If you’re looking for a romantic spot to vacation at with your partner, or need to factor in some serious rest and relaxation time away from work soon, you can’t go past the beautiful destination of the Maldives. This tropical nation located in the Indian Ocean is made up of over 1,000 coral islands and 26 ring-shaped atolls.
With lots of sunny days, white sandy beaches, adventurous sporting choices, shopping and dining options, and more, this is one holiday spot you don’t want to miss. Read on for ideas to pack your itinerary with.
Chill Out at The Beach
Obviously one of the main reasons why people choose the Maldives is the beautiful white beaches and crystal-clear water. As such, no trip to this part of the world is complete without spending a good amount of time soaking up the sun in and around the turquoise waters.
Make sure you pack your best swimwear when you go, like any of the many options at miraclesuit.com, and then kick back and relax at any of the Maldives famous beaches.
Visit the National Art Gallery
Beyond the beaches, you’ll also find plenty of ways to learn about and experience the culture of this Indian Ocean nation. And for this, it’s worth taking a trip to the National Art Gallery, which is located in the Museum Building in a corner of Sultan’s Park.
The exhibition space showcases regular displays of Maldivian art, including everything from conceptual works and photography, through to painting, drawings, and more. There isn’t a permanent collection of pieces on display, but both individual and group shows are held on a regular basis.
While you’re in the building, you’ll also find the National Library, which you might like to visit, plus various cultural centers from across the globe.
Get a Little Active
If you want to be a little more active than just taking the occasional dip, you’ll find a multitude of water sports to choose from.
Many of the resorts have options such as snorkeling, kayaking, jetskiing, kitesurfing, parasailing, windsurfing, waterskiing, catamaran sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, and more.
You can also typically ask your hotel to arrange an excursion to an uninhabited island where you can enjoy a picnic lunch and some quiet time with your travel companion(s).
Check out the National Museum
A visit to the National Museum is another cultural activity to add to your itinerary. This space houses a comprehensive and well-labeled collection of historic artifacts that will educate you on the interesting history of the islands.
The Museum boasts galleries devoted to the ancient and medieval periods of the nation’s history, with items on display such as household wares, weaponry, religious elements, and a variety of carved Thaana- and Arabic-engraved pieces of wood which commemorate the conversion of the nation to Islam back in the mid-1100s.
Within the collection at the National Museum you will also find some prized examples of famous Maldivian lacquer-work boxes, plus a large marine collection, and antique technological pieces (like a gramophone, telephone, and computer).
Do Some Diving
For many people, a visit to the Maldives means taking advantage of the opportunity to do some scuba diving where visibility is fantastic and the water temperature divine. In particular, you should consider checking out the fascinating Maldives Victory shipwreck.
Said to be excellent year-round, it rests below the surface of the Hulhule House Reef, located between the capital, Malé, and Hulhule. The ship sunk in 1981 after it hit a reef and today attracts dive fans for its abundance of sea life (including bright fish and fresh coral) that have made the wreck home.
Note, though, that this diving spot does have challenging currents. While this is a bonus for experienced divers looking to test themselves, beginners should make sure to take experts with them for assistance.
Explore Old Friday Mosque
Hukuru Miskiiy, or “Old Friday Mosque,” is another must-visit destination. The oldest mosque in the Maldives, it has been standing in Malé since 1656, and is made from coral stone. This building has been chiseled, on the inside, with Quranic script and intricate decorations (including woodwork and inlays) that display noteworthy craftsmanship.
It is important to note that while admission to the mosque is free, non-Muslim visitors must get permission before entering from an official of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. However, most of the staff members at the mosque are actually officials, so if you are properly dressed and respectful, you will usually be given permission to enter on the spot. It is best to avoid Fridays and Saturdays though, when religious services are conducted.
There is also a cemetery to one side of the mosque, which you don’t need permission to walk around if you are respectfully dressed. Here you will find many elaborately carved tombstones, where rounded tops denote a female grave and pointy tops are for male graves. In addition, the tombstones with gold-plated lettering are the resting places of former sultans.
Private Escape to Uninhabited Islands
Staying at a beautiful resort island is just one part of the holiday. The Maldives have 1192 islands and over 800 are untouched, preserved for tourism, meaning you can book a private escape to one of these virgin islands and spend some time alone.
Yes, an island just for you and your partner! Many resorts offer this as an excursion, though if you really want to go for this then choose a resort somewhere far from capital Male’, as the islands near capital are all taken up for resorts and industrial purposes.
Resorts in remote areas have plenty of amazing islands, you can even hop to different islands and do snorkeling at several house reefs.
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Photo credits: Old Friday Mosque by David Stanley.