An overview of the 19 top attractions in the Maldives. Cultural and natural attractions of the islands. What to see in Male and other atolls.
Transparent sea, white sand and colorful photos against the backdrop of palm trees and mangroves. This is how the brochures describe the fabulous Maldives, the attractions of which are created by nature itself. There are not so many historical monuments on the islands, but an inquisitive tourist can always find interesting places and diversify his usual rest.
It is believed that tourism in the Maldives is exclusively beachfront, and all entertainment is associated with the sea. This is partly a fair opinion, and tourists do not make it their goal to visit museums and art galleries. All the more pleasant will be their surprise when they discover traces of ancient culture on the fabulous islands and hear legends about pirates, shipwrecks and the rule of Arab sultans.
The starting point of all excursion programs is Male, the only city and capital of the Republic of Maldives. By our standards, this is a small town with a population of only 60 thousand people. What to see in the miniature capital of the island nation? We offer a short description of the main attractions:
- Male Museum occupies several floors and contains interesting exhibits. The most valuable is the Buddha’s footprint, as a reminder of the times when Buddhism was the main religion of the islanders. The first floor of the museum will display ancient daggers, spears and artifacts that have survived before the Arab preachers appeared on the islands. A collection of musical instruments is presented on the second floor. The last floor is filled with personal belongings of the monarchs who ruled the country at different times.
- Islamic Center Male was built with funds raised by Muslim states. Opened for visits in 1984, and today is considered the symbol of the city. The snow-white walls are crowned with golden domes. Inside the center there are student audiences, conference rooms, a library. The Great Mosque was erected nearby. The dress code is very strict. Women wear floor-length dresses, cover their heads and shoulders; trousers are required for men.
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- Friday mosque built in 1656. This is a place worth seeing for a tourist. The austere exterior contrasts sharply with the interior decoration. The walls are decorated with intricate Arabic script. Art objects, wood carvings, quotes from the Koran serve as the main decorations. In the prayer hall there is a wooden panel with Arabic letters. The age of the artifact is 8 centuries. Behind the mosque you will find an old cemetery and a sundial, which has been showing the exact time for 4 centuries.
- Adjacent to the mosque Crypt of Sultan Ibrahimbuilt in the 17th century. A small stone structure with a triangular roof is distinguished by original ornaments. The decorative plate above the door is well preserved.
- Presidential palace – white and blue colonial style building. It began to be built by order of Sultan Mohammed III back in 1906. The palace was intended for the heir to the Sultan, but after 30 years the building was nationalized and the high family was expelled. Today, official delegations and guests of honor are received here.
- Sultan Park – all that remains of the royal residence. The palace building was destroyed during an armed coup in 1988, only one wing survived. The park resembles an oasis in the middle of a stone jungle, where you should go to admire lush roses, wild orchids, water lilies and many other exotic flowers and shrubs. The highlight of the park is a beautiful fountain and a 100-year-old wish tree.
- Jumuri Maidan Square loved by both locals and visiting tourists. Meetings are made here, family vacations are organized. People walk along the cool flowering alleys. Anyone can plant a beautiful plant, and their name will be entered in a commemorative book.
- National art gallery will appeal to connoisseurs of painting. Mainly paintings by local artists are presented.
- Residence of the President Mulee-aage Palacedespite its modest size, it pleases the eye with its graceful architecture. The building is painted in white, blue and red colors. Local authorities work here, the Historical Museum is open, and high-ranking guests of the country occupy the inner apartments.
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- Fish market in Male – an amazing sight. Trading starts early in the morning and ends late in the evening. Fishermen unload the catch from boats and immediately sell it. Tuna and mackerel, perches and shrimps, octopuses and barracudas are spread out right on the tiled floor. Only fruits from the counters of the neighboring vegetable market can kill the smell of fish. Fragrant pineapples, bright orange oranges, sugar watermelons, coconuts and bananas flaunt here.
- Utimu – a palace on the island of the same name, built in the 16th century. He became famous for the fact that Sultan Mohammed Taturufan lived in it, who led the struggle against the Portuguese colonialists. Tourists will be interested in a beautiful, old building surrounded by a white fence with flags.
Visiting cultural monuments, you will get to know the Maldives from a completely unexpected side, immerse yourself in the history of the country and discover many interesting things.
What to do in the Maldives for tourists hungry for novelty and entertainment? If you feel cramped on the island and don’t know what to do, go on an excursion. They will show you the neighboring islands and fishing villages, ride a yacht, arrange night fishing. The most active tourists book thematic excursions in the Maldives – a seaplane flight, diving into the depths of the sea by a submarine.
Traveling around the islands, you will be convinced that the main decoration of the country is its nature. The most beautiful places to see:
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- North Ari is an atoll about which Thor Heyerdahl wrote the book “The Maldives Mystery”. A beautiful coral reef stretches along the islands, where reef sharks, moray eels, napoleons, and stingrays live. Divers dive into the depths of the sea and swim with sea turtles, surrounded by colorful schooling fish. Especially popular is the Madivaru reef, where you can observe the amazing flights of giant stingrays, which are also called manta rays or sea devils. Some individuals reach a width of 9 meters. It is better to enjoy the unique spectacle from a distance, without making any sudden movements.
- Hanifaru bay teeming with plankton. For manta rays and whale sharks, this is a natural feeding and spawning area. Up to 100 individuals can be observed simultaneously. Hanifaru Bay is officially recognized as a marine reserve and is under the protection of UNESCO. Divers from all over the world flock here. Visiting rules are very strict. Tourists are required to register at the tourist center Darawandu Islands and receive a ticket that gives the right to be on the reef for 45 minutes, accompanied by an official guide. It is forbidden to approach marine life closer than 3 meters. Swimming is allowed only with a mask and a snorkel, taking pictures without a flash.
- Kurumba childhood island – stands on a coral reef. Its peculiarity is in shallow depth. You can walk 100-200 meters, and the water will only reach your knees. All buildings are hidden under banana and coconut trees, strange flowers and shrubs grow everywhere. The island is inhabited by a rare species of lizards – geckos, capable of making loud, harsh sounds. Night fishing for lobsters and crabs is popular.
- Vaadhoo beach presents a magical sight. During the day, this place is not much different from other islands – the same azure sea, palm trees and white sand. But with the onset of darkness, myriads of sea fireflies light up in the waves, and the glowing beach seems to be a reflection of the starry sky. The unreal sight has a scientific explanation. It’s all about a special type of phytoplankton that emits blue light when in contact with oxygen. Swimming in the sparkling sea is uncomfortable; luminous microorganisms release toxins. Better to admire the unusual phenomenon on the shore. © giusti596 / pixabay.com / CC BY 2.0
- Fotteyo reef known as a giant system of underwater tunnels, caves and grottoes. Colorful coral labyrinths were chosen by sea inhabitants – tuna, barracuda, groupers and even a hammerhead shark. The reef walls are composed of white, red and purple corals. In the clear turquoise water, the spectacle looks especially impressive. It is no coincidence that the reef is so popular with divers.
- Adu Atoll is famous for the only freshwater lake in the Maldives of amazing beauty. Red and orange parrots nest near the water, brown bustards feed. Another feature of the atoll is a rare species of live corals that emerge close to the sea surface. Some of them have lived for several hundred years. Amazing nature, peace and tranquility attract lovers of peace and tranquility to the islands.
- Lhaviani Atoll is one of the most picturesque resorts in the Maldives. Numerous coral reefs, white beaches and lush tropical vegetation have made this place a piece of paradise. A local curiosity is a wide sandy spit stretching far into the sea.
- Baa Atoll once served as a haven for shipwrecked sailors. Now you can buy excursions to local islands, feed sea turtles and rays at the very edge of the surf. Divers descend into the underwater kingdom and swim among the colored corals along with the marine life.
Worth mentioning is the Ithaa underwater restaurant on Konrad Island atoll Alif Daal… Guests are invited to dine at a depth of 5 meters under a glass dome and panoramic views. The illuminated depths of the sea reveal coral gardens and schools of fish swimming above your head.
The restaurant is considered one of the most beautiful and expensive in the world. Not surprisingly, it has taken its rightful place among the Maldives attractions.