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See incredible Lalibela on Ethiopia Holidays

Treasures of Ethiopia - Classic Historic Route


YPA10A
10 NIGHTS
FROM £2,995
International flights quoted separately
Explore the key historic sites of ancient Ethiopia, starting in the capital of Addis Ababa. Fly to Bahir Dar to view the Blue Nile Falls & monasteries of Lake Tana, visit the palaces & castles of Gondar; the Simien Mountains & Axum, where the Ark of the Covenant is said to reside. Then fly to Lalibela to view its amazing rock hewn churches. All transfers, sighseeing & English guides included.
Ethiopia Tour Lalibela Photo Gondar Axum Simien Mountains Blue Nile
• 
Addis Ababa
• 
Bahir Dar
• 
Blue Nile Falls
• 
Gondar
• 
Palaces & Castles
• 
Simien Mountains
• 
Axum
• 
Lalibela
• 
Rock Hewn Churches
• 
Traditional Dinner
• 
Addis Ababa
• 
Bahir Dar
• 
Blue Nile Falls
• 
Gondar
• 
Palaces & Castles
• 
Simien Mountains
• 
Axum
• 
Lalibela
• 
Rock Hewn Churches
• 
Traditional Dinner
Day 1
You will be met at Addis Ababa Airport and transferred to your hotel in Ethiopia's capital city.
 
This beautiful high-altitude country was once ruled by the Queen of Sheba, with a fascinating and ancient history. With over 80 different languages, and many different religions, its strong tribal traditions and festivals are world famous.
Day 2
Transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Bahir Dar Airport and transferred to this palm-tree lined resort town, decorated with colourful flowers and situated on shores of beautiful Lake Tana - the largest lake in Ethiopia.
 
After checking into your hotel, we drive to the small town of Tiss Isat to visit the spectacular Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tiss Abay (meaning 'Smoke of Fire'). These dramatic falls are the second largest in Africa. When in full flood, they are over 1,300 ft (400 m) wide and drop down over 150 ft (45 m) into a sheer chasm below, giving rise to steam clouds and a continuous spray of water that drenches onlookers. Walk 20-minutes to a great viewing point or, if you are more energetic, walk down to the base of the falls for amazing views.
 
We drive back to Bahir Dar and in the afternoon take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the monasteries of Ura Kidane Mihret and Azwa Mariam, situated on a large peninsula. These monasteries are known for their colourful religious frescoes and an impressive display of illustrated bibles written in Ge’ez, Ethiopia’s oldest language.
Day 3
Today we drive 2.5-hours to the historic city of Gondar, the 17th century capital of Ethiopia and also of the ancient Abyssinian Empire. Its emperors built many castles here, giving the region a very European feel - hence the name 'African Camelot'. The whole city is today a World Heritage Site.
 
We visit the Castle Compound with its six castles, including including the oldest and most magnificent Fasiledes Castle, with its Royal Enclosure and Emperor Fasilidas’ bath. This is where the colorful Timket festival (Epiphany) is celebrated every January.
 
We also visit the church of Quskuam Mariam, the residence of the Empress Mintewab and the church of Debre Berhan Selassie (meaning 'Light of the Trinity'), located on the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. This church was not destroyed, even during the dervishes, and on its painted ceiling 18th century over 100 winged cherubs look down on you, with slightly different but equally quizzical expressions. Full of all the colour, life, wit and humanity of Ethiopian art at its best, the walls provide a compendium of Ethiopian saints, martyrs and folklore.
Day 4
This morning we leave Gondar and drive 4-hours to Debark - the headquarters of the Simien Mountains National Park in the high altitude Ethiopian Highlands.
 
We drive through the spectacular landscapes of one of Africa's largest mountain ranges, with many deep valleys and jagged peaks. Here you will find Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in the country and the fourth highest in Africa soaring over 15,000 ft (4,630 m).
Day 5
A full day on the road today as we drive 6-hours from the Simien Mountains, travelling through spectacular countryside to Axum - the oldest and most ancient capital of Ethiopia.
 
We drive across the breathtaking Tekeze Gorge, carved by the Tekeze River which is a tributary of the Blue Nile. This canyon is the deepest in Africa and one of the deepest in the world.
 
 
 
Day 6
This morning experience a sightseeing tour of Axum, including the Archeological Museum and the Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion, which is believed to be the last resting place of the original Ark of the Covenant.
 
In the afternoon we visit the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site at Stele Field (4th century), the ruined palace and tomb of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskel (5th & 6th century) and the residence of the legendary Queen of Sheba (9th century BC).
Day 7
Transfer to Axum Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Lalibela Airport and transferred into this spiritual town - the 'African Jerusalem'.
 
Perched high on an isolated mountain over 8,500 ft (2,600 m) above sea level, Lalibela is home to 11 spectacular rock-hewn churches built by King Lalibela (1181 - 1221) after whom the town is named. Each church is carved entirely out of a single block of granite, with its roof at ground level, and each is built in a different architectural style. The entire town seems frozen in biblical times and is today a pilgrimage site for Christians.
 
After lunch we visit the extraordinary first group of rock-hewn churches and subterranean complex of passages, found northeast of a stream named 'River Jordan'.  They are today a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 8
This morning take a mule ride to the hilltop 13th century church of Asheten Mariam, formed from large blocks of stone The peak of the hill offers wonderful views over the surrounding area, including the town of Lalibela.
 
In the afternoon we visit the second and the third group of churches of Lalibela. The most famous of these is the Church of St George (Bet Giyorgis), carved in a cross-shape from solid red volcanic rock. It is the most beautiful monolithic cruciform church and symbolises Noah's Ark.
 
In the evening relax in one of Ethiopia's holiest cities.
Day 9
Transfer to Lalibela Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Addis Ababa Airport and transferred to your hotel in Ethiopia's capital city. This beautiful high-altitude country was once ruled by the Queen of Sheba and has a fascinating and ancient history. With over 80 different languages, and many different religions, its strong tribal traditions and festivals are world famous.
 
On arrival enjoy a city tour, viewing landmark building such as Headquarters of the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as well as Meskel Square - the main meeting place of the city.
 
Ethiopia is one of the world's oldest civilizations, so be sure to see the ancient artefacts on display at the National Archaelogical Museum. This includes the fossils remains of Lucy, one of the oldest known hominids ever discovered who lived in Ethiopia over 3.2 million years ago. Over 40% of her skeleton was found intact.
 
We also visit Trinity Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in the city, and drive through the Addis Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa. Our tour ends with a drive up Mount Entoto, where you can enjoy panoramic views over the city.
 
As Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee, do try and experience a typical Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony at some stage during your stay.
 
In the evening enjoy an included dinner at a traditional restaurant, where you can enjoy Ethiopian music, folk dance and a delicious variety of local food.
Day 10
At leisure to explore more of Addis Ababa independently.
 
Addis Ababa is the diplomatic capital of Africa, with many embassies and headquarters of the African Union and the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa. In the city you can visit several interesting museums, taste different cuisine and barter at the Mercato market.
 
You can also take an optional half day excursion to visit the Born Free Foundation outside the city, which takes care of injured, orphaned and confiscated wild animals, with the objective of returning them to the wild.
Day 11
Transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for your flight home.
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