Where to stay in Malé

Malé, Maldives

Visiting the Maldives? Find out where to stay in Malé, the capital and first stop on any trip to this little corner of paradise.

As well as being a stunning city, Malé is the gateway to the paradise-like archipelago of the Maldives. It stands out from the rest of the country for its high-rise buildings. The capital is bustling and lively, and this is where you’ll get the best insight into local life. Here you’ll find the country’s main political, religious and commercial infrastructures. No fewer than 80,000 inhabitants share two square kilometers, creating a lively yet pleasant atmosphere. Staying in Malé is a great way to experience this atmosphere.

Travelers are welcomed with deference, and it’s a pleasure to stroll through the city’s grid-like streets. As the population has grown, Malé has expanded to include the surrounding islands. But where to stay in Malé to make the most of your trip to the Maldivian capital?

The city of Malé occupies all the space on the island on which it is built, so much so that the authorities have landscaped the banks to maximise the available surface area. The city is divided into 4 sectors: Henveiru, Galolhu, Machangolhi and Maafannu. Whichever Malé accommodation district you choose, the whole island is within walking distance.

Also read on the Malé guide :

Maafanu

port malé

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Shevchenko Andrey

This is the harbor district that occupies the west and part of the north of the island. Staying in Malé in this area will allow you to watch the ballet of boats entering and leaving the port. There are a number of hotels and guesthouses in the quiet side streets.

There’s also a fish market nearby, where you can do your shopping as soon as you return from fishing. Nearby restaurants offer delicious seafood dishes.

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Henveiru

Jumhooree Maidan

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Anaya Photograph

This is the eastern district of the island. It is home to major tourist attractions such as the National Museum and Republic Square. A stroll along the Presidential Pier to the north is a most pleasant experience. You’ll pass numerous restaurants with terraces overlooking the turquoise waters of the surrounding sea. The mosque, home to the Islamic Center of the Maldives, is also not to be missed.

To the east, you’ll find the artificial beach where you can swim and enjoy the magnificent Maldivian sunshine. This is also where you disembark from the airport, a good option if you want to get to your hotel quickly. The various docks will then take you to the next islands on your trip. The hotels in this area are some of the most luxurious on the island.

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Galolhu and Machangolhi

Galolhu

Photo credit: Shutterstock / byvalet

You can sleep in Malé, in the two districts to the south of the island. Here you’ll find the soccer stadium and the cricket stadium, two large open spaces that give air to the surrounding buildings. The atmosphere is calmer and more residential, and schools are concentrated here.

There are a few hotels, but if you want to be close to tourist attractions, stores and restaurants, you’ll prefer those to the north of these two districts. Even if the island isn’t very big, there are some areas where you’ll find better accommodation in Malé.

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Villingili

Villingili

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Villingili or Villimalé is a former hotel-island requisitioned by the government to extend the area available to accommodate Malé’s inhabitants. Less built-up than the main island, it can be a good option for travellers seeking peace and quiet. You can soak up the atmosphere at the local market and soak up the sun on the island’s public beach.

After a few days on the island, you’ll feel like a local and get into the rhythm of this tranquil island. Staying in Malé means living calmly and enjoying life without stress! Cars are prohibited on the island, except for a few licensed cabs and hotel buggies.

While being close to the main island, you’ll enjoy all the essential features of a Maldivian island: white sand beaches, turquoise waters, water sports, fish-based gastronomy… For accommodation in Malé, you can choose between guesthouses and luxury hotels.

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Hulhule

Hulhule

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Patrik Mezirka

Hulhule is the island where the airport is located. There’s not much to do here except catch a plane. Most travellers don’t stay on the island and fly directly to either Malé city or the resort where they will start their vacation. Sleeping in Malé’s sumptuous hotels is very relaxing.

However, if you have a late-night or early-morning flight, you can stay at Hulhule’s only hotel, which offers a high standard of accommodation.

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Hulhumalé

Hulhumalé

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Mulevich

Hulhumalé was originally a small island that was enlarged to solve the problem of overcrowding on the main island of Malé.

Today, the island is home to numerous hotels in all price ranges. These are concentrated on the eastern side of the island, along an immense white sand beach. A 1,800-metre-long causeway links Hulhumalé to Malé via the airport. The development project is due for completion in 2020, but the island already has all the infrastructure required for tourism. Accommodation in Malé is fairly easy, given the number of options on offer.

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Vihamanaafushi and Furanafushi

Furanafushi

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / EQRoy

These two island-hotels are each home to a luxury resort typical of what you’d expect from a trip to the Maldives. Fine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters teeming with fish, bungalows on stilts… The picture-postcard image is here, just a few minutes by boat from Malé.

So if you want to experience luxury Maldivian tourism without having to travel far from the capital, these two paradise islets are for you.

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