! Visit their website for more information.

Whale Submarine Maldives
Laccadive Sea, Maldives
Admission: $$ 85.00 per person
Ph: +960 333-3939
Get directions

Best place to eat near Whale Submarine Maldives according to locals and visitors:
• Canneli Restaurant (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Blu Restaurant (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• MOSU Kitchen (4.8/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Whale Submarine Maldives.

The best hotel to stay near Whale Submarine Maldives based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

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Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

8. Observe Maldavian artifacts at National Museum

Top of a malaafaiy (wooden cover for food items) with Arabic writing lacquered wood made in Tulhaadu Island | best things to do in maldives

Top of a “malaafaiy” (wooden cover for food items) with Arabic writing lacquered wood made in Tulhaadu Island | Xavier Romero-Frias, Wikimedia Commons

Maldives National Museum is one of the most popular destinations on the island. It is said to be the former palace of Sultan. The museum was established in the early 1950s mainly to preserve the culture and history of the country. This can be found in Sultan Park. This cultural museum showcased artifacts and antiquities from Maldives’ Buddhist era through the Islamic monarchs. This includes royal antiques, coins, furniture, items of clothing, etc. Explore the museum to understand the Maldives rich history. It is open from 10 am–4 pm.

Maldives National Museum
Chaandhanee Magu, Malé, Maldives
Admission: 6.50 USD
Ph: +960 332-3206
Get directions

Best place to eat near Maldives National Museum according to locals and visitors:
• Burger Point 1 Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• SubMore Central (4.7/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Doce (4.5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Maldives National Museum.

The best hotel to stay near Maldives National Museum based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives (8.6/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

9. Rejuvenate at spas

Huvafen Fushi Hotel & Underwater Spa | Federico Fracchia, Vimeo

You’re already in paradise, why not treat yourself to some quality pampering at a Maldivian spa? As most travelers to the country seek pleasure, resorts and other health establishments have perfected the art of relaxation, offering a diverse selection of soothing treatments for the mind, body, and soul as well as dreamlike and creative relaxation venues to up the ante.

Wherever you choose to find your bliss, you are sure to enjoy and feel recharged with your experience of having the gorgeous Maldives as your exquisite backdrop. For a truly one of a kind and stand out experience, experience Huvafen Fushi’s spa, the world’s first and only underwater spa. Submerge in the tranquil depths of the ocean and let the bodily tension ebb in the physical world while you enjoy a surreal delight to your senses.

Huvafen Fushi Maldives
North Malé Atoll 08390, Maldives
Fee: $$
Ph: +960 664-4222
Get directions

Best place to eat near Huvafen Fushi Maldives according to locals and visitors:
• Swarna Restaurant (4.8/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• 24 Degrees Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Fusion by Canopus (4.5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Huvafen Fushi Maldives.

The best hotel to stay near Huvafen Fushi Maldives based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

10. Go street shopping at Majeedhee Magu

Tote bags and other souvenirs and trinkets from the Maldives are sold to tourists in a gift shop | best things to do in maldives

Tote bags and other souvenirs and trinkets from the Maldives are sold to tourists in a gift shop | melissamn, Shutterstock

Majeedhee Magu is a shopping street that stretches through the main roads of Male. It offers almost everything you want from textiles and clothing items to accessories and electronics. This busy street is like the nation’s commercial center and famous one stop shopping destination for the locals. Pass by this road and pick anything you want for a souvenir. It is not just shopping but it’s also observing the rich culture of the people and the country in general. Stores open from 9 am to 11 pm daily.

Majeedhee Magu
Male, Maldives
Get directions

Best place to eat near Majeedhee Magu according to locals and visitors:
• Akala Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Haw’S Eatery (5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Kego’s Café & Restaurant (5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Majeedhee Magu.

The best hotel to stay near Majeedhee Magu based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton (8.6/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

11. Stay at night for Bioluminescent gazing at Vaadhoo Island

Sea of Stars – Vaadhoo Island, Maldives | Wonder World, YouTube

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Maldives is gifted with natural wonders. Vaadhoo Island is famous for its glow-in-the-dark waves, a natural phenomenon called “Bioluminescence” where living organisms cause the water to emit a bright blue light at night. This isolated island is a worthy destination for travelers and earned itself a name in global tourism for its Sea of Stars phenomenon. The best time to visit the island for spotting the plankton is mid-summer through to winter but it can appear at any time.

Vaadhoo Island
Raa Atoll, Maldives
Admission: Free
Get directions

Best place to eat near Vaadhoo Island according to locals and visitors:
• Iru (5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Athiri (5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Eclipse (5/5 stars, Fine dining, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Vaadhoo Island.

The best hotel to stay near Vaadhoo Island based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Velaa Private Island (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

12. Visit the sea-culture architecture inspired Hukuru Miskiy

Male Hukuru Miskiy is also known as the Old Friday Mosque is one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city | best things to do in maldives

Male Hukuru Miskiy is also known as the Old Friday Mosque is one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city | Sarawut Konganantdech, Shutterstock

Malé Hukuru Miskiy also known as the Old Friday Mosque is the oldest mosque in the country, dating from 1656. This ancient decorated and most ornate mosque is built mostly out of coral stone. This is one of the finest coral stone buildings of the world ever made that take two years to build. Its artistic excellence and construction technique is evident that adds value to its authenticity.

Why is it called the Old Friday Mosque? Because it is a type of mosque that hosts the special Friday noon prayers known as jumu’ah. If you wish to visit this masterpiece of architecture and history, be there before noon and 2-3 pm. It is not open non-Muslims 15 minutes before the prayer and the next hour.

Hukuru Miskiy
Reethigas Hingun, Malé, Maldives
Admission: Free
Get directions

Best place to eat near Hukuru Miskiy according to locals and visitors:
• Pepperoni Pizzeria (4.9/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Punjabi Spice (4.5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• The Candle Garden Cafe (4.5/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Hukuru Miskiy.

The best hotel to stay near Hukuru Miskiy based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

13. Catch the waves at Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi

Unidentified men surfing on waves of Indian Ocean of Maldives, Hudhuranfushi island

Unidentified men surfing on waves of Indian Ocean of Maldives, Hudhuranfushi island | Patryk Kosmider, Shutterstock

Hotel Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi Island Resort | alltours, YouTube

The island nation has access to the waves of the Indian Ocean, thus making it, unsurprisingly, one of a great place to surf. Maldives’ surf breaks are world-famous, and its surfing scene is thriving. Surf season is generally from May to October, but the nation often attracts gnarly thrill-seeking surfers from June to August when bigger swells are expected. Grab your board and head to Hudhuranfushi Island, the main surfing island of Maldives. 

For a special and tailored experience, book with Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, recognized as Maldives’ premier surf resort with surfing packages to meet your requirements. The most ingenious thing about surfing in the Maldives is that even when you wipe out, you can’t stay frustrated for long since you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty.

Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi
North Male Atoll, Republic Of Maldives, North Male Atoll 20334, Maldives
Fee: $$
Ph: +960 664-1930
Get directions

Best place to eat near Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi according to locals and visitors:
• Maakana Restaurant (4.8/5 stars, Restaurant, $$$)
• Koimala Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)
• Silk Restaurant (4.8/5 stars, Restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi.

The best hotel to stay near Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Olhuveli Beach & Spa Maldives (8.8/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com


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