Malé, Maldives

Male city

Malé, Maldives

Welcome to Malé

The capital city of the Maldives is Malé. Despite its small size, Malé is a bustling city with great things to see and do. Most visitors to the Maldives overlook the need to go to Malé, but we found it is the centre of Maldives’ culture. The city is a mix of modern buildings and traditional Islamic architecture, with narrow streets lined with colourful buildings. We spent an afternoon discovering the ancient past in its museums and later shopping in the galleries and markets for presents and souvenirs. Once you’ve completed a walking tour of the capital, you can visit the marine parks and reserves to view some of the greatest natural wonders in the region.

While the Maldives are a beautiful destination with much to offer, there are also some negative aspects to consider when considering a trip to Malé. Hotels and resorts can be crowded, and the beaches may not be as secluded as you might hope, unlike the private beaches surrounding the atolls. The Maldives are generally known for being an expensive destination, and Malé is no exception. While plenty of water sports and other activities are available in the Maldives, there may be less to do in Malé. The city is small and has few attractions or entertainment options, so you may need to visit other islands to experience more.

Important to Note

The Maldives is a conservative Muslim country, and tourists and visitors are expected to respect local customs and dress modestly. Click here for conservative dressing. Alcohol is also heavily regulated and may not be available in all areas. Also, like many island nations, the Maldives are particularly vulnerable to the environmental effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and coral bleaching. Some areas may also be affected by pollution or other environmental issues. So please be mindful of the environment on land and in the water.

How To Get There

If you fly internationally, Malé is close to Velana International Airport (MLE). The airport is located on a separate island called Hulhulé, connected to Malé by a causeway. The distance between Malé and the airport is only about 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), which means it only takes a few minutes by boat or car to reach Malé from the airport. This proximity is one of the reasons why Malé is a popular destination for travellers visiting the Maldives, as it offers easy access to the airport and is a convenient starting point for exploring other parts of the country.

Male Airport

Places Of Interest

The ideal length of stay in Malé can vary depending on your interests and travel plans. If you’re primarily interested in exploring Malé’s cultural attractions and local cuisine, you can see most of what the city offers in a day or two. However, you will need longer if you use Malé as a base for exploring other Maldives islands. A popular itinerary for visiting the Maldives is to spend a few nights in Malé and then move on to one of the resort islands for the remainder of your trip. This way, you can experience the best of both worlds – the bustling city life of Malé and the secluded luxury of a resort island. Overall, I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Malé to experience the city and its attractions fully. Here are some of the top areas of interest in Malé:



One of the most popular nearby islands is Hulhumale, which has a beautiful beach and a range of water activities, such as snorkelling and diving. You can also take a boat tour of the nearby islands to see more of the stunning natural beauty of the Maldives. Book tickets here.

Hukuru Miskiy Mosque

Hukuru Miskiy Mosque

This 17th-century mosque is one of the oldest in the Maldives, known for its intricate coral stone carvings. Please remember to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering.

National Museum Maldives

National Museum

The National Museum contains a fascinating collection of artefacts, including traditional Maldivian costumes, ancient coins, and historical weapons. It provides visitors with an inside look at this island country’s history displaying various royal antiquities.

sultan park Maldives

Sultan Park

This park was once the site of the Royal palace of the Sultan of the Maldives, but after being demolished in the late 16th century, one of its wings now houses the National Museum. Enjoy a variety of tropical trees, plants, and walking paths.

republic square Maldives

Republic Square

The Republic Square, also known as Jamboree Maidan, is a park that has observed memorial events in Maldivian politics and history. Being the main public square in Malé, it is a great place to relax and enjoy the local scenery surrounded by Government buildings and monuments.

Islamic center Maldives

Islamic Centre

Also known as the Masjid-al-Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam, is a prominent architectural landmark in Malé. It has been the largest mosque in the Maldives since 1984.

Male Fish Market

Male Fish Market

To taste local life, head to the bustling fish market, where fishermen are selling their catch of the day, including tuna, octopus, and shellfish. Nearby is the local produce market, where you can sample fresh tropical fruits and other local delicacies.

Local Markets Maldives

Local Markets

There are several local markets in Malé, including the Majeedhee Magu market and the Chaandhanee Magu market, where you can find a variety of local handicrafts, souvenirs, and traditional clothing.

Artificial Beach

Artificial Beach

This man-made beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists and features a range of water sports and beach activities. Lounging areas, barbeques, and cafes are perfect for food enthusiasts, while adventure buffs can enjoy water activities for a memorable time.

Island Hopping

Island Hopping

Malé is a hub for exploring the rest of the Maldives. You can take day trips or longer excursions to other islands in the archipelago, where you can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and other water activities and relax on pristine beaches.

Where To Stay

Malé has various accommodations, from budget-friendly guest houses to luxurious resorts. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly stay or a lavish retreat, you’ll find plenty of options in Male.

Luxury Hotels

Hulhule Island Hotel:

This 4-star hotel is located on an island near the Malé International Airport and offers a private beach, swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, and multiple dining options. The hotel also provides easy access to popular attractions such as the National Museum and the Grand Friday Mosque. 

Mid-Range Hotels

The Beehive:

The Beehive is a boutique hotel featuring comfortable rooms with modern amenities, a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, and a terrace offering panoramic views of the city. The hotel is close to the ferry terminal, making it a convenient base for exploring the city.

Budget Hotels

Tourist Inn Grand:

Tourist Inn Grand Maldives is a luxurious beachfront resort featuring spacious villas with private pools and stunning ocean views. Guests can indulge in spa treatments, water sports, and exquisite dining experiences while surrounded by the serene beauty of the Maldives.

Where To Eat

Indian and Sri Lankan flavours influence Maldivian cuisine. You can find various delicious dishes in Malé, from fresh seafood to spicy curries and sweet desserts. Here are a few of the top places to eat:

Symphony Restaurant is a popular restaurant in Malé, known for its delicious seafood and international cuisine. The restaurant has a beautiful setting overlooking the ocean, and the menu features a variety of dishes, from fresh seafood to Mediterranean specialities.

Seagull Cafe House is a cosy cafe located in the heart of Malé. It offers many dishes, including local Maldivian cuisine and international favourites. The restaurant is known for its affordable prices and friendly service, and it’s a great spot to relax and enjoy a drink.

Sea House Maldives is a popular restaurant chain with several locations in Malé. The menu features a variety of dishes, from traditional Maldivian cuisine to international favourites, and the restaurant is known for its fresh seafood. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, and it’s a great spot to enjoy a meal with friends or family.

Final Thoughts

Malé is a beautiful destination for those seeking a mix of culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s Islamic architecture, sampling local cuisine, or simply relaxing on one of the majestic beaches of Maldives, there is something for everyone in Malé. Overall, I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Malé to experience the city and its attractions fully.

Male Airport

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