Bahir Dar in detail

Flights & getting there


Ethiopian Airlines has two (some days three) daily flights to Addis Ababa (Birr4192, one hour) from Bahir Dar airport and at least one daily flight to Lalibela (Birr1781, 35 minutes).


For the record, a ferry sails every Sunday at 7am for Gorgora (Birr278, 1½ days), on the northern shore of Lake Tana, from the Marine Authority Boat & Ferry Launch, but there are far better ways to get there and to see the lake. It stops for loading at Dek Island (with enough time to wander around) and overnights in Kunzula, where there’s food and a couple of grotty hotels. It’s far from luxe, with a toilet and limited seating in what they call ‘1st class’. Snacks and drinks are sometimes available, but it's best to bring your own. Buy tickets from 2pm to 4pm the day before at the Marine Authority office.


Addis Ababa

From the bus station, two ordinary buses travel to/from Addis Ababa (Birr125, 12 to 15 hours, 6am), while the Post Bus (Birr248) departs at 5.30am three days a week.

Minibuses travel at night (which makes them dangerous) and can do the trip in as little as eight hours. Your hotel can reserve a seat for you, or ask around for an agent at the north gate of the bus station to avoid the hotel’s commission.

There are two more comfortable options:

  • Sky Bus Has a ticket office near the lake and uses Dib Antessa as its 5am and 7am departure points (Birr340).
  • Selam Bus Has a ticket office at the bus station, but the buses park in front of St George’s Church and depart at 5.30am (Birr340).


Two buses travel to Gonder (Birr75, three hours) at 6am and minibuses (Birr90) go about hourly. For a steep fee, most hotels will call and have the minibus pick you up so you can avoid the chaotic bus station. Some travellers prefer to band together and hire a private minibus to Gonder, which can cost as little as Birr1200.


There’s nothing direct to Lalibela, but you can take one of about five morning minibuses (Birr150, three hours) or the 6am bus (Birr145, 3½ hours) to Woldia and get off at Gashena to catch a connection there.

Car & Motorcycle

The shortest route to Addis Ababa is via Mota, but nobody uses this road because it’s unsealed and in terrible condition. Otherwise, it's an 11- to 12-hour drive.

There's a petrol station in the town centre and the Total Petrol Station in the east of town.