For many, us included, the Maldives is paradise. A dream destination. Many travelers to the Maldives are happy to just sit around, sipping cocktails, poolside. In fact, that was what we did in the Maldives on most of our days. In our list of the best things to do in the Maldives, we cover every extreme of Maldives activities.
We were drawn to the Maldives by the idea of overwater bungalows and crystal clear waters. We certainly experienced that. But, we found there were more things to do in the Maldives than just lounge around. In this Maldives blog post, we share all sorts of Maldives attractions and activities, including some that are a bit more adventurous.
What you will learn in this Maldives blog post:
- What are the top things to do in the Maldives
- How to book water sports, snorkeling, and diving activities in the Maldives
- Where to stay in the Maldives
Maldives Activities Guide
If you are curious about a particular activity or have a specific question about activities to do in the Maldives. then feel free to use the table of contents below to find the answer to your question. If we don’t answer your question, ask it in the comments at the bottom of the post and we will try to get back to you shortly. We are here to help you plan your trip to the Maldives.
Think that the Maldives are only for luxury travelers? Check out these luxury travel hacks to learn how to travel well for less.
Recommended Maldives Resorts
If you are wondering where to stay in the Maldives, we wrote an entire post dedicated to how to find the perfect resort on this island nation. During our stay, we spent 5 nights at each of two resorts, Hurawalhi Maldives and Outrigger Resorts. Both resorts had Maldives all-inclusive packages. A food and drink package makes planning a Maldives vacation super easy, because you don’t need to worry about costs once there.
- Newer resort
- Contemporary in style
- Focus on cuisine
- Accessible by seaplane
- Read our review
- Nature focused resort
- Unique spa treatments
- Beachfront bungalows
- Accessible by domestic flight
- Read our review
Top Things To Do In the Maldives
In this post, we will share our top tips on what to do in the Maldives. For the most part, I share what we did on our 10 day holiday in the Maldives. But, I also share some options for people who are more active than we are. For some of these activities, it is possible to book through your resort or hotel.
For others, it is easier to plan them when staying in or near Male, the capital of the Maldives. Male is where most of the typical Maldives tourist attractions are, but there are no resorts on that island. The Maldives are a little complicated to understand and to explore. Check out our guide about how to get to the Maldives and to travel around the islands for more advice.
Set The Alarm For Sunrise (Or Not)
This was all Eric. I slept in. Sunrise occurs around 6:30 am and is around a similar time throughout the year because the Maldives is so close to the equator. Many resorts categorize their rooms as either sunset or sunrise. We had a sunrise room at Hurawalhi, but the sunrise was a bit too far to the right for us (meaning Eric) to enjoy it from our deck. At Outrigger Resorts, though, the sunrise was directly in front of our beach villa. Eric was up most mornings, with our GoPro, taking some lovely photos and videos of the sunrise. I slept in. Happily. After all, at the top of my list of things to do in the Maldives, was relaxing.
Enjoy Fresh Fish and Seafood
Only two food items are naturally found in the Maldives: fish and coconuts. One of the main staples of Maldivian cuisine is a tuna coconut curry. In addition to the curry, fish and seafood are plentiful on all of the resort menus. Some of it is local, like the tuna. Other types of fish or seafood travel a bit farther, but it is still one of the best things to eat in the Maldives.
The Maldives is known for tuna. At Hurawalhi, I ate tuna at almost every meal. Tuna sashimi and sushi, tuna tartare, and even tuna curry. In fact, tuna is so predominant in the Maldivian cuisine that some of the expats who’ve been working at the resorts for a while can’t eat tuna anymore. If you like tuna, there are loads of tuna eating opportunities in the Maldives.
Stroll on the Beach
This is one of the typical promotional photos about what to do in the Maldives. There is always a couple walking on a white sand beach surrounded by crystal blue waters. And, it is possible to do this.
One disappointment I had during our trip to the Maldives, though, was that I had hoped to be able to circumnavigate each of the islands we visited. Unfortunately, there always seemed to be something in the way, like rocks, or a restaurant. Regardless, there was plenty of opportunity for strolling in soft white sands in the Maldives.
Go Swimming Steps From Your Villa
I’ve always dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow, one where I could peek over the edge and see the fish. I always wanted to stay in a villa with a little ladder to walk directly into the water and go for a swim. At Hurawalhi, our Ocean Pool Villa had just such a ladder, and yes it was entirely possible to go swimming steps from our villa.
We had a similar arrangement during our stay at Outrigger Resorts. Our beachfront villa included a deck, a few steps, two lounge chairs, and an unobstructed walk straight to the beach, and into the water. Whether it is from an overwater bungalow or a beachfront villa, this is one of the best things to do in the Maldives.
Check out our overwater villa experience at Hurawalhi Maldives:
Lounge By The Pool
There were no shortages of pools during our stay in the Maldives. In fact, at each of our resorts, we had our own private plunge pool. At Outrigger Resorts, we spent more time in our private little pool, when taking a break from the heat of the beach.
At Hurawalhi, though, we spent a lot more time at the one communal pool. It was a simply stunning infinity pool, surrounded by crystal clear waters that were the same color as the pool. There was a bright white Robinson Crusoe style beach in the distance, adding to the view. The bartenders at Coco Bar, including our new friend Raam, kept the cocktails flowing, and the bar played some chill music. It didn’t take me long to relax.
Get a Massage With a Shark
I am sure each luxury Maldives resort has its own fabulous spa. But, the Duniye Spa at Hurawalhi offers 4 spa rooms in an overwater building at the end of a long jetty. There are two massage tables in each room. Instead of facing down over a bowl filled with pretty flowers, Hurawalhi placed each massage table over a glass floor. That meant that I was able to watch the fish float by during my massage. And, at one point, three beautiful, black-tipped reef sharks gracefully swam by. That was certainly a first.
Enjoy a Sunset With a Cocktail
This seems to go without saying, but this is always a highlight for us during any tropical trip. The Champagne Pavilion at Hurawalhi was the best place to enjoy a sunset with a cocktail. At the end of the jetty where the ocean villas are located, the petite Champagne bar offered only 4 exclusive tables, a friendly bartender, and glasses of sparkling wine to enjoy the sunset, which set bright just in front of us.
Sunset In The Maldives – Dolphin Spotting
One night while staying at Hurawalhi resort, we also went on a short dolphin watching cruise. This was a nice activity because it wasn’t a lengthy cruise. Just enough to pull off the island, find the right spot to see the dolphins, and then see them play. We enjoyed a little cocktail and were back in plenty of time to enjoy a drink before dinner. Most resorts will offer something similar depending on how close they are to the channels where the dolphins swim.
Enjoy a Romantic Sunset Dinner on the Beach
Although generally, we are content with enjoying a cocktail on the beach for sunset, Outrigger Resorts took things one step further. Outrigger Resorts is part of GHA, the Global Hotel Alliance. Part of their loyalty program offers unique local experiences.
In this case, the staff at Outrigger set up a lovely table in the sand, surrounded by twinkle lights and served us an amazing tasting menu with wine pairings. Chilean wine paired with a steak and lobster surf and turf, all with our toes in the sand, certainly made for a romantic experience. And, it was one of the most unique things to do in the Maldives.
Dine Underwater – The Most Unique Of Maldives Things To Do
When planning our trip, and looking for unique and fun things to do in the Maldives, I did not expect that dinning underwater would be one of those things. But, at Hurawalhi we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to dine at 5.8, so named because the restaurant is indeed 5.8 meters underwater. We sat with a handful of other diners and enjoyed watching the fish surround us on almost every side as dusk turned to dark. All while enjoying a seven-course tasting menu, and a lovely bottle of rose from Provence. Another truly unique thing to do in the Maldives.
Relax And Day Dream
Ah, my favorite. This was the first trip we’ve taken in a very long time where I felt truly relaxed. I felt so relaxed that my muscles ached several mornings. I would like to say it was because I took some time to exercise, but I think my body was simply relaxing. Part of this was most likely due to the lack of speedy wifi.
At each resort were able to get online for basic things, like posting to social media or checking email. But, hardcore work was impossible for us, and that is pretty much the point of taking a trip like this. After all, regardless of what the adventure travel bloggers say, when it comes down to figuring out what to do in the Maldives, relax and daydream should be at the top of everyone’s list.
More Active Maldives Things To Do
I recognize that for some travelers, they need something a little more extreme to do on a holiday. For more adventurous travelers, here are some activities that can be arranged by most resorts, or by booking through a tour company like Viator. Here are some of the more active things to see and experience in the Maldives.
Water Sports And Flying Activities In The Maldives
Kitesurfing in the Maldives is a possibility, but only during part of the year. Generally, the island nation doesn’t receive high winds. The best time to go to the Maldives for kitesurfing is therefore between May and October when the winds are highest.
Another activity that is less dependent on the weather is parasailing. Parasailing is an activity where a person is towed behind a boat while attached to a canopy, similar to a very large kite. This is an activity that can best be scheduled by the resort. For most watersports activities, it is easier to organize these when staying at resorts closer to Male.
Things To See In The Maldives Pro Tip: Often once you reach your resort in the Maldives you end up staying there. It’s best to research these activities ahead of time. If there is a specific activity in the Maldives that you are interested in, it’s best to check your resort’s website to ensure they can arrange the activity for you.
Snorkeling And Diving In The Maldives
For travelers who are interested in what there is to see in the Maldives underwater, there is no shortage of activities. Most resorts offer snorkeling options by booking a half day or full day snorkeling tour. Many resorts also offer options where resort guests can snorkel directly from the beach or off a pier.
I decided to try snorkeling near our resort rather than committing to a full day. At Hurawalhi, I reserved snorkeling gear from the activities desk. I was able to snorkel directly from the beach. Or, when staying in an overwater bungalow you can also snorkel directly from the ladder from your pool or deck.
Or, for diving enthusiasts there are a lot of opportunities for diving in the Maldives as well. One of the most interesting types of diving excursions is where divers get to swim with whale sharks. We recommend booking an excursion through a company like Viator before leaving home for an activity like this. That way you are guaranteed to be able to confirm the tour with a reputable company. Viator is owned by TripAdvisor.
If you want to be more active, see more of the Maldives islands, and have things taken care of you before leaving home, there’s one more way to see and experience the Maldives. This 8 Day Maldives Tour allows visitors to stay on multiple islands by island hopping throughout the Maldives. This tour also includes a variety of Maldives activities, including snorkeling throughout the trip.
Pin It For Later! Best Things To Do In The Maldives – Maldives Activities
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.