A vibrant capital and picturesque islet, Male is a colourful mix of historic mosques, narrow streets and local residences. It’s also a good base for exploring the neighbouring islands of Hulhumale and Villingili, and serves as the gateway to the idyllic atolls that lure honeymooners to the Maldives.
Things to do in Malé
Take time to explore the Maldives National Museum in Sultan Park, situated within the only part of the sultan’s palace still standing. It contains many of his former possessions, including thrones, weaponry and clothing, together with rare Buddhist statues dating back to the Maldives’ pre-Islamic years.
Don’t miss a visit to the bustling Fish Market, which lies on the main street of Boduthakurufaanu Magu. It’s a great place to soak up the local comings and goings when the fishing dhonis return in the early afternoon, with octopus and giant tuna hauled in.
A highlight of visiting Malé is the Grand Friday Mosque, which dates back to the mid-17th century. The interior walls are made from coral stone carved with geometrical designs and Arabic script, while a 13th-century panel depicts the country’s conversion to Islam.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Esjehi Art Gallery, housed in one of the oldest buildings in Malé. It contains an impressive collection of Maldivian arts and crafts, with wooden wall panels carved with scenes depicting former life in Malé.
Getting around Malé
Malé International Airport is located on the neighbouring island of Hulhumale and connected to Malé by regular ferries. The city is small enough to walk around, with most sights concentrated on the north shore.