The pint-sized Maldivian capital is the throbbing, mercantile heart of the nation, a densely crowded and fascinating place, notable mainly for its stark contrast to the laid-back pace of island life elsewhere in the country.
Malé offers the best chance to see the ‘real’ Maldives away from the resort buffet and infinity pool. Overlooked by tall, brightly coloured buildings and surrounded by incongruously turquoise water, Male is a hive of activity, the engine driving Maldives’ economy and the forum for the country’s saga-worthy political struggles.
Malé is also pleasingly quirky – alcohol-free cafes and restaurants jostle with shops and lively markets and the general capital-city hubbub is very much present. This island city may not have a huge number of sights, but it offers a very real chance to get a feel for Maldives and to meet Maldivians on an equal footing.