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The Holy Trinity Cathedral

Historic Route

Example 8 Day Tour
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Spend 8 days on a privately guided tour of Ethiopia and explore the best places to visit in this fascinating and culturally rich nation. Tour rock-hewn churches in Lalibela and cruise the islands of the popular Lake Tana region. Hike through the Simien Mountains, which are some of the highest in all of Africa and labeled the 'rooftop of Africa'. Tour Addis Ababa, getting a taste of local daily life in this bustling metropolis. Visit with locals, learn some of the terrible history the people endured at the Red Terror Museum, and leave feeling a new heart connection with these amazing and resilient people.
Church of St. George in LalibelaLoaded donkeys with hayCarved Churches in LalibelaAerial view of Addis AbabaTour Lalibela and its holy ruinsHoly Trinity CathedralRock Hewn churches of LalibelaRock Hewn churches of LalibelaA priest reading from the holy bookBeautiful landscape behind St. George's ChurchThe Holy Trinity Cathedral
Highlights
  • Wander through ancient rock-hewn churches still used for worship today
  • Cruise the islands of Lake Tana, home of some of the oldest monasteries
  • Hike the famous Simien Mountains, one of the highest ranges in all Africa
  • Visit the National Museum of Ethiopia with the world famous 'Lucy' specimen
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive to Bole airport where you are met and transferred to your hotel for the evening. Settle in and rest up after your long journey.

Day 2: Fly Addis | Bahirdar

Transfer back to the airport this morning in preparation for your flight to Bahir Dar. Bahir Dar is near Lake Tana's southern side and the Blue Nile River. You can then check in to your hotel at Avanti Blue Nile. Settle in your room and freshen up before the afternoon boat cruise to some islands on Lake Tana, home to some of the oldest churches and monasteries in the world. Visit the 14th-century monastery Ura Kidane Mihret, renowned for its painted maqdas and collection of crosses and crowns. In the afternoon, drive to the village of Tis Isat and see the Blue Nile Falls, a scenic waterfall created by a dam along the river, a short drive outside town.

Day 3: Drive Bahirdar to Gondar (196 km & 4 hrs.)

Drive to Gondar after breakfast. On the way is the village of Awra Amba, located off the Woreta-WWodia 'China Road'. Visit the unique settlement, a prime model for self-help and gender equality. Equal rights apply to men and women, and there is no discrimination in the distribution of labor. Religion has no place here; men cook, and women plow. They believe in hard work and being good to people. Following your visit to Awra Amaba, a town founded by the great Emperor Fassiladas in 1636, it is the Royal Capital of Ethiopia, located amid a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. See the magnificent churches and palaces that Emperor Fassiladas and his ancestors constructed. Then, visit the intriguing Debre Birhan Selassie Church, which features Bible and medieval history scenes painted on its walls and ceiling. You can listen to Azmari music in the evening.

Day 4: Excursion to Simein Mountain

Drive to Sanqaber in the Simien Mountains today for a full day of hiking and exploring the breathtaking scenery, some of the most wild in all of Ethiopia. Known as the 'rooftop of Africa', the Simien Mountains are one of the largest mountain ranges in all of Africa. Enjoy your afternoon to soak up the scenery and have a picnic lunch before you head back to Gondar.

Day 5: Fly Gondar | Lalibela

Transfer to the airport to take a flight to Lalibela this morning. Lalibela, also known as "Africa's Petra," is Ethiopia's crown jewel. Famous churches and scenes from many major religious ceremonies can be found here. Check in to your hotel and then visit Asheton Mariam. Hike with mules to Mount Asheton for spectacular views of the town and its rock-hewn monastery from the thirteenth century.

Day 6: Genete Mariam

Go on an excursion today to Genete Mariam (34 km and 4 hours), one of the fascinating churches in Lalibela’s outlying area. Genete Mariam is a large monolith carved into a pink-tinged outcrop near the source of the Tekaze River. Supported by pillars, the church differs from the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela in that it is not hidden within a trench but carved openly on a rocky hilltop. According to tradition, Genete Mariam was excavated during the reign of Yakuno Amlak, the king who 'restored' the Solomonic line in the early 13th century. You can also complete any churches you did not complete on the previous date. 

Day 7: Fly Back to Addis

Return to Lalibela Airport in the morning for your flight to Addis Ababa. Check in to your hotel and leave with your guide to see the Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum. Designed as a memorial to the victims of a recent dark period in Ethiopia's history under the Derg Regime. The museum features a lot of disturbing exhibits that are not advisable for small children, including skeletal remains, photographs, and models of how victims were tortured. From here, proceed to the Muya Abyssinia craft to discover how the weavings and other handicrafts are utilized to make furniture, accessories, and other items for the home.

Day 8: Addis Ababa Tour and Departure

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend today exploring Addis Ababa with a tour. Drive to Mount Entoto in the north to begin your tour. Next, go to the Ethnographic museum, which has a large collection of handmade items and historical relics from Ethiopia. Visit the National Museum of Ethiopia as well, which holds the renowned Lucy fossil. Before seeing the Trinity Cathedral this evening, have lunch at a nearby cafe. The biggest and most prestigious of all contemporary churches is this one. Drive through the biggest open-air market in all of Africa to round out your visit. Before being transferred back to the airport for your journey home this evening, have one last nap in your hotel room.

Accommodations

Blue Nile Resort

Junior Suite at Blue Nile hotel
Duplex Suite at Blue Nile Hotel
Duplex Suite Bedroom at Blue Nile Hotel

Mayleko Lodge

Mayleko Lodge
Suite rooms include a sitting area
Sitting area in the Mayleko Bungalow

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace Lobby
The Grand Palace Standard Room
The Grand Palace Gym

Mezena Resort & Spa

Mezena Resort & Spa Bar
Mezena Resort & Spa Dining
Mezena Resort & Spa Sauna

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,111 2-3 travelers

Notes

Select a Date
Rates based on privately guided group of 2.
Contact us for other rates.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Photography Fees
  • Hotel accommodation on a double/twin room occupancy on bed and breakfast basis
  • All private airport transfer and ground transportation as per the program
  • City tour of Addis
  • Drinking water throughout the trip
  • An English speaking professional escort guide
  • Local guide
  • Porter fee
  • All entrances and 15% tax fee
  • Boat Cruise on Lake Tana
  • Day use room
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Internal Flights: Addis Ababa - Bahir Dar, Gondar - Lalibela - Addis Ababa
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Early check-in

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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