Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Bahir Dar

Some people like to describe Bahir Dar (ባህር ዳር) as the Ethiopian Riviera. The moniker sounds strange, but when you pull into town and see the wide streets shaded by palm trees and sweeping views across Lake Tana’s shimmering blue waters, you’ll perhaps understand. More than a block back from the shore, however, Bahir Dar is just another busy Ethiopian city.

The main reason to come here is to launch a boat excursion out onto Lake Tana to visit its monasteries, and to see the Blue Nile Falls.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Bahir Dar.