Top 10 things to do in Malé
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Malé is the capital and main island of the Maldives. With over130,000 residents and 50,000 expat workers, the city is one of the world's most densely populated and not one that you would expect to see on a Maldives Postcard. Malé is located on North Male Atoll (Kaafu Atoll) and is connected to the Velana International Airport on Hulhumalé Island. Malé contains several national icons and landmarks, and is ideal for short stays between flying in and flying out of the Maldives, but nothing more. Check out some of the best ways to spend your day if you have a stopover in Malé.
1. Walking Tour
A half-day walking tour of Malé's history and culture with a local guide. Visit the fish market, the President's Palace, Sultan Park, and the Friday Mosque. Visit the Royal Garden Cafe for food and a break from the action.
2. Grand Friday Mosque
The Grand Friday Mosque is a must-see in Malé. The largest mosque in the Maldives, Masjid-al-Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam, attracts pilgrims and architecture enthusiasts all year.
3. Hulhule Island Resort
The Hulhule Island Hotel is a sophisticated and exotic hotel located on the International Airport Island and is ideal for both leisure and business travelers. It's a lively spot, and the only spot in Malé and Hulhumalé that you can buy alcohol. It features the legends sports bar and outdoor pool bar, but it's can also act as a peaceful retreat away from Malé city at times.
4. Shangri-La Rooftop Pool
The JEN Maldives in Malé by Shangri-La offers a complimentary round-trip combination transfer from Velana International Airport, which is 7 minutes away. It has a spa and a café but most importantly, it has a rooftop swimming pool with views over the city!
5. Bandos Day Trip
The ideal spot to de-stress and unwind! If you have an overlay in Malé, we recommend that you jump on the short 20 minute boat ride to Bandos and unwind on the white sand beaches, drink a few cocktails and have a massage at Orchid Spa.
6. Visit CrossRoads
The Maldives' first multi-island, fully integrated leisure destination Crossroads Maldives has strategically placed just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport and Malé, making transfers and day trips quick and easy, along with a variety of delicious places to grab a feed or a sneaky mocktail.
Snorkelling in the Maldives is a spectacular experience due to the stunning reefs and abundance of marine life, from turtles, to nemo fish, manta ray and large pelagics in the deeps south. Enjoy the diversity in the Maldives by snorkeling in azure lagoons, over amazing coral reefs, and in the tropical heat. Being a group of coral encircled islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has some of the world's top reefs for snorkeling so organising a day trip from Malé should be on your list.
8. Hulhumalé Bikini Beach
As the Maldives is a more conservative Muslim country, they do not allow Bikinis to be worn on the beach unless it is in an island resort or an allocated Bikini Beach area. Hulhumalé Bikini Beach is part of Hulhumalé's public beach that you will not see any locals. If you want to escape Malé from the day, you will have the chance to splash around and take a dip, without offending anyone at Hulhumalé Bikini Beach.
9. Cooking Classes
Discover your inner chef and enrich your culinary repertoire with a personalised cooking class in the Maldives. Learn how to make local Maldivian Food like maashuni or hot tuna curry with fresh seafood and coconut milk. Let me tell you, cooking with the local spices and coconut is a delicious experience and one that could become part of your cooking arsenal.
10. Maafushi Day Trip
Maafushi is a Maldivian island 30 minutes south of Male. This local island is ideal for exploring the Maldives. Maafushi is substantially cheaper than the adjacent resort-centered islands, and a great local island to explore if you want to enjoy the Maldives on a budget.