Most visitors come to enjoy the myriad of plush resorts, excellent beaches and stunningly colourful marine life. Due to the island’s isolated location, the number of animals on land is limited, but just beneath the surface of the beautiful blue ocean there is an abundance of wildlife to see. Over 2000 species of fish in all colours of the rainbow cavort in the clear waters around the islands. You are likely to see many anemones, different types of rays, octopus, squid and even giant clams. Whales, dolphins and turtles are often spotted. Baa Atoll, designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2011 and home to one of the richest coral reefs in the world, is becoming a major tourist attraction as well as an example of sustainable tourism in a protected area. In short, snorkelling or diving is an absolute must, so be sure to read the ‘Do’ section below for more information on this. The magnificent and ubiquitous white sand beaches are a sight in themselves, especially in the tropical island setting in which they are located. A flight to one of the many resort islands offers a spectacular aerial view of these picturesque islets, ringed by white sand beaches and cobalt blue waters.
But if you can tear yourself away from your luxury holiday destination, the capital Malé is a pleasant change of pace. The country’s bustling financial and political centre has a few sights to offer. Try the National Museum for a touch of history. The building may not look too promising, but the museum’s fine collection includes beautiful Arabic and Thai wood carvings, religious pieces, weapons and other historical artefacts. The city also has a number of mosques worth visiting. The 17th century Old Friday Mosque is the oldest in the country, and officials are often willing to let polite and properly dressed visitors inside. The Grand Friday Mosque & Islamic Centre is its modern 1984 counterpart and dominates the city skyline. Although simple in design, the large white marble structure and gleaming golden dome is an attractive sight.