Maldives Banner 3 Logo Maldives (1)
Back to Listing

Male

Located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, just over two square miles in size, Malé is one of the world’s smallest capitals and is home to almost a third of the country’s population. In stark contrast to the laid-back pace of island life elsewhere in the country, the pint-sized capital city is a throbbing commercial heart, densely compacted and heavily built up, dotted with numerous high rises, narrow paved streets, vibrant markets, a busy harbour and several mosques.

Malé was traditionally where the ancient royal dynasties ruled; once a walled city called Mahal, surrounded by fortifications, housing the Royal Palace, and dotted with picturesque forts and bastions. In 1153 the country was turned into a Sultanate, when the then Buddhist King Dhovemi converted to Islam, and became formally known as Sultan of Land and Sea, Lord of the twelve-thousand islands and Sultan of the Maldives. Before this time, the Maldives was a Buddhist kingdom after it had been a Hindu kingdom, and previous to both empires, it is thought to have been a matriarchal society with each atoll ruled by a chief queen. In 1968 much of the old city was destroyed and remodelled under President Ibrahim Nasir’s rule in the aftermath of the abolition of the monarchy.

Today, the city island is often dismissed as a mere transit destination, but it does have a distinctive character of its own and offers a chance for one to get a real feel for the Maldives, its idiosyncrasies and what makes its people tick. It’s worth spending a bit of time to explore if you can spare it, particularly to visit the fish market and the local produce market at the waterfront, as well as the new harbour in the southwest corner. The 400-year old golden-domed Old Friday Mosque is another key highlight; built in 1656, it is one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city and is a unique example of sea-culture architecture. Other recommended sights include the Republic Square, the Islamic Centre and the Sultan Park and National Museum, which was once the Sultan’s royal palace. Or if you are short on time, then to simply sit down and relax at one of the small parks dotted around the capital is a great way to observe the pace of life.

Hulule International Airport is located on the neighbouring island of Hulhule, which is a 10-minute boat ride away from Malé town. Transfers from the airport to the individual resorts will be directly from Hulhule Island.

Male Maldives Male Maldives
Male Maldives 3 Male Maldives 3
Male Maldives 2 Male Maldives 2
Male Maldives 1 Male Maldives 1
The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
Rudyard Kipling

I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences