Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa Holidays

Addis Ababa

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Ethiopia's bustling capital

Ethiopia's lively capital offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities

The name of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, translates as ‘New Flower’ somewhat appropriate for this bustling, modern metropolis that really defines Ethiopia’s transition from the immensely difficult times of the 1980s to the country it is today. Sitting between 2,350 and 2,600 metres above sea level, it is the world’s third-highest capital city and a day or two here is perfect for acclimatising to the altitude which is an almost constant feature of travelling in the country. With a population of almost 3.5 million, Addis Ababa is Africa’s diplomatic capital and the continent’s 4th largest city. Also found here are the headquarters of – among others - the African Union (AU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

A couple of days in the city is perfect for exploring, with key highlights including the famous market known locally as the Merkato, the St Georges and Trinity Cathedrals and the bustling Piazza. Perhaps the most useful of the visits on an Addis Ababa city tour is the National Museum, which really puts in to context everything you will see on your adventure through Ethiopia. It is also home to the (partial) skeleton of ‘Lucy’ one of the earliest humanoids to be discovered in Ethiopia, and indeed the world.

Mount Entoto, the highest peak overlooking the capital, was where Menelik II established a camp in 1881. Considered sacred, the monasteries in this area include churches dedicated to Saint Raguel and St Mary (Maryam). There’s also an observatory on the summit that belongs to the Ethiopian Space Science Society. Entoto Natural Park, a watershed between the Awash and Blue Nile rivers, is in the process of being restored by the Ethiopian Heritage Trust.

Addis Ababa hotels vary from good-quality Ethiopian-owned hotels to some truly outstanding international brands, with the Sheraton Addis Ababa undoubtedly the leading hotel in the country and one that offers genuine luxury. For visitors looking to enjoy a taste of traditional city life, there are plenty of excellent restaurants and bars which we would encourage you to visit, whilst the numerous jazz clubs are the perfect spot to indulge yourselves after dinner.

The excellent Ethiopian Airlines have an extensive network of international flights in to Addis from the UK, Europe, United States and Asia, as well as covering almost the entire African continent with their superb regional services.

Our favourite Addis Ababa hotels and lodges

Best Places to Stay in Addis Ababa

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