Any traveler who has ever dreamed of white sand beaches, luxury accommodations, exotic marine life, and the feeling of being a planet away from the rest of the world has probably had the Maldives on their mind at some point. These beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean are the home of world-class scuba diving, some of the world’s best hotels, and the overall unbelievable scenery.
Vacations to the Maldives come in many forms. Some people will go island hopping to see as many of these paradise islands as they can, while others will plant themselves on a private island resort and simply disconnect for some in-depth relaxation. Whatever your plans, a Maldives trip is highly unlikely to disappoint.
Any trip to the Maldives will start on North Malé Atoll, where the international airport island is located, near the capital. And perhaps after a stop there to appreciate the history and culture of this island nation, most visitors are off to the more remote corners of the country, where most Maldives things to do can be found.
While you might think it’s all about laying on beach chairs and spending time in an overwater bungalow, there are actually a ton of fun activities to do in the Maldives. We’ve put together a list of some of the best below to guide your planning.
Experience the best of Malé on our 4 hour highlights walking tour. Led by a local guide, you'll discover hidden gems and iconic landmarks in this vibrant city. Visit the fish market to see the catch of the day, view landmarks such as the President's Palace, Sultan Park, and Friday Mosque. Head up a tall building for breathtaking views over the city, and visit the Royal Garden Cafe for snacks and refreshments.
Make the most of your Maldives vacation with this small-group tour that combines snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing with a sunset dolphin cruise from Hulhumale. The first stop of the day is a sandbank where you’ll learn or refresh your snorkel skills. From there, visit two snorkel sites near Male to see colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks, rays, and coral. Finally, enjoy a sunset cruise with the chance of spying dolphins along the way.
Looking for an exciting way to spend your vacation in the Maldives? Then look no further than the Full Fun Adventure Trip! This action-packed tour takes you snorkeling in the mesmerizing underwater world, kayaking in the crystal clear waters, cruising around to spot dolphins, and more. You’ll also get to visit a stunning sand bank in the middle of the ocean – an experience you’ll never forget.
Show Table of Contents
- Things to Do in the Maldives
- 1. Scuba Diving
- 2. Visit Your Own Private Island
- 3. Explore Malé City
- 4. National Museum, Maldives
- 5. Swim With Whale Sharks
- 6. Have an Underwater Spa Day
- 7. Sultan Park
- 8. Snorkel With Manta Rays
- 9. Male Fish Market
- 10. Banana Reef
- 11. Tour a Local Island
- 12. Sunset Cruise
- 13. Go Surfing
- 14. Dolphin Watching
- 15. Tsunami Monument
- 16. Old Friday Mosque & Islamic Centre
- 17. Jet Skiing
- 18. The National Art Gallery of Maldives
- 19. Paddle Boarding
- 20. Water Skiing or Wakeboarding
- 21. Sport Fishing
- 22. Dine at an Undersea Restaurant
- 23. The Sea of Stars
- 24. Muliaage Palace
- 25. Golfing
- 26. Seaplane Tour
- 27. Skydiving
- 28. Flyboarding
- 29. Kite Surfing
- 30. Parasailing
- What is the Maldives known for?
- Are the Maldives worth visiting?
- What are some cheap things to do in the Maldives?
- Is there anything to do in the Maldives with kids?
- Most significant landmark – Banana Reef
- Best park – Sultan Park
- Best free activity – Malé Fish Market
- Best activity for kids – Dolphin Watching
- Best activity for adults – Scuba Diving
- Best food – Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
- Best all-around accommodation – Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Things to Do in the Maldives
While most Maldives tourist attractions involve the ocean, some are more traditional city activities such as museums and historical sites. Read on to see what to do in the Maldives, no matter what type of activities you are looking for on your trip.
1. Scuba Diving
Whether you are a seasoned diver or you’ve never tried it in your life, the Maldives is undoubtedly one of the best dive sites in the world. Wrecks, coral reefs, and vibrant marine life, such as harmless white tip reef sharks, are some of the best things to see in the Maldives, and they are best seen up close from the sea floor.
The best time to visit for diving is during the dry season, from January to April, when visibility is best. However, as long as there aren’t any serious storms churning up the seas, you can enjoy a dive in the other months as well.
Similarly, you’ll find places to dive all over the islands, with nearly every major resort able to set you up with a dive. Some of the best sites are around South Male Atoll, where you’ll find entire resorts centered around scuba diving. The Fihalhohi Island Resort, bookable here, has an on-site PADI-certified dive center, for example.
Are you a total scuba beginner who wants to try it? If you are staying at a hotel or rental near Maafushi Island, this scuba discovery experience can pick you up, provide the equipment, and show you exactly how it works in a safe environment with professionals.
See Related: Bora Bora vs The Maldives: What’s the Difference?
2. Visit Your Own Private Island
There are many places you can go in the world for pristine beaches and fancy hotels. We’re thinking of Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the Greek Islands. But what can’t you find there? An entire, private island that has nothing but your hotel – or even just your villa.
The Maldives is one of the unique places in the world where you can find such accommodations. When you step off of your flight at the Male International Airport, you won’t get into a taxi to your hotel. You’ll be on specially-chartered transportation by air or sea to your final destination, perhaps with some other arriving guests, because the only thing there is your resort!
Most commonly, your private island resort will arrange a seaplane transfer directly to its sandy beach. Ultra-luxury resorts, like the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, can be reached in just 30 minutes while you enjoy the 50 shades of blue from above. Most rooms have their own swimming pool, giving you a private oasis within your private island.
If a seaplane transfer doesn’t sound like your idea of a relaxing vacation, hotels closer to Male can be reached by speedboat. The COMO Cocoa Island Resort, bookable here, is just 40 minutes from the airport while gliding on the azure water.
Are you looking to do things really big? The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is a mega-luxury hotel that takes it even a step further. Book their Private Island to have an entire, ocean-surrounded playground to yourself. You’ll choose from one of the three villas on the island, have personalized meal and activity service, and find yourself just about as far away from the rest of the world as possible.
See Related: Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the Maldives
3. Explore Malé City
While most people head straight to the resort islands, it can be interesting to spend a few hours exploring the capital city of Male (or Malé). Located on a tiny portion of North Male Atoll, the city is known for its colorful buildings, bustling city life, and mesmerizing mosques. It’s less than 10 minutes away from the Maldives International Airport, making it one of the great places to visit in the Maldives before you return to normal life.
Male City is home to one-third of the country’s entire population and is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It’s also very compact (hence the dense population), making it easy to explore in just a few hours. That is why so many travelers choose to make this a stop on their way out of the country.
Some of the most popular attractions in Male’ are the Old Friday Mosque and the Male Fish Market, both of which we’ll discuss in their own sections later. Besides those, you can see a stingray spot, a surf break, locals playing beach volleyball and cricket, and other aspects of everyday life in this island nation.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to exploring the capital city of Male, check out this Male’ guided walking tour (which may or may not be male-guided). It is specifically configured to be done during your layover before leaving the Maldives, with transportation from the airport included. Luggage storage is available for an additional fee.
See Related: Best Spring Break Destinations for Families
4. National Museum, Maldives
Address: National Museum, 5GG6+V3C, Chaandhanee Magu, Malé, Maldives
If you’re interested in learning about the unique history and culture of the Maldives, make a stop at the National Museum of the Maldives. The purpose of the museum is to instill a feeling of patriotism throughout the country, and it was opened on the National Day of the Maldives, November 11th back in 1952.
The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts from both the Buddhist era and the Islamic monarchy era. Some of the oldest and most significant artifacts include a buddha head from the 11th century, an engraved wooden plank from the 13th century, and clothing weaved during the 15th century. It holds paper and cloth manuscripts from the earliest records of Maldivian history.
While the vast majority of visitors to the Maldives are there for the beach and sea, it’s nice to get a look into the identity of the country and appreciate its society beyond the resorts. The museum is a great place to do so, and it can be easily added to a visit to Male City or before your departure flight.
Plan to spend about one hour here if you’d like to see every exhibit in the two-story museum.
5. Swim With Whale Sharks
One of the most beautiful creatures in the Maldives, and even the entire ocean, is the majestic whale shark. In fact, the Maldives is one place that brings people from all over the world who want a chance at seeing, and even swimming with, these gentle giants.
Whale sharks are the largest presently-existing species of fish known to humans, and they can grow to be over 60 feet in length. Don’t let their size (or their name) scare you, though. Whale sharks are slow-moving, filter-feeding animals, meaning they eat tiny organisms and pose no threat to swimmers.
Most hotels, especially in the South Ari Atoll, can help you arrange a whale shark experience. You can also book a five-day, all-inclusive adventure to South Ari Atoll, which has your accommodation, food and beverage, and whale shark excursion included. You’ll also see manta rays and sandbanks as part of your touring.
If you’d prefer a DIY-excursion, you can book a speedboat transfer to the local island of Maafushi. From there, there is a whale shark, manta ray, and dolphin boat tour that includes a sandbank picnic lunch. This is a great way to save money on your adventure.
See Related: Ways to Get Free Flights and Airfare
6. Have an Underwater Spa Day
Address: North Malé Atoll, 08390, Maldives
There’s nothing quite like getting a spa treatment on a tropical island vacation. This is one of the best things to do in the Maldives for couples, especially with the quality of the spas at the luxury hotels you have to choose from there.
Well, what if you could combine a tranquil spa day with the other best thing to do in the Maldives? The Huvafen Fushi resort is home to the first underwater spa in the world and is the only place that offers such an experience. Your massage can take place while you gaze at the colorful fish and thriving reef around you.
The treatment room will have you eight meters, or about 26 feet, below the surface. Two treatments are specifically designed to make the most of the space: the Underwater Dream, available for 60 or 90 minutes, and the Underwater Rendezvous, for 120 minutes. Both are top-to-toe formulas that will have you feeling ridiculously relaxed and like you are simply floating with the currents.
While you aren’t making the fish jealous from the treatment room, the Huvafen Fushi has plenty above the surface going for it as well. Beach and overwater bungalows, an infinity pool, several restaurants, and an overwater gym are just a few of the amenities on this beautiful island.
7. Sultan Park
Address: 5GH6+2C2, Male, Maldives
As we’ve mentioned, the city of Male is one of the most densely populated in the entire world. Driving across the bridge from the airport, you’ll immediately see its tiny land mass packed from end to end with buildings and cranes.
Sultan Park is one of the best and only places to escape this concrete jungle without heading to an outer island. Located in the center-north of the city, it appears to take up just a tiny space on the map, but you’ll immediately be surprised by how spacious it feels within its lush gardens.
The park sits on the former site of the Royal Palace before it was destroyed in the 16th century. Today, it hosts thousands of plants and trees, several fountains and statues, and plenty of benches and places to relax away from the city streets.
While you’re probably not headed to the Maldives specifically in search of a park, this can be a lovely stop during a day in the city where you can catch a glimpse of everyday Maldivian leisure. Note that a small fee of about $5 is collected from foreigners wishing to enter the park.
See Related: Best Black Sand Beaches in the World
8. Snorkel With Manta Rays
Address: Maafushi Ferry, WFVQ+7RG, Maafushi, Maldives
Hopefully, we’ve made it clear by now that the atolls of the Maldives are home to some incredible sea life. Another species not to be missed are the majestic manta rays of the islands.
Manta rays are somewhat similar in shape to the more commonly-known sting rays but have fins that look like wings rather than round bodies. They have short tails and swim with their gaping mouths wide open as they filter feed on tiny plankton as they coast along.
They can be found in locally-known spots around the Maldives, especially around South Male Atoll. Take a guided snorkeling tour to reach these places and have a chance to swim alongside them, usually in large schools. Most swimmers who try this say that they could have spent hours admiring these peaceful creatures.
While the main attraction of many of these tours is to see manta rays, don’t forget that you are bound to spot a wide variety of unique marine life on your adventure. White tip and grey reef sharks are not uncommon around sand bars, and while it may sound frightening, these species are incredibly docile and won’t bother you. Plus, you’ll get to tell everyone you swam with sharks.
9. Male Fish Market
Address: 188 Ibrahim Hassan Didi Magu, Male 20188, Maldives
One of the few free things to do in the Maldives can be found in Male, at the northern end of the island at the harbor. The Male Fish Market is where you can see the catches of the day and buy some tasty treats for yourself.
Local fishermen will lay out their fresh catches, which often include tuna, sailfish, and various reef fish. The best time to visit the fish market is in the morning, when you’ll see the most action, but fishermen will be unloading their nets throughout the day.
Alongside the fish, this is also where fresh fruit and vegetables are bought and sold in the Maldives. Farming isn’t exactly possible on the vast majority of land in this country, so most produce must arrive from abroad. Hotels, restaurants, and everyday residents shop here for many of their culinary needs.
This walking tour of Male includes a stop at the fish market, along with all of the other important sights in the city. Be sure to bring some cash to buy snacks or souvenirs.
See Related: Best Tropical Vacation Spots in the World
10. Banana Reef
The original dive site of the Maldives to become famous was Banana Reef, a crescent-shaped coral reef just off the coast of the airport. It deserves a spot on our list not only because of its impressive underwater ecosystem but also because it’s a convenient place to get to.
You can find all kinds of seafloor features at Banana Reef: caves, overhangs, cliffs, and walls. There are colorful reef fish, large grouper, manta rays, and sharks frequenting the area. Scuba divers will, of course, be able to descend to see the best of the reef, but snorkeling from the surface provides an exceptional look at everything as well.
The site can be accessed from the capital, as well as from resorts around North Malé Atoll. The nearest hotel is the beautiful Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa, which is just east of the airport. They have beautiful bungalows with swimming pools, several restaurants, and a location that allows for easy access to Male.
11. Tour a Local Island
The private resort islands are amazing, no doubt. But, as you may imagine, everyday life in the Maldives for a local doesn’t involve living in overwater bungalows and laying under palm trees all day.
To get a sense of what life is actually like in the Maldives, take a day trip to one of the many local islands. There are just under 200 inhabited islands out of the more than 1,000 that make up this vast country, where Maldivians live, work, and play.
One option is to stay on a resort island, such as the Meeru Island Resort & Spa, which is located very close to a local island. In the case of the Meeru Island Resort, the local island of Dhiffushi is located just across a small channel. From the resort, you would need to arrange a water taxi to the village, where you can explore.
Another choice would be to stay in a local island accommodation, eliminating the need for day trips. For example, the Arena Beach Hotel (bookable here) is on the island of Maafushi and is one of the most popular local islands to visit. The laid-back atmosphere gives the vibe of a fishing village, and locals are known to be warm and welcoming to visitors to their island.
Finally, if you are looking to get really creative with your itinerary, you might be interested in utilizing one of the only two international airports in the country besides Male-Gan. The island of Gan is another major population center in the country and could make for an interesting visit off the beaten path before you depart on a flight from its airport. A vacation rental is a great choice to experience local life here.
See Related: Top Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit
12. Sunset Cruise
Watching the sunset in a picturesque place like the Maldives is wonderfully romantic and a great way to end the day. Doing it from a boat on a sunset cruise can make the experience even more special.
You can find evening an evening boat ride to enjoy the sunset departing from just about any of the resort islands, as well as some local islands. They often serve light snacks or dinner, plus tropical cocktails and other alcoholic beverages – one of the ways to find them in the otherwise alcohol-free Maldives.
Many of these cruises offer additional experiences before or after enjoying the sunset. For example, this sunset cruise from Huraa or Dhiffushi offers night fishing, providing everything you need to hook something big under the stars. This sandbank snorkeling cruise will have you out until sunset, which you’ll watch from the boat, after a fun day of seeing the sand banks and sea life.
Sunset cruises are just one way to enjoy the amazing colors of the evening sky in the Maldives, but be sure to plan nights to see it from your resort’s beach as well. Don’t forget a good camera no matter where you plan to watch the sunset, as you’ll want to capture the moment for sure.
13. Go Surfing
If you’re in search of the perfect wave, the Maldives might bring you pretty close to it. While Maldives surfing may not be as appreciated worldwide as spots in Hawaii or Indonesia, the waves here are a ton of fun, and they are a much-appreciated secret for surfers who have tried it.
Surfing season in the Maldives is from April through October, which aligns with the monsoon season. However, the right ocean conditions can appear throughout the whole year. The necessary southeastern swell brings small to medium-sized waves and long, even breaks.
Therefore, this isn’t necessarily a surfing destination for the pros like the north shore of Maui – beginners can try it out here! However, remember that the bottom is often reef in the Maldives, so some caution needs to be exercised. The best thing you can do is to ask a local for tips or even go out with a guide.
There are a few surf shops on the inhabited islands that can offer gear and advice, and some hotels may have boards if you aren’t packing one. You’ll be glad you paddled out once you are jamming on beautiful breaks with the picturesque atolls in the distance.
See Related: The Ultimate Summer Trip Packing List
14. Dolphin Watching
One of the most appreciated marine mammals around the world can be found happily playing in the Maldives: dolphins! More than 20 species of dolphins live around the islands, including spinner and spotted dolphins.
Since they are so popular to see, plenty of day cruises go out in search of dolphins and are usually successful at finding them. This dolphin cruise in Dhiffushi goes out in the late afternoon to the edge of the atoll, where dolphins are known to frequent. Usually, the dolphins provide a great show for the visitors, jumping and diving around the boat.
If you want to take dolphin watching to the next level, this cruise in Maafushi will put you in the water to snorkel with them. You’ll also be swimming with nurse sharks and giant trevallies, and underwater photos and video are provided – which you’ll definitely want after such an experience.
15. Tsunami Monument
Address: Thin Ruh Park, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male, Maldives
While the Maldives is a beach paradise for vacationers, it’s important not to forget that its composure of small atolls leaves it prone to certain natural disasters that have taken their toll in the past. The country was seriously affected by the massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004 that many of us remember as one of the worst of all time.
The Maldives created the Tsunami Monument in Male to commemorate the tragedy and those in the country who lost their lives. It is located in a small park next to the harbor on the west side of the island.
The large structure is made up of 108 metal rods standing in a circle to symbolize the number of people who lost their lives when the waves came over the islands. In fact, in the time shortly after the earthquake, there was concern that the entire country could become totally submerged and remain uninhabitable. While this, fortunately, did not come to be, it’s a fear that eventually could become a reality in the Maldives due to rising sea levels.
A stop at the Tsunami Monument is a nice way to pay your respects and get a deeper look into a significant piece of history. Don’t allow this to dissuade you from taking a trip here – earthquakes happen in the region all the time and rarely cause such a tsunami.
See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends
16. Old Friday Mosque & Islamic Centre
Address: 5GH6+4W9, Lonuziyaarai Magu, Malé, Maldives
The Maldives is a Muslim country, and while you may not notice this at your resort, the national faith is front and center in the capital and local islands. In Male, some of the most visited sights are the Old Friday Mosque and its neighboring Islamic Centre.
Even for those of other religions, the Old Friday Mosque is a piece of beautiful architecture and a rare piece of ancient Maldivian history. The mosque was constructed in the mid-1600s, making it one of the oldest in the country and all of Southeast Asia. It is made of a type of coral rock, abundant on the islands and sturdy for building, and is a majestic sight in the city.
The Islamic Centre is one of the most famous attractions in Male. The building is known for its mind-blowing architectural features, such as a large, golden dome roof and intricate woodworkings. The center is where a large conference hall hosts official meetings, as well as an Islamic library.
Both attractions are just a block away from each other and sit near some of the other major attractions in Male, such as the Muliaage Palace and Sultan Park. Keep in mind that visitors should dress modestly in most places around non-resort islands and especially near Islamic sites.
17. Jet Skiing
Address: Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, 20187 Dhangethi, Maldives
If you’re looking for some exhilaration on the water, one of the best things to do in the Maldives is jet skiing. The seas on the interior of the lagoons are generally calm and flat, and the scenery of overwater bungalows in infinite shades of blue makes for an amazing ride.
Riding a jet ski isn’t complicated, and most people get the hang of it after just a few minutes of practice. Once you are comfortable, you can zip around to sandbanks, coral gardens, and swim spots or simply have fun jumping your own waves.
There are water sports centers on some local islands that can rent out jet skis from the beach. However, most visitors have their resort arrange something for them. The Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa has jet skiing for guests on the property, along with a luxurious swimming pool and sandy beaches.
See Related: Best Places to Get Married in the World
18. The National Art Gallery of Maldives
Address: 5GH6+4F2, Male, Maldives
Another attraction to experience real, local culture beyond luxurious resorts is the National Art Gallery in downtown Male. The gallery was established in 1999 to showcase Maldivian art talent, as well as to display international works for enjoyment by locals and visitors.
The exhibits are constantly changing and rotating, meaning this is an interesting stop even for repeat visitors. Some of the items that have been displayed are traditional Maldivian outfits, royal artifacts, and Islamic items. The gallery is always looking for pieces made by local islanders to showcase as well.
The National Art Gallery is just across the street from the Islamic Centre and is closed on Fridays. Most visitors only need about an hour to see the entire collection, so if you are an art lover, this is an easy pre-departure flight visit as well.
19. Paddle Boarding
Address: 1 Milaidhoo Island Milaidhoo Island, 20002, Maldives
A great water sport that is fun for everyone and can be practiced directly from the white, sandy beaches is stand-up paddle boarding. While you may have seen some paddle boarders use them to catch waves and surf, most people prefer to go paddle boarding leisurely on flat water.
It’s great exercise, and most people only need a few minutes to find their balance. In the Maldives, you’ll be paddling over crystal clear water alongside idyllic beaches. Don’t be afraid to jump (or fall) off – the water is pleasantly warm, and your paddle will float.
Most resorts offer a few paddle boards for guests to try out. They may be fiberglass or inflatable, but there is no real difference in use. The Milaidhoo Island Maldives offers them and is located next to a pristine snorkeling spot, making for a great paddle board destination.
See Related: Best Whitewater Rafting in the World
20. Water Skiing or Wakeboarding
If you’re ready to take it up a notch after paddle boarding, you might be ready for a higher-speed water activity like water skiing or wakeboarding. These sports will have you holding a tow line attached to a boat that pulls you across the water.
Many people like to simply enjoy the ride while they feel the breeze on their face and watch the scenery. As with the other activities in the Maldives we’ve discussed, the scenery will be some of the most breathtaking in the world to enjoy from your skis or wakeboard. More experienced riders will have the boat zig-zagging along the water so they can jump them and get some air.
Even if you are a beginner, there are activities in the Maldives that can be booked to try out. This Maafushi wakeboard and waterski experience will provide a lesson for those who need it, and then give you a chance to ride at your leisure.
21. Sport Fishing
Address: UI Hotels, Nirolhu Magu – 19 Goalhi, Hulhumale 23000, Maldives
For fishermen, the Maldives is a dream destination. Sport fishing is some of the best in the world here, with big game like tuna, swordfish, wahoo, and barracuda frequenting the reefs and deep canyons.
The Maldives’ economy is strongly supported by commercial fishing besides tourism, so the government closely regulates the sport. This keeps fish stocks at adequate levels and available for everyone. Going out on a tour or charter boat will ensure that you are following all regulations, so there is no need to worry about formalities.
You can find charter boats available in the resort island areas as well as on local islands. This sunset fishing cruise goes out just before sunset, allowing you to enjoy it from the boat before dropping anchor at a spot near the reef where you’ll cast your lines to try to catch dinner.
See Related: Best Fishing Spots in the World
22. Dine at an Undersea Restaurant
Address: JP8F+6H9, Conrad Rangali Island 20077, Maldives
If you’ve dreamed of being immersed in the underwater world, among the marine life, you must check out the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant! The restaurant is located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and allows guests to dine 15 feet under the sea.
The half-dome glass walls allow you to admire the gorgeous turquoise Maldivian waters from a unique perspective while dining on some delicious cuisine. As you enjoy your meal, various tropical fish will be swimming through the coral reef next to your table.
Dinner is an eight-course meal that features seafood and meat dishes. Of course, a vegetarian option is available. If you prefer to visit for lunch, the chef offers a four-course menu with a vegetarian option as well.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant opens for lunch at 12:30 pm and for dinner at 6:30 pm. Reservations are mandatory and can be made until 12:00 p.m. on the same day.
23. The Sea of Stars
Address: VX6Q+H9V, Vaadhoo, Maldives
You’ve probably seen the photos of bioluminescent beaches in Puerto Rico, where most people go to see them. But few visitors know that you can experience the unique phenomenon of light-up water in the Maldives as well.
On the island of Vaadhoo, the Sea of Stars is on a stretch of beach where the bioluminescent phytoplankton light up under the night sky. These microscopic creatures have this light reaction when they are touched or disturbed, such as when the tide pushes water onto the sand or when you swim through them. But, don’t worry, you aren’t hurting them, and they cannot hurt you – it’s just their natural biology.
Vaadhoo is a small local island with very little visitor infrastructure, and the Sea of Stars is most often visited on nighttime tours from nearby resorts. The Emerald Faarfushi Resort & Spa is located on the same atoll and relatively close by in case you are looking for a luxurious and modern resort with easy access to this beach.
See Related: Best Tourist Destinations in the World
24. Muliaage Palace
Address: 5GH6+2WH, Medhuziyaaraiy Magu, Male’ City 20115, Maldives
If you’re looking to see a part of Maldives history in the center of Male City, check out Muliaage Palace. It is at the site known for being the ancestral home of Sultans for centuries.
The palace was built in 1914 and completed five years later in 1919. Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III had the palace built for his son, Prince Hassan Izzuddin after he returned from his studies in Colombo.
Today, the palace is the official residence of the President of the Maldives. On the grounds of Muliaage Palace, you will find the Medhu Ziyaarai, which translates to the “central tomb.” The tomb is for Abul Barakat Yousef Al-Berberi, a Moroccan scholar who introduced Islam to the Maldives in 1153.
The palace has hosted many well-known guests throughout the years, including the late Queen Elizabeth II. Though entry to the public is not allowed, visitors can admire the beautiful exterior and take in the history of the land it sits on.
If you’ve grown tired of laying out on the gorgeous Maldives beaches, check out some of the country’s fancy golf courses. A few of the island’s top private island resorts offer 9-hole courses for guests to enjoy.
Velaa Private Island offers a gorgeous golf course designed by professional golfer Jose Maria Olazabal. It’s one of the best things to do in the Maldives for adults that doesn’t involve being on (or in) the water.
A few times a year, the resort hosts a golf academy for guests where you can have a one-on-one session with a PGA professional. If you’re traveling with a golf aficionado, this would be a great surprise for them.
Other resorts that offer beautiful golf courses include the Meeru Island Resort & Spa and the Kuredu Island Resort & Spa. Both are stunning properties that will provide you with plenty of activities for the whole family besides hitting the green.
See Related: Best Golf Bachelor Party Destinations to Visit
26. Seaplane Tour
Enjoy the Maldives from a different perspective by going above the atolls on a seaplane tour. There are over a thousand islands and atolls that make up the country, and though you probably won’t see them all, this is a great way to get a birds-eye view of their unique beauty.
Flying over the marvelous turquoise waters dotted with white sand beaches and lush, green islands is any photographer’s dream. You can even enjoy some island hopping while on a seaplane tour, complete with short sightseeing tours.
As you’ll most likely need to board a seaplane to get to your resort island, consult with your hotel to find out if a seaplane tour is possible from there and which companies they work with. This will take out much of the stress of planning and allow you to fully enjoy your experience in the skies.
Adventure seekers, rejoice! Skydiving is a thrilling activity that can be done while visiting this beautiful island nation and should definitely be added to your bucket list.
If you’ve experienced major FOMO while watching YouTube videos of people skydiving in the Maldives, you’re not alone. Thankfully, skydiving in the Maldives can be done by both experienced jumpers and amateurs.
There’s hardly anything more electrifying than free-falling for 60 seconds towards the earth and then floating down peacefully after your parachute deploys. It’s also worth noting, however, that you cannot go scuba diving for at least 24 hours after skydiving.
Check with your resort to see if it’s possible to arrange a skydiving adventure. Kandima Maldives Resort is an excellent option as the resort has its own skydiving drop zone. Otherwise, the most popular islands for skydiving are Kooddoo atoll and Dhaalu atoll.
See Related: Most Romantic Cities in the World
Have you ever seen someone flyboarding or been lucky enough to try it yourself? This is a fantastic activity to try in the Maldives, thanks to the calm water and amazing scenery.
Flyboarding is one of the closest things you can do to flying, and it’s a great alternative for those who aren’t interested in the thrill of skydiving. Rather than jumping from thousands of feet, you’ll be propelled by a special watercraft jet pump connected to a hose. Water is thrust out of it towards the surface, allowing you to float six feet or more above.
Flyboarders who get very comfortable with the equipment can even do tricks and fly higher. Most people who try out this activity get the hang of it within 30 minutes or less. Try it out yourself at this flyboarding experience if you’re staying near Maafushi.
29. Kite Surfing
A little bit of wind can put a real damper on your beach day – but it’s what every kite surfer hopes for. While the Maldives is known for predictable weather that’s often just right in the high season, some atolls can catch a great breeze for kite surfing.
If you aren’t familiar with this water sport, it doesn’t involve paddling into any waves. Instead, your feet will be held onto a board by straps while you catch the wind in a large parachute you’re holding onto. Then, it’s all about steering, holding the wind, and having fun.
While many kite surfers like to just cruise and enjoy the ride, some prefer to hit waves and get some air for tricks like spins and flips. You can try it out on this kite surfing experience near Maafushi, which is set up for both beginners and experienced riders.
See Related: Best Bike-Friendly Cities in the World
If you want to fly high above the islands, but skydiving and seaplanes don’t sound like your idea of fun, then a great compromise could be parasailing. This leisurely but exciting activity will have you seated under a parachute that is pulled along by a boat below.
You get some pretty impressive air when parasailing, and you can expect to reach 100-300 feet of altitude. This is high enough to see the little patches of coral and islands that make up the atolls, which gives a special perspective on where you are in the world. Plan to get a bit wet as well – most captains like to “dip” their riders in the water before the flight is over.
Parasailing is a lot of fun, and even those who fear heights or falling generally do fine with it. If your resort is in the Maafushi area, try this parasailing tour, which will have you cruising with the birds rather than the fish.
What is the Maldives known for?
Picturesque beaches, luxury accommodations, and thriving marine life are just some of the things that this island paradise is known for. Apart from the resort islands, where you can find things like overwater bungalows and private islands, the capital island of Malé is actually one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Are the Maldives worth visiting?
If you want your next vacation to involve white sand beaches, palm trees, scuba diving or snorkeling some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, or simple relaxation, the Maldives are absolutely worth visiting. The top things to do in the Maldives involve resort relaxation or fun in the water, so if you’re looking for more of a city escape, these beautiful islands probably aren’t your ideal destination, though.
What are some cheap things to do in the Maldives?
Let’s be honest; being a luxury vacation destination, there are few things “cheap” about the Maldives. But, there are ways to save money if you’re on a budget. Opt for staying in vacation rentals and doing less expensive Maldives attractions such as paddle boarding, surfing, and snorkeling rather than helicopter tours and scuba diving.
Is there anything to do in the Maldives with kids?
Yes, children can have a blast here, as there are fun things to do in the Maldives for the whole family! Try kayaking over the ridiculously clear waters of the atolls, banana boating, or parasailing for some adventurous fun. Kids visiting the Maldives can also enjoy sport fishing and dolphin watching.
- Places Similar to the Maldives to Visit
- Best Holiday Destinations for Couples
- Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Woodrow is a travel writer who wants to do and see just about everything. He’s been to all 50 US states and is currently exploring destinations around Europe.