15 of The Best Things to do in Maldives in 2021

Looking for things to do in Maldives? You’ve come to the right place. Visiting the Maldives will transport you to paradise. With luxury bungalows extending over turquoise waters reaching out from the white sand beaches, the Maldives is a dream destination.

I must admit, we expected to do nothing more than bask in the sun, sip cocktails, and watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean, but once we arrived at our little island oasis, we found out that there are more things to do in the Maldives than we originally thought.

Top Things to do in Maldives

things to do in Maldives | over the water Bungalows
Over the Water Bungalows of the Maldives

It’s true, over the water bungalows are a spectacular sight and those images are what drew us to the Maldives in the first place. But are there things to do in Maldives besides relaxing? Definitely!

The Maldives are made for adventure, water sports, and romance. We stayed at two private islands in the Maldives but we managed to do several day trips to explore the surrounding atolls and the capital city of Male. These are the best things to do in the Maldives for everyone!

Search for Hotels and AirBnBs in Maldives

1. Scuba Diving

scuba diving | things to do in the Maldives
Go Scuba Diving in the Maldives

The Maldives is one of the premier scuba diving destinations on earth and if there is one place you need to give it a try, it’s here. There are many affordable PADI dive centers where you can take a discovery dive if you are not certified, or sign up for several dive options to one of the many reefs.

The Maldives has an abundance of marine life for its stingrays, whale shark migration, reef sharks and sea turtles. The crystal clear blue waters offer incredible visibility and there’s no need for a wetsuit here, the water’s warm and inviting. This was definitely one of our favorite things to do in Maldives.

2. Snorkeling Trips

things to do in maldives diving
Abundance sea turtles in the Maldives

If diving isn’t your thing, snorkeling is a great option. The reefs are so pristine in the Maldives that you don’t have to go deep to see a lot! We went snorkeling with sea turtles and saw more than half a dozen munching their lunches at the reef.

Spending a solid two hours in the water, we also managed to see so much more marine life than just sea turtles. Snorkeling is truly one of the best things to do in the Maldives.

My favourite moment was being surrounded by immense schools of colourful fish flocking together as they floated with the tides. When three masses came together, we felt as if we were in our own giant aquarium.

3. Dolphin Watching

things to do in the Maldives | dolphin watching
go dolphin watching in the Maldives

When we arrived at Cinnamon Hakurra, we asked our greeter what she thinks is one of the best things to do in the Maldives is. “Hands down, The Dolphin excursion” She said. So we decided to do it.

Just before sunset, we set out in search of pods of dolphins. It didn’t take long for our captain to spot one. We’ve seen a few dolphins in the wild, and we must say, the dolphins in the Maldives are some of the most active and playful we have ever seen!

We were also very pleased to see that the captain of our boat didn’t get too close to the dolphins or chase them too much. He kept a safe distance letting the dolphins swim off should they choose to do so.

4. Island Hopping

things to do in Maldives | island hopping
Things to do in Maldives – immerse in the culture

Believe it or not, there is a large settlement in the Maldives and many locals live and work on the islands. If you stay at a private island in the Maldives, make sure to book an excursion to visit the nearby local islands and communities. This was a great day trip around the islands.

The Maldives people follow a strict Muslim culture so be sure to dress respectably in long skirts/shorts and no spaghetti strap sleeves. I wore shorts but just brought a sarong with me to put on when we landed at the islands. Bring some cash with you so you can buy local crafts and jewelry as well.

5. Meet the Locals

things to do in the Maldives meet the people
Visiting local villages in the Maldives was a great experience.

We visited two local islands in Maldives – Mule, Island – the capital of Johnson Atoll. And Naalaafushee Island, a fishing village where we visited the fish market.

Walking through the concrete buildings, we were surprised that there was a proper downtown and square on both tiny islands with schools, community centers, and banks. These islands are probably the smallest inhabited islands we’ve ever seen, but there’s a lot going on there.

6. Surfing in the Maldives

surfing things to do in the Maldives
Surfing is world class in the Maldives

The Maldives is a world-class surfing destination. The Cinnamon Dhonveli Hotel attracts top surfers from around the world to face its awesome break free from crowds. For adrenaline junkies surfing is, definitely one of the best things to do in Maldives.

The surfing was beyond our very amateur skill level, but each morning we loved watching the pros head out to face the pipe as we sipped our morning coffee.

This break is considered one of the best on earth and Dhonveli is even a stop on the pro circuit. If you aren’t a pro, don’t worry, there are other islands in the Maldives where you can take some surfing lessons.

7. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

things to do in the Maldives paddle boarding
SUP is a must on our own private island

If you aren’t into surfing, paddleboarding is another great option. You can paddle in safe bays with water so clear you can see fish swimming right below your boards.

The Maldives is great for (SUPping) because most islands are surrounded by calm shallow waters that only ebb and flow with the rising tides. Both resorts rent paddleboards.

8. Visit the Spa

things to do in the Maldives massage
Treat Yourself Go to the spa

The Maldives was made for romance and when visiting the island paradise, you must take some time to pamper yourself. Most people visiting the Maldives were couples and families and we highly recommend a couple’s massage for upping the romance factor.

As soothing music plays, skilled masseurs rub away the aches and pains from your long flight or day out in the sun. After an hour and a half of luxury, make sure you have nothing else on your to-do list for the day, as you’ll want to relish in relaxation.

9. Sunset Romantic Dinner

dining on the beach in the maldives
Book a private romantic dinner in the Maldives

I don’t think there is a more romantic destination on earth than the Maldives. If you are traveling as a couple and want to splurge on a romantic night out, this is the place to do it. While most food is buffet style in the Maldives, take a break from the smorgasbord and enjoy either a sunset beach or sunset pier dinner.

We found the meal to be a bit pricey at $220 per couple, but it did include a bottle of champagne, a private waiter, and a meal prepared right at your table. However, I think Cinnamon could do a lot better if they just made this option an upgrade from dinner.

10. Scenic Flight over Maldives Islands

best of the maldives
Scenic Flights over the Maldives

There is something magical about seeing the different shades of water below as you fly over the Maldives. Many resorts require a flight on a twin-engine float plane to get out to them.

If you don’t have the good fortune of staying on a private island that requires a flight out over the Indian Ocean, we highly recommend booking a scenic flight over the many atolls. The islands create a pattern in the sea as the deep ocean crashes into sandbars and coral reefs.

Many islands are surrounded by miles of shallow waters low enough to wade through at low tide. From the air, you get a real sense of just how isolated and beautiful the islands of the Maldives are.

11. Over the Water Bungalows

things to do in the Maldives private bungalows
enjoy your private bungalow

When we started writing this article about the best things to do in the Maldives, we said there is a lot more to it than over the water bungalows, but you must take advantage of these beauties and make the most of them while you’ve got them.

With an over the water bungalow, you can jump right into the waters and snorkel or swim. We loved our bungalow so much at Cinnamon Hakuraa we never wanted to leave our room. With a private deck, it’s perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and pure relaxation.

12. White Sand Beaches

best of the Maldives blue waters
Enjoy the crystal blue waters

The Maldives are known for their white sand beaches that stretch along the atolls. and the sand is smooth and easy to walk on. Beachgoers will love visiting the Maldives as you can walk far out along the sand bars enjoying the crystal clear waters.

What’s even better, is if you stay at an over the water bungalow, you can walk directly from your deck basking in paradise. And that is exactly what the Maldives are. Paradise Islands.

13. Fishing

If you are really into fishing then you will want to try it out here in the Maldives. Tuna is the most popular catch and you can either fish the Maldives way, where you go out spearfishing with a local, or you can go out on a regular fishing expedition.

14. Parasailing

Parasailing in the Maldives

If a scenic flight is not in your budget then another great way to see the beautiful atolls of the Maldives is to go parasailing. There is no better way to appreciate the beauty of the Maldives than from above.

It is an exhilarating feeling to feel the wind in your hair as you soar high above your boat taking in the beautiful scenery all around you. This is definitely one of the coolest things to do in the Maldives.

15. Explore Malé

You’ll be flying into the Maldives through Male and it’s worth spending a day or two exploring the capital of the Maldives. Male is completely different from the tranquility of the atolls.

It is a small island with a population of more than 227,000 it is one of the densely populated cities on earth. Spend a day exploring its top sites like the Male Fish Market and the Old Mosque.

The Male Fish Market is the heartbeat of the city with a hectic energy of the catch of the day coming through. The National Museum is worth a stop to see the history and artifacts from the Maldives past and the Old Friday Mosque is the oldest mosque in the Maldives dating back to 1656. And make sure to visit Sultan Park.

  • To see everything in Male book a guided tour of the city here.

The Best Resorts in the Maldives

The Best Resoerts in the Maldives
Cinnamon Dhonveli

The Maldives is made up of a series of atolls. There is the North and the South Male Atoll as well as smaller atolls where you will find hotels. There is no shortage of beautiful resorts in the Maldives. These are a few of our favorite places to stay.

  • If you want to go all out on your budget, I would recommend the Hurawalhi Island Resort. With beautiful rooms and the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant, it is a trip you will remember forever.
  • Another option that we loved is the Cinnamon Hakuraa Hura for romance and an isolated escape for high-end luxury. Their platinum island has opened for adults 18 and over.
  • If you are looking for something a little more mid-range then check out Cinnamon Dhonveli – This resort is located in the North Male Atoll and caters more to families than others. It is just a short boat ride from the capital of Mali.
  • The Maldives on a budget? It can be done. There are many different guesthouses in the Maldives and also make sure to look into Air BnB. It can be a great way to experience the local flair.

Looking for something different? Splurge on a stay at the Huvafen Spa and Resort. It has the only underwater spa in the world.

Plan Your Trip to Maldives

Practical tips for planning your trip to Maldives

When it comes to planning a vacation to the Maldives there are a few things you should take into consideration. For a more detailed breakdown visit our Maldives Travel Guide.

There is no bad time to visit the Maldives. The weather in the Maldives is warm all year round. The most popular time to visit is November through April as this is the dry season. If you are looking for some deals then I would suggest looking at visiting in June at the beginning of the rainy season.

maldives things to do video
Enjoy our video of the 10 Best Things to do in Maldives

The Maldives can be reached through direct flights from Sri Lanka, Dubai, and Qatar. We landed at the Velana International Airport. This is the main place to fly into and is roughly 3 miles from the capital city of Malé.

From there, you will most likely take a boat or floatplane to your resort located on one of the many islands. I don’t think anywhere quite compares with the sheer beauty of Maldives. While flying in from Male, we saw one paradise after another.

The islands are so small, they have to build bungalows over the water. And the water is so shallow, they can. These islands are sitting on underwater plateaus just waiting for you to come and visit.

The Maldives can be traveled independently, pick up your Lonely Planet Travel Guide of the Maldives

Did you enjoy what to do in the Maldives? Save this post to Pinterest for future travel planning.

things to do in the Maldives
The best things to do in the Maldives

Our Maldives trip was courtesy of Cinnamon Resorts. They have several resorts in the Maldives, making for the perfect duo destination holiday. It was also in conjunction with Sri Lankan Airlines. Flights daily from hubs all around the world.

Read Next:

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

99 thoughts on “15 of The Best Things to do in Maldives in 2021”

  1. Hi Thank you for sharing this information & things to do in Maldives…I always wanted to visit there but couldn’t I guess this post has increase my love to place even higher..best wishes

    Reply
  2. Hi,
    Nice blog. I have been looking to travel to Maldives from a very long time now. I think this is the time to go. Let’s see when the plans materialize. Well, Thanks for sharing these wonderful things to do in Maldives.

    Reply
  3. Best top activities such as sunset, romantic dinner as well as Snorkeling must be great there. We have a lot of photos of the Maldives. This is our next backlist 2021.

    Reply
  4. Lovely Article and beautifully described.. Will definitely be visiting this paradise!
    Thanks for sharing the details!

    Reply
  5. Wow, I have really grown interest in snorkeling reading your blog. I may do this stuff next time on my trip to the Maldives.

    Reply
  6. Great and inspirational post from the Maldives. These islands are amazing and beautiful. I can`t wait to get there.

    Reply
  7. Wow, I have really grown interest in snorkeling reading your blog. I may do this stuff next time on my trip to the Maldives.

    Reply
  8. Going to Visit Maldives next week as I don’t know much about it so I was looking for a blog to know the best things to do there thanks for this information. As Know I know What to do there.

    Reply
  9. Hey Dave im a happy Maldivan that just read your article and all of the comments written below!
    So i thank you for helping our tourism grow and i support you and your work!
    If anyone has anything they didn’t know about the Maldives give me a reply below!
    Ill be happy to help!
    THANK YOU

    Reply
  10. Snorkeling and sunset romantic dinner must be great there. I have had heard a lot about the Maldives and these pictures define the beauty of Maldives. It must be an amazing place to visit.

    Reply
  11. Fantastic guys, there is a part of Cancun that I love very much like the Maldives, of course, it is very rare that in Cancun you find the sea level as low as here, but the sea and the colors are very similar, it is impressive,
    Greetings!!!

    Reply
  12. Snorkeling and sunset romantic dinner must be great there. I have had heard a lot about the Maldives and these pictures define the beauty of Maldives. It must be an amazing place to visit.

    Reply
  13. Wow, these look like some very fun things to do, and I’m definitely adding all of these to my list. What would be the best way to travel to Maldives on a budget?

    Reply
  14. One of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, Maldives is a wonderful tropical island that boasts of white sandy beaches, azure sea waters and exotic, colorful coral reefs. And Maldives is an Islamic country that’s why alcohol is available only in resorts and hotels. I have been one time Maldives with my friends, now I plan my honeymoon. Thanks for your awesome article, keep sharing.

    Reply
  15. Hi, thanks for sharing.
    We took a 20 min speed boat from Male and it was great.
    Maldives is a wonderful place for couples and families.
    Our kids enjoyed everything, and we took amazing pictures.

    Reply
  16. Hello, Dave And Deb your post it’s pretty amazing it has everything, and very handy. I`m trying to convince my budget to go to the Maldives for my honeymoon. How much we need to spend for 4 – 5 days stay?

    Reply
  17. Maldives is on my bucket list for a long time. I’m hoping to visit this beautiful country atleast once during my lifetime

    Reply
  18. Thank you for this wonderful article
    I used to think that the Maldives was exclusive for honeymoon trips but now I think it fits even kids
    There is so much that a family can do on this amazing island
    Thank you again

    Reply
  19. A helpful website!! Next month I will visit Maldives. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and tips, Have a nice day, Traveler!!

    Reply
  20. The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. The capital, Malé, has a busy fish market, restaurants and shops on the main road, Majeedhee Magu, and 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy (also known as Friday Mosque) made of carved white coral.

    Reply
  21. Beautiful pictures. The Maldives is on my bucket list – especially because I want to go dive and snorkel there! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  22. Hey Dave & Deb

    My favorites were colorful fishes, snorkeling, paddle boarding, while had been enjoying traveling to these destinations in the Maldives, such a beautiful place and the great experience. You are right snorkeling is a great option. Once again the memories became turbulent.
    Thanks

    Reply
  23. This is Very Useful And Really Good Information Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean,I have visited there with my family last year and i enjoyed alot there specially the Surfing. Thank’s For Sharing With Us….

    Reply
  24. Reading a good blog to read the information on an amazing site and this blog to share with other people in the world.
    Great article!
    I thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  25. Thanks a lot for this informative post. These all are nice places for Snorkeling and scuba diving to visit in Maldives and I will definitely go to this place with my friends

    Reply
  26. Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean,I have visited there with my family last year and i enjoyed alot there specially the Surfing.

    Reply
  27. Oh my God, that would be a dream vacation. Anything else’s more wonderful than soaking in some rays and getting a tan in Maldives? That’s really, really fantastic! I love Maldives! Thanks for sharing your experience. You made a perfect videos.

    Reply
  28. I am planning a trip to the Maldives and your blog post has introduced me to a lot of worthy ideas. The place offers a buffet of water sports to explore the marine life in crystal clear waters. I am definitely going to try scuba diving and snorkeling.

    Reply
  29. The Maldives is a just amazing place…How beautiful is this beach and the hospitality is mind-blowing…
    thank you for sharing this article…

    Reply
  30. The Maldives is a suburban diving the place and makes you see sea turtles, whale shark migration, and stingrays. Some of things do on the destination like diving, Snorkeling, Dolphin Spotting, Island Hopping, Paddle boarding and other.

    Reply
  31. Really Thanks alot for this informative Post with images.Maldives is my Dream place and I have no any idea about these places but after reading this post and see images I feel wow it is amazing place. I like very much snorkeling, Dolphin spotting .These places are very nice place and really I will go there in these places.

    Reply
  32. Really Thanks alot for this informative Post with images.Actually iam planning a trip for Maldives. I know maldives is beautiful place. But I have no more any idea about these places but after reading this post and see images I feel wow it’s amazing place. Beautiful Islands, romantic dinner, many things to do and really I will go there in these places.

    Reply
  33. Hey Dave, hey Deb! The post is stunning and inspiring! I’m planning my trip to Maldives and I’ve got a question about bioluminescent plankton, information of which I found on https://rove.me/to/maldives. And I can’t wait facing it, as an unbelievable something! Is June through October is a fine period to see that wonder of nature? Cause I don’t wanna miss it. The weather I checked on https://www.lonelyplanet.com/maldives/weather promises to be warm. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Amazing! Hav e a great time. wE didn’t see the bioluminescent plankton in Maldives, but have seen it in Thailand and other places. I would just check with the resort you are staying at or with the tourism board, people are usually good at getting back to you about those type of things. Have a super time!

      Reply
  34. I recently discovered your site, and I’m loving it. I hope to meet this wonderful place one day, it’s my dream.
    Congrats to the site.

    Reply
  35. Maldives is Amazing, Added to my bucket list, I have never seen such beautiful location before, the crystal clear water, water villas etc are tempting me to come there. But where is the shing beach? is that far away from this location?

    Reply
  36. Hi there,I log on to your blogs named “10 of The Best Things to do in Maldives – The Planet D” on a regular basis.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about proxy list.

    Reply
  37. My friend went here for honeymoon and they had a wonderful time. The photos were spectacular. I am planning to go there in August. gonna try scuba diving as well

    Reply
  38. Maldives is really stunning, 220 for a dinner will unsettle my stomach.
    Actually i always wondered if its possible to visit Maldives on a budget. Or at least without destroying the bank account.
    Best regards.

    Reply
    • You actually can visit on a budget. The all inclusive resorts are a great deal. This was an extra for the dinner and yes, it was a lot of money. It is definitely recommended for a special occasion, but the buffets are great and included in the deal. Cheers!

      Reply
  39. I’ve been to Bora Bora, but I would love to go to the Maldives one of these days. It looks incredibly gorgeous! I love snorkeling, especially when there are turtles around, so that sounds like fun. I don’t think I could stomach that pricey dinner though. But this looks like an amazing place for a vacation!

    Reply
  40. Breathtaking!!
    I have always had a fascination of the Maldives.
    This article only reinforced that with all the exciting thing you can do.
    In particular when you love water sports.
    I must go one day!
    Thanks for making me dream a bit more today!

    Reply
  41. Amazing .. we too are bloggers and our site also has some travel and food blogs which you would like to see.
    About Maldives… wish to go there some day…nice pictures!!

    Reply
  42. Thank you very much for sharing such remarkable pictures. We have seen white beaches but I think Maldives beaches have some unusual beauty. I really want to do scuba diving and sea surfing there, hopefully will be there soon. 🙂

    Reply
  43. Wow, It is my favorite destination. It has been 6 years to go there. I was little scared to do scuba diving so missed it.

    Reply
  44. Great website. The Maldives is definitely on our bucket list!

    One question, what’s the name of the background music playing in your video?

    Reply
  45. Cool place to visit! I would like to enjoy water sports & would like to have spas. I truly enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  46. Beautiful Island! I’ve been to Maldives once or twice and there is no denying it is like Paradise on Earth! I love the scuba diving sessions as well as the relaxing atmosphere of the resort.

    Reply
  47. My sis and her husband went to Maldives for their honeymoon. It is definitely a destination for couples. But I was wondering if there’s anything to more to discover about Maldives besides water activities and sunsets. Culture or local life?

    Reply
    • Yep, we talk about the island tours where we explored the culture in the video and this post! There is a population that lives in the Maldives and you can stay on islands that are not only resorts. If you are only staying at a resort, many offer the chance to visit neighouring islands to meet the locals like we did. You can also stay in the capital Male when you land at the airport before heading out to the islands. cheers!

      Reply
  48. outstation pictures and video also awesome ..!! actually i’m planning to visit Maldives this year. i’m so glad read your blog it’s really very helpful information for traveler.
    thank you so much for sharing this post with us.

    Reply
  49. Beautiful pictures. The Maldives is on my bucket list – especially because I want to go dive and snorkel there! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  50. I have been on your website for the last 2 hours, feeling very inspired by all of your posts and love for travel. I originally found your post on Big Sur and will be going on a coastal photography trip with a buddy in a couple weeks. Anyway, amazing website you two!! : ) SO COOL!!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Brenan! We really appreciate the kind words and have an amazing time in Big Sur. We love sharing photography tips so that people can creat their own special memories from their travels.

      Reply