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Things to do in the Maldives

A cluster of islands where seafront villas come with private butlers, the sand is powder-soft and there is just as much to discover beneath the water’s surface as there is on land - that’s the Maldives. With unrivalled coastlines and a turquoise seascape that unfolds beneath cloudless skies, this island nation is the perfect setting for a peaceful getaway.

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Whether it’s a trip to the capital of Malé that you’re after, or an island-hopping adventure, with 26 heavenly atolls you’re sure to find a dreamy destination that ticks all of your boxes. The mundane routine of day-to-day life goes out the window when you’re in the depths of the ocean weaving between tropical fish or sipping cocktails overlooking the blue horizon, so leave your worries behind and step into paradise at the Maldives.

What are the beaches like in the Maldives?

There are a lot of destinations with great beach resorts, but nowhere does it quite like the Maldives. Typical bucket-and-spade spots are swapped for plush white sands dotted with swaying palms, and teal-tinted waters that are clear enough to see colourful fish flitting beneath the surface. Each atoll has a picturesque stretch of coastline with its own character but the same pristine appearance, so you’ll have a whole menu of beaches right at your fingertips. Cocoa Island in the South Malé Atoll is a great pick for soft sands, balmy waters and an otherworldly coral reef which offers year-round snorkelling and diving opportunities. Alternatively, hit the beaches of Fulhadhoo Island for a laidback, no-frills feel, or check out Maafushi Island which boasts the longest coastline of all the Maldivian islands, made up of four main beaches. Bikini Beach is one of the most popular tourist spots, but you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a setting for your perfect beach day in the Maldives.

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What's it like in the Maldives?

With a dreamy location nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, culture in the Maldives is heavily shaped by Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Arabic, Persian, Indonesian and African influences. Given the setting of this island nation, it’s also no surprise that many of the country’s customs and traditions are centred around the sea. Many of the locals are fishermen, and seafood - particularly tuna - is a popular find on most menus. Maldivians are known for their warm and friendly presence, and they will go above and beyond to make sure that your luxury getaway is one to remember. Music and dance makes up a huge part of Maldivian culture too, with a key South Asian influence. Boduberu is a traditional Maldivian dance which involves drumming, singing and dancing; witnessing one of these performances will definitely get you into the spirit of island life. The Maldives also has a rich history and a predominantly Muslim faith, which is evident through the beautiful mosques sprinkled across the islands - some of which date back to as early as the 1700s - and the National Museum in Malé’s Sultan Park which offers a look into the history of the islands.

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Maldives Food & Drink

Fresh, locally-caught seafood takes centre stage on most menus in the Maldives - and with a gorgeous seascape that stretches as far as the eye can see, who could complain? Other tropical ingredients that play a part in Maldivian cuisine are pineapple, which can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, and coconut, which can be used in a grated form, as oil for cooking, or for coconut milk. Some local dishes to try include garudhiya - a fish broth served with rice, chilli, lime and onions, kavaabu - a deep fried snack made from rice, tuna, coconut and lentils, or a traditional spiced curry made using coconut milk and fish, often served with roshi on the side - a coconut flatbread. As the Maldives is a Muslim country, alcohol is available in tourist resorts but not so much in local dining spots, so if you’re out and about you’ll come across plenty of tea shops where you can sample some sai and some traditional snacks. One alcoholic drink that is popular in the Maldives though, is raa - a traditional toddy that comes from the island’s palm trees and is left to ferment for a sour taste. Bottoms up!

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Important Information

  • Flight Time: 12 hours
  • Time Difference: +4 hours
  • Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa
  • Official Language: Dhivehi
  • Beach

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    Things to do in the Maldives...

    ...for families | ...for couples | ...for a luxury holiday | ...for explorers | ...for foodies


    Things to do in the Maldives for families

    There’s more to this luxury destination than simply lazing on the beach – there are plenty of child-friendly activities to bring the whole family together. With a gorgeous coastline that melts into the shallow, balmy waters of the Indian Ocean, beaches at the Maldives are perfect for paddling with the little ones. The vibrant seascape offers stunning views both on and off land, with crystal-clear waters creating ideal conditions for a variety of watersports. You can try surfing, parasailing, banana boating, kayaking, snorkelling or even a scuba safari, where you’ll find yourself weaving between manta rays and clusters of tropical fish.

    If you prefer not to dive too deep beneath the water’s surface, then boat trips are a great option to keep the children entertained, with dolphin-spotting tours and the popular Whale Submarine which glides through the ocean’s turquoise depths, where you can spot shipwrecks, shoals and rainbows of fish. The Maldives also has plenty of child-friendly resorts with mini clubs, babysitting services and daily activities, making a guarantee that by the end of the trip neither you nor the kids will want to leave!

    Things to do in the Maldives for couples

    Famed for being one of the most popular honeymoon destinations, the Maldives oozes romance and tranquillity. The white-sand beaches, waterfront bungalows and rosy sunsets are the perfect backdrop for your dreamy couples getaway. From barefoot wanders along the coast to sunset boat trips in the evening, this island nation is a must-visit for you and your special someone.

    Boat cruises are available throughout the day, but for the ultimate fairytale moment, head out in the early evening for panoramic views of the ocean in its calmest state. Some boat trips will include canapés and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, so you can clink glasses as the sky overhead fades from cool blues to burnt oranges and honey yellows – just you, your loved one, and a dolphin or two.

    If you’re looking for some downtime with your partner then you’re in luck, because rest and rejuvenation are the beating heart of this luxury resort. What could be more romantic than a couples spa retreat? From facials and beauty treatments to Jacuzzis, saunas and Balinese massages, lose yourself in the moment as calming music plays and your worries are soothed away.

    Things to do in the Maldives for a luxury holiday

    With its magical seascapes and luxury hotels, the Maldives promises an unforgettable trip, and there are plenty of ways to go just one step further in making it the holiday of a lifetime.

    Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is, as the name suggests, a restaurant submerged five metres below the water’s surface in a glass dome. Watch in awe as marine life flutters by whilst you tuck into a six course menu comprised of fresh flavours and reef lobster, the turquoise glow of the ocean lighting up the venue. Be sure to grab a reservation, because this place books up quickly!

    For evening drinks like never before, Haali Sunset Bar in Dhigali is a must-visit spot. Shaped into a bird’s nest overlooking the sand bank, this cocktail bar offers refreshing drinks, comfortable beanbags and breathtaking views as the night draws in and the stars pierce the sky overhead.

    Of course spa treatments are also an essential when it comes to a luxury Maldivian escape, but why not make it extra special by visiting the gorgeous treetop spa at Devarana Spa? These treatment rooms are nestled among the branches of coconut trees, offering soothing spa facilities with equally tranquil views.

    Things to do in the Maldives for explorers

    When you’re in a setting as dreamy as this, who wouldn’t feel tempted to explore? Whether it’s by boat or seaplane, island-hopping is a must when visiting the Maldives. Dive from one tropical paradise to the next and soak up those infinite blue views along the way.

    You’ll also find plenty of walking tours and even cycling routes in this region. A speedboat will take you out to neighbouring islands where you can cycle on organised routes to explore the rustic landscapes and flourishing palm forests overlooking the water.

    If you’re looking for more of a destination than a journey, then the National Museum located in the capital – Malé - is a great attraction to tick off the list. Nestled within Sultan Park, the museum contains a vast selection of historical artifacts. From photographs and anthropological objects to manuscripts, clothing and armour, this is the place to immerse yourself in Maldivian history.

    Things to do in the Maldives for foodies

    It might be famed for its picture-perfect views, but we can’t deny that the Maldives tastes just as good as it looks. Whether you’re looking to grab a quick-bite or a formal sit-down dinner, with its wide range of restaurants, cafés and tea shops dotted around the islands, the Maldives is a culinary wonderland for foodies to explore.

    Tea shops are great for caffeine-infused pit-stops accompanied by an array of traditionally prepared ‘short eats’, such as spicy fishcakes, keemia (fried fish rolls), fihunu mas (pieces of fish in a chilli coating), mini rice pudding bowls, banana pieces and sweet fried batter.

    Given the fresh, clear waters that surround the islands, it’s no surprise that a lot of Maldivian specialties include fish. For an unforgettable seafood experience, you can take a boat trip to catch the fresh fish, which will later be prepared and grilled in front of you, served along the beachfront with a side of white rice and salad.

    Barbecue dinners are also a popular dining experience in the Maldives, and the perfect way to embrace the supple, sandy coastline whilst tucking into a delicious menu. Sand Restaurant at Velassaru Maldives hosts a weekly barbecue night with a gorgeous buffet spread of grilled seafood, meat, reef fish, coconut rice, steamed banana leaves and salad. Pile your plate high and feast away in a candlelit setting by the sea.

    If you’re eager to continue exploring Maldivian cuisine even after you leave, then why not explore the local food markets or treat yourself to a live cooking class so the authentic flavours can follow you home? Kurumba Maldives - ten minutes away from Malé by speedboat - is just one example of where you can sip fresh pineapple juice as a Maldivian chef guides you through a series of traditional recipes. Here you can find inspiration to liven up your home-cooking or even impress friends at dinner parties!



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