Addis Ababa, an ancient and historical city is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. Officially spelt Addis Abeba by Ethiopian Mapping Authority, it is a city located on a well-watered plateau surrounded by hills and mountains.
Entoto, situated on a high tableland was the previous headquarters of Ethiopia, until extreme cold and a shortage of firewood resulted in the change of the capital to Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa (New Flower) was founded and named in 1887 by Empress Taitu, the wife of Emperor Menilek II. The city was like a military encampment in its first year with the Emperor’s Palace being the central focus surrounded by the dwellings of his troops and numerous retainers. A large number of eucalyptus trees were imported from Austalia in 1905 to increase the supply of firewood and provide a forest cover for the city. Addis Ababa served as the capital of Italian East Africa from 1936 to 1941, when modern stone houses were built and several roads paved.
Addis Ababa is the educational and administrative centre of Ethiopia. The Addis Ababa University, founded in 1950, and several teacher-training colleges and technical schools are located in this historical city. It is Africa’s 4th largest city and the “political capital of Africa” as it hosts the headquarters of numerous continental and international organisations like United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa (ECA), African Union etc.
The diversity of Ethiopians is reflected in the large number of churches, cathedrals, mosques, and museums.
The history and tourist attractions in Addis Ababa make it one of the best places to visit in Africa. There are several great places for visitors to tour in Addis Ababa to learn the culture, traditions and history. Experience the city’s famous historic edifices, bustling markets and bazaars. Here are a few great places to visit while in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian National Museum
Red Terror Museum
Medhane Alem Cathedral
St George’s Cathedral
Roman Catholic Cathedral of Nativity
Menelik’s old Imperial Palace
Ethiopian National Library
Ethiopian Ethnological Museum
Addis Ababa Museum
Ethiopian National History Museum
National Postal Museum
Netsa Art Village
National Railway Museum
The Mercato Market
Some of the biggest and most popular festivals and events in Ethiopia hold in Addis Ababa such as the Ethiopian Film Festival in May, the Summer Cycling Championships from July to September, Kulubi (Feast of Saint Gabriel) in December, the Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash), Feast of Epiphany (Timket), the Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) celebrated on January 7 and Meskel (Finding of the True Cross) in September makes Addis Ababa an all-year-round destination for entertainment.
Booking a flight to Addis Ababa for many tourists is dependent on the weather. Addis Ababa is located close to the equator, hence the temperatures are constant all year round.
The rainy season in Addis Ababa runs from March to mid-September. It is the time when the city experiences warm temperatures and pleasant rainfall. The wet conditions can make transportation slower. The countryside is green during this period, and most hotels negotiate generous rates for walk-in clients. The cheapest flights to Addis Ababa are booked during the rainy season.
The dry season occurs from September to January. The dry season is the best time to visit Addis Ababa with pleasant temperatures, blue skies and low rainfall. Flights to Addis Ababa are more expensive during this season, as more festivals and events are held during the period. Meskel and Timkat festivals are particularly popular for locals and visitors. Hotels and flights usually spike their prices for the occasion.
Addis Ababa Experiences 2 Types Of Climate: The Rainy Season And The Dry Season. Addis Ababa Is Best Visited From Late-September Till January When The Festivals Draw A Large Gathering Of Locals And Tourists. These Festivals Are Amazing Events To Witness First-hand Especially With The Relatively Mild Temperatures Of The Dry Season. The Winter Period Runs Till February, And So It Is Highly Cold In The Highlands, Majorly At Night.
Viewing Wildlife Is Consistent Throughout The Year, But Local Birds Are More Colourful During The Breeding Season, Which Is Usually During The Dry Season. Birds Migrate From The North During The European Winter Months.
In General, Visitors To Addis Ababa Should Avoid The Rainy Season Between June To Mid-September. Bear In Mind That In Addis Ababa, The Higher The Altitude The Lower The Temperature, And The Lower You Go The Hotter The Conditions. Always Prepare For The Cold Evenings.
Airlines operating Cargo services, domestic and international scheduled flights from the airport to major destinations across 6 continents include:
Airlines flying from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and Average Fares to some popular cities
Average Flight fares ($) Round Trip
Murtala Muhammed International Airport
Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport
Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways
London Heathrow Airport
British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines
Doha International Airport
Dubai International Airport
Flydubai, Qatar Airways
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
J.F Kennedy International Airport
Average Flight time
5 hours 20 minutes
1 hour 5o minutes
4 hour 40 minutes
2 hours 10 minutes
7 hours 45 minutes
5 hours 40 minutes
4 hours 15 minutes
7 hours 15 minutes
20 hours 45 minutes
5 hours 25 minutes
9 hours 30 minutes
27 hours 35 minutes
11 hours 50 minutes
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA: ADD; ICAO: HAAB) is the main airport serving Addis Ababa, the capital City of Ethiopia. It is situated in Bole area, just 6km Southeast of Addis Ababa. The airport was formerly called Haile Selassie I International Airport. Ethiopian Airlines, the national flag carrier of Ethiopia uses Addis Ababa Bole International Airport as its hub. The airport serves as the base for the Ethiopian Aviation Academy.
Ethiopian Airline operates flights to destinations in Ethiopia, Africa and non-stop service to Asia, Europe, North America and South America. More than 150 flights depart and arrive at the international airport of Addis Ababa.
Facilities in the airport include two terminals with 11 gates and more than 30 aircraft parking stands. Terminal 1 serves Domestic and Regional flights for Ethiopian Airlines, EgyptAir, Sudan Airways and Yemenia. International flights are operated by other airlines in the terminal 2 of the airport. The Cloud Nine Lounge and ShebaMiles Lounge in the airport are so available to premium travellers.
here are many accommodation options in Adis Ababa as it receives all kinds of visitors including leisure travellers, business travellers, tourists and government officials.
This is the fanciest hotel in town. It is where the bigwigs stay when they visit Addis Ababa. Expect to meet the heads of international organisations, diplomats and top government officials in the hotel. It is the best relaxation spot after spending times visiting museums, climbing the hills and trekking in the highlands.
Also a luxurious hotel with excellent amenities. It offers the outdoors bar for a lively evening and weekend. The swimming pool is surrounded by trees and offers a relaxing ambience.
The hotel was built by Empress Taitu in 1907. It is the oldest hotel in Addis Ababa. It doubles as a museum with the beautiful old furniture and high ceilings providing a beautiful experience. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and breakfast in the lovely garden. The hotel offers car hire and is the nearest hotel to the Airport.
The Harmony Hotel is a hotel double functioning as a budget and a luxury hotel. It is located in the upmarket neighbourhood of Bole. It has a clean gym, an indoor pool and a bar at the top floor.
This hotel has two locations: Bole and Kazanchis. The hotel offers awesome rooms, gym, good food and live music on Thursday nights.
Luxury hotels will cost you upwards of $100 per night. The cheap hotels can be found in Piazza and Bole. Taitu hotels, the Ghion, the Ethiopia, the Wabi Shebelle and Rita Guesthouse are examples of budget and tourist class hotels. You can expect to pay between $25 to $30 for a night stay at these hotels.
There are plenty of things to do in Addis Ababa to make your stay fun filled. From the marvellous array of local and international food to ancient churches, fascinating museums, and beautiful buildings, there are a lot of places to keep you occupied and satisfied in Addis Ababa.
One of the best yet simplest things to do in Addis Ababa is taking a walk around the crowded and entertaining Addis Mercato market. The Mercato, the Italian word for market, is the largest open-air market in Africa. The market has several sections and you can buy everything including souvenirs, clothes and food. You can just go watch the crowds of people in the market and observe the hustle and bustle of the market. However, be wary of pickpockets.
St George’s Cathedral is a religious icon of Addis Ababa built by Emperor Menelik II to commemorate his stunning 1896 defeat of the Italians in Adwa. It is located on a hill overlooking the Menelik II Square. You can walk in a circle around the cathedral observing the incredible paintings about biblical stories and Ethiopian history. The cathedral is just to the side of the cathedral. It is filled with memorabilia from the ancient church and a collection of religious writings, Ethiopian crosses and clothes adorn the museum. 50 ETB per person is the price to enter the museum.
Meskel Square is the central gathering place for locals in Addis Ababa especially during important festivals and political rallies. The Meskel Square is also a point of reference for local transportation and entering into the city centre. There are 2 museums adjacent to the square, just off Bole Road. The Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum and Addis Ababa Museum will interest you.
The national museum is home to many of the most important relics and pieces of artwork from different parts of the country. The variety of artworks on display and the collection of archaeology like precious stelae and statues from Axum makes for an awesome viewing. There are also skeletal remains from early hominids and a model of the famous “Lucy.” The upper floor of the museum holds the collection of royal family memorabilia of previous Emperors of Ethiopia. Entry into the museum is 10 ETB.
The Ethnological Museum is located within the University Campus of Addis Ababa. The museum introduces visitors to the major tribes in Ethiopia, then goes through the history and importance of coffee in Ethiopian culture. A collection of Ethiopian Orthodox paintings triptychs and Orthodox crosses also adorn the museum. The highlight of the museum is seeing the former bedroom and bathroom facilities of the highly regarded and famous Emperor Haile Selassie. Entry into the museum is 10ETB for adults and 50 ETB for students.
Ethiopia with its ancient history, religious beliefs and struggles against colonisation is full of monuments and sculptures in remembrance. The statue of the Lion of Judah, in front of the old Railway Station in Addis Ababa, represents the Ethiopian pride and the Emperor. Addis Ababa with its wealth of history and national pride is filled with monuments at nearly all public squares, important places and large roundabouts in the city. Tourists can stop to view the monuments while driving by.
The Menelik Palace is the palatial compound known as the Gebi which for several years served as the seat of power for Ethiopia’s Emperors. There are several residences, halls, chapels, and offices within the Palace. Today, it is the office and residence of the Ethiopian Prime Minister. The vast majority of the palace is not accessible to the public as it also houses the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
The Mausoleum of Emperor Menelik II located within the grounds of the Palace is open to the public. Beneath the sanctuary is the tomb of Emperor Menelik II, his wife Taitu, daughter and Empress Zewditu, daughter of Haile Selassie, Princess Tsehai, and the Archbishop Matewos of Addis Ababa. Additional information about the imperial throne can be seen from the tomb. There are written documents, images, crosses, processional umbrellas and more. The upper part of the mausoleum is a church with several paintings in the dome area. Visitors will see the paintings of the Coronation of Menelik II, the Battle of Adwa (victory over the Italian invaders), and the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon.
The Derg communist military junta in 1974 ousted the government of Emperor Haile Selassie. The military junta ruled with terror from 1975 until 1987. Thousands of perceived enemies were imprisoned, tortured and executed without trial.
The Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum was built in Addis Ababa to honour those who laid their lives fighting against the Derg dictatorship. The museum is adjacent to the Meskel Square.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is referred to Emperor Haile Selassie Church because his body was moved there in 2000. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is a sacred Ethiopian Orthodox church in the city. At the back of the cathedral is a museum housing the historical memorabilia of Ethiopia, crowns of former Ethiopian Emperors and a selection of incredibly well-preserved Amharic Bibles and religious writings. Entry into the museum and church is 50ETB.
Although the prices of common items mentioned in the table below are subject to change, they give you an idea of what to expect in the market. The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB) made up of 100 cents. The notes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 50 and 100. Change your foreign currency at authorised banks and hotels to ease buying in the market. Shops are open Monday to Fridays from mornings till evenings. A few shops are open on Saturdays.
Basic Lunchtime menu
Combo meal in fast food restaurant
1 litre of whole fat milk
Men haircut in expatriate area
Basic dinner for 2
2 tickets to the movies
Dinner for 2 at upscale restaurant
1 packet of Marlboro cigarettes
1 kg of potatoes
1 kg of apples
2 litres of Cocacola
Monthly rent in expensive area
Monthly rent in normal area
1 pair of jeans
1 summer dress
1 pair of sports shoes
1 pair of men’s leather shoes
f invited to a traditional Ethiopian coffee, drink 3 glasses of the powerful coffee to show politeness. Do not be in a hurry as the proper ceremony takes at least 1 hour 30 minutes.
Addis Ababa has been rated as one of the safest capital cities in Africa. However, tourists should be careful of petty crimes like pickpocketing and bus robbery. Here are some tips when are in Addis Ababa.
Be careful when leaving/arriving by bus in Meskal Square as the hustle and bustle of getting your bags may be an opportunity for pickpocketers.
Do not board a minibus that doesn’t call its destinations. It’s very dangerous to board a bus that asks for your destination or direction.
Merkato market is a very crowded place. Do not carry a backpack in the market.
It is safer to arrange for a taxi driver if you will be staying a long time in the Addis Ababa.
The high altitude of Addis Ababa can be tasking. Be sure you are fit and healthy before climbing the high elevations.
Don’t walk on your own at night in Addis Ababa. Do not wear jewelry. Reduce the amount of cash on you. You can always use one of the ATMS. Wear a money belt that fits under your dress.
Do not fall for the cultural show scam. It is locally known as “Fird Biet”. A gentleman or child may approach you inviting you to the free cultural show. You may eventually be forced to pay as much as $100 for such scam shows.
Ethiopian Airlines operates scheduled domestic flights service from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport to 21 cities across Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Assosa, Axum, Bahar Dar, Bale Robe, Dire Dawa, Gambella, Gonder, Gode, Hawassa, Humera, Jijiga, Jimma, Kabri Dar, Kombolcha, Lalibela, Mekele, Semera, Shire and Shilavo.
There is a daily “Historic Route Service” for tourists to visit the country’s famous ancient historical sites of Axum, Bahr Dar, Gondar and Lalibela which showcase obelisks and rock-hewn churches. The special tour programs are designed to ensure visitors choose their own activities and locations that most interest them and gives the most time to enjoy the tourist attractions.
Common flight routes operated by Ethiopian Airlines and the flight fare for a one-way trip is shown below.
Flight Fare USD – One-way trip
Addis Ababa to Arba Minch
Addis Ababa to Axum
Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar
Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa
Axum to Gondar
Addis Ababa to Lalibela
Addis Ababa to Mekele
Axum to Lalibela
Gondar to Lalibela
The well-developed infrastructure, favourable climate, and the natural settings are some of the factors that interest international tourists to one of South Africa’s most important city. The Table Mountain National Park offer hiking and backpacking for tourists. Cape Town Beaches are perfect for sunbathers, and a lot of seafood and coastal dishes are on offer for tourists Cultural attractions like Victoria and Alfred Waterfront are popular for the Dutch Architecture especially the old government buildings which continue to attract visitors.
London remains the most visited City in the world. Tourists throng to the City to visit attractions such as the London Eye, London Aquarium, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Shard, Tower of London, and the Buckingham Palace.
Bangkok is so popular with tourists because of the great mixture of historical sites and buildings, shopping and dining and a dynamic nightlife. Bangkok offers something for everyone to see and do. Among the notable sites in Bangkok are Wat Phra Kaew, a Buddhist temple in the Grand Palace, and Jim Thompson House, an example of Thai architecture. The National Gallery of Bangkok also showcases the development of Thai art. Bangkok, as the capital of Thailand, is the hub for the celebration of major festivals and holidays such as the annual Songkran in April
The city is filled with an endless number of historic attractions. UNESCO declared 7 of such historical attractions as World Heritage Sites including the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath, the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur, as well as the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Visitors can mingle with locals and the animals among the monuments of Durbar Square or join mountain trekkers in the Thamel District. There is so much to do in Nepal.
Other historic and ancient cities visited by millions of tourists annually include Ubud, Alexandria, Kano, Sokoto, Hanoi, Taipei, Seminyak, and Sao Paulo. They are visited for the several natural monuments, historical sites, museums, world-renowned markets and architecture.
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