Welcome to Antananarivo, the vibrant capital city of Madagascar! This ultimate guide will take you on a journey through the best things to see and do in this enchanting destination. From exploring the historic Rova of Antananarivo and the bustling streets of the Analakely Market to marveling at the stunning architecture of the Queen’s Palace, there’s no shortage of cultural and historical landmarks to visit. Sample the local cuisine at the lively food markets, or take a scenic stroll through the exotic landscapes of the Tsimbazaza Zoo and the Croc Farm. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll uncover the hidden gems and top attractions that Antananarivo has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a food lover, there’s something for everyone in this captivating city. Get ready to immerse yourself in the unique charm of Antananarivo! Explore the rich heritage and natural beauty of Antananarivo, making the most of your trip with this detailed guide. From historical landmarks to local cuisine and exotic wildlife, there’s something for every traveler in this captivating city. So take a stroll through the bustling Analakely Market, explore the historic Rova of Antananarivo, and experience the diverse cultural tapestry of Madagascar. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover the best things to see and do in Antananarivo, ensuring an unforgettable adventure in this enchanting destination.
- Tsarasaotra Park
- Analakely Market
- Tana Waterfront
- The Underground City
- Ambohimanga Royal Hill
- Queen's Palace
- Andafiavaratra Palace
- Marc Ravalomanana Presidential Palace
- Independence Avenue
- Is'Art Galerie
- Anosy Lake
- Rova of Antananarivo
- Flights, tours, and hotels in Antananarivo
- Video guide
Croc in Antananarivo, Madagascar
Croc Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but it’s recommended to check for any variations in the timing.
Need time: It’s advisable to allocate around 2-3 hours to thoroughly discover the place and make the most of your visit.
Cost to visit: Admission to Croc is 15,000 MGA for adults and 10,000 MGA for children (roughly $4 USD for adults and $2.50 USD for children).
Address: Croc is located at Route Digue, Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Croc is a fascinating crocodile farm and park situated in a picturesque setting near Antananarivo. Visitors can observe various species of crocodiles in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior and conservation. The guided tours provide valuable insights into the crocodile’s life cycle and habits. In addition to the captivating reptiles, the park also boasts lush gardens and a serene pond, offering a peaceful environment for the visitors to enjoy. A visit to Croc promises an educational and exciting experience for both adults and children.
Tsarasaotra Park Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; closed on Mondays.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the park, enjoy the wildlife, and take a leisurely stroll around the lake.
Cost to visit: Free
Address: Tsarasaotra Park, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Tsarasaotra Park
Tsarasaotra Park, located in the heart of Antananarivo, offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. Home to a beautiful lake and a variety of wildlife, including lemurs, chameleons, and over 50 species of birds, this park provides a unique opportunity to observe Madagascar’s rich biodiversity in a tranquil setting. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained paths, relax by the picturesque lake, and admire the diverse flora and fauna. The park also features informative signboards, providing insights into the local ecosystem and the importance of conservation efforts in Madagascar. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a birdwatching enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene retreat, Tsarasaotra Park is a must-visit destination in Antananarivo.
Analakely Market Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM; some vendors may start setting up as early as 6:00 AM, so early mornings are best for a vibrant experience.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the market, including time for browsing, shopping, and trying local snacks.
Cost to visit: Free entry to the Analakely Market.
Address: Avenue de l’indépendance, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Analakely Market
Analakely Market, located in the heart of Antananarivo, is a bustling hub of activity where locals and tourists come together. It’s a vibrant marketplace offering an array of goods, from fresh produce and local crafts to clothing and souvenirs. The market is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture, interact with friendly sellers, and witness daily Malagasy life. It’s recommended to negotiate prices and taste the delicious street food on offer. Be sure to explore the narrow alleys and hidden corners to discover unique finds and capture the lively atmosphere through photography.
Tana Waterfront Visitor Information
Working hours: As of the latest information, Tana Waterfront is open daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but it’s recommended to check for any changes before your visit.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the Tana Waterfront, taking in the picturesque views and enjoying the various activities available.
Cost to visit: Free to visit.
Address: Tana Waterfront, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Tana Waterfront
Tana Waterfront, situated in the heart of Antananarivo, offers a charming escape from the bustling city life. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, savoring the breathtaking views of Lake Anosy and the surrounding landscapes. The waterfront also features cafes and restaurants, making it a perfect place to relax and indulge in local cuisine. With its vibrant atmosphere and vibrant cultural offerings, Tana Waterfront is a must-visit for those seeking a peaceful retreat in Madagascar’s capital.
Lemurs’Park Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; closed on Mondays.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the site and enjoy the serene surroundings.
Cost to visit: Entrance fee is approximately $10 per person, with discounts for children and seniors.
Address: Lemurs’Park, Route d’Ambohimagaga, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Lemurs’ Park, located just 22 kilometers from Antananarivo, is a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to a variety of lemurs, Madagascar’s iconic primates, living in a natural habitat. Visitors can observe these fascinating creatures up close while strolling through the well-maintained trails within the park.
In addition to the lemurs, the park also boasts a diverse range of endemic plant species, making it a perfect place for nature walks and bird watching. The knowledgeable and friendly staff provide valuable insights into the native flora and fauna, making the visit educational and enjoyable.
With its tranquil setting and diverse wildlife, Lemurs’ Park offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors, providing an opportunity to appreciate Madagascar’s biodiversity and the conservation efforts being made to protect it.
The Underground City in Antananarivo, Madagascar
The Underground City Visitor Information
Working hours: Unfortunately, there is limited information available about the working hours, but it is best to plan a visit during the day.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the underground city and its various attractions.
Cost to visit: While specific ticket prices are not available, visiting the Underground City is generally free of charge.
Address: The Underground City, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About The Underground City
The Underground City in Antananarivo, Madagascar, offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history and culture. It is a network of caves and tunnels dating back to the 17th century, which were originally used as a refuge and storage facility. Visitors can explore the labyrinthine underground pathways, learn about the history of the city, and gain insights into the daily life of the locals. The underground city provides an exciting adventure for those interested in archaeology and historical architecture.
Ambohimanga Royal Hill
Ambohimanga Royal Hill Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM; closed on Mondays.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the site.
Cost to visit: Entry is approximately 20,000 Ariary per person.
Address: Ambohimanga, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Ambohimanga Royal Hill
Ambohimanga is a UNESCO World Heritage site and holds great cultural significance in Madagascar. It served as the traditional stronghold of the Merina kingdom and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. Explore the royal compound, sacred sites, and lush gardens while learning about the rich history and traditions of the Malagasy people. Don’t miss the chance to visit the onsite museum to gain deeper insights into the region’s heritage.
Queen’s Palace Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; closed on Sundays and public holidays. Please check for any updated information before visiting.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the Queen’s Palace and its surroundings, including the museum and gardens.
Cost to visit: Free admission to the Queen’s Palace.
Address: Queen’s Palace, Rova, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Queen’s Palace
The Queen’s Palace, also known as Rova of Antananarivo, is a historic royal palace located on a hilltop in the heart of Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. The palace complex offers a fascinating insight into the country’s royal history and cultural heritage. It served as the residence of the monarchs of Madagascar and is an iconic symbol of the country’s rich past. Visitors can explore the restored palace buildings, which showcase traditional architecture and royal artifacts, providing a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Malagasy royalty. The adjacent museum houses a remarkable collection of royal regalia, historical relics, and intricate craftsmanship, offering a comprehensive overview of Madagascar’s royal legacy. The Queen’s Palace is surrounded by picturesque gardens and offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscapes. It’s a perfect spot to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature while admiring the architectural marvels of the palace. As you wander through the grounds, you’ll encounter knowledgeable guides who can share captivating stories and historical insights, enhancing your visit with a deeper understanding of the palace’s significance. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply seeking breathtaking views, the Queen’s Palace is a must-visit attraction that beautifully encapsulates Madagascar’s royal heritage and offers a memorable experience for travelers.
Andafiavaratra Palace Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Need time: Allocate at least 1-2 hours to fully explore the site and its historical significance.
Cost to visit: Free entry for all visitors.
Address: Route Anosy, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
About Andafiavaratra Palace
Andafiavaratra Palace, also known as the Prime Minister’s Palace, is a historical site located in the heart of Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. The palace holds great cultural and historical significance, offering visitors a glimpse into the country’s royal heritage and the traditional Malagasy architecture. Built-in 1839, the palace served as the official residence of the Prime Minister under the Merina Kingdom. Visitors can explore the well-preserved chambers, admire the intricate woodwork, and learn about the royal lifestyle during that era. The surrounding gardens provide a tranquil retreat, perfect for leisurely strolls and photography. A visit to Andafiavaratra Palace offers a captivating insight into Madagascar’s rich history and is a must-see for history enthusiasts and culture lovers.
Marc Ravalomanana Presidential Palace
Marc Ravalomanana Presidential Palace Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Some areas may have varied access hours.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the palace and its surroundings.
Cost to visit: Free entry to Marc Ravalomanana Presidential Palace.
Address: Corner of Rue Ravoninahitriniarivo and Rue Dr Raseta, Antananarivo, Madagascar.
About Marc Ravalomanana Presidential Palace
The Marc Ravalomanana Presidential Palace, situated in the heart of Antananarivo, is a remarkable architectural gem and a symbol of Madagascar’s rich history. While visitors are unable to enter the palace, you can wander around the perimeter and marvel at its grandeur. The lush gardens and the serene ambiance are perfect for a leisurely stroll, offering a glimpse into the country’s political significance. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture panoramic views of the city from the palace grounds. Embrace the cultural diversity and soak in the historical significance of this iconic landmark.
Independence Avenue Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM; some shops and restaurants may have varied hours.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the vibrant atmosphere, shops, and landmarks along Independence Avenue.
Cost to visit: Free
Address: Independence Avenue, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Independence Avenue
Independence Avenue, located in the heart of Antananarivo, offers a lively and colorful experience for visitors. This bustling thoroughfare is lined with charming colonial buildings, bustling markets, and a wealth of local shops and restaurants. The avenue is also home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, providing a snapshot of Antananarivo’s rich history and culture. Stroll along the avenue to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, sample local delicacies, and shop for unique souvenirs. Be sure to take in the stunning views of the surrounding area from certain vantage points along the avenue. Independence Avenue is an essential stop for those looking to experience the local lifestyle and discover the heartbeat of Antananarivo.
Is’Art Galerie Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Need time: Allocate at least 1-2 hours to appreciate the art and crafts.
Cost to visit: Free entry to Is’Art Galerie.
Address: Rue Dr Villette, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
About Is’Art Galerie
Is’Art Galerie is a vibrant cultural hub in Antananarivo, promoting local artists’ works through exhibitions and sales. The gallery features a diverse range of artistic expressions, including paintings, sculptures, and textiles. Visitors can engage with the artists, gaining insight into Madagascar’s rich artistic heritage. The gallery also offers unique handmade souvenirs, providing an opportunity to support the local arts community. With its central location and immersive cultural experience, Is’Art Galerie is a delightful stop for travelers seeking an authentic encounter with Malagasy art and culture.
Anosy Lake Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily; some areas may have varied hours.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the site, including leisurely walks around the lake.
Cost to visit: Free
Address: Anosy Lake, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Anosy Lake
Anosy Lake, located in the heart of Antananarivo, offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Visitors can relax by the scenic lakeside, observe local life, and enjoy the picturesque surroundings. The lush greenery and the reflection of nearby structures on the lake’s surface create a serene ambiance. The area is perfect for leisurely walks and picnics, making it an ideal spot for a peaceful retreat. It’s a great place to unwind and admire the beauty of nature while immersing oneself in the local culture. Whether you’re seeking solitude or seeking a calm environment to connect with nature, Anosy Lake is sure to provide a memorable experience.
Rova of Antananarivo
Rova of Antananarivo Visitor Information
Working hours: Typically 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Need time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully explore the site, including the various buildings and surrounding gardens.
Cost to visit: Entrance fee is approximately 20,000 Ariary for adults; guided tours are available at an additional cost.
Address: Rova of Antananarivo, Ambohidrabiby, Antananarivo, Madagascar
About Rova of Antananarivo
The Rova of Antananarivo, also known as the Queen’s Palace, is a historical site perched on a hill overlooking Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The complex includes the royal palace, the Andafiavaratra Palace, and several historically significant buildings. Visitors can explore the well-preserved structures and learn about Madagascar’s rich royal history. The panoramic views from the Rova offer a stunning perspective of the city below, making it an ideal spot for photographers and history enthusiasts alike.
Flights, tours, and hotels in Antananarivo
What are the best things to do in Antananarivo?
Antananarivo offers a diverse range of activities for travelers. You can start by exploring the historical sites such as the Royal Hill of Ambohimagabo and the Rova of Antananarivo. The Avenue of Independence is perfect for strolling and soaking up the local atmosphere. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Lemurs’ Park to see various species of lemurs unique to Madagascar.
What is the best way to get around in Antananarivo?
The most convenient way to get around in Antananarivo is by using taxis or renting a car. Taxis are widely available, but it’s essential to negotiate the fare before getting in. Additionally, car rental services are available at the airport and within the city. Keep in mind that traffic can be quite hectic, so plan your travels accordingly.
What are the must-try local dishes in Antananarivo?
Antananarivo offers a rich culinary experience with unique Malagasy dishes. Don’t miss trying the staple dish, the Romazava, which is a meat and leafy greens stew. Also, try the Akoho sy Voanio, a chicken and coconut milk dish, and the Ravitoto, a dish made from cassava leaves and pork. For a sweet treat, indulge in Koba, a traditional dessert made from peanuts and rice flour.
Is it safe to travel to Antananarivo?
Antananarivo, like any major city, has its share of crime. However, by taking standard precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night and being mindful of your belongings, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip. It’s always a good idea to stay informed about the current safety situation and follow the advice of local authorities and experienced travelers.
What are the best times to visit Antananarivo?
The best times to visit Antananarivo are during the dry season, which typically falls between April and October. The weather is pleasant during these months, making it ideal for exploring the city and its surroundings. It’s important to note that Madagascar has a unique climate, so it’s advisable to check the specific weather patterns before planning your trip.
What are the essential cultural etiquettes to observe in Antananarivo?
Respecting local customs and traditions is important when visiting Antananarivo. It’s customary to greet people with a handshake, and it’s considered polite to address elders and authority figures with respect. When visiting religious sites or local communities, it’s essential to dress modestly and ask for permission before taking photographs. Learning a few words in Malagasy, the local language, can also go a long way in showing respect.
What are the best areas to stay in Antananarivo?
Antananarivo offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The Analakely and Isoraka neighborhoods are popular choices, with a variety of hotels, guesthouses, and boutique accommodations. These areas provide easy access to restaurants, markets, and cultural attractions. If you prefer a more serene setting, consider the Ivandry area, which offers a peaceful retreat while still being within reach of the city center.