Wade through incense into a medieval world hewn from stone in Lalibela, and watch the line between past and present blur while taking part in striking Christian ceremonies that haven’t changed in 1000 years. Ethiopia’s storied and sovereign history has left its wide-ranging and fertile highlands laden with historical treasures, ranging from the ancient tombs and obelisks of Aksum to 17th-century castles and burnt-out Russian tanks. Many are more than a peek into the nation’s past; they are a giant two-footed leap. Ethiopia’s landscapes are no less dramatic, and range from the Simien Mountains National Park and Bale Mountains National Park, which proffer tremendous trekking and innumerable interactions with dozens of animals and birds seen nowhere else on earth, to the Danakil Depression in Northern Ethiopia, an enchanting and unforgivingly hostile environment offering extreme adventure. The remote lowlands in the sultry southwest are also home to untold adventures and house some of Africa’s most fascinating tribes.
Testing, awe-inspiring and heartbreaking – a journey you’ll never forget. You don’t explore Ethiopia for a relaxing getaway, you venture here to be moved. And moved you shall be.
Although it’s anything but desert wasteland or a perpetual home of famine and war, Ethiopia is monetarily poor and travel here is tough, both physically and mentally. However, those willing to take some doses of displeasure with Ethiopia’s bounty of treasure will be pleasantly rewarded.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Ethiopia
Ethiopia's unmissable sights for travellers
Ethiopia has the ability to wow you day after day.
Ethiopia destination guides
10 places to travel for a higher cause
Seeking some deeper meaning on your travels? Make your own pilgrimage to some of the world’s great spiritual sites. 1. Source of the Ganges (India) The River Ganges is Hinduism’s holiest river, beginning in the Himalayan peaks of Uttar Pradesh and spilling out into the Bay of Bengal more than 2000km later.
Highlands of Ethiopia
Combine a trek in the wild and stunning Simien Mountains with Ethiopia's historic sites
Highlights of Ethiopia
Rich with natural contrast, captivating human history and countless surprises, Ethiopia has long been an intersection between the civilizations of North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. This 15-day adventure is perfect for the traveller looking to delve into the history and culture of this incredibly diverse land like few others do.
Ethiopian food for beginners
This is an excerpt from the Food & Drink chapter of Lonely Planet's guide to Ethiopia & Eritrea.