AllAboutEthio Logo

20 Must See Destinations in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Destinations to Visit

Ethiopia is one of the most exciting places in the world to visit. It is also often ranked highly as a must see tourist destination.

addis ababa
image credit:

1. Addis Ababa

Upon your arrival to Addis Ababa...

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and has an elevation of 2,400 meters. It was founded and built during the time of Emperor Menelik II in 1887. Empress Taitu gave the name Addis Ababa or New Flower. It is the world's third highest city, has over 4 million residents and plays host to a significant number of international offices, embassies, as well as the Organization of African Union.

More on Addis Ababa

2. Awash National Park

Awash is the closest national park to Addis Ababa

The park features Acaccia savannas in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Towns in between Addis Ababa and Awash National Park are: (in order) Gelan Industrial City, Dukem, Bishoftu or Debre Zeit, Modjo, Adama or Nazreth and Metehara.

More on Awash National Park

3. Axum

The ancient city of the Axumite Empire

Visiting the city of Axum and you shall witness remanants of an ancient civilization. It is located in the northern part of Ethiopia in the region of Tigray. Many tour operators offer packages that let you experience various historical sites along the way to Axum.

More on Axum

bahir dar in amhara ethiopia
image credit:

4. Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara Region

Bahir Dar is 560 kilometers away from Addis Ababa and has won awards for being one of the most beautiful cities. It is situated towards the southern part of Lake Tana and there are two awe inspiring routes towards it from Addis Ababa.

More on Bahir Dar

bale mountains national park in ethiopia
image credit:

5. Bale Mountains National Park

The site of the second highest mountain peak in Ethiopia

Tullo Deemtu stands 4,377 meters ASL and is located in this park. There are alternative routes from Addis Ababa to the Bale Mountains National Park with the Goba route holding preference among most.

More on Bale Mountains National Park

6. Bishoftu

How to get to Bishoftu or Debre Zeit

This town is the closest resort town to Addis Ababa with many well developed resorts. It is located only 45 km away from Addis Ababa. It has seven lakes that lie at its center as well as in the surrounding areas.

More on Bishoftu

7. Danakil Depression

The road to the Danakil Depression or Dallol Depression

This area can be reached from Mekelle over to Birki Birki then to Berhale on to Hamed Ela then to Dallol. Lake Asale will also be visible on this trip.

More on Denakil Depression

gondar in ethiopia
image credit:

8. Gondar

The trip to Gondar

The city of Gondar is 2,120 m ASL and is located south from the Semien Mountains. Gondar was established in 1635 and served as the seat of the Ethiopian capital for 250 years. The magnificent castle of Fasilides is located there and along the trip from Addis Ababa, many historical sites can be witnessed.

More on Gondar

9. Harar

The road trip to Harar

Harar is 525 kilometers from Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa is only a short distance of about 45 minutes away. Harar has lots of historical sites to see, as well as a hyena feeding show, the castle of Jegol, and more. On the way to Harar from Addis Ababa, you shall go through the towns of Debre Zeit/Bishoftu, Nazreth/Adama, Metehara, Asebot, Asebeteferi/Chiro, Kulubi Gabriel, Hirna, Dengego, Alemaya/Haramaya, Awuday, Hamaressa then on to Harar.

More on Harar

hawassa in ethiopia
image credit:

10. Hawassa or Awassa

Hawassa is the capital of the Southern Nations...

Awassa is one of the most popular resort towns in Ethiopia. On the road to Awassa from Addis Ababa, you shall encounter the following cities and towns: Modjo, Zwai or Ziway with its lakes and islands, Langano Lake, Abiyata-Shalla National Park, Shashamene, Senkele Sanctuary, then on to Hawassa/Awassa.

More on Hawassa

11. Lalibela

Travel to Lalibela

Lalibela has an altitude of 2,630 m ASL and is known for its rock hewn churches, the Zagwe Dynasty, and King Lalibela. You can reach the town from Bahir Dar, Gondar and Dessie.

More on Lalibela

mago national park in ethiopia
image credit:

12. Mago National Park

The park's headquarters can be reached from Jinka

Getting there can be achieved by either driving or by using Ethiopian Airlines flights. This park shares roughly 5 kilometers of its southwestern boundary with Omo National Park.

More on Mago National Park

omo national park in ethiopia
image credit:

13. Omo National Park

The trip to Omo National Park

One of the most least visited yet largest and richest in Ethiopia, Omo National Park is located on the west bank of the Omo River. An airstrip was recently built near the park headquarters but it still remains hard to access. As it is off the beaten track, it offers virtually unexplored terrain and game in its natural state.

More on Omo National Park

semien national park in ethiopia
image credit:

14. Semein Mountains National Park

The journey to this wonderful park

The base of this mountain from which to begin exploring is 179 square kilometers or 111 square miles and the park is called Debark, which is located 748 km or 464 miles northwest of Addis Ababa and 101 km or 63 miles north of Gondar.

More on Semein Mountains National Park

sof omar caves in ethiopia
image credit:

15. Sof Omar Caves

One of the worlds' most extensive underground caverns

Located close to the Bale Mountains National Park, the trip will take you through Robe then to Goro and then the caves.

More on Sof Omar Caves

wenchi crater lake in ethiopia
image credit:

16. Wenchi

The beautiful crater lake of Wenchi

A short distance from Addis Ababa, it makes for a great weekend trip. The are several routes: Addis Ababa to Ambo to Wenchi or Wonchi and Addis Ababa to Woliso to Wenchi.

More on Wenchi

gambella national park in ethiopia
image credit:

17. Gambella National Park

It has an altitude of 450 meters ASL, and is a lowland area

Gambella National Park is inhabited by lions, elephants, buffalos, etc. Favorable routes include: Dembi Dolo (Welega) to Gambella

More on Gambela National Park

debre damo monastery in ethiopia
image credit:

18. Debre Damo Monastery

The 6th century monastery in northern Ethiopia

The monastery is only accessible by rope up a steep cliff and is located west of Adigrat in the Tigray Region. After fourteen centuries, the monastery has not undergone much change and is a prime example of times past.

More on Debre Damo

tiya archeological site in ethiopia
image credit:

19. Tiya Archeological Site

Of the 160 archeological sites, Tiya is considered the most important in the Soddo region

Located to the south of Addis Ababa and beyond the Aouache River, it contains 46 monuments and 32 carved stelae covered with symbols difficult to decipher.

More on Tiya Archeological Site

konso cultural landscape
image credit:

20. Konso Cultural Landscape

Made up of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements

Located in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia, it is a wonderful example of a living cultural tradtion that dates back twenty one generations or over 400 years.

More on Konso Cultural Landscape