Planning a trip to Maldives and can’t decide where to go? eat? Or shop? Worry not! This blog will provide you with a list of things to do while you stay at the beach destination of the world! Though not exhaustive, this list will help you cover the best places to visit in Maldives.
Maldives, also called Maldive Islands is located in the South-West of Sri Lanka and India, and is a chain of 1192 islands. It is an independent country with a population of 357566. Dhivehi is the official language spoken here. If you’re planning a trip to Maldives, a visitor visa that is valid for 30 days can be issued upon arrival.
Best Time to Visit Maldives
Maldives is the perfect destination for beach lovers, known for its sun-kissed beaches and weather which is compatible for a trip throughout the year. The best time to visit Maldives is between December and March (summer in Maldives) as, this season is mostly dry with little to no rains, while the weather remains pleasant. Couples planning for honeymoons also prefer these ideal conditions as they get an opportunity to enjoy all types of activities.
Due to Christmas and New Year holidays coinciding with the ideal weather conditions makes Maldives a very popular destination in December. The only con about this season is, beach resorts in Maldives are expensive as this is their busiest season.
Best Places to Visit in Maldives
North Malé Atoll
#1 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
North Malé Atoll is the largest and most popular tourist attractions in Maldives, located on the southern edge of Kaafu Atoll. For being the home of the Royal Dynasties it used to be called Mahal, however, it is now famous as the Kings Island. Rains occur through most months of the year because of which Male has a tropical monsoon climate.
Tourism in North Male Atoll is well developed, including the small single-island atolls of Kaashidhoo and Gaafaru Falhu to its north. With the opening of the resort of Kurumba in 1972, Maldivian tourism began. In North Male, many of the resorts are grand dames in the scope of the country’s comparatively recent transformation to a luxury travel destination. Although North Male Atoll has many of the best-known resorts, nowadays many inhabited islands are home to booming guesthouse scenes
#2 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Alimatha Island sits on the eastern edge of Maldives and is located in Vaavu Atoll. This is one the most visited places in Maldives, the water here is crystal clear which makes it perfect for snorkeling, boating, and diving, these features also make it a spot for honeymooners and families too. The dazzling sand and sun-kissed beaches are perfect for some Volleyball matches too.
What makes this island special are its Ayurvedic massage centers, spas, restaurants, and bars which are amazing revitalizing options among the tourists visiting Maldives. Most part of the beach is an open area which hosts several live shows, events, water sports, and carnivals, they are also ideal for long and peaceful walks with little restrictions for clothing as per local authorities.
#3 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Shaped like a banana and known around the globe for being one of the best diving sites, Banana Reef is located in North Mal-Atoll, Banana Reef is a “MUST-GO” spot for divers from around the world as it is one of the first spots to be recognized for licensed diving and training in Maldives. The reef is full of amazing caves, cliffs, overhangs, fantastic corals, and a wide range of marine life, for adventure junkies seeking rush this is one of the best places to visit in the Maldives!
The Maldives has some of the best dive sites in the world scattered around, teeming with vibrant coral and underwater life. Boasting excellent visibility in the water, Banana Reef owes its name to its curved shape and is also responsible for being the first place to put the Maldives on the map for divers. The reef is best known for its snorkeling experience; even people swimming near the surface will be able to see sharks, manta rays, and schools of fish.
#4 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Nalaguraidhoo Island also famously known as Sun Island is located in South Ari Atoll, which is also among the must-see places to visit in Maldives. Beautiful tropical flowers, lavish greenery, and stunning beaches pull a great number of tourists throughout the year. The fabulous resorts, blue waters, serenity, and the beauty here make it perfect for couples and honeymooners.
South Ari Atoll’s most popular Island, Nalaguraidhoo Island holds Maldives’ most modern and largest resorts, covering an area of 1.6 km long and 440 meters wide. On the island, tourists can experience spellbound scenic beauty blended with clear skies and deep blue sea. Moreover, underwater and aquatic activities here cannot be overlooked as there is something for people of all ages to enjoy.
#5 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Situated at the South Kaafu Atoll in Mal, Fihalhohi Island is the place to spend your hard-earned holidays as it is one of the most gorgeous and captivating tourist attractions in the Maldives. Pristine beaches, shady coconut palm trees, and clear waters surround this beautiful island. If you’re planning your honeymoon or looking for a romantic getaway, this island is a MUST GO!
Fihalhohi Island is the best place to visit in Maldives for water activities as it has warm weather and the availability of activities like scuba diving makes it possible for divers to experience marine life among the reefs and make memories that last for a lifetime. Spas here also offer the best tropical Balinese massages and other international treatments.
#6 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Utheemu is a small island located in the Northern part of Maldives, what sets Utheemu apart from the other islands is that it looks like a small green jellyfish; this natural miracle makes it one of the must-see places to visit in the Maldives. Utheemu is also known for its historical significance as it was the birthplace of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu.
Utheemu Ganduvaru, a famous monument here, is a heritage building that is a must-see as this was home to Sultan Mohamed and is made of wood and attracts lots of tourists visiting the Maldives.
#7 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Another top-rated tourist attraction in Maldives is the HP Reef, located in North Male- Atoll. HP Reefs hosts a variety of marine creatures from colorful, small, and harmful fish to multi-hued corals, overhangs, and caves because of which it is a protected marine location. Here the authorities work hard to protect the marine beings and make sure they are well cared for. These qualities add up to make it one of the best places to visit in Maldives.
What makes this place so special is that the most beautiful and colorful reefs like nowhere on earth can be found here. These reefs are supplied with nutrients by the flowing currents of the Somosomo Strait between the island of Taveuni and the resort. Try planning a visit here during the dry season between October – April as this is considered the best time to visit for a vacation. The HP Reef is covered in yellow, orange, and blue coral reefs along with being home to reef sharks, barracudas, eagle rays, and tunas.
#8 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Another popular island is the Biyadhoo Island, located in South Mal- Atoll, it’s almost 20 miles from South Mal- International Airport and in its close proximity has Makunufushi Island. It is also called Scuba-diving Island because of its sparkling waters and adventurous water sports. This island also has an abundance in the vegetation of mangoes, cabbage, cucumbers, coconuts, bananas, and tomatoes. It has its own glory for vacationers despite being small. There is immense serenity in this land of shimmering waters as the island is filled with lush greenery. Many tourists make use of the lagoons here for diving and snorkeling. Not just this, Biyadhoo Island also promises to serve you hot delicious food as it is in close proximity to a fishing village.
#9 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Amongst the top-rated islands in the Maldives, Baros Island keeps the crowd at bay. This place is known for its natural beauty, elegance, sun-kissed beaches, luxurious resorts, and cyan blue water which are a treat to the eyes and the soul! With a few bars and restaurants in the precinct of these amazing water villas, makes it ideal for a group of friends on a vacation and honeymooners to enjoy the services with privacy during their stay
Just a hop, step and jump away from the island there are many places to visit like the Vabbininfaru and the Angsana beaches are major crowd-pullers, and so are the Bandos and Kuda Bandos beaches. At a short distance is the paradisiac island beach in Hulhumale. Beach and water villas, elegant accommodation, and private pools adorn the surface of Baros Island, which are inspired by the luxurious traditions and hospitality that are true to a visit to the Maldives.
COMO Cocoa Island
#10 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
The Maldives is a country which boasts of sandy beaches, clear blue water, and gorgeous islands, but among the many, the island that stands out as the most sought-after islands and is a place you must visit in Maldives is the COMO Cocoa Island. In simple words, It is a slice of tropical heaven for rejuvenation and relaxation. This island hosts around 33 water villas and a large number of resorts. Each of them providing the best hospitality services and accommodation in all of the surrounding islands. The beaches here are white and powdery with crystal blue water surrounding the place with pride.
The best part about staying in these resorts is that it allows you to slip from your balcony directly into the turquoise lagoon to explore the amazing sea life-rich house reef. The resorts here promise what only a few luxury Maldivian resorts truly can, privacy, the opportunity to do very little and peacefulness, simply relax and snorkel in a world of colorful marine life. The individual over-water villas resemble a collection of Keralan boathouses and have teak flooring with soothing white-on-white interiors, creating an ambiance of laid-back romance. After spending an afternoon of reef watching you can head to the world-class Como Shambhala spa to soothe away any aches and pains
#11 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Mihiri Island is the place to be for vacationers who want a complete detoxing stay at Maldives. Here there are no distractions from the outside world, no television to watch and one is completely detached from the world outside. These features attract a lot of employees who work in a nine-to-five job and honeymooners. To add to the detoxing experience spa treatments are also available. Mihiri Island is among the top places to visit in Maldives especially because of the restaurants that cook lip-smacking delicacies and the 30 water villas present on the island
Mirihi is one of the smallest resorts in Maldives, surrounded by the endless azure of the Indian Ocean, making the guests here feel like they are on their own private island. With no discos, or motorized water sports, or nightlife to disturb tourists with loud noise and music, this place is a haven of tranquility and serenity.
#12 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Emboodhu Island is another major tourist attraction in Maldives because of the arrangement of water villas, these villas are arranged in the shape of flowers which is a calming sight to the eyes! This view is most enjoyed while on a seaplane.
This island has about fifty-five water villas which include the luxurious Taj Exotica Resort. Hospitality services and the accommodation here are remarkable and have always received positive feedback from its guests. For those who like to sit back and relax can opt for the revitalizing spa retreat offered here.
#13 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Whether you are traveling with a pack of friends or family, Huvahendhoo Island is the place to be for an undisturbed stay for rejuvenation. Most of the island is surrounded by calm water and lustrous greenery, making it perfect for detoxing yourself off the hustle and bustle of daily city life. Huvahendhoo Island is known for being a family-oriented place; while the adults can enjoy their time walking down the soft white sandy beaches the Kids Club lets the kids have their share of fun. The island has both local and foreign restaurants serving top-notch delicacies.
Sumptuous dining, lush villas, and gorgeous scenery await you at this emerald-colored beautiful island. The Lily Beach Resort and spa is responsible for Huvahendhoo Island being so popular. The aromatic smell of essential oils will welcome you as soon as you take a step into the spa, recognized for its much-needed relaxing and pampering spas the resort will definitely leave you feeling rejuvenated. The island is also known for its magnificent underwater aquatic life, various kinds of fishes, lively coral reefs, and large whales can be found following you while you go snorkeling under the clear blue waters of the island. Facilities such as snorkeling equipment and instructors are provided by the beach resort.
#14 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Kanuhura Island has five-star luxurious services and amenities with elaborate villa settings provided for the guests. Apart from the regular honeymooners a lot of kids and groups of friends come here as this place is known to be very kid-friendly. The best part about Kanuhura island is that they provide a private host who will take care of all your needs. While you take a break from your monotonous life and enjoy the pampering, the Kids Clubs do an amazing job of making sure the kids have a good time too. One aspect of the villas that leaves the guests amazed is the decor that makes it worth the stay.
#15 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Maafushi Beach also known as Maldives paradise has the best beaches in the country, filled with fun activities to do. There is a wide range of water sports to keep the tourists hooked and the food here will leave you licking your fingers. Apart from these things, there is something for nature lovers too, the scenic beauty that graces this island and the perfect blend of white and blue is a treat to the eyes and also relaxes the mind. Along with many others, Bikini Beach is a famous tourist attraction at Maafushi
#16 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
If you’re tired of seeing the surface of the oceans and want to have a deeper look at what underwater life looks like then “The Whale Submarine” is a must-try! , it is a 45-minute underwater tour of the Indian Ocean which is nothing short of spectacular! Cruising through the underwater can be compared with touring a zoo, but the only difference is that you’re caged and the underwater world observes you as you cruise past the marine life.
#17 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
If you’re planning to take your family on a long vacation between sandy beaches and clear blue water then Conrad Maldives in Rangali Island is where you want to go. Conrad offers underwater stays and dining for their guests! Which is a once in a lifetime opportunity! They are also known for their hospitality services in Maldives which is expected as it is owned by the Hilton Hotels group. If you have never tried fishing but have always wanted to, then this is the time to do so! The island offers fishing activities in the vicinity because of which it makes Conrad one of the must-visit places in Maldives
Island of Dhigu
#18 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
The Island of Dhigu is the ideal place if you’re a foodie and love the color blue because wherever you look you find blue skies shadowing over the clear blue water. This island has 36 water villas with five-star accommodation with top in class facilities. Not just this! The villas also have an infinity-edge bathtub with an amazing view of the vast sea.
The most luxurious stay here is Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa, which is an experience in itself. The food that the four-star restaurants serve here is known to be the best in the region and has a range of cuisines both foreign and local to fulfill your palate.
#19 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Surrounded by water in all directions, Halaveli Island is the place to be if you’re looking for isolation from the outside world as your way of detoxing. This is the ideal place to spend time with family when in Maldives as this place is surrounded by scenic beauty and is also home to the Constance Halaveli Resort, known for its elaborate hospitality services that add to making your stay more comfortable. You should add Halaveli Island to your list of places to visit in the Maldives if on a honeymoon, as they have 57 water villas for a romantic getaway with rooms well furnished and equipped with an iMac entertainment system and televisions
#20 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Spotting stars in the sky may be something you might have done before, but can you imagine spotting them under your feet?! If that’s something you would like to experience during your vacation at Maldives then the virgin beach on the Vaadhoo Island is going to leave you awestruck as this beach is famous for a quite exciting and rare phenomenon, glowing phytoplanktons that get tossed over by the waves to the sands at night look like stars in a dark background.
There are many cafes here lined up on the shore with a lot to offer to satisfy your hunger. This by far tops the list of the best places to visit in the Maldives for couples. Vaadhoo Island is comparatively easier to get to from Hulhumale by ferry. If you want to visit this place when it’s at its stunning best then December and March is the best time to visit the Maldives.
#21 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Hanifaru Bay also known locally as ‘Vandumaafaru Adi’ is recognized as a marine protected area which is located in Baa Atoll which is a vast UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The keyhole-shaped bay offers happiness and calmness to the eyes with its serene navy blue ocean waters, pristine blue lagoons, and white sand beaches. What makes Baa Atoll a must-visit place in Maldives is that it is the largest feeding station for the manta rays in the world and also offers other underwater activities like snorkeling and scuba diving making it a place to visit for divers in Maldives.
#22 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
At the southernmost tip is one of Maldives most scenic places called Fuvahmulah, which is oozing with natural beauty. If you’ve seen beautiful sceneries painted on canvas then this is your chance to see it in real life! Fuvahmulah looks like a place taken directly out of a storybook. The beauty of golden sand against the blue waters and the calming sound they make when they hit the shore along with the cuisines and various adventure activities offered here make it one of the best places to visit in Maldives. Nature parks have been started at Addu, Fuvahmulah in 2018
#23 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Located on the Kaafu Atoll is Huraa Island, which is a go-to place for those who seek to experience an authentic Maldivian holiday. The island is not very populated because of which it becomes an amazing space to mingle with locals and get a taste of the traditional Maldivian culture. If you like dolphin spotting tours, snorkeling, diving with turtles, and manta rays then this is the place to go! These amazing tours pull a lot of tourists to Maldives throughout the year
Alif Alif Atoll
#24 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
If you want to spend some quality time with your family or would like to get a tan, then you must visit Alif Alif Atoll which is located 70 km east of Male. Blue lagoons and coral reefs surround the island. The island is also famous for its waste management system and cleanliness. You can also spend hours with your family spotting giant mantas rays, sea turtles, reef sharks, and zebra sharks.
The most soothing sight on the island for a visitor from the hustle of city life is the bikini beach which is neatly lined up with umbrellas, sunbeds, and a calm soothing atmosphere. Don’t forget to include this place in your plan when making your list of places to visit in the Maldives
#25 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
The capital island of Dhaalu Atoll, Kudahuvadhoo has strange mounds called ‘hawattis’ which hold great architectural significance. They are believed to be dated back to prehistoric times. Carved with coral stones, the remains of an ancient mosque show us how amazing ancient masonry really was. This place also sees a lot of divers as the water here is clear blue. Kudahuvadoo is a place you must visit in Maldives if you want to discover true Maldives culture and heritage.
Male Friday Mosque
#26 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Another famous tourist spot in Maldives is the Male Friday Mosque which is one of the oldest surviving mosques in the Maldives. The mosque was built in the year 1658 and is also known as the Male Hukuru Miskiy. The mosque has detailed carvings on the walls which add to the distinct architecture and make the mosque gorgeous to look at. In 2008 the mosque was listed as one of UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage Cultural Sites.
#27 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
Located in Boduthakurufaanu Magu in southeast Male is the “Tsunami monument ” which as the name indicates is a memorial for the victims of the devastating 2004 tsunami which claimed the lives of around 75 Maldivians, the monument was made as a beacon of hope after the tragedy. The rising pillars symbolize the waves of the tsunami while the twenty steel spheres encircling the monuments stand for the Atolls of the country. If you’re interested in learning about the history of the country then this should find a place in the list of places to visit in Maldives. There is a beach nearby which has become a popular surfing spot and attracts a lot of crowds.
#28 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
The bridge connecting Maldives’ capital city, Male to Hulhule, an airport island stretches to 2km in length and is an experience you must have if you like sightseeing in the Maldives. This long bridge, also known as the Sinamale Bridge was made to strengthen the ties between both Maldives and China, the Belt and Road Initiative was funded by China and is one of the many places you must visit in Maldives to complete your sightseeing experience.
National Art gallery
#29 in Best Places to Visit in Maldives
The National Art gallery which was established in 1999 is located in Male and is a famous tourist attraction in Maldives. It serves as a platform for showcasing some of the most amazing and breathtaking artworks both locally and internationally. There are events and exhibitions held to promote these niche artists.
The gallery is filled with collections of traditional, local, and royal Maldivian dresses and also has a collection of Islamic items. If you’re an artist, an art lover, or a collector then the art gallery would definitely be a place to visit in Maldives.
Best Places to Shop in Maldives
It is worth taking a day off to go on a shopping spree in the markets in Male, which are the most vibrant of all in the Maldives and are also the best places to meet locals. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc are some handmade jewelry that is popular in these markets. They are made of coconut shells, seashells, ceramic, or if you’re ready to pay a little more you can pick yourself jewelry made from pearls.
Just a heads up before you pick items made from black and red corals or shark teeth, the export of these items has been prohibited, and unless you know how to differentiate between real or fake ones there are chances you might have picked the wrong one. If you’re interested in buying then some good places are Island Bazaar in Fareedhee Magu, Male, and Majeedhee Magu.
If you like collecting souvenirs or would like to carry some to gift it to someone close, Majeedhee Magu is famous locally for handcrafted items. In Maldives its shop till you drop in the true sense as the shops are open till 11 PM.
The life of the islanders, myriad underwater creatures, and scenic seascapes are depicted to perfection by the local Maldivian artists. These are perfect to buy and decorate your homes with the fond memories of the happy days you spent in the tropical paradise. Everyone takes pictures to keep as a memory of the place but owning a piece of work from your trip to Maldives has its own stories and value attached. The best places to visit in Maldives to buy art are Oevaali Art Shop (STO Trade Centre, inside Toddy Inc) and Huvan Art (online).
Fish (mainly tuna) is mostly the staple in every Maldivian diet as the island nation is 99% sea. The cuisines available in the Maldives is a mix of Indian, Sri Lankan, Arabian and Oriental influences. But as there are ninety-odd resorts that host diverse international menus scattered throughout the islands, it gives you a chance to taste cuisines from around the world while living in luxury.
Though seafood plays the starring role regardless of which country cuisine is on display, there are plenty of options for people who prefer food from dry land. Another main ingredient in Maldivian dishes is coconut, available and used in different forms like milk, oil to fry food, or can also be served in grated form. A traditional drink called Raa, toddy that has been tapped from palm trees and sometimes left to ferment is famous here along with tea with is famous among the locals.