Long the seat of power, Male (produced Mah-ley) is the past and present capital of the Maldives. Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Male has since grown into a densely populated settlement packed onto the island of the same name. Given its importance as the administrative center of the islands, Male is home to almost a third of the Maldives' population. Because of its small size, Male can be easily traversed by foot; its beaches, however, cannot compare to those on the other islands of the Maldives. Nonetheless, Male is the beginning for any trip to the surrounding islands.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

National Art Gallery

Visit the National Art Gallery of the Maldives. Home to a rotating series of exhibits, the National Gallery is a small space that features some of the premier artists of the tiny country.

National Museum

Visit the National Museum of the Maldives, housed on the grounds of the former Maldivian royal palace. The National Museum contains an eclectic collection of artifacts from Maldive’s pre-Islamic era, including a Buddha head made from coral, limestone sculptures, native fabrics, and royal furniture, textiles and accessories. Unfortunately, certain parts of the National Museum’s collection wer destroyed during a period of political unrest in February 2012.


Dine at the Raanbaa, a gourmet restaurant housed within a giant, multi-story tree-house. Serving an exhaustive menu that includes western dishes, Indian specialties, and plenty of fresh seafood and cold drinks, Raanbaa is the largest, and arguably the best, restaurant in Male.

Whale Submarine

A semi-submersible vehicle with clear, round portholes and plenty of seats, the Whale Submarine is an excellent way to view the flora and fauna of the sea. The Whale Submarine, contrary to the name, is actually not used for whale-spotting purposes; instead, it embarks on short, 30-40 minute trips off the coast of Male – home to colorful tropical fish, swaying coral reefs, and the intensely blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

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