10 days in the Maldives – the perfect itinerary and must-do activities

Spending 10 days in the Maldives is probably on everyone’s bucket list. Why wouldn’t it? Have you ever seen any pictures from this gorgeous archipelago in the Indian Ocean?

Plus, if we don’t do it now, we’ll never know if we’ll be able to do it in the future. Sadly, the Maldives is at such a low altitude, that it’s in danger of disappearing due to climate changes, so we really don’t know if it’s going to still be here for our children to enjoy.

Now, I know what you’re going to tell me: “But Cristina, this place is honeymoon material, there’s really nothing to do here except for sunbathing!”. And you would be right. But I would be right as well to tell you that it can be more than this if you’re willing to give it a chance. Like most things in life, there’s more than one way to enjoy it.

Yes, it’s true guys, there might be affiliate links in this awesome, free post. This means that if you decide to buy something that you find here, and you use one of my links to do so, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I plan to use this money on ice cream, chocolate, and to travel more so I can write these useful guides for you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

And because I’m nice, I’m going to offer you two options to spend ten days in the Maldives, and you can choose what suits you best. What matters is that you follow a few simple rules, which I’m going to explain to you very clearly below, and I have discussed them in more detail in this post.

5 rules to respect in the Maldives

1. You will not bring alcohol to the country. If you have some, maybe from a previous trip, leave it at the airport and get it back when you return.

2. You will wear decent clothing while on the local islands. This means knee-length pants or a skirt and a T-shirt, no matter your gender.

3. You will not, under any circumstances, touch any marine life, coral included. There are so many reasons to respect this rule, I’m not even going to go into more detail about it.

4. You will not litter the environment in any way. This place is gorgeous, but they really have a hard time keeping up with the pollution tourists are able to produce.

5. You will protect yourself against the sun, no matter how cool you think you are. Choose water clothes instead of SPF creams to ensure you’re not hurting the environment.

Each good Maldives travel guide speaks about the budget as well, and this is no exception. The Maldives is known as a high-end destination, one of the reasons being the prices you can find here. Yes, it can be extremely expensive, but it can also be affordable if you follow a few simple steps. Check out a few options below and read my detailed guide about saving money in the Maldives.

5 budget tips to make this trip more affordable

1. If you want to make your dream come true to stay in a water villa, but cannot really afford it, you can book a water villa for one of the nights on the resort islands, and spend the rest of the nights in the cheapest room available (which will anyway be beautiful).

2. Compare Booking and Agoda when it comes to accommodation options. Agoda has better prices than Booking in most cases, but it’s always worth a try.

3. Book as last minute as you’re comfortable with. You’ll score great prices for resort islands, and even a free upgrade might be in the cards for you.

4. Use a cashback app like WayAway when booking your flights and accommodation. With the prices in the Maldives, you’ll get the app’s price back really quickly.

5. Apply one of my budget tips (you can find the eBook below): book a resort with free cancellation and check again the options before the free cancellation period expires. If you find a better value-for-money option, book it at this point and cancel your previous plans.

Resort Island - it's a must to enjoy a few nights in a resort if you're spending 10 days in the Maldives

Getting in

I usually hate this part of any travel guide, as I usually already know how to get to the destination, but I agree that some people might need it, so here it goes.

You will most probably land at the Velana International Airport, widely known as Male Airport, as this is the name of the island it’s located on. Most international carriers use this airport as it’s the one closer to the Capital city of the Maldives, and the main hub for internal flight, operated by aircraft and seaplanes (yes, they have a terminal for seaplanes).

The second airport you can land at is the Gan International airport. It’s mostly used for domestic flights, and the only international carrier landing here is SriLankan Airlines, so you can use it if you’re coming from Colombo.

The third and less-known international airport is Hanimaadhoo. It’s only used by Maldivian Airlines, mostly for domestic flights, but it also goes to Trivandrum in India, hence the “International” in the name. You can, of course, use it in you’re coming from India.

There are also other small airports all around the archipelago and they’re mostly used by domestic carriers, to move tourists from Male to atolls further away in a fraction of the time it would take if using a speedboat. You can read more about getting around the Maldives in this detailed post.

As 99% of the inbound flights are arriving at Velana International Airport, I have created this itinerary with this in mind, thus starting and ending it in Male. If you arrive at one of the other airports, you will probably just go straight to your resort island and make us all envy you. In any case, the transfer needs to be arranged with the resort, and you will do so by communicating with them directly a few days before your flight.

If you haven’t booked your flights yet, check out SkyScanner for the best flight comparison information, but please keep in mind to only buy straight from the airline, even if it’s a bit more expensive than other providers. SkyScanner offers you all the options, so you can just choose the airline straight from their list.

How to spend 10 days in Maldives – Option 1

If you want a stress-free vacation, try this option, as it will be the right one for you. This doesn’t mean it will be relaxing, as you’ll have plenty of activities to fill your days, but you won’t have such a hard time organizing it, as it’s mostly done for you already.

Start your trip with a 7 days island hopping tour. This tour includes all transfers, trips, and accommodation you need, and it even has some of the meals covered (not all though so please check it out and see what you need to add). You’ll get to enjoy 3 local Maldivian islands and try some water activities as well. This way, you get to know a bit of the local culture, you get to try some water activities, and you might even get to relax a bit on a beach if you wish.

Upon return to Male (as the tour includes the transfer back as well), you can continue your itinerary with 3 days on a resort island. These are the islands that you see in postcards and Windows wallpapers, but they’re also less connected to the Maldivian spirit, in my opinion.

When it comes to resorts, the sky is the limit. And your budget, of course. This will probably be the deciding factor when choosing the resort you’ll spend your days in. I have written a few blog posts that might interest you, but let me give you some ideas here as well.

Budget option: Reethi Beach resort – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Affordable water villas: Gangehi Island Resort & Spa – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Adults-only resort: Robinson Maldives – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Water villa with glass floor: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island ResortCheck prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Water villa with jacuzzi: Adaaran Prestige Vadoo – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda

This is the simplest 10 days Maldives itinerary I managed to create for you. As you can see, it’s not boring, but it requires minimal planning from your side so you can relax as much as possible during your trip, but won’t be bored while doing so.

What to do in 10 days in the Maldives – Option 2

This second option requires more planning from your side, but with the right tools that I’m providing here, you can book everything today and never think about it until you get there. I  have optimized this in such a way that your days will flow easily, even if they’ll be intensive sometimes.

This itinerary starts with two days in Male, the capital city of the Maldives, and the place where you’ll most probably land to. You will spend this time recovering from the long flight you have probably had and learning a bit about the culture of the place you’re going to visit.

I have scheduled days in Male at the beginning and end of your trip, as you should stay close to the airport on arrival and departure days. Your flight might always be delayed or your boar might have issues when coming back from an island, thus making your first and last night here better options for a stay close to the airport.

Where to stay in Male? Well, try to find a place that’s close to the bikini beach, to be able to enjoy it when you get some spare time. I suggest you don’t spend much on accommodation here, as it’s not worth that much on this island. Keep your money for the resort and you won’t regret it. Here are a few options for you to choose from:

Tiny budget option: Off Day Inn – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Mid-budget option: Marukab Plaza – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
High budget option: Summer Beach – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda

Day 1 – Take a submarine tour from Male

Enjoy this submarine tour and get to know the marine life you’ll get to enjoy for the rest of your trip. This tour is particularly great for people that don’t go scuba diving, as it’s really hard to understand what lies on the bottom of the ocean without even getting there.

Day 2 – Take an eco-tour from Male

As this area is protected for so many reasons, it’s also quite endangered due to so many harsh external factors. Tourism is one of them, but also climate changes that bleach the coral, people that feed animals that mess with the balance in the ecosystem, and god knows what else we’re doing to this planet that we’re not even aware of yet. Take this eco-tour from Male to find out more about protecting these paradise islands.

The next part of the itinerary will start from the local island of Maafushi. This is a very famous island for budget travelers as it has some of the cheapest options for everything from accommodation to tours to restaurants. This also makes it a bit too crowded for most people’s taste, so keep this in mind when arriving.

I have chosen this island for your next 3 days as you have plenty of activities to try here. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll be able to try these activities from the resort island as well, but it will cost you at least three times more so, maybe try to cover them here?

Plus, I wanted you to taste a bit of the local culture as well. We call this place paradise on earth, but for these people, it’s called home. It would be a shame for you to not see this side of the Maldives as well, as this way you can appreciate the resort maybe even more. By the way, you can even buy a day pass to one of the resorts close-by, if you can’t wait to get there a few days later.

Where to stay in Maafushi? As I said, the place is quite crowded, so choose the options that fit you best. Either save as much as possible by getting a cheaper option or run from the crowds by getting a place closer to the bikini beach. Check out these options for inspiration:

Budget option: Salt Beach Hotel – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Beach option: Kaani Palm Beach – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Deluxe option: Kaani Grand Seaview – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda

Day 3: Arrive on the island and go fishing

The first day will be mostly spent in the boat on the way here and set yourself up at the hotel. Spend your midday tasting some local cuisine at one of the restaurants around, but don’t eat too much as you’ll go fishing in the evening. Enjoy this tour and get to go fishing at sunset, then go to the BBQ dinner that follows. What better way to end this full day?

Day 4 – Go shipwreck snorkeling and see nurse sharks

Shipwrecks are not that many in the Maldives as the environment is not the best for it, but you have this option from Maafushi and you should take advantage of it. Get to see the nurse sharks and marine life with this tour and be amazed at how nature has its way to recover.

Day 5 – Go snorkeling with manta rays

Mantas are some of the coolest creatures you can see in the Maldives, so find a way to see them and be amazed by what this destination has to offer. You will for sure be amazed by this huge, but gentle animals and you might even find your new favorite thing to do in the Maldives.

Days 6-9 – Relax in a resort

The next few days of the itinerary you’ll spend on a resort island, soaking up the sun, relaxing as much as possible, sipping Mojitos, and getting massages like there’s no tomorrow. You can, of course, go paddle boarding or try any other water sports, or you can join yoga classes, go to the gym or even learn something. But I strongly advise you to just lay on the beach and alternate between reading a good book, enjoying the house reef and the crystal clear waters around, and sleeping in the sun (sunscreen is highly recommended).

As you have kept your expenses to a minimum until now, you can maybe afford to splurge a bit on this part of your trip. Try to include at least a massage while you’re here, and if possible, get a nicer villa for at least a night. In the end, this is what the Maldives is known for so you might as well enjoy it.

When it comes to accommodation options, as I said, you can book anything from a few hundreds of dollars a night to a very healthy kidney on the black market. Here are a few options for a few price points, and try to remember the money-saving tips I included at the beginning of the post when booking your resort stay.

Tiny budget option: Summer Island Maldives Resort – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
Mid-budget option: Cocoon Maldives – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda
High budget option: The Nautilus Maldives – Check prices on Booking or Book on Agoda

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Day 10 – Take a walking tour in Male

Come back closer to the airport the day before the flight. Even if you have a late flight, no one can guarantee you’ll arrive in time as boats won’t leave resort islands if the weather doesn’t allow it. While in Male, enjoy a massage here at one of the many available places, especially if you haven’t done it on the resort island.

And the best thing you can do is go on a walking tour of the capital city, to get to know the culture of the Maldives. You have options for half a day or a full day so there’s really no reason for you not to try this.

And this is the second Maldives itinerary I have prepared for you. As you can see, it needs a bit of planning ahead, but with the resources I provided (tours, hotels, tips), you can easily book everything yourself in one afternoon. Customize it for your needs if you think you’ll want fewer activities or have them differently organized, the itinerary should, most importantly, match your wishes.

Don’t forget to read my other resources as well, as you might need them. Especially when it comes to packing, my already prepared checklist will help you a lot when the time will come. Download it below to have it ready!

10 days in the Maldives – the takeaway

I’m so happy you’re getting to spend 10 days in the Maldives! And I’m honored to have helped you decide how to do it. I know it can be overwhelming to plan such a big trip, and I hope I managed to shed some light on this regard. As always, ask you questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them. And enjoy your trip, I’m already envious!

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5 thoughts on “10 days in the Maldives – the perfect itinerary and must-do activities”

  1. I always do a walking tour on the first day or two after I arrive in a new destination. It is a great to learn what locals love about their locale. I would definitely book this tour!

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