The Maldives is one of the best places to sunbathe and swim. But besides a beach holiday, the tiny islands in the Indian Ocean offer worthy options for a cultural program.


What to do in the Maldives

While in Male, you should definitely visit the Islamic Center, where tourists of different faiths are allowed. The center has the largest mosque in the country. Such an excursion will be interesting for people who want to broaden their horizons.

A visit to the National Museum is a good alternative to lazy lying on the beach. The exposition presents artifacts that tell about the history of the tropical state, its culture and customs.

Shopping is an obligatory part of a vacation in a foreign country. The most colorful places in the Maldives are fruit and fish markets. Exotic goods are impressive.

A series of picturesque atolls is the main asset of the Maldives. Tired office workers, newlyweds and those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle go there. The most popular of the islets are South and North Male, as well as Ari.

Religious monuments

Islamic center

islamic center

The architectural and cultural landmark is located in Male. Among other buildings, it stands out with a large gilded dome and a snow-white facade. The Islamic Center began work in 1984. The 6-storey building houses a religious school, a conference hall, a library, and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

At the center there is a mosque — the largest in the Maldives. It is named after Sultan Mohammed Tukurufan, who liberated the archipelago from colonial rule by the Portuguese. Up to 5 thousand people can pray in the temple at the same time.

Hukuru Misky

hukuru miskii

This is the oldest mosque in the Maldives, built in 1656. The architects used corals and shells as materials. The outer walls are covered with surahs from the Koran in Arabic, inside — exquisite decoration. The wooden panel of the 13th century deserves special attention. The carved drawing on it tells about the birth of Islam on the islands.

Cultural attractions

Presidential palace

presidentski palace

The residence of the head of state is located in the center of Male. A white mansion with a red roof and rich blue décor was built in the early 20th century for the son of the then Sultan. After the change of power, the palace was nationalized. For a long time, government bodies were located in it, and in the 1990s, the President of the Republic of Maldives moved to the restored mansion.

You won’t be able to get inside the palace, but you can see its exterior and take a walk in the adjacent park.

National Museum

national museums

The museum was founded in 1952 by Prime Minister Mohamed Amin Didi. Alas, the historic mansion of the 17th century, which housed the exposition, died in a fire a few years later. The new building was solemnly opened in 2010 in the Sultan Park.

A rich collection is kept inside, allowing you to trace the history and development of the tropical archipelago from the Stone Age to the present:

  • In the spacious halls of the first floor, weapons, religious objects, ceramics, jewelry, paintings, formal and everyday clothes, coins and carpets are exhibited.
  • On the second level, the achievements of modern progress are exhibited — the first telephone in the Maldives, a gramophone and a giant computer.
  • In a separate room there is a marine collection with stuffed exotic underwater inhabitants.


Fruit market in Male

fruktovi rinok

Not only locals, but also tourists like to visit here. Hiking along the rows of bananas, pineapples, mangoes, rambutans, papaya fruits, oil palms and exotic fruits that European tourists have never seen before is a real adventure. A brisk trade takes place on the street and under awnings. Prices for guests of the island are several times higher than for the natives.

Fish market in Male

ribni rinok

A rare dish of Maldivian cuisine does without seafood, so the fish market in the northern part of Male is a lively place. In the morning, owners of small boats trade here, the assortment of which is mainly mackerel. By noon the captains of the dhoni boats arrive. These vessels are larger, and therefore the prey is much richer — shrimp, octopus, sea bass, squid.

At the end of the day, tuna appears. The carcasses are laid out directly on the tiled floor, but the fish does not stay for a long time. It is quickly snapped up by the owners of restaurants and hotels. The smell on the market is specific, so it is better not to appear here for the squeamish and impressionable.

Natural attractions and parks

Sultansky park

sultanski park

This public park, founded in the 16th century, used to be part of the Sultan’s residence. After the renunciation of the ruler from power and the nationalization of the palace, the park became available to ordinary residents of the Maldives. Deciduous trees covered with lianas grow on a vast territory, ponds with water lilies give coolness. Walking alleys, in contrast to the cramped streets of Male, are wide.

South Male

ugni male

It is an atoll (36×19 km) consisting of 30 islands, but only 17 of them are inhabited. Most of the resorts are concentrated in the southeastern part. In addition to lovers of a lazy beach holiday, there are many divers here. They are attracted by three scenic dive sites:

  • Wadu caves are home to reef sharks, turtles and tuna. Here the reef goes down sharply, so the chance to meet an exotic representative of the ichthyofauna is great.
  • Embudu Canyon impresses with picturesque coral forests.
  • The protected area of ​​Embudu Kandu has a strong current that guarantees spectacular diving.

North Male

severni male

A scattering of coral islands stretches for almost 50 km north of the capital. This atoll took over the first wave of the tourist boom in the early 1970s and has been actively developing ever since. Here are the most luxurious resorts.

Unlike the rest of the Maldivian archipelago, where the emphasis is on contemplative relaxation, entertainment and cultural life are in full swing in North Male.

In addition to the beaches divided between the hotels, there is one public one. It is located on about. Villingili. You can get to it by taxi boat.

Ari Atoll


This is one of the largest (80×3 km) and longest atolls of 105 islands in the west of the country. There are 30 resorts on the reef, each a self-sufficient unit with all the necessary infrastructure. Until the mid-1990s, when another construction boom began, Ari was famous for the ruins of Buddhist temples and watermelon fields.

Today people come here to scuba dive. The local dive spots are dominated by large marine life — whale sharks, rays and hammerhead sharks. Not so long ago, the government imposed a ban on the fight of gray sharks, and now sharp-toothed predators entertain brave tourists.