Top 10 Things to See and Do
1. The world’s premier diving and snorkelling destination, an undersea exploration of coral reefs that are bursting with colour and teeming with abundant marine life should top any visitors list. With over 3000 coral reefs, a professionally run dive centre on virtually every resort, irresistible crystal blue waters and world-class instructors who can cater to any level of ability, there’s nothing to stop you diving in headfirst almost the moment you step off the plane!
2. A fisherman’s paradise, hundreds of species of sea life weave through the rainbow-hued coral beneath the sparkling crystal surfaces of the Maldivian waters. Hire a speedboat and make a beeline for the deeper part of the sea for your chance to reel in marlin, swordfish and other big game.
3. Located in Male, the Maldives National Museum is the ideal place to learn about the fascinating history of these paradise islands, with collections of historic artefacts, weaponry displays, galleries devoted to the ancient and medieval periods and much more.
4. With no shortage of warm, turquoise waters encircling each and every island, the water sports opportunities in the Maldives are never ending. Whether you want to kick up foam on a jet ski, feel the wind whip through your hair on a windsurfer or soar above it all on a parasailing outing, any water based whim can be catered to, and no demand is too extravagant.
5. It goes with out saying, but we’ll say it anyway: the beaches of the Maldives are sandy stretches of paradise on earth. With their warm, translucent waters, tropical vegetation, endless powder white sands and first-class resort facilities, they are the irresistibly seductive magnets that crown each island and continue to draw visitors back time after time.
6. Old Friday mosque The Hukuru Miskiiy (or Old Friday Mosque) is the oldest mosque to be found anywhere on the islands and a truly remarkable place to visit. Built from coral stone with patterns and Arabic scripts carved painstakingly into the walls, ornate lacquer work, elaborate wood carvings and tombs erected in the memory of famous heroes and nobles, the interior is truly breathtaking.
7. While all diving in the Maldives is undeniably spectacular, the Banana Reef (so called because it has the shape of a banana) is truly in a class of its own. With an excellent reputation as one of the islands best dive sites, the variety of marine life is endless and the fishes come in all colours, shapes and sizes.
8. Once little more than a sandy, sparsely populated island, the Maldives capital of Male has evolved into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city bubbling with energy and colour. With excellent shopping facilities, world-class cuisine and many of the Maldives main cultural attractions, venturing out of your tranquil resort hideaway for a visit to the hustle and bustle of the city will be an invigorating change of pace, and well worth your while!
9. Located on Utheemu island, Utheemu Ganduvaru is the historical residence once inhabited by the Sultan Mohamed Thankurufaan, hailed as a hero in the Maldives for his role in saving the native people from Portugese conquerers.
10. The bustling produce markets are the place to head if you wish to soak up the true spirit of Maldivian culture. Hailing from all over the islands, the hawkers gather to sell home-grown produce from coconuts and bananas to stacks of betel leaf; meanwhile, at the nearby fish market, you can purchase your choice of the days fresh ocean catch – whether it be tuna or octopus!
Top 10 Honeymoon Experiences
1. Although it’s unlikely you’ll need much extra assistance unwinding in such picture perfect surroundings, all of our destinations boast excellent spa facilities that it would be foolish to pass up! Several enjoy serene, over-water settings, and all boast a variety of world-class spa treatments to ease you luxuriously into a state of total honeymoon bliss.
2. If exclusive, tropical privacy is what you’re after, why not go on an adventure and find your own island! With almost 2000 islands making up the Maldives, and most of them uninhabited, it is not difficult to find your very own slice of island paradise to maroon yourselves on together.
3. As the day draws to a gentle close, take a boat trip out across the sea to enjoy the magic of the sinking sun setting the sparkling tropical waters aflame.
4. Dive into the impossibly warm waters and explore the wonders of the vibrant reefs that lie beneath. Diving companies all across the islands can arrange dives to suit you perfectly depending on your level of experience, and once you delve below the translucent surface, you will be reluctant to come back up for air!
5. Sail out under the starry skies for a night fishing trip, before cooking your catch on a desert island where you can gaze into the heavens in total seclusion.
6. Simply stretch out on the sand and sunbathe, allowing your stress to melt away in the never ending Maldivian summer. Each resort tends to have its own private beach, and if you fancy a change of scene, there are only 1,990 other beach-fringed islands to choose from!
7. View this spectacular collection of islands from the sky and capture memories that will last a lifetime with a Seaplane photo flight. Both landing and taking off from the sea, the large, untainted view windows offer breathtaking panoramic views and once in a lifetime photo opportunities.
8. Located roughly an hour from the capital of Malé, take a trip to Manta Point, the best place to see the majestic Manta Rays. Both new and experienced divers are welcomed, although the best time to see them tends to be in the monsoon season between spring and autumn..
9. The best way to see as many of the Maldives idyllic islands as possible is in a safari boat. Stay in the comfort of luxurious settings as you cruise through the Indian ocean from island to island, pausing only to explore new shores, take a dive, or surf in the gently crashing waves.
10. The Maldives are so hypnotically beautiful that it can be easy to forget that they also have a rich history: explore it together in the capital of Male, where you can visit the National Museum, the Old Friday Mosque and Mulee Aage, an elaborate palace that dates back to before the First World War.
Top 10 Family Experiences
1. For those who have little ones (or who just want to view the reef without getting wet!) the Whale Submarine is a popular excursion. Descending about 35 metres to a colourful reef, gaze through the large windows at the dazzling array of fish who, seemingly undeterred by the large submarine, tend to swim quite close!
2. The resorts of the Maldives are famed for their excellent kids clubs, where the endless choices of activities can range from water sports to treasure hunts, sports to movie nights and even educational lessons!
3. Experience a more authentic taste of Maldivian culture as a family by taking an excursion to an inhabited Island; admire the brightly painted houses, wander through picturesque ports and fishing visits and relax side by side with the locals at the beach, watching the sun go down.
4. Nature walks are a fantastic way to explore the tropical forests, fascinating wildlife and vibrant plant life of islands that are so much more than just their beaches!
5. Ride the turquoise swells of the Indian Ocean together with a family surfing lesson at one of the islands well-known breaks, or in a resort-based surfing facility.
6. Explore the captivating coral world that lies beneath the serene sparkling shores of the islands with a family diving excursion; many companies offer beginners lessons in small ‘practice’ lagoons, and are dedicated to building confidence and having the kids diving like pros by the end of the holiday!
7. The picturesque Alimath Island is one of the Maldives most popular tourist destinations for families, with world class diving facilities, a bustling central beach and calm, shallow waters for the kids to play in.
8. There are seven species of sea turtle in the world, and at least five of them visit the enticing sandy shores of the Maldives – and who could blame them! Take the kids on a turtle spotting trip to one of the beaches where they can often be seen scuttling through the powdery sand.
9. No matter your skill level, the water sports opportunities afforded on the Maldives are endless; canoe through calm waters or jump on a jet ski, and explore the islands from the water.
10. If all that sea, sun and sand has worn you out, simply spend a day relaxing at your resort – the hotels of the Maldives boast swimming pools that are almost as picturesque as the shores, so stretch out on a sun lounger and soak up the sun while the kids run riot at the poolside.
Culture in the Maldives
Due to its location at the epicentre of the Indian Oceans trading route, the Maldives has accumulated settlers, visitors and influences from neighbouring and international regions for hundreds of years – the result is a diverse, friendly people and a lively variation that has spilled over into the islands arts, attitudes, languages and beliefs. In terms of faith, Islam is the dominant religion, but superstition still plays a significant role in Maldivian society and island communities, possibly due to the folklore traditions and Buddhist influences of the islands very first settlers.