The most apparent merit of this muggy port town is its spectacular surrounds. The eye-catching cones of Gunung Meja (661m) and Gunung Iya (627m) loom over the city and the black-sand and cobblestone coastline. Views get even better just northeast of Ende as the road to Kelimutu rises along a ridge, overlooking a roaring river and cliffs that tumble with waterfalls in the wet season from December to March. Throw in coffee and clove drying on tarps on the side of the road, jade rice terraces, and women picking macadamia nuts from bamboo ladders, and you have some of Flores’ most jaw-dropping scenery.
You don't need long to cover Ende's compact and atmospheric centre. Most treat it as a pit stop on the way to elsewhere, but there's some intrigue to its grittiness. The central airport is a useful hub for connections to Labuan Bajo, Kupang (West Timor) and Tambolaka (Sumba).