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Top 5 things to do in the Maldives
Spread out like shimmering turquoise-lapped dots across some 800km in the Indian Ocean, the low-lying Maldives is the ultimate beach getaway. It offers stunning white sanded beaches, bordering a crystal clear underwater utopia which is home to a variety of exotic sea creatures - it is little wonder that the textbook desert-island paradise of the Maldives has become a by-word for unrivalled luxury.
1. Diving and snorkelling
One of the best things about the Maldives is the exquisite diving and snorkelling opportunities, with most of the resorts here offering excellent water-sport facilities and catering to divers of any level. Nothing short of an underwater utopia, the Maldives waters boast gorgeously colourful coral reefs and an amazingly rich and varied marine life. Here visitors can swim alongside colourful schools of fish, immense sharks and amazing sea turtles.
2. Relax on the beach
The 1,200 islands that make up the Maldives are a haven of paradise beaches, and guests often find themselves spending the entirety of their trip unwinding on powdery soft sand and paddling in clearer than clear cobalt waters (with perhaps a dive or two). It’s no wonder the Maldives is ranked time and time again as one of the world’s top holiday destinations – the islands and adjoining resorts are at the peak of luxury, and offer a stunning and blissful location to enjoy a well earned break or a glorious honeymoon.
3. Grand Friday Mosque
The Grand Friday Mosque and Islamic Centre is the largest mosque in the country with its impressive structure clearly visible against the Malé skyline. The architectural design is beautifully simplistic, constructed predominantly of stunning white marble with a dazzling golden dome. Visitors are welcome inside the mosque outside of prayer times where up to 5,000 worshippers can be admitted at one time. Inside the mosque you will find beautifully ornate wooden doors and panels, intricately woven carpets and grand chandeliers.
4. National Museum
A few hours spent inside the walls of this museum offers a unique insight into the intriguing history of the Maldives. The exquisite galleries display unique objects from the ancient and medieval periods including royal antiques and stone objects. The actual structure of the building is the only remaining part of the Sultan’s palace which was destroyed by a fire in 1968. The highlight of a visit here is the 6m long skeleton of the Longman’s beaked whale – an actual sighting of this rare creature alive has yet to be recorded!
Malé is the tiny but vibrant capital of the Maldives, a sprawling city predominantly covered by tall, colourful buildings, lively markets and an eclectic maze of quirky shops. Being the heart of the Maldives economy, the atmosphere here is naturally less laid-back than the islands surrounding it, but alternately offers its visitors a bustling centre of activity, and a chance to mingle with the people of the Maldives in a more sociable setting. The perfect break from endless sun and sea, no Maldives trip would be complete without a visit to this exciting city.