The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » Madagascar » 15 Best Places to Visit in Madagascar

15 Best Places to Visit in Madagascar

Ah, Madagascar; just the very mention of the name evokes images of the exotic and the tropical. A land of colossal, bulbous baobab trees from centuries gone by, of bug-eyed lemurs and of swinging indri indris, it’s got all the elegance of a onetime French colony; all the wildernesses of East Africa; all the warmth and sparkling sands of the Indian Ocean; all the traditions of a place disconnected and alone and steeped in tribal histories.

The huge island – the fourth biggest in the world, in fact – is a magnet for a whole host of different travelers. Beach lovers can flock to the shining shores of the west coast to snorkel with rays and spot whales. Adventurers can take to the jungle paths, or rattle in the cages of 4X4s to far-flung rainforests in the hills. History buffs can see UNESCO spots that showcase the regal past of the native islanders. Yep, there really is something for everyone in this jewel of the south!

Lets explore the best places to visit in Madagascar :


A single name for a duo of resorts, Ifaty (and its bigger brother of Mangily, also now confusingly referred to as just Ifaty too) is a stretch of sun-kissed onetime fishing villages on the south-western edge of Madagascar island.

Famed for their luxurious hotel resorts and wide beaches of shining yellow sand, they draw some of the biggest crowds in the country.

Most come for the rigmarole of sun, sea, sand and world-class snorkelling that’s offered by the Indian Ocean, while others head in to enjoy catamaran tours on the Mozambique Channel, sample uber-fresh fish curries and encounter the traditional reed villages of the coastal folk.

Nosy Be

Just a short hop, skip and a jump across the Indian Ocean waters from the town of Ambanja, gorgeous little Nosy Be is the place to go for Madagascar’s trademark beaches.

Shining in hues of alabaster white in the coves and inlets that ring the shoreline here, they pop up beautifully around little fishing villages like Ambatoloaka, or come dotted with groups of swaying palm trees at Ambondrona.

There are beach parties too, erupting each Sunday along the sands of Madirokely.

And, Nosy Be’s popularity notwithstanding, there are chances for real seclusion to boot – just check out the far-flung islet of Orangea, languishing out at sea from the north-west coast.

3. Nosy Mangabe

Nosy Mangabe

Nestled deep between the coastal hills of Helodrano Antongila Bay, which carves its way inland on the north-eastern edge of Madagascar, the small island come nature reserve of Nosy Mangabe is a real must for any wildlife lovers heading to these parts.

Famed for its booming populations of bug-eyed aye-aye lemurs, the spot is a picture of tropical perfection.

Huge fig trees wrangle around groves of palms, ruffed lemurs meet mantella frogs in the undergrowth, and the green hills crash down into secluded bays of bright yellow sand.

Boats to the island and all the necessary permits are available in Maroantsetra; the closest town on the mainland.

4. Tsingy de Bemaraha

Tsingy de Bemaraha

A truly dramatic landscape of carved rocks and towering hoodoos, needle-like stone spires and colossal monoliths balanced tenuously atop cliffs, the Tsingy de Bemaraha is one of Madagascar’s most curious natural treasures.

It can be found amidst the long green belt of nature reserves on the west coast, displaying its rugged karst landscapes where the inland highlands give way to the verdant hills closer to the shore.

Today it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; one tagged for its great biodiversity of dry deciduous forests, rare rock habitats, and the photogenic nature of the sweeping plateau within.

5. Ranomafana National Park

Ranomafana National Park

The natural jewel of Fianarantsoa and the home of Madagascar’s famous golden bamboo lemur, Ranomafana National Park draws thousands of people each year to its forest-clad reaches in the heart of the island’s eastern haunch.

Sweeping down from misty montane forests to lowland plains, the territory is crisscrossed by mile upon mile of hiking track, carved out by roaring waterfalls and peppered with multi-coloured lizards.

A word of warning: Ranomafana’s biggest draws lie deep between the mountains and forests, so be sure to bring sturdy boots and strong legs for this one!

6. Isalo National Park

Isalo National Park

The patchwork of carved rock gorges and winding canyons, blooming oases and palm groves that is the beautiful Isalo National Park can be reached after just a short trip out of either Toliara and Ihosy.

Designated a protected area way back in 1962, this one’s extreme biodiversity and unique natural makeup are instantly recognisable.

Visitors come to wonder at the windswept runiforme mountains and walk beneath towers of stacked stone.

They come to see the rare crested ibis and meet ring-tailed lemurs in the wild.

There are also more than 80 species of endemic birds to spot, along with the famous Canyon of Monkeys, with its dextrous sifakas inhabitants.

7. Antananarivo


Set more than 1,400 meters up in the very highland heart of the nation, the capital of Antananarivo comes brushed with chilly mountain breezes for most of the year.

But those winds might just be the only cool thing about the cityscape, which today pulses with tooting traffic and shouting marketplaces.

The old heart of the city still displays some traces of French colonialism, with its elegant – if age-stained – Parisian mansions cascading down a hillside in the midst of the town.

There are old Malagasy palaces to explore too, along with the famous Croc Farm, and oodles of spice-scented curry houses to boot.

8. Andasibe-Mantadia


Within striking distance for day trippers from the capital, Andasibe-Mantadia is one of Madagacar’s most accessible national parks.

It covers a vast swathe of verdant primeval rainforest, clocking up a whopping territory of more than 150 square kilometers in total.

Spread over two separate areas, from the sprawling de Mantadia Reserve to the d’Analamazaotra Special Reserve, the whole area showcases a breathtaking array of biodiversity.

There are inland crabs crawling through the forests, swinging diademed sifakas and even fluffy indri monkeys to see.

Andasibe-Mantadia has oodles of hiking paths that offer treks between one and six hours.

9. Ambohimanga


Ambohimanga is a place deeply entwined with Malagasy national identity.

Also called, simply, Royal Hill, it was the onetime home of the local kings.

Expanded and added to throughout the 1800s, the mound of palaces and burial grounds, crumbling fortifications and regal tombs, was the kingpin of one of Madagascar’s four quadrants, and the place from which King Andrianampoinimerina launched his now-famed campaigns to re-unify Imerina following more than seven decades of civil war in the 18th century.

Today, visitors can come on a day trip from the capital to tour the UNESCO spot, spying out the kingly court rooms and exquisite timber and stone rova (settlement) architecture.

10. Zahamena National Park

Zahamena National Park

Draped in rainclouds and mist, clad in rolling canopies of emerald green, and hidden between the rising peaks on Madagascar’s eastern edge, the famous jewel of the rainforests of the Atsinanana comes in the form of the Zahamena National Park.

One of the hardest protected areas in the country to get to, this area of just over 400 square kilometers is home to one of the most eclectic arrays of bird life.

Yep, red owls and serpent eagles cruise through the waxy boughs and fern forests, meeting the white-eyed indri indri, dwarf lemurs and other curious simian life.

Bed down in nearby Vavatenina or Ambatondrazaka for the best access to these wilds.

11. Maroantsetra


The favoured gateway to the Masoala National Park and the aforementioned wilds of Nosy Mangabe, age-old Maroantsetra makes its home right at the end of the great Bay of Antongil in north-east Madagascar.

An earthy and interesting town, it’s laden with one throbbing marketplace that’s packed with sweet-smelling fruits and multi-coloured vegetables, and has crisscrossing streets of mud lined with tin-shack lean-tos.

It’s also the place where the meanders of the Antainambalana River finally meet the Indian Ocean, giving the spot a laid-back riparian charm to boot.

12. Ile Sainte Marie

Ile Sainte Marie

The Ile Sainte Marie is an elongated finger of land that stretches along the eastern edge of Madagascar, just across the whale-peppered waters of the Baie de Tintingue.

The stuff of travel brochures and tropical postcards, it’s one of the most handsome enclaves of the country for sure.

Most travelers will alight between the rickety jetties of Ambodifotatra, before breaking out to the secluded coves and beaches to the north and south.

These tend to be powdered yellow sands dotted with big boulders and fringed with coconut palms, complete with the occasional resort hotel hiding between the mangroves.

Also, don’t miss the pirate history, which is best seen at the old buccaneer cemetery!

13. Morondava


Sandwiched between the sandy beaches of the Kirindy Mitea National Park to the south and the spreading delta lands of the Andranomena Reserve to the north, it’s clear from the get-go that Morondava’s real pulls lie out of town.

That doesn’t mean the center isn’t worth bedding down in – this seaside spot has some pretty little timber homes and earthy guesthouses, along with a great backpacker vibe.

The piece de resistance is undisputed though.

That honour goes to the revered Avenue of the Baobabs, which erupts in a medley of hulking trunks along the roadway to Belon’i Tsiribihina nearby – simply not to be missed!

14. Masoala National Park

Masoala National Park

Falanoucs, leaf-tailed geckos and rare lemurs all coalesce between the vast 2,300-sqaure-kilometers of land that is the Masoala National Park.

Jutting out into the Indian Ocean in a mosaic of thick rainforests that cascade down to the crashing rollers of the sea from the cliffs of the Sava Region, it’s one of the largest and most hotly protected places in the nation.

Illegal logging here has been a huge problem, even in recent years, but a UNESCO designation and increased eco-tourism is only set to improve matters.

Today, visitors can come to walk along the famous Cap Est and Alohatrozana trails, to see the virgin forests that dress the shore along its whole length.

15. Antsirabe


Perched high up in the Madagascan highlands and soothed by the cool winds of the mountains, Antsirabe was an obvious choice for the French colonials who came here by the boatload during the heyday of colonialism.

In their wake they built elegant Parisian-style mansions, raised Gothic cathedrals and laid wide boulevards with plane trees casting shade.

They also tapped the healing and relaxation powers of the nearby hot springs, which are still one of the main attractions in the city.

Hop aboard a local pousse-pousse (rickshaw) and check off the sites downtown, before heading to the Ranomafana baths to unwind in the natural waters.

15 Best Places to Visit in Madagascar:

  • Nosy Mangabe
  • Tsingy de Bemaraha
  • Ranomafana National Park
  • Isalo National Park
  • Antananarivo
  • Andasibe-Mantadia
  • Ambohimanga
  • Zahamena National Park
  • Maroantsetra
  • Ile Sainte Marie
  • Masoala National Park

Madagascar   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Pierre-Yves Babelon | Getty Images

madagascar tourist locations

10 Best Things To Do in Madagascar

Updated February 12, 2021

Madagascar appeals to both animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. At national parks like Lokobe , Mantadia and Isalo , visitors can come face-to-face with creatures like lemurs, birds, chameleons and snakes, plus an array of trees and plants. Towering

  • All Things To Do

madagascar tourist locations

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve

Situated along Madagascar's west coast, Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is home to impressive geological structures and a variety of endangered species. More than 328 miles of forests make up this UNESCO World Heritage site, where 11 kinds of lemurs, 17 types of reptiles, 6 bird species and more reside. But the standout here is the park's towering gray limestone pinnacles, which stand up to 328 feet tall.

Past visitors said Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a "must-see adventure" that's "definitely worth the drive." Although the locale can be a bit challenging to traverse – some former travelers reported crawling through tight gaps and lots of climbing – many described the views from the top of the pinnacles as "spectacular."

madagascar tourist locations

Avenue of the Baobabs Avenue of the Baobabs free

As its name suggests, the 853-foot-long Avenue of the Baobabs is a stretch of giant baobab trees believed to be up to 800 years old. Though the avenue is situated roughly 405 miles away from Antananarivo, it offers close proximity to Kirindy Mitea National Park, which sits along Madagascar's west coast.

According to recent travelers, the Avenue of the Baobabs is one of the country's best places to snap photos, especially at sunrise and sunset. But remember, these are the avenue's peak visiting hours, so arrive early. Visitors recommend paying for a guide's services, or you can opt for a multiday tour by local companies like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures . Itineraries vary by tour, but expect to spend at least an hour on-site. Tour fees start at $1,140 per person. If you're sticking to a tight budget, consider driving yourself or flying into Morondava Airport (which sits less than 10 miles away from the attraction) – accessible from Antananarivo's Ivato International Airport.

madagascar tourist locations

Mantadia National Park (Parc National Mantadia) Mantadia National Park (Parc National Mantadia)

One of Madagascar's most convenient parks to explore is Mantadia National Park. Located about 100 miles east of the capital city of Antananarivo, Mantadia National Park is home to 14 species of lemurs, plus 117 types of birds and 84 kinds of amphibians. Plant enthusiasts will also find plenty to admire here. More than 1,200 plant species grow in this lush park, 120 of which are orchids.

Past travelers enjoyed wandering along Mantadia National Park's five trails, adding that each path and stairway was well-maintained. What's more, several said this protected area is a must-see if you love lemurs and recommend hiring a local guide for a fee at the park's reception counter. Each local guide is an experienced spotter, meaning you'll increase your chances of seeing an array of animals.

madagascar tourist locations

Popular Tours

Two days wildlife tour to Andasibe NP

Two days wildlife tour to Andasibe NP

(6 reviews)

from $ 336.65

Madagascar Wildlife Tour for 02 days

Madagascar Wildlife Tour for 02 days

(7 reviews)

from $ 640.73

The National Route 7, 7 days throughout the landscapes and National Parks

The National Route 7, 7 days throughout the landscapes and National Parks

from $ 787.34

madagascar tourist locations

Lokobe National Park (Parc National Lokobe) Lokobe National Park (Parc National Lokobe)

If your idea of a Madagascar getaway consists of hiking through a tropical forest and observing lemurs in the wild, then you must visit Lokobe National Park. Situated on the southeastern tip of Nosy Be, an island off Madagascar's west coast that's known for its picturesque beaches and sunsets, Lokobe National Park is one of the Sambirano region's only remaining forests. The park can only be accessed by motorized, canoe-like boats called pirogues , adding to its tranquil, unspoiled atmosphere.

Although some recent visitors cautioned that getting to the park and exploring it can be quite exhausting, most raved about its beauty and wildlife. You'll have the chance to spot three lemur species here, as well as multiple kinds of amphibians and reptiles. Highlights for past travelers included watching boa constrictors slither in the trees, seeing chameleons blend in with their surroundings and feeding lemurs bananas. Since you'll be trekking through wild terrain, remember to wear comfortable sneakers, as well as long-sleeved clothing and bug spray to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

madagascar tourist locations

The Three Bays (Les Trois Baies) The Three Bays (Les Trois Baies) free

If you want to take in water vistas without trekking offshore to islands like Nosy Sakatia or Nosy Be, head to The Three Bays. Made up of three bays – Sakalava, Pigeon and Dune – this area features pristine beaches where activities like swimming, hiking, windsurfing and kitesurfing can be enjoyed. You'll also have ample opportunities to take jaw-dropping photos here.

Visitors rave about The Three Bays' beautiful setting, adding that the kitesurfing conditions at Sakalava Bay are superb. The area is also easy to reach by car since it's just 10 miles northeast of Antsiranana. For those who'd rather explore The Three Bays on a quad bike, Diego Raid offers four-wheel drive tours for $21 per person (or $120 per vehicle).

madagascar tourist locations

Anja Community Reserve Anja Community Reserve

Although Madagascar offers several places to spot lemurs, one of its more unique animal locales is Anja Community Reserve. Located about 41 miles southwest of Fianarantsoa along National Road No. 7, this environmental and cultural preservation site strives to protect local flora and fauna within an inhabited area. Ring-tailed lemurs, chameleons, snakes and more live here, and the reserve's surrounding granite mountains feature two hiking trails, various caves and a campsite with water, restrooms and a shower area.

Past travelers enjoyed checking out Anja Community Reserve on foot, saying they saw multiple lemurs during their visits. Many also raved about the easier Small Circuit Loop, which takes about two hours to complete. For a more challenging hike, consider trekking the six-hour-long Large Circuit Loop. If you decide to stay overnight, remember to bring camping equipment since it is not available at the campsite.

madagascar tourist locations

Isalo National Park (Parc National Isalo) Isalo National Park (Parc National Isalo)

Isalo National Park woos visitors with its vertical rock walls, lush vegetation and picturesque waterfalls. Throughout this tropical paradise, travelers can hunt for reptiles and primates – there are more than 50 species living here – while strolling along 10 walking, hiking and bike trails. Some paths even lead to natural swimming pools, where you can cool off while taking in your surroundings.

Previous visitors had mixed feelings about Isalo National Park. While some described it as Madagascar's best national park, others felt it was too expensive. But if you can pay the park's 65,000 Malagasy ariary ($20) entrance fee and roughly 4,000 to 113,000 Malagasy ariary (or $1 to $36) to explore one of its paths during a guided tour, past travelers said you'll be rewarded with "stunning" views of an "incredibly beautiful" area.

madagascar tourist locations

Tsingy Rouge Park Tsingy Rouge Park

Although this attraction in northern Madagascar is a bit removed from the main roads, Tsingy Rouge Park's dramatic landscape cannot be missed. Featuring tall clay-like rock formations created by landslides and mudslides, this area's red rocks are often compared to the larger ones found at Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park.

You'll need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to this natural wonder, but recent travelers recommend making the trek. If you don't rent a car while in Madagascar, you can take one of several organized tours to the site; rates start at $168 per day, excluding lodging and meals. Tour operators that visit Tsingy Rouge Park include Soa Tours and Visit Mada Tours . Since the terrain is rough in this park, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

madagascar tourist locations

Madagascar 7 Days Baobabs and Lemurs Tour

(5 reviews)

from $ 1422.64

Two days tour to Ampefy

Two days tour to Ampefy

from $ 317.44

Lokobe Reserve

Lokobe Reserve

(19 reviews)

from $ 76.02

madagascar tourist locations

Nosy Sakatia Nosy Sakatia free

When you're in need of a break from Madagascar's parks and forests, head to the quaint island of Nosy Sakatia. This tropical oasis – which measures just 1 square mile – boasts an array of orchids but is best known for its water sports activities. Everything from sailing to fishing to snorkeling and diving is offered here, and you can even spend a night or two at one of the island's hotels .

Past visitors loved scuba diving and snorkeling in Nosy Sakatia's waters during half-day excursions. Many, in fact, saw sea turtles grazing in shallow areas. However, a few travelers were less than impressed with the island's beaches and desired more things to do on shore. If you do decide to visit Nosy Sakatia, consider booking a half- or full-day tour through companies like City Discovery and Les Baleines Rand'eau . Tour rates start at $50 per person and generally include snorkeling equipment rentals and lunch.

madagascar tourist locations

Lemurs' Park Lemurs' Park

Although you'll have ample opportunities to spot lemurs in national parks like Mantadia and Lokobe , for even more chances to see these furry creatures, travel 16 miles southwest of Antananarivo to Lemurs' Park. This private, 12-acre reserve houses nine lemur species, as well as various lizards and birds and 70-plus types of plants. In addition to welcoming tourists, the park works with other Malagasy reserves to rehabilitate and breed lemurs.

Travelers say Lemurs' Park is a great place to see lemurs without venturing far from Antananarivo. Though you won't be allowed to touch the lemurs, the property's animals move freely around the park, so one may try touching you. Many also rave about the attraction's well-maintained facilities and knowledgeable guides.

madagascar tourist locations

Explore More of Madagascar

Carlton Hotel

Best Hotels

World Map

When To Visit

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


The 18 Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Sharael Kolberg April 23, 2024

madagascar tourist locations

The 25 Best Beaches on the East Coast for 2024

Timothy J. Forster|Sharael Kolberg April 19, 2024

madagascar tourist locations

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2024

Christina Maggitas February 6, 2024

madagascar tourist locations

The 32 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Gwen Pratesi|Timothy J. Forster February 1, 2024

madagascar tourist locations

9 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in Florida for 2024

Gwen Pratesi|Amanda Norcross January 5, 2024

madagascar tourist locations

24 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for 2024

Erin Evans January 4, 2024

madagascar tourist locations

26 Top Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resorts for 2024

Zach Watson December 28, 2023

madagascar tourist locations

Solo Vacations: The 36 Best Places to Travel Alone in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Erin Vasta December 22, 2023

madagascar tourist locations

26 Cheap Beach Vacations for Travelers on a Budget

Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023

madagascar tourist locations

The 50 Most Beautiful White Sand Beaches in the World

Holly Johnson December 1, 2023

madagascar tourist locations

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

The Top Things to See and Do in Madagascar

Nomadic Matt in Madagascar looking out over the mountains and forests

Madagascar , a country famed for lemurs, baobab trees, birding, and jungles, offers visitors a rich playground to explore. I was enthralled by its beauty : the sweeping canyons and gorges, the grand waterfalls, and the sheer diversity of the landscape.

One day you’re in a tropical jungle, the next you’re in an arid plain, and a few hours later you’re in a subtropical forest! Plus, there really are seemingly endless varieties of lemurs.

Though Madagascar is remote and finding cheap flights is tricky, with only 350,000 visitors per year, you get a lot of the country to yourself. (And it’s always better to go to a place sooner rather than later because you never know where the next “it” destination is going to be!)

Though I didn’t get as much time there as I’d like (the roads are terrible; it takes eight hours to go 250 kilometers/155 miles), here are some of the wonders you can expect on your visit!  

1. Avenue of the Baobabs

A wide avenue with large baobab trees In Madagascar

While there are similar trees in the genus, baobabs are completely unique to Madagascar. They’re an impressive sight, especially when your guide casually mentions that the massive one you’re hugging is just a baby — at 400 years old. Unfortunately, the trees are an endangered species due to clearcutting and agriculture.

While the trees can be found throughout the country, this road lined with them (just an hour outside Morondava) — and straight out of a postcard — is one of those iconic images of Madagascar. The best time for photos is during sunrise or sunset. The worst time for crowds? Those same times. Pick your poison.  

People walking on a rope bridge near a huge gorge near Tsingy in Madagascar

The plus side? It’s one of the most incredible sites in the country.

Water and wind spent over 200 million years carving the limestone into jagged peaks that look like a row of never-ending knives (hence the name Tsingy, which means “where one cannot walk barefoot”). To get around, you use rope bridges, ladders, and fixed cables. The area also has a lot of caving, and often people pair a trip here with a slow boat down the Tsiribihina River (send photos of that if you go, because sadly, due to time, I missed visiting the river).

Note: The park is only open during dry season (April-November) when the roads are passable.  

3. Isalo National Park

Nomadic Matt in Isalo National Park looking out over the valley and forests

There are three waterfalls you can cool off in after your walks and a variety of lemur species (they get pretty close as they are desensitized to humans, so watch your food!). You are required to hire a guide (they are found at the entrance), but they were great explainers of the land and the local culture.

Added bonus: the clear sky and lack of light pollution make for some incredible sunsets and star-filled nights. I never saw the Milky Way so clearly.  

A white-sand beach with lounge chairs on it in Nosy Be, Madagascar

Here you’ll find white-sand beaches and a more upscale, Western environment. There are expensive restaurants, big resorts, and lots of couples and families (which is generally who visits Madagascar). Beach parties erupt each Sunday, and there’s some amazing snorkeling, diving, fishing, and whale watching (the waters around Nosy Be are home to humpback and dwarf fin whales). It’s the quintessential tropical island paradise — with the quintessential cost (but it’s the best beach in the country!).  

5. Île Sainte Marie

While everyone goes to Nosy Be for the better beaches and fancier resorts, if you want something a little more local, cheap, and relaxed, check out Île Sainte Marie off the eastern coast.

Known as Nosy Boraha, this former pirate capital (Captain Kidd, the 17th-century Scottish pirate, sank nearby) is a cool island full of little coves, a pirate graveyard, delicious seafood, and a laid-back Caribbean-like atmosphere. It’s home to over 26,000 people and spans over 220 square kilometers (85 square miles). While the beaches aren’t as good as Nosy Be, there’s a beautiful, pristine white-sand beach in the south of the island near the airport that few people visit. This is also the best part of the country for whale watching too (humpback whales come here to breed between July-September).

When coming here, fly. The slow boat is almost always late and lands nowhere near a major town on the mainland. Taking the boat wastes an entire day.  

6. Ranomafana National Park

A small black lemur hanging off a tree in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Besides lemurs, there were the famous giraffe beetles and lots of birds, chameleons, and other wildlife. As with all national parks in Madagascar, you’re required to hire a guide (you’ll want to anyway so they can point out wildlife to you). Of the multiple trails available, I would do the morning hike, then the afternoon and night hikes at the secondary entrance, as the majority of tours skip that and you get more of the park to yourself. There are also hot springs in the nearby town to relax in.

Due to the park’s popularity, there’s a daily limit on the number of people who can visit, so it’s best to go in the low season. While the park covers 415 square kilometers (161 square miles), you only get to see a few square miles of it, so it can still be crowded, especially in the morning when the tour buses come.  

7. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park (Lemur Island)

Nomadic Matt posing with a lemur on Lemur Island in Madagascar

Established in 1989, the park spans over 60 square miles (155 square kilometers) and is a protected area. It receives over 210 days of rain each year on average. Here the lemurs let you get up close and personal since they have been domesticated. However, they are also released back into their natural habitat to be wild again when they’re ready. But, if for some reason they can’t adapt, they live freely in the park and are safe from outside threats as logging and agriculture have isolated the park from nearby natural landscapes, threatening the wildlife that calls the park home.  

Down on the west coast, this small port town is famous for the expats who move there, the pizza (it’s a seriously popular dish in the country), and for being a launching pad for diving excursions to the Great Reef offshore. There’s not much else to do except sit by the beach or go into the water.

The city was founded in the 17th century by French buccaneers (pirates) for commercial trading purposes, with the city expanding during the French occupation.

The drive getting here on the N7 (the only north-south highway) is also pretty amazing, as you can take in Ranomafana, Isalo, and other spots along the way.  

9. Antananarivo

Sprawling views over Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar

Today, it’s a chaotic place with not a lot to do, but it’s a good stop to see the lemur park and the Rova (the old palace), get a sense of the international scene in the city, and use it as your launching pad for stops further afield.

To learn more about the city and Malagasy culture, take a private walking tour guided by a local . You’ll come away with a much deeper understanding of Malagasy people and their culture.  

10. Overload on zebu

A zebu cow at a market next to a wooden cart in Madagascar

However, the meat is really tough, thanks to all the work the animals do in the fields, and so it’s best in a stew or as a steak. I can’t say I loved it. But often it was either that or pasta. I had so much zebu that I’m good for the rest of my life.  

11. Drive the N5

A rough road in Madagascar cutting across the arid landscape

You’re really off the beaten path here. Many sections are often impassable so budget a lot of time. The road quickly turns bad outside of Toamasina and doesn’t get much better as you progress. They say it takes over 24 hours to drive the entire “road.” I’m surprised it’s even that quick!  

12. Go whale watching

Between June and November, more than 7,000 humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to Madagascar to breed (they can migrate upwards of 25,000 kilometers/15,500 miles each year). The whale watching is some of the best in the world. While we were taking the boat to Île Sainte Marie, we saw a couple breach the water and it was stunning to see.

Adults can grow up to 16 meters (52 feet) and weigh over 30 metric tons (66,000 pounds). You can also find the less-common (and recently discovered) Omura whale (dwarf fin whale) around Madagascar as well.

Best of all, with so few tourists in the country, you aren’t one of 9,384,732 boats vying for a photo!  

13. Enjoy the long drives and vistas

scenic view of Route Nationale 7 (RN7) in Madagascar, with Cardinal's hat, a huge granite mountain, in the background

While I hate long drives, I did enjoy pulling over every few minutes to take too many photos of every mountain and valley I saw.

Madagascar has a lot to see and do. Despite the years of environmental degradation (which remains a serious, serious problem), you can still see a lot of wonderful native plants and exotic animals that are indigenous to the third largest island in the world. Though Madagascar’s quite a journey to get to, these highlights will give you a trip to remember.

Book Your Trip to Madagascar: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Madagascar? Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Madagascar for even more planning tips!

Note: I went to Madagascar with Intrepid Travel as part of our ongoing partnership. They paid for the tour and my expenses during the trip. I paid for my flights to and from Madagascar.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

Related Posts

Nomadic Matt looking out over a valley in Madagascar

Get my best stuff sent straight to you!

Pin it on pinterest.

Madagascar Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

madagascar tourist locations

Madagascar is undoubtedly one of Africa's most fascinating countries, and certainly one of the continent's most unique. An island nation surrounded by the crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean , it's most famous for its incredible flora and fauna - from its charismatic lemurs to its towering baobab trees. Much of the country's wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth, and as such eco-tourism is one of Madagascar's key attractions. It is also home to unspoiled beaches, breathtaking dive sites and a colorful kaleidoscope of local Malagasy culture and cuisine. 

The fourth-largest island on the planet, Madagascar is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and situated off the east coast of Africa. The country's closest mainland neighbor is Mozambique , while other islands in the nearby vicinity include Réunion, the Comoros and Mauritius. 

Madagascar has a total area of 226,660 square miles/587,041 square kilometers. To put that into perspective, it's just less than twice the size of Arizona and similar in size to France. 

Capital City:



In July 2017, the CIA World Factbook estimated Madagascar's population at just over 25 million people. 

French and Malagasy are the official languages of Madagascar, with various different dialects of Malagasy spoken throughout the island. French is generally spoken only by the educated classes.

The majority of Madagascans practice either Christian or indigenous beliefs, while a small minority of the population (around 7%) are Muslim. 

The official currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy ariary. For up-to-date exchange rates, check out this helpful conversion site . 

Madagascar's weather changes dramatically from region to region. The east coast is tropical, with hot temperatures and plenty of rain. The highlands of the central interior are cooler and less humid, while the south is the driest region of all. Generally speaking, Madagascar has a cool, dry season (May to October) and a hot, rainy season (November to April). The latter brings frequent cyclones. 

When to Go:

The best time to visit Madagascar is during the May to October dry season, when temperatures are pleasant and precipitation is at its lowest. During the rainy season, cyclones can be a threat to visitor safety. 

Key Attractions

Parc National de L'Isalo

Parc National de L'Isalo offers more than 315 square miles/800 square kilometers of breathtaking arid scenery, complete with fantastic sandstone rock formations, canyons and crystal clear pools perfect for swimming. It is one of Madagascar's most rewarding destinations for hiking. 

The shores of this idyllic island are washed by clear turquoise waters and the air is fragrant with the scent of exotic blooms. It's home to many of Madagascar's most exclusive hotels, and is the destination of choice for wealthy beachgoers wishing to go snorkeling, sailing and scuba-diving. Nosy Be is also one of the best places in Africa to swim with whale sharks .

Avenue of the Baobabs

In Western Madagascar, the dirt road that connects Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina is home to a rare botanical spectacle, comprised of dozens of giant baobab trees. Many of these magnificent roadside trees are several hundred years old and over 100 feet/30 meters high. Because the avenue isn't yet part of a national park, you can view the trees for free.

Parc National d'Andasibe-Mantadia

Parc National d'Andasibe-Mantadia combines two separate parks, which together provide one of the best opportunities for a close encounter with Madagascar's largest lemur species, the indri. A total of 13 lemur species live in the park, as well as over 100 bird species, many of them endemic (including the Madagascar yellowbrow and the Madagascar serpent eagle).

Fondly referred to as "Tana", Madagascar's capital city is busy, chaotic and well worth a few days' visit at the beginning or end of your trip. It is a hub of Malagasy culture, known for its colonial architecture, vibrant art scene and surprising number of high-quality gourmet restaurants. Top attractions include the Rova palace complex and Analakely Market.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Located in the remote northwest, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is famous for its astonishing karstic plateaus. These petrified forests are crafted from razor-sharp spires of limestone and can be explored via a series of suspension bridges. Keep an eye out for 11 species of lemur or endemic mammals such as the fossa and falanouc.

Getting There

Madagascar's main airport is Ivato International Airport, located 10 miles/16 kilometers northwest of Antananarivo. The airport is home to Madagascar's national airline, Air Madagascar. From the United States, most flights connect via Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo Airport or Paris, France.  

Non-nationals need a tourist visa to enter Madagascar; however, these can be purchased upon arrival at all international airports or harbors. It is also possible to organize a visa in advance at the Madagascan embassy or consulate in your home country. Check the government's visa information page for more information. 

Medical Requirements

There are no compulsory vaccinations for travelers to Madagascar, however the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends certain vaccines including hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Depending on the region you plan to visit, anti-malaria medication may be necessary, while visitors travelling from a yellow fever country will need to carry proof of vaccination with them. 

This article was updated by Jessica Macdonald on August 27th 2018. 

The Top 8 National Parks in Madagascar

Amber Mountain National Park: The Complete Guide

12 Best Things to Do in Madagascar

Mauritius Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park: The Complete Guide

Tanzania Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Weather in Madagascar: Climate, Seasons and Average Temperatures

Equatorial Guinea Travel Guide: Essential Information

Top 18 Things to Do in Antananarivo, Madagascar

Gabon Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Rwanda Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

DRC Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Botswana Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Senegal Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Ghana Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

Isalo National Park, Madagascar: The Complete Guide

Travel Guide Madagascar

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

  • Travel guide
  • Itineraries
  • Local Experts
  • Travel Advice
  • Accommodation

Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert

Book securely with money-back guarantee

Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support

Travel to Madagascar and discover an extraordinary storehouse of natural and cultural riches. Separated from Africa and Asia at the time of the dinosaurs, Madagascar's animal life has evolved in a startling myriad of forms, with endemic species found nowhere else on earth.

Madagascar travel facts

Where to go in madagascar, best time to go to madagascar.

  • How to get to Madagascar

How to get around Madagascar

Best places to visit in madagascar, itineraries for madagascar, accommodation in madagascar, food and drink in madagascar, activities in madagascar, travel visa requirements for madagascar.

Humans first colonized this huge island less than 2000 years ago. Before then, Madagascar was a primal Eden, inhabited only by its bizarre and marvellous zoological cornucopia. As biologists continue to discover more about this remarkable place, calling Madagascar the eighth continent barely does it justice: second planet seems more appropriate. Read our Madagascar guide for everything you need to know before you go.

  • Size: Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world. Measuring 587,040 square kilometres, it is more than double the size of Texas and nearly two-and-a-half times the size of the UK.
  • Population: At the last official estimate in 2011, Madagascar’s population was just under 21 million, with a population density of 35 per square kilometre.
  • Language: The country’s official languages are Malagasy and French, though English is increasingly important.
  • Conservation: Madagascar has more than 40 national parks and reserves, managed by Madagascar National Parks.
  • Religion: Traditional religious beliefs are still widely upheld in Madagascar, with some 4 million Roman Catholics, and 3.5 million members of the FJKM (the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar).
  • Politics: Madagascar’s independence was returned to it, from France, on June 26, 1960. After years of chaotic dictatorship, the country now has a presidential, multi-party democracy.
  • Biodiversity: Dozens of new species are discovered in Madagascar every year: more than 100 species of lemurs are now recognized and nearly 80 species of chameleons are endemic to the island.
  • Leaping ahead: While Andasibe-Mantadia National Park’s most famous resident is the lemurs, the forests are also home to at least a hundred species of frogs – a figure that makes this the most frog-rich area on earth.
  • Exports: Madagascar is associated with vanilla or rum and sugar cane, but the national crop with no equal is rice (vary in Malagasy), with the highest consumption per capita in the world – around 150kg per person (400g) or a pound of rice a day.

Madagascar has an entrancing tableaux of landscapes: dripping emerald rainforests, baobab trees like giant windmills towering over the savannah, and crazy outcroppings of limestone pinnacles, like a million wonky Gothic church spires.

The human landscapes are equally captivating. In the highlands, a thousand shades of green dazzle from the terraced rice fields, framed by dykes of red earth; water-filled nursery paddies reflect a cerulean blue sky and towering granite mountains, daubed by the pastel images of rows of multicoloured Hauts Plateaux houses.

On the east coast, you’ll find golden beaches framed by huge boulders and palm trees, lapped by the bath-warm Indian Ocean.

Out to the west and south, rolling plains of dry savannah and range lands intersperse with dense and alien spiny forest and carved by broad meandering rivers.

Here are some of the best places to visit in Madagascar :


There’s no other capital in the world like Antananarivo (Tananarive to the French, “Tana” colloquially to everyone). A necklace of emerald rice paddies trails around lakes, canals and jagged hills, while a huddle of pastel-coloured houses crowds the still-partly cobbled streets of a crumpled central lattice. Even the sprawling shanties seem somehow prettier than the average urban slum: still largely built in the traditional manner, using fired-clay bricks, they blush radiantly pink in the afternoon sun, packed together between the glimmering rice fields.

Central Madagascar

The highlands of central Madagascar stretch from north of Antananarivo far towards the south of the island, undulating wildly across dramatic granite mountain ranges, lava ridges and outcrops. While there’s very little indigenous natural forest left, the human landscape is captivatingly beautiful. Deep valleys are filled by terraced rice fields and traditionally built towns, from the busy provincial agricultural hub of Antsirabe to the historical city of Fianarantsoa. Explore towns by horse-drawn buggy and immerse yourself in cultural traditions such as Malagasy crafts and famadihana (reburial) ceremonies. Beyond these urban centres lies the Réserve Villageoise Anja, where you can hike through the home territories of delightful ring-tailed lemurs, and rugged Parc National de Ranomafana, whose rainforest conceals the rare golden bamboo lemur.

Southern Madagascar

Southern Madagascar has some of the island’s most compelling attractions, from the gaunt sandstone plateau of Parc National d’Isalo to the towering mountain fastness of Parc National d’Andringitra. Elsewhere, you’ll discover spiny forests and glorious beaches, surfing and diving in the dry southwest, and the seductive rolling landscapes and scalloped bays wrapping around the port of Fort Dauphin in the far southeast. This is also Madagascar’s poorest region, however, and more prone to lawlessness – generally manifested in cattle rustling and highway banditry – than the rest of the country.

Western Madagascar

Way off the tourist trail, the vast region of western Madagascar has some unexpected surprises for those who slog to this barely visited backcountry. Western Madagascar may not be blessed with interesting towns or picturesque beaches, but its weird and wonderful natural spectacles make up for it. Hikers can strike out among the giants at Morondava’s Allée des Baobabs, where 300-plus baobabs loom above scattered bush and farmland, some reaching heights of 20 metres. After dark, seek out the exhilarating nocturnal animal life of Kirindy Private Reserve, whose rich wildlife includes fossas. But, without a doubt, the region’s crowning glory is Tsingy de Bemaraha, an extraordinary expanse of otherworldly limestone pinnacles, cut through by winding rivers.

Northeastern Madagascar

The rainforests of northeastern Madagascar are some of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. These hilly landscapes support a riotous display of jungle trees, lianas and other flora, which shelter extraordinarily rich wildlife, from minuscule chameleons to weighty indri lemurs. While the northeast’s natural vegetation is dense forest, the majority of trees had been cut by the time of independence, and today rice paddies, sugar-cane fields and plantations of vanilla and fruit trees account for much of the more level ground. The sizeable remaining pockets of forest are major strongholds of Madagascar’s natural heritage, now flagged by UNESCO as the “Rainforests of the Atsinanana” group of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

Off the sheltered west coast lies the fabled island of Nosy Be , with smaller and even more alluring islands dotted around the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel. Madagascar is swathed in largely deciduous dry forest, interspersed with pockets of highland and lowland rainforest – a biome known as the Sambirano ecosystem. The southeast corner of Nosy Be is still shrouded by a cloak of primary rainforest sheltering a number of rare and endemic species. The majority of those who visit Madagascar make a beeline here, lured by the balmy weather and warm seas, plus regular charter flights from France and Italy. Diving and snorkelling are popular pursuits, and kite- and windsurfing are big around Diego.

Far out on the west coast, the town of Morondava has some compelling assets nearby that draw visitors from across the globe. Foremost among these is the iconic Allée des Baobabs, or Avenue of the Baobabs, just a short drive out of town. As you arrive by plane, you’ll see the big baobabs as you descend, looking like stumpy wind turbines on the flat plain among the fields of sugar, cotton and rice. Further north is the lesser-known Kirindy Private Reserve, the only place you can travel in Madagascar with the near-guarantee of seeing a fossa – a ferocious puma-sized creature that looks like a cross between a cat and a mongoose.


Ambatolampy was a traditional Merina iron-smelting and forging town, and is still associated with metalwork and crafts – and nowadays souvenirs. Clusters of craft-sellers gather along the roadside, selling basketry and raffia-ware, brightly painted metal toys, even statues of the Virgin Mary. The stalls of musical instruments are particularly appealing, with nicely made local violins, banjos and other instruments on offer for around 20,000–40,000ar. South of Ambatolampy, you can trace the meandering Onive River by car, passing picturesque rural scenes of verdant emerald-tinted rice paddies; rust-red hillsides brimming with iron oxide; and rows of colourful houses.

Up to the west of Ambatolampy, you can see the looming mountains of the Massif de l’Ankaratra. This ancient volcanic range is occasionally dusted in snow and still bubbles with a little activity in Antsirabe’s hot springs. Antsirabe was founded in 1869 by Norwegian missionaries attracted by the curative powers of its mineral-rich thermal springs, and today is Madagascar’s third-largest town – and one of its most prosperous. Relatively clean and quiet, this is a town where many Tananariviens aspire to live, and where a few have holiday pads. The thermal baths are currently closed, but there’s no shortage of good hotels, restaurants and interesting crafts and jewellery shops.

Vehicles arriving from the north plunge down the road to Ambalavao, with the valley spread out beyond and the peaks of the Massif d’Iandrambaky poking up dramatically on the horizon. The town makes a good base from which to stock up if you’re heading into the Parc National d’Andringitra. Otherwise, you don’t need to stop here for long, but the town’s crafts workshops are accessible and worthwhile, and its famous old Betsileo houses, with their ornate verandas known as lavarangana, are very photogenic.

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

The country’s most famous national park, Andasibe-Mantadia is located in the eastern rainforest and is home to twelve species of lemurs, including the largest – the wonderful, wailing indri. The otherworldly chorus of a family of indris, reverberating through the misty early-morning forest, is an unforgettable sound. Two hundred species of orchids bloom magnificently here, and the forests are also home to around 110 species of birds, over seventy species of reptiles and at least a hundred species of frogs – a figure that makes this the most frog-rich area on earth.

Isalo National Park

One of the best places to travel in southern Madagascar is Parc National d’Isalo. Midway between Fianarantsoa and Tuléar, this 810-square-kilometre sandstone plateau is a dramatic spectacle; its towering mesas and sculpted pillars creating a Monument Valley-style landscape. It is especially striking at its southern extremity, where the tarmac highway twists past the cliffs. The whole region, however, is a hiker’s mecca, cut by streams and springs into countless, forest-filled canyons, dotted with alluring natural swimming holes of crystal-clear water.

Tsingy de Bemaraha

The huge Parc National de Bemaraha and its far-flung northern extension, the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale du Tsingy de Bemaraha, are located on Madagascar’s largest plateau of tsingy (limestone) karst pinnacles. It’s a region that competes for remoteness with the most inaccessible parts of the island, incorporating a spectacularly strange landscape that is home to a host of endemic plants and animals. In recognition of its uniqueness, it was the first region in Madagascar to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sheltered on what were once mud and sand flats behind straggling stands of mangroves, the port of Tuléar (also known as Toliara or Toliary) is not the most prepossessing place to visit in Madagascar. This former slaving port has been sidelined by recent history – a fact reflected in the rebellious political stance often taken by the townspeople to matters being decided in Tana. As you wander around, look out for the town’s zebu carts, sometimes painted with bright, symbolic imagery derived from popular culture – typically music and film stars. The best attraction in Toliara is the Arboretum d’Antsokay, a 25-acre patch of spiny forest heavily planted with the flora from a lifetime’s botanical collecting by its Swiss founder, Hermann Petignat.

Discover more places in Madagascar


  • Western Madagascar Travel Guide
  • Antananarivo and around Travel Guide

The best time to visit Madagascar depends on where you are going and your interests. A hot, wet summer, from November to March, drenches the eastern slopes and highlands in heavy rain. Ferocious cyclones hit the east coast and ravage their way inland, making travel extremely difficult. However, down in the southwestern semi-desert, rain barely spatters the parched earth. From April to October, Madagascar experiences a dry, cool season, which is overall the best time to travel to Madagascar for bright, warm days and mild nights.

However, if you’re travelling to Madagascar for the wildlife, whale-watching is best from June to September when the creatures pass the east coast during their northerly migration. November is often recommended as the best time to visit Madagascar for wildlife, with the first rains bringing out an explosion of courting, mating and spawning among amphibians, reptiles, birds and the fabulous fossa. August to October are ideal months for diving and snorkeling.

Read our guide on the best time to travel to Madagascar .

The only practical way to travel to Madagascar is by plane. There are no direct flights from the UK or Ireland to Madagascar, but you can fly to Nairobi or Paris and connect onwards. Similarly, visitors from the east coast of North America will have to fly via London or Paris, but from the west coast it may be cheaper to fly via Bangkok. From South Africa, there are direct flights to Madagascar from Johannesburg. There are various options for travelling to Madagascar from Australia and New Zealand, notably flying via Johannesburg or Nairobi, or hubbing through Bangkok; however, the best-value route is via Mauritius and/or Réunion.

Read more in our Madagascar travel guide .

In this section, we’ll look at how to travel around Madagascar .

When considering how to travel around Madagascar, the most important thing is to give yourself time. It’s a big country, and most of the roads (such as they are) radiate out like spokes from the capital, so getting around needs planning, you’ll probably need to include some internal flights.

Most transport, however, is by road, and the road network is steadily improving. There are various options for getting around by car, the easiest (but most expensive) of which is hiring a vehicle and driver – many of whom double up as local Madagascar guides.

Budget travellers are better off using the slow and cheap shared taxis brousse (bush taxis, or taxi-be in Malagasy). These are privately or cooperatively owned minibuses running regular services to a vague timetable. Urban transport varies from town to town, but the main options are car taxis (t axis-ville ), Bajaj motorized trishaws (tuk-tuks), cyclo-pousses (cycle rickshaws) and pousses-pousses (handcarts).

Fianar’s hilltop old town is one of Madagascar’s most picturesque, with narrow lanes and views across the modern city and its rice fields.

The best place to visit in Madagascar for lemur-watching, including troops of habituated indris. Night walks and decent hotels make this as easy diversion, just a three-hour drive from Antananarivo.

This beautifully unspoiled island is quieter than Nosy Be, with the jewel of Île aux Nattes at its southern tip.

Heaven on a plate for beach-bum natural-history buffs, with leaf-tailed geckos camouflaged obligingly on every other branch and a glorious golden beach.

The real-life version of your local rainforest experience, complete with tumbling streams, buttress-rooted forest giants and thousands of life forms.

Madagascar’s most developed concentration of tourist resorts is low-key by global standards. Get away from the beach hotels and out to the offshore reefs or up to the hilly interior.

Two of the finest places to visit in Madagascar, these are worth the special journey for the towering “tree-elephants” and the exhilarating nocturnal animal life of Kirindy, including fossas.

Hard to get to, but worth every ounce of effort for the extraordinary expanses of weirdly eroded limestone pinnacles, cut through by winding rivers.

A park of big landscapes, lush canyons and wide horizons in the dry savannah. Plus, it’s easy to access and has good hotels and camping.

  • Sainte Luce Reserve Moist coastal forest and creeks, home to lemurs and chameleons, with glorious beaches and onshore whale-watching, as well as some excellent Madagascar guides.

Our Madagasca r travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our Madagascar itineraries . These routes will take you to every corner of the island – and you’ll learn plenty about the country no matter where you want to go or what you want to do. You’re unlikely to complete the list, but it will give you a flavour of how to travel around Madagascar and a deeper insight into the country’s natural and historic wonders.

Tailor-made travel itineraries for Madagascar, created by local experts

Wild Madagascar

18 days  / from 3663 USD

Wild Madagascar

This trip is a tour of Wild Madagascar: discover dusty desert canyons, lush rainforests teeming with wildlife and trek through national parks. Explore the bustling capital Tana, then stop by the beach at Ifaty where you'll encounter forests of baobab trees and wandering tribesmen.

Dreaming of Madagascar

11 days  / from 2417 USD

Dreaming of Madagascar

Tropical island beaches, lush rainforest, stunning wildlife, and the bright red clay houses of Antananarivo await you as you arrive on the beautiful island of Madagascar. Get your fill of culture in the capital Tana, snap beguiling wildlife, and revive and reboot on stunning white-sand beaches.

A Taste of Madagascar

6 days  / from 1268 USD

A Taste of Madagascar

An unforgettable journey through Madagascar's enchanting landscapes and cultural treasures. From the lush rainforests of Andasibe to the vibrant streets of Antananarivo, this adventure combines wildlife encounters with rich history, creating a diverse and immersive experience.

Want some help with the travel planning? Speak to us about our Tailor-made itineraries , where a local expert can plan your route and transport for you.

Itinerary 1: The North – parks and beaches

Almost all Madagascar trips start and end in Antananarivo. Allow 3–4 weeks to cover the north by a mixture of road and air travel, or skip half these stops and do it in 10–14 days.

  • Antananarivo Give yourself a couple of days to visit the Rova palace compound and the old royal capital of Ambohimanga.

Get up early to walk into the indris’ territory and hear their extraordinary call. Then plan a night walk looking for chameleons and mouse lemurs.

Fly or ferry out to this old pirates’ hideaway, then rent a scooter and explore its jungle paths, clean beaches and limpid waters.

Organize a boat and local Madagascar guide to this fabled, forest-stacked island. You’ll discover aye-ayes, leaf-tailed geckos and a host of other species, some almost certainly still to be discovered.

The steep paths of the Masoala rainforest start at the doorstep of Nosy Mangabe, with every minute of every hike yielding wonderful sights and discoveries, from vangas to boas, from tenrecs to sportive lemurs.

Diego Suarez is the perfect rest stop between national parks, with its picturesque views and superb watersports.

Much easier to explore than the other rainforest parks, and still bursting with life, the Amber Mountain and the little town of Joffreville are worth a day and a night.

If you don’t have time to take a boat trip to the Tsingy de Bemaraha, then this fascinating eroded plateau is the next best thing. Lemurs and plenty of reptiles inhabit this rocky fortress.

Nosy Be’s beaches are beautiful, the resort trappings pretty tame and the interior well worth exploring. Don’t forget a trip to the wonderful Lokobé reserve.

Deciduous dry forest meets lakes and erosion gulleys in this enjoyable and accessible park between Majunga and Antananarivo.

Madagascar has no shortage of hotels, and on the whole they offer good value, certainly by international standards. There’s only a handful of top-end options scattered across the island, from urban city hotels to beach resort hotels through to national park lodges and tourist safari camps. The highest concentrations of luxury accommodation are in Tana and on Nosy Be and Île Sainte Marie. A good step down in standards will give you mid-range places, stretching from charming and extraordinarily good value to very ho-hum and rather overpriced. The budget accommodation in Madagascar is plentiful and typically great value; mostly consisting of a group of wooden, thatched bungalows; some en-suite, some with the option of air-conditioning.

Madagascar’s food culture is built around the country’s national staple, rice ( riz , or vary in Malagasy), and even enthusiastic rice lovers tend to tire of it eventually. Happily, there are plenty of interesting flavours to accompany it.

The main options for eating out in Madagascar are hotelys (local Malagasy restaurant with a simple menu of staple favourites); your hotel dining room; and foreign imports. These range from pizzerias and crêperies to Italian, French, Indian and Chinese specialist restaurants. Street food can be very good and very cheap, and may include rice and sauce, brochettes of beef, fish or prawns, roasted or baked plantains, bananas, cassava or sweet potato, stews and vegetable fritters.

Madagascar’s two great drink offerings are spiced and flavoured rum in an almost infinite variety of flavours, known as rhum arrangé, and THB beer pronounced “Tay-Ash-Bay” (short for Three Horses Beer).

Read our Madagascar guide to food and drink .

Though most travellers visit Madagascar for its wildlife – lemurs and chameleons in particular – the island has so much more to offer besides curious critters. If it were only for its landscapes, beaches and warm seas, the island would still be one of the world’s most alluring destinations, and there’s plenty here to please adrenalin junkies and outdoor enthusiasts. This part of our Madagascar guide will look at the best activities on offer.

Walking is the default way in which to explore the national parks dotted across the island. Multi-day park hikes, with a local Madagascar guide and porters, are not difficult to arrange, especially in the national parks of Andringitra, Marojejy and Masoala.

Rock climbing

With its many sheer granite and sandstone rock walls, Madagascar is full of excellent climbing opportunities. Standout areas include the Montagne des Français near Diego Suarez, and the Isalo and Andringitra national parks.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is only allowed in some areas of the national parks but cycling can be a great way to get around remoter areas where the rewards combine a mixture of culture, nature and landscape, rather than providing a more purely wildlife experience. Many hotels also have a few mountain bikes to loan or rent for short trips, but for something longer, check out Rando Raid , based in Antsirabe who also offer horse riding, or VTT Madagascar who organize bike tours in remote parts of southeast Madagascar.

Snorkelling and diving

If you’re travelling to Madagascar for underwater adventures, the easiest diving and snorkelling is around Nosy Be. The best options are less from the main island itself, and more from some of its smaller neighbours – Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Mitsio and Nosy Radames are particularly good. The reefs of southwest Madagascar, between Andavadoaka and Anakao, are also spectacular, and the waters around Diego Suarez have numerous wrecks to explore.


Most larger beach hotels around Madagascar can offer windsurfing, or organize it for you. Surfing tends to be a speciality of the south, notably the areas around Tuléar and Fort Dauphin. The other key spot for kitesurfing is the Mer d’Émeraude, near Diego Suarez. Kayaking and rafting can be pursued on larger rivers such as the Namorona, Tsiribihina and Manambolo.

Spectator sports

Several traditional sports are still popular with visitors to Madagascar. Moraingy, a bare-fisted combination of boxing and kick-fighting, comes from the Sakalava country of western Madagascar and can be seen on weekends in the dry season.

Travel advice for Madagascar

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Madagascar

  • Eating and drinking in Madagascar
  • Getting around Madagascar: Transportation Tips
  • National Parks in Madagascar
  • Travel Tips Madagascar for planning and on the go

For visitors to Madagascar, staying healthy should not be a big issue. You need to be aware of malaria but generally, so long as you take sensible precautions, you should have no problems beyond the occasional stomach upset.

Despite warnings from some official government travel advisories, most people visit Madagascar without incident. However, you should certainly heed warnings about night-time travel and avoid it if you can, particularly the lonely dirt roads in the south, which are prone to banditry. Also be aware of pickpocketing, muggings and hotel thefts (especially your hotel has no safe), avoiding late arrivals in towns or taking a taxi.

Lastly, if you’re travelling Madagascar during cyclone season (December to March) and a storm is forecast, cancel any boat trips, get yourself as far inland as possible and take shelter on the ground floor of a solid building.

A few items to avoid when shopping are timber products, which often have a dubious source, and anything with a wildlife origin, which is likely to get you in trouble when leaving Madagascar. Other items on the banned exports list are all items connected to the country’s many funerary customs, including grave posts.

Read more advice and tips to make your Madagascar trip stress-free and safe.

This section will look at travel requirements for Madagascar. Visas are required by all nationalities. Non-immigrant visas are currently granted free on arrival for most nationalities at Ivato airport for stays of up to thirty days, and it’s generally easier to get one there than in advance (which usually requires photos and possibly a processing fee). If you want to stay longer, the fees are €55 for up to 60 days or €77 for up to 90 days. Longer than that, you’ll need to leave the country in order to re-enter (Réunion is the cheapest place to fly to and an overseas French département so part of the EU and the Eurozone). The only health requirement is a yellow fever certificate if you’ve been visiting a country in the yellow fever transmission zone.

Top image © Ava Peattie/Shutterstock

The Rough Guides to Madagascar and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

Make the Most of Your Time on Earth

Find even more inspiration here

Maui Island, Hawaii, seen from above

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Andy Turner

written by Andy Turner

updated 26.04.2021


Ready to travel and discover Madagascar?

Get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.

  • Where to stay
  • Travel advice

You will be redirected to your dashboard shortly. We will also call you back in 24 hrs .

  • 10 Places To Visit In Madagascar That Are A Perfect Blend Of Nature And Wildlife!

23 Mar 2023

The slight mention of Madagascar creates a picture of a place adorned with pristine beaches, lush green rainforests, bulging-eyed golden lemurs, and the settlements of age-old French colonies. Marked as the fourth largest island in the world, this place has something to offer to every traveler.

For the water babies, there is an archipelago of white sand beaches, the wildlife lovers can explore the rainforests and the varied creatures that give a closer glimpse of the animal kingdom while the history admirers have UNESCO heritage sights to witness on this island. And to experience the best of this island, do not miss out on these 10 amazing places to visit in Madagascar .

Top 10 Tourist Places In Madagascar

Here is an interesting list of places to go in Madagascar covering all the Madagascar highlights and Madagascar points of interest.

The Bustling Capital City

1. antananarivo.


Image Credit: oledoe by flickr

Must Read: 15 Best Things To Do In Sentosa To Make The Most Of The Island Paradise

Reflecting a beautiful blend of traditions and culture, this capital city is the melting pot of Madagascar. Also called Tana it is settled at the slopes of the surrounding mountains, this city is situated at an altitude of 1400 metres. The older part of the city still showcases the French colonialism and Parisian structures lined on the slopes of the hills. As compared to the rest of the Madagascar island, Antananarivo is one of the developed cities.

Must Visit Attractions: Ambohimanga, Rova, and Musée Andafiavaratra

Looking To Book An International Holiday?

Book memorable holidays on TravelTriangle with 650+ verified travel agents for 65+ domestic and international destinations.

madagascar tourist locations

Trip to Sri Lanka at Rs 13,500/-

Plan Your Vacation Today!

madagascar tourist locations

Trip to Singapore at Rs 20,499/-

Get Quotes From Local Experts

madagascar tourist locations

Mauritius Holiday Starting at Rs 65,000/-

Talk to Our Experts Today

madagascar tourist locations

Maldives Honeymoon Trip at Rs 39,800/-

Pay with easy EMI Option

madagascar tourist locations

Europe Trip at Rs 89,999/-

All Inclusive Deals

madagascar tourist locations

Vacation in Dubai at Rs 27,499/-

madagascar tourist locations

Hong Kong Holiday at Rs 24,999/-

Money Safe Guarantee

madagascar tourist locations

Thailand Holiday at Rs 7,999/-

Flights Excluded

madagascar tourist locations


Splendours Of Nature

2. avenue of the baobabs.


Image Source

In the western side of Madagascar stands these tall Baobab trees symmetrically lined up on a dirt road lying between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina. Its unusual and raw beauty draws the attention of many tourists and makes it one of the best places to visit in Madagascar. The Baobab trees are locally known as Renala which means, ‘Queens of the forest’. These 30 meters tall strangely shaped trees have existed since 1000 years, and the view of these trees during the sunset is worth to capture.

Location: Madagascar, Morondava Best Time To Visit: July-August (In the evening)

Suggested Read: 17 Things To Do In Madagascar That You Won’t Get To Do Anywhere Else

3. Tsingy Of Bemaraha

Tsingy Of Bemaraha

Suggested Read: 14 Reasons Why Madagascar Honeymoon Is The Ultimate Dose Of Romance

Nature’s finest beauty lies here amidst this dramatic landscape which is beautifully carved fossil deposits and colossal monoliths. This natural park consists of huge and spiked rocks formed limestones which were moulded 5 million years ago and locally known as Tsingies from which the name derived. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this natural wonder is one of the hyped places in Africa for the adventurers.

Established In: 1997 Best Time To Visit: April to November Location: Western Madagascar

Into The Wild

4. ranomafana national park.


Enriched with a varied range of flora and fauna, the Ranomafana national park spreads across an area of 400 kms. Sq. The word Ranomafana means ‘hot water’ in the local language and one can enjoy a relaxing bath under hot running water in any of the waterfalls inside the park. This park is also a home to the endangered species of golden bamboo lemur.

Best Time To Visit: April to December Location: Ranomafana Village, Madagascar

5. Zahamena National Park

Zahamena National Park

Image Credit: Frank Vassan by flickr

Suggested Read: 12 Best Beaches In Seychelles For An Euphoric Holiday Experience!

Stepping at this rainforested national park, you will get the feeling of walking on the sets of a Hollywood movie. Surrounded by mist and rain clouds, this national park is a home to some of the wide array of birds. To get the best view of wildlife and birds, bed in at Vavatenina or Ambatondrazaka.

Established On: 1997 Location: Rain forests of Atsinanana

6. Masoala National Park

Masoala National Park

Suggested Read: Seychelles Island: All You Need To Know About This Gem Of The Indian Ocean

The serene view of the Rainforests and the catching the sight of rare species like the Falanouc and leaf-tailed geckos. This natural paradise is spread across a region of 250 miles of rainforest and also shelters three marine parks. Apart from the varied range of wildlife species, the park also shelters birds and reptiles like the Tomato Frog. The marine parks in the vicinity are a perfect resort for the adventure enthusiasts as it offers activities like snorkelling and kayaking activities.

Established On: 1997 Location: North-East Of Madagascar

Planning your holiday but confused about where to go? These travel stories help you find your best trip ever!

Real travel stories. Real stays. Handy tips to help you make the right choice.

madagascar tourist locations

Ramya Narrates The Story Of 6 Girls On An Extraordinary Trip To Thailand

Bangkok. Phi Phi. Krabi. Why should guys have all the fun?

madagascar tourist locations

Sandeep Illustrates On The Best Activities For A Family Trip To Mauritius

Water sports. Cocktail parties. And unlimited fun at Casela.

madagascar tourist locations

Nisarg Can't Stop Praising His Honeymoon Trip To Maldives

There was snorkeling, sightseeing, luxury, comfort, & much more!

madagascar tourist locations

Sabyacsachi's Romantic Trip Proves Europe To Be The Mother Of All Vacations

For Art, Culture, Luxury, & more...

madagascar tourist locations

Srishti Talks Of Her Amazing Trip To Singapore With Her Mother & Niece

A fun-filled destination for ages indeed!

madagascar tourist locations

67-Year Old Sridhar Tells How He Beat The Odds & Took A Solo Trip To Dubai

Desert safari. Burj Khalifa. Welcoming locals. Tell me more!

madagascar tourist locations

Not Adventure Lovers? Saurabh's Family Trip Proves Hong Kong To Still Be Full Of Fun

Your kids will love Disney Land & Ocean Park!

madagascar tourist locations

Ravi's Tale Of A Sri Lanka Family Tour Is All You Need To Know About Ramayana Tour

For the love of Ramayana & Travel!

7. Isalo National Park


The surreal beauty of this national park makes it one of the best places to see in Madagascar. Tucked between Toliara and Fianarantsoa, this national park is considered the jewel of nature for its rock plateaus and an oasis of waterfalls. Giving a break from the usual rainforests, this place appears as an inert desert. The main highlight of the place is the natural pool which is located on the western side of the reserve.

Best Time To Visit: September-October Location: Ihorombe Region, Madagascar

The Coastal Gems

8. ifaty and tulear.

Ifaty Beach

Suggested Read: 10 National Parks In Kenya: Experience The Unsurpassed Charm Of African Wildlife!

A perfect getaway for the delightful travelers, this small beach located at the southwest coast of Madagascar is a safe haven situated on the island. Settled at the vicinity of the Tulear which is the fifth largest city on the island, this beach gives the best view of the local’s daily life and a chance to taste the scrumptious flavours of Madagascar’s seafood.

Things To Do In Ifaty and Tulear Snorkeling, catamaran tours at the Mozambique channel, visit the traditional reed villages, and more

Nosy Be

Image Credit: Marco Assini by Flickr

A gem of the north-coast of Madagascar, this place is a home to an archipelago of beaches which attracts thousands of enthusiastic tourists around the globe. Situated 10 kms from the mainland, this place is known for its pristine beaches, exotic hotels and nature lodges.

Things to do in Nosy Be Scuba diving, snorkeling, visit the Lokobe Nature Special Reserve, and more

10. Nosy Boraha

Nosy Boraha

Suggested Read: 10 Things To Do In South Africa To Convince You For Your Next African Adventure!

Also known as Sainte Marie Island, this pristine beach is stretched along the eastern coast of Madagascar. The lined palm-trees and the lapis lazuli lagoons make this beach an all-year-round destination for the beach lovers.

Things To Do In Nosy Boraha: Whale watching, speedboat ride, swimming with Cetaceans, and more

Further Read: 7 Mystical National Parks In Madagascar To Explore The Best Of African Wildlife

Can’t wait to explore this island and take a ride amidst the tranquility of nature? Then don’t waste time and browse through the exclusive South-Africa tour packages that will add wings to your vacation to the Great Red Island!

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Madagascar

What is the best part of Madagascar?

Antananarivo, Avenue Of The Baobabs, Tsingy Of Bemaraha, Zahamena National Park are some of the best parts of Madagascar, that you must visit on your next trip.

What are the most popular tourist attractions in Madagascar?

Isalo National Park, Ambohimanga, Mont Passot, Lokobe Nature Special Reserve are some of the popular tourist attractions in Madagascar.

Is it safe to visit Madagascar, given the covid situation?

Yes, it is safe to visit Bishkek given that you follow all guidelines and take all the necessary precautions. Make sure to get yourself vaccinated before planning a trip, also wear masks at all times, maintain social distance at public places and sanitize your hands regularly.

Is Madagascar safe for tourists?

Yes, Madagascar tourist attractions are safe. The locals are very hospitable and warm making it very safe for tourists to plan a trip.

Do people live in Madagascar?

Yes, people do live in Madagascar. There are Twenty-two million people living in Madagascar as per the recent data.

What is the climate like in Madagascar?

Madagascar has two seasons, hot and rainy and dry and cool.

What is Madagascar famous for?

Madagascar is famous for pepper, vanilla & lemurs.

Looking To Book A Holiday Package?

madagascar tourist locations

Spellbinding Cochin Family Tour 2D/1N Package @ Rs 2,750

Plan your trip today!

madagascar tourist locations

Himachal Family Tour Package 4D/3N @ Rs 8,750

Get quotes from multiple travel experts.

madagascar tourist locations

Exciting Andaman Family Trip 5D/4N @ Rs 10,250

Compare & customize quotes before booking.

madagascar tourist locations

Gangtok & Darjeeling Tour Package 5D/4N @ Rs 13,000

Have Questions? Talk to our travel experts today.

madagascar tourist locations

Wonderful Goa Family Package 3D/2N @ Rs 6,500

Best prices guaranteed.

madagascar tourist locations

Riveting Rajasthan Vacation 3D/2N Package @ Rs 6,499

EMI option available.

madagascar tourist locations

Enchanting Uttarakhand Tour 4D/3N Package @ Rs 7,199

Explore best destinations with our experts.

madagascar tourist locations

Delightful South Weekend Tour 3D/2N Package @ Rs 4,999

Thrilling weekend full of fun.

madagascar tourist locations

Marvelous Gujarat Tour 3D/2N Package @ Rs 4,999

Talk to our experts today.

Recent Posts

madagascar tourist locations

Pay A Visit To Kanaka Durga Temple On Your Next Trip

madagascar tourist locations

Exploring Mookambika Temple In Kollur And Unveil Its Mystical Charm

madagascar tourist locations

Journey To Subramanya Swamy Temple – A Spiritual Odyssey

Umananda Temple

Umananda Temple: An Ultimate Spiritual Retreat

10 Astonishing Facts About Buckingham Palace

10 Astonishing Facts About Buckingham Palace

Best Campsites in Kent Find Tranquillity in Nature With Thrill

Best Campsites In Kent: Find Tranquillity In Nature With Thrill

Trending Blogs

madagascar tourist locations

20 Mysterious Places In India To Visit In 2023 More Bizarre Than The Bermuda Triangle

madagascar tourist locations

10 Scariest Roads In India That Are A Driver’s Nightmare

madagascar tourist locations

101 Places To Visit In India Before You Turn 30 in 2024

Skiing In Krasnaya Polyana

35 Exotic Places To Visit In December In India 2024 To Enjoy A Surreal Vacation

a couple in front of taj mahal

60 Best Honeymoon Destinations In India In 2024

Best honeymoon destinations in the world

95 Best Honeymoon Destinations In The World In 2023 For A Romantic Escape!

Best Places To Visit In India By Month

Best places to visit outside india by month.

  • TravelTriangle
  • International
  • Places To Visit »
  • Tour Packages
  • Honeymoon Packages
  • Family Packages
  • Budget Tour Packages
  • Luxury Tour Packages
  • Adventure Tour Packages
  • Group Tour Packages
  • Maldives Tour Packages
  • Bali Tour Packages
  • Dubai Tour Packages
  • Singapore Tour Packages
  • Thailand Tour Packages
  • Europe Tour Packages
  • Sri Lanka Tour Packages
  • Tour Packages From Delhi
  • Tour Packages From Mumbai
  • Tour Packages From Bangalore
  • Tour Packages From Chennai
  • Tour Packages From Kolkata
  • Tour Packages From Hyderabad
  • Tour Packages From Ahmedabad
  • Thailand Tourism
  • Bali Tourism
  • Singapore Tourism
  • Maldives Tourism
  • Mauritius Tourism
  • Dubai Tourism
  • Europe Tourism
  • Hotels in Thailand
  • Hotels in Maldives
  • Hotels in Mauritius
  • Hotels in Bali
  • Hotels in Dubai
  • Hotels in Singapore
  • Hotels in Sri Lanka

Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

UK Edition Change

  • UK Politics
  • News Videos
  • Paris 2024 Olympics
  • Rugby Union
  • Sport Videos
  • John Rentoul
  • Mary Dejevsky
  • Andrew Grice
  • Sean O’Grady
  • Photography
  • Theatre & Dance
  • Culture Videos
  • Food & Drink
  • Health & Families
  • Royal Family
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Car Insurance deals
  • Lifestyle Videos
  • UK Hotel Reviews
  • News & Advice
  • Simon Calder
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • South America
  • C. America & Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • Politics Explained
  • News Analysis
  • Today’s Edition
  • Home & Garden
  • Broadband deals
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Travel & Outdoors
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Sustainable Living
  • Climate Videos
  • Solar Panels
  • Behind The Headlines
  • On The Ground
  • Decomplicated
  • You Ask The Questions
  • Binge Watch
  • Travel Smart
  • Watch on your TV
  • Crosswords & Puzzles
  • Most Commented
  • Newsletters
  • Ask Me Anything
  • Virtual Events
  • Betting Sites
  • Online Casinos
  • Wine Offers

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in Please refresh your browser to be logged in

Madagascar travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

This island off the south-eastern coast of africa makes for unforgettable trips, from its full array of landscapes – from beautiful rainforests to golden beaches – to the incredible animals you’ll discover, article bookmarked.

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile

A holiday in Madagascar means getting to see some rather impressive creatures

Sign up to Simon Calder’s free travel email for expert advice and money-saving discounts

Get simon calder’s travel email, thanks for signing up to the simon calder’s travel email.

With its musical name, Indian Ocean atmosphere, French connections and faintly bizarre animals and plants, Madagascar is genuinely unique. Even its baobab trees offer a lesson in biodiversity: while mainland Africa makes do with a single species, Madagascar has six.

This remarkable island nation is scattered with precious fragments of tropical forest where frogs chirp, chameleons wobble and helmet vangas flash through the trees. But it’s the lemurs, of course, that shine out: with their foxy faces, bright eyes and fluffy fur, they’re the creatures that everyone wants to see. Happily, Madagascar’s best nature guides have an excellent knack for finding them.

Travel restrictions and entry requirements

Visitors from the UK can obtain 30-day tourist visas for free on arrival at Ivato International Airport, Antananarivo. Since 11 August 2022, arriving travellers have not been required to show proof of their Covid-19 vaccination or test status. There are no Covid-related restrictions in place in Madagascar.

Read more on Africa travel :

  • Tanzania travel guide: Everything you need to know
  • Welcome to ‘The Last Eden’: Will Gabon become Africa’s new ecotourism hotspot?
  • How to safari in Botswana on a budget

Best time to go

May to November brings the best, driest weather, with temperatures hovering around 20-25C by day and 10-15C by night; perfect for forest walks. To spot baby lemurs and see birds in their brightly coloured breeding plumage, arrive between September and November. For humpback whale-watching around Île Sainte Marie, July and August are best.

If escaping the crowds is your priority, you don’t melt in the sun and you’re focusing on the arid south (or are prepared to contend with serious downpours further north), the hot, quiet months of January to March are worth considering.

Top cities and regions

Parc national d’andasibe-mantadia.

Imagine a rainforest, and it’s sure to look something like Andasibe-Mantadia: a shady green jungle of ferns, waterfalls and mighty hardwood trees, their branches looped with vines. It takes around three hours to drive here from the capital, Antananarivo, a journey that offers glimpses of the rural poverty that drives Madagascar’s conservation woes. But while many hectares of forest outside the park have been cleared for fields and timber plantations, Andasibe-Mantadia is hanging on. Local guides will lead you along dappled paths in search of sifakas, bamboo lemurs and indris, the large lemurs whose howls reverberate through the trees.

Popular with French and Italian tourists, the ylang-ylang scented island of Nosy Be (pronounced Noosh Beh ) has the kind of sandy, palm-fringed shores that lovers of beach holidays dream of. Despite having a greater concentration of hotels than anywhere else in Madagascar, it hasn’t lost its character. During the four-day Festival Donia in May or June, the island is at its liveliest, with local bands strutting their stuff. There are mouse lemurs, zonosaurus lizards and other rainforest creatures here, too, in the Lokobé Reserve.

Parc National d’Isalo

A target for travellers overlanding from Antananarivo to Tuléar in southwest Madagascar, Isalo National Park is laced with inviting hiking trails, leading through monumental, Jurassic-era landscapes. Striking rock formations, apparently assembled by giants, dot the plateau, among sandstone cliffs and canyons. Although rain falls relatively rarely, streams gurgle through the park, filling swimming holes and sustaining fire-resistant palm trees.

Allée des Baobabs and Kirindy Private Reserve

Strikingly photogenic, Morondava’s famous avenue of baobab trees is an icon of Madagascar – as is the mysterious fossa, an elusive, short-haired mammal that’s related to the mongoose, but looks like a cat-dog hybrid; fans of the Madagascar movies know them as King Julien’s evil enemies. You can track them in the dry, deciduous forest of Kirindy Reserve, where giant jumping rats and pygmy mouse lemurs are also found.

Réserve Privée Berenty

If your heart is set on capturing close-up photos of Madagascar’s perkiest, quirkiest primates, head for Berenty. Cavorting along the footpaths and around the grounds of this long-established primate research centre are ring-tailed lemurs with curious expressions and long stripy tails, plus Verreaux’s sifakas, goofy lemurs with a dancing gait. It’s not the most natural of settings, but it’s an enchanting place to spend time.

Best under-the-radar destinations

Parc national de masoala.

Breathtakingly remote but well worth the effort it takes to get here, Masoala National Park in northwest Madagascar is a vast swathe of coastal rainforest, crammed to the treetops with life. Tuck yourself away in a delightful little eco-lodge, and you can design your own mini-adventures – kayaking along quiet creeks with bird book at the ready, or spotting chameleons in the foliage hanging over the beach. With a nature guide, you can head deep into the forest by day or (even better) after dark, for close encounters with red ruffed lemurs, lizards and frogs.

Île Sainte-Marie

Far quieter than Nosy Be, with just a smattering of places to stay, the unspoiled island of Sainte-Marie, also known as Nosy Boraha, was a pirates’ refuge in the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s now better known as a refuge for whales: in late June each year, migratory humpbacks arrive from Antarctica to raise their calves in the calm waters between Sainte-Marie and mainland Madagascar. Local conservation organisation Cétamada, which is working in partnership with marine biologists to protect the whales and their habitat, can advise on how to watch whales by boat without harming them.

Tsingy de Bemaraha

The eerie but strangely beautiful expanses of grey limestone karst pinnacles, needles, crevasses and caves found in northwest Madagascar are Unesco World Heritage listed. They’re known as tsingy , which, aptly enough, means ‘place where you can’t walk’, but the locals have solved this problem by creating steps, trails, rope bridges and walkways, allowing fit and agile hikers to negotiate the spiky labyrinth of stone. Unexpectedly, perhaps, sifakas and woolly lemurs eke out an existence here, as do a great many species of birds, including buttonquails and harriers that are unique to Madagascar.

Best things to do


Madagascan primates have been evolving in isolation for more than 60 million years – long enough for them to bear little resemblance to monkeys, apes and humans. They’re mostly forest-dwelling and tragically, due to rampant logging, their habitat has dwindled to isolated pockets. One of the best ways to help reverse this trend is to visit national parks and community reserves as a paying ecotourist. There are over 100 species to discover. On guided forest hikes, you’re sure to find some, leaping through the trees or staring charismatically into the distance.

Nocturnal nature walks

If your heart is pounding at the mere thought of walking through a tropical forest after dark, relax: Madagascar is one of those magical places where dangerous animals are to all intents and purposes absent. Gear up your courage, grab a torch and follow your guide: your reward will be a sneak peek at a secret world. Scanning the trees for eyeshine and listening out for calls, you may encounter dwarf lemurs, comet moths, scops owls and perhaps the theatrically named satanic leaf-tailed gecko. Fascinatingly, you’ll also spot roosting birds, snuggled on branches; conscientious guides will make sure you don’t disturb them.

Getting around

Madagascar is the world’s second largest island nation, with spectacularly diverse landscapes. Many visitors book a guided tour of the highlights with transport included, but it’s also possible to travel independently.

Since distances are considerable and many of Madagascar’s rural highways are in a lamentable condition, the best way to cover several regions is to hop around with Air Madagascar. Unfortunately, they’re notoriously unreliable, changing flight times and dates with minimal notice; prepare accordingly.

On the ground, public transport tends to be rickety and crowded, so hiring taxis for short outings and renting a vehicle with a driver/guide for longer trips is a good investment.

How to get there

Madagascar is in the Indian Ocean, off Africa’s eastern coast. For all but the hardiest of sailors, the only practical way to arrive is by plane.

There are no direct flights from the UK to Antananarivo at present. The cheapest route is with Kenya Airways, flying via Nairobi in 19 hours. A faster alternative is Ethiopian Airlines, flying via Addis Ababa in 14.5 hours.

Money-saving tip

Airlines, tours and hotels offer low-season rates between mid-January and March. Weather-wise, this can be a challenging time to visit, with heavy rain drenching the centre and north, and cyclones battering the east coast. However in the south, rainfall remains low all year round.

What’s the weather like?

Tropical: humid in the northeast, arid in the southwest and temperate in the central highlands. The coolest, driest months are May to October.

What time zone is it in?

What currency do i need.

Malagasy Ariary (MGA). Tourism businesses accept ariary and euros. You can change pounds sterling at banks or withdraw ariary from ATMs.

What languages are spoken?

Malagasy and French. Tourist guides speak multiple languages, including English.

What health precautions should I take?

Consult your GP about anti-malarials and vaccinations.

Read more on the best winter sun hotels

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Subscribe to Independent Premium to bookmark this article

Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.

New to The Independent?

Or if you would prefer:

Want an ad-free experience?

Hi {{indy.fullName}}

  • My Independent Premium
  • Account details
  • Help centre

Marojejy park view under the clouds, Madagascar

Explore Madagascar

Plan your trip to madagascar: best of madagascar tourism.

madagascar tourist locations

Essential Madagascar

madagascar tourist locations

Trending in the forums

Guido G

Madagascar Is Great For

madagascar tourist locations

Eat & drink

madagascar tourist locations

  • TheTraveler .net
  • Maps of Madagascar

Our tourist maps

Andry's tips, local guide

Discover Madagascar as you have never seen it before! Here are 4 new maps to print. Madagascar offers breathtaking scenery, unforgettable experiences, a deeply rooted culture and superb beaches. On your trip to Madagascar , discover the capital, Tanarive (or Antananarivo), the legendary Tsingy de Bemaraha and watch lemurs in the Anja Community Reserve. Discover our maps to plan your trip in the best possible way.

Spoilt by nature, Madagascar's flora and fauna are as varied as they are unusual, as the majority of the island's species are endemic. The island of Nosy Be and the Diego-Saurez region are where you will find the surprising red tsingy and the Emerald Sea.To the verdant east are Tamatave, Madagascar's largest port, and expanses of vanilla plantations. The central Imerina region is dotted with hills and the traces of ancient Madagascan kingdoms. And finally, the semi-arid eastern regions of Tulear and Fianarantsoa where the rice fields give way to grassy savannah, granite mountains, herds of zebu and the protected coastline. Baobab trees, limestone formations (tsingy) and the Tsiribihina river are some of Toliara's natural treasures.

Carte des régions MADAGASCAR

Overview of 6 tourist regions

Antananarivo (tananarive).

Nicknamed Tana, the flagship city of Imerina region is dotted with hills and traces of ancient Madagascan kingdoms. The lively city is full of charm but the atmosphere can be oppressive.

Antsiranana (Diego-Suarez)

The island of Nosy Be is inextricably linked to the north of the country. Don't miss Ankarana Park, the Amber Mountain, the amazing red tsingy or the Emerald Sea.


The rice plantations give way to grassy savannah and granite mountains, of which Andringitra and Isalo are stunning examples. The south east also has herds of zebu, a protected coastline and sandy beaches. Adventure and the seaside rub shoulders here.

Mahajanga (Majunga)

An ethnic region with beautiful remains of colonial architecture and where the baobab is the emblem of the cosmopolitan city of Mahajanga.

Toamasina (Tamatave)

The verdant east - Tamatave, Madagascar's largest port, the Maoala peninsula, remote forests and Foulpointe and its beaches. Not to forget the lemurs and the vanilla plantations. It's a classic!

Toliara (Tulear)

Morandava is the main attraction in this semi-arid region of strong African influences. Grassy savannah, baobab trees, the tsingy limestone formations and the Tsiribihina river are among the natural treasures of Toliara.

Attractions maps

Far from the stereotypical beach destination, Madagascar relies on its natural heritage. Visitors are surprised by the unexpected wealth of the island's forests. Large numbers of lemurs, the country's mascot, can be seen in various national parks, such as Andasibe and Ankarafantsika. Marojejy in the west and Zombitse in the south are wonderful national parks to watch birds, many of which are endemic to Madagascar. Baobabs, the trees that look like roots reaching for the sky also contribute to the island's natural riches. The Tsingy de Bemaraha are a must see. A UNESCO world heritage site since 1990, some describe these limestone peaks as a forest, others think of them as cathedrals - the crevasses and canyons are an incredible sight. History buffs will enjoy a stopover in the capital, Antananarivo. The queen's palace which overlooks the city was once the seat of the ancient monarchy.

Carte des incontournables MADAGASCAR

Routes and distances maps

Easy to get to, flights to Madagascar from London take around 15 hours. Prices vary considerably. The cheapest return flights are around £600, but expect to have to pay more. Inland, transport is one of Madagascar's weak points. In some areas, roads resemble obstacle courses. Journeys can be beautiful and challenging. Despite regular delays and cancellations, internal flights will save you time. Frequent flights from Fort Dauphin to Tuléar are available. Bush taxi and local transport will get you around the towns and cities.

Carte des incontournables MADAGASCAR

madagascar tourist locations

An island of passion

And also...

  • Motorized raid
  • Kitesurf / Windsurf
  • Birdwatching
  • Photography

5 good reasons to come to Madagascar

Ile paradisiaque aux couleurs flamboyantes, Madagascar vous offre un éventail de paysages tous plus incroyables les uns que les autres. Plages de sable blanc, désert sableux ou forêts tropicales, un spectacle époustouflant vous attend!

For a perfect stay

On the edge of heavenly beaches, or right next to national park borders, enjoy an unforgettable stay in some of Madagascar’s beautiful luxurious hotels. Along with your trips to uncover the island treasures, your stay will be of royal comfort with some of the following : spa, hummam, Jacuzzi, gourmet cuisine. These are at rendez-vous in Madagascar’s best hotels.

The island has hotel offers to welcome you during your holidays. Discover typical, charming, or European-style hotels along the coast, on the outskirts of parks, or in the heart of Malagasy cities. To plan your tour at its best, you’d better enjoy circuits which integrate hotels as you go on the island.

Madagascar is overflowing with falafy (palm) nuts and welcomes you to places that correspond with your budget, letting you serenely discover the wonders of the island. You will find faire-price hotels, hostels, cabins, and bungalows to rest during your stay in Madagascar.

What is a better opportunity to get in touch with the Malagasy than homestaying? There are some very beautiful homes to stay at, in Tana, as well as ones by the seaside resorts. You may also homestay in a bush village and learn a few Malagasy words, to get more comfortable with the Malagasy culture.

Along a private beach or in the heart of the forest, enjoy a warm atmosphere in a selected setting, by staying in a lodge for your holidays in Madagascar. The bungalows will guarantee intimacy and discover as well as disconnection, because they are perfectly integrated into the environment, and equipped for the best comfort.

To live... and to share !

madagascar tourist locations

Mada is waiting for you

madagascar tourist locations

587 041 km2 4 800 km of coasts

23 million inhabitants

Malagasy and French

Dry season from April to Oct. Rainy season from Nov. to March

Our partners

madagascar tourist locations

Odd News Show

Odd News Show

200 Million-Year-Old "Forest of Knives" Offers Glimpse into Madagascar's Past

Posted: April 30, 2024 | Last updated: April 30, 2024

Within the western reaches of Madagascar lie extraordinary geological marvels, the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and the enigmatic Forest of Knives. These offer a glimpse into the island's rich geological history and the intricate dance between time and nature. From the towering limestone pinnacles of the Tsingy to the jagged stone formations of the Forest of Knives, each site tells a story millions of years in the making.

Tsingy de Bemaraha

Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, is a land of captivating landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity. Nestled in the western region of Madagascar, the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park stands as an example of the island's geological heritage. Predominantly within the Antsalova District, with a smaller section in the Morafenobe District, this national park is renowned for its two distinctive geological formations, the Great Tsingy and the Little Tsingy.

Location and Geological Significance

Rising to dizzying heights of 2,600 feet, the limestone pinnacles create a landscape like no other. Yet, amidst the daunting spires, a thriving ecosystem flourishes, harboring a variety of species

A Playground of Giants

Spanning over 375,600 acres, this is the largest expanse of Tsingy forest known to humanity.

Largest Forest of it's Kind

The genesis of the Tsingy dates back approximately 200 million years, when Madagascar was submerged beneath the ocean. Over time, coral reefs flourished and solidified into limestone bedrock. Aptly nicknamed the "Forest of Knives," it owes its formation to millions of years of geological processes.

Millions of Years in the Making

Layers of calcite accumulated over time, forming a thick limestone bed, as tectonic activity elevated the limestone and erosion, sculpting the landscape into the jagged spires and deep canyons that define the Tsingy today. Over eons, groundwater sculpted the landscape, carving out ravines, gorges, and caverns that define the Tsingy's rugged contours.

Formation of the Stone Forest

In the Malagasy tongue, "tsingy" translates to "where one cannot walk barefoot," a fitting moniker for the treacherous terrain of the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve.

What Does Tsingy Mean?

Despite its rugged appearance, the Forest of Knives teems with life. Endemic species have adapted to thrive amidst the jagged rocks, displaying nature's resilience and ingenuity.<em>Note: The rock vegetation of a tsingy of Antsingy du Bemaraha in Madagascar</em>

Biodiversity Amidst the Stones

From uncommon vegetation and wildlife, the forest offers a glimpse into the intricate balance between geology and ecology. <em>Note: At the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, Madagascar</em>

A Sanctuary of Species

Microclimates within the limestone formations nurture endemic flora and fauna, including elusive lemurs and acrobatic sifakas.

Preservation and Conservation

Recognized for its exceptional geological phenomena and unparalleled biodiversity, the Andrefana Dry Forests have earned the prestigious designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, it confirmed the global significance of preserving these ecosystems and geological wonders.

UNESCO Designation

The Forest of Knives offers visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness some of the world's most unique geological formations and ecosystems.

Rugged Trip

The <a href="" rel="noreferrer">Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park</a> and the Forest of Knives exemplify Madagascar's geological heritage and natural splendor. From the intricate limestone formations to the thriving biodiversity, these sites captivate visitors with their unparalleled beauty and rich history.

A Symphony of Time and Terrain

More for you.

Alien: Romulus teaser trailer brings terror back to outer space

Everything you need to know about Alien: Romulus

Scientists say they found a chapter of the Bible that had been hidden under other text for thousands of years

Scientists say they have found a chapter of the Bible hidden under a section of text for more than a thousand years

Top 10 Things Only Adults Notice in The Wizard of Oz

Top 10 Things Only Adults Notice in The Wizard of Oz

Ventusky map showing wave anomaly

Mysterious Underwater Anomaly Resurfaces off Antarctica

It's important to lead an active lifestyle, eat nutritious foods and manage things like your blood pressure, doctors say.

7 Things Stroke Doctors Say You Should Never, Ever Do

110 monumental movies from film history and why you need to see them

The films everyone should see at least once before they die, according to critics

‘We got it wrong:’ WeightWatchers CEO on weight loss

‘We got it wrong:’ WeightWatchers CEO on weight loss

Emma Flint smiling

I'm abrosexual - it took me 30 years to realise

Baby pictured sleeping in blue bassinet with canopy at night.

Neurosurgeon causes stir by suggesting parents stop playing white noise for kids' sleep

Do I have to pay my spouse's debts when they die?

Do I have to pay off my spouse's debts when they die? Here's what you're responsible for and what you aren't after a loved one's death

Hana Taylor Schlitz

I Am Doing a PhD at 16—My Mother's Death Is the Reason

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

10 Movies That Flopped at the Box Office But Are Truly Worth Watching

Dental plaque can reveal a lot about ancient diets. - Karen Hardy

A nutrient-rich food that once largely disappeared from Western diets was a staple of early Europeans, study finds

Best 'Star Trek' episodes

The best 'Star Trek' episode of all time, according to fans—and see if your favorite ranks in the top 25

Authoritarianism by a Thousand Cuts

The Danger of a Small Act of Cowardice

A view of Vesuvius from the modern-day site of what was once Pompeii ((John Englart))

Archaeologists discover lost home of Rome's first emperor

Man loses 450 pounds after reaching 'rock bottom.' 1 key diet change helped

Man loses 450 pounds after reaching 'rock bottom.' 1 key diet change helped

90 of Zendaya's Best Outfits That Prove Her Style Is Timeless

Zendaya's Baby Pink Tennis Polo Dress Includes Cutouts That Hit Her Hip Bone

Photo: Is eating shrimp harmful (

Shrimp's impact on health and who should avoid them

50 memorable movie cameos

50 of the greatest movie cameos of all time

Touropia Logo

Touropia Travel

Discover the World

17 Top Tourist Attractions in Moscow

By Alex Schultz · Last updated on November 3, 2023

The capital of Russia is an incredible place to explore. Visitors to Moscow come away spellbound at all the amazing sights, impressed at the sheer size and grandeur of the city. Lying at the heart of Moscow, the Red Square and the Kremlin are just two of the must-see tourist attractions; they are the historical, political and spiritual heart of the city – and indeed Russia itself.

A fascinating city to wander around, stunning cathedrals, churches, and palaces lie side-by-side with bleak grey monuments and remains from the Soviet state. In addition to its plethora of historical and cultural tourist attractions, Moscow is home to world-class museums, theaters and art galleries.

Renowned for its performing arts, fantastic ballets and amazing circus acts, catching a show while in Moscow is a must. The wealth of brilliant restaurants, trendy bars, and lively nightlife means there is something for everyone to enjoy.

See also: Where to Stay in Moscow

17. Tsaritsyno Palace

Tsaritsyno Palace

Once the summer residence of Catherine the Great, the stunning Tsaritsyno Palace is now a museum-reserve. The architecture is magnificent and there is a lovely park surrounding it for visitors to explore.

Located in the south of Moscow, the palace was commissioned in 1775 and recent renovations mean its lavish interior looks better than ever before with its elegant halls and beautiful staircases.

The exhibits on display look at the life of the empress as well as the history of Tsaritsyno itself. The huge palace grounds are also home to some other delightful buildings with the elegant opera house and wonderful brickwork of the Small Palace being particularly impressive to gaze upon.


Starting out in 1935 as the ‘All-Union Agricultural Exhibition’, VDNKh has slowly morphed over the years into the fascinating open-air museum of today. Remarkably, over 400 buildings can now be found within its confines.

The huge park complex has numerous pavilions representing former Soviet republics on show, such as those of Armenia and Turkmenistan and the distinctive architecture of each of the buildings is always interesting to gaze upon. In addition to this there is the fascinating Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics which is dedicated to space exploration and the fun Moskvarium aquarium even offers you the chance to swim with dolphins.

With lots of eateries scattered about and numerous entertainment options such as horse-riding and zip-lining, there is something for everyone to enjoy; the Friendship of Nations fountain truly is wonderful.

15. Kremlin Armoury

Kremlin Armoury

One of the oldest museums in the city, the Kremlin Armoury has a wealth of treasures; highlights include the ornate Grand Siberian Railway egg, the historic Cap of Monomakh and the stunning Imperial Crown of Russia which often has a crowd of tourists around it, jostling to take a photo.

Once the royal armory, there are loads of fascinating objects on display. Perusing the many sabers, jewelry, armor and more is as interesting as it is educational and entertaining and the swords are so finely crafted that you’ll almost wish you could pick up one and wield if yourself.

Established in 1851, the museum is situated in the Moscow Kremlin.

14. GUM Department Store

GUM Department Store

Standing for ‘Main Universal Store’ in Russian, GUM is stunning. Its wonderful skylights and beautiful facades mean it doesn’t look out of place alongside its illustrious neighbors on Red Square.

With over 200 shops, boutiques and upmarket eateries inside, it is a shopaholic’s heaven and concerned partners will be glad to find more affordable options alongside luxury brands such as Dior and Prada.

The main department store in the city, GUM was opened in 1893. The stunning architecture makes it well worth a visit even if shopping isn’t your thing.

13. Moscow Metro

Moscow Metro

It’s not often that public transport looks like a work of art. So many stops on the Moscow Metro will astound visitors with their beauty and elegance.

Decked in marble and with frescoes covering the walls, the stations are amazing to gaze upon and are part of one of the longest metro systems in the world, with the first stations opened in 1935.

Using the metro is the quickest and easiest way to get around Moscow and braving the crowds of commuters is well worth it for the beauty all around you.

12. Arbat Street

Arbat Street

An elegant yet lively street, Arbat is full of impressive architecture and was once a popular place to live for aristocrats, artists, and academics.

A historic place, it is down Arbat Street that Napoleon’s troops are said to have headed on their way to capture the Kremlin.

Nowadays, there are many cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as various monuments and statues to former residents such as Alexander Pushkin who was reputed to be a lover of the Russian Empress due to his massive influence in court.

11. Novodevichy Convent

Novodevichy Convent

Drenched in history, the Novodevichy Convent is located in a striking building that was once a fortress. This captivating place is well worth visiting when in Moscow.

Founded in 1524, the convent houses four cathedrals; Smolensk Cathedral is the undoubted highlight due to its delightful 16th-century frescoes.

Wandering around the grounds is like stepping back in time. The Novodevichy Cemetery is where many famous leaders of the Soviet Union are buried, such as Yeltsin and Khrushchev.

10. Pushkin Museum

Pushkin Museum

Despite its name, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts actually has no connection at all to the famous poet other than that it was named in his honor after his death. A delight to visit, its extensive collection focuses on European art with masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, and van Gogh all featuring.

Sculptures, graphic art, paintings and more can be found in its beautiful galleries; various sections look at themes and epochs such as the Renaissance, the Dutch Golden Age, and Byzantine art.

Among the many highlights are the clownish characters which can be found in Cezanne’s Fastnacht (Mardi Gras) and the twirling ballerinas who look so elegant in Degas’ Blue Dancers. Picasso’s Young acrobat on a Ball is also well worth checking out for its interesting use of shapes and colors.

9. Christ The Savior Cathedral

Christ The Savior Cathedral

This gorgeous Russian Orthodox cathedral is located on the banks of the Moskva River, just a stone’s throw away from the Kremlin.

The church as it stands today was consecrated in 2000, as the original church that stood here was destroyed on the command of Josef Stalin in 1931 due to the anti-religious campaign.

With its delightful golden dome, spires and dazzling white facades, the Christ the Savior Cathedral is stunning. The interior is just as captivating to wander around, with its beautifully tiled floors and impressive altar.

8. Lenin Mausoleum

Lenin Mausoleum

Opened to the public in 1924, Lenin’s Mausoleum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Moscow. The red granite structure is located at the heart of the city in Red Square.

Lenin’s embalmed body lies in a glass sarcophagus; it is a somewhat eerie experience walking past the former leader of the Soviet Union but is well worth doing as you understandably can’t do it anywhere else in the world.

After visiting the mausoleum, head to the Kremlin wall right next to it for more graves of important communist figures such as Stalin and Brezhnev.

7. Tretyakov Gallery

Tretyakov Gallery

Home to the most extensive and impressive collection of Russian fine art in the world, the State Tretyakov Gallery is definitely worth visiting when in Moscow for the wealth of amazing art pieces that it has on display.

Having started out as the private art collection of the Tretyakov brothers, there are now over 130,000 exhibits. Highlights include the iconic Theotokos of Vladimir which you will almost certainly recognise despite probably not knowing the name and Rublev’s Trinity which is considered to be one of highest achievements in Russian art.

An absolute must for art lovers, the State Tretyakov Gallery will delight visitors with all that is has to offer.

6. Kolomenskoye


Once a royal estate, Kolomenskoye is now a museum-reserve and lies a few kilometers outside of the city center. A captivating place to visit, there is a plethora of history on show and the site overlooks the Moskva River.

Consisting of four historical sites, there are extensive gardens for visitors to explore, as well as loads of interesting old buildings, the former village of Kolomenskoye itself and the impressive Palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich – once considered the Eighth Wonder of the World by contemporaries.

Among the many stunning sights, it is the brilliantly white Ascension Church that is the undoubted highlight – dating back to 1532.

5. Gorky Park

Gorky Park

Lying alongside the Moskva River, the huge Gorky Park is a lovely place to visit. Its extensive gardens are home to numerous cultural institutions and visitors should definitely check out the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and while the eclectic exhibits may not always feature such incredible sights as a balloon-covered rider on a zebra; they certainly always succeed in pushing back the boundaries of art.

Pop-up exhibitions and festivals can be found from time to time in the park itself and there is an open-air theatre and numerous eateries alongside a plethora of leisure activities.

Whether it’s cycling, table tennis or yoga that you are after or beach volleyball and rowing, Gorky Park certainly has it. In winter, there is a huge ice rink for visitors to enjoy.

4. Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Theatre

The Bolshoi Theatre is the main theater in the country. The amazing opera and ballet performances it has put on over the centuries go a long way in explaining Russia’s rich history of performing arts.

While the Bolshoi Ballet Company was established in 1776, the theater itself was opened in 1825. The glittering, six-tier auditorium is lavishly and decadently decorated; it is a fitting setting for the world-class performances that take place on its stage.

Spending a night watching a performance of such classics as The Nutcracker or Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theatre is sure to be a memorable experience and the beauty all around you only adds to the sense of occasion.

3. Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin

This famously fortified complex is remarkably home to five palaces and four cathedrals and is the historic, political and spiritual center of the city. The Kremlin serves as the residence for the country’s president. It has been used as a fort, and this fact is made clear by its sheer size. The Kremlin’s outer walls were built in the late 1400s.

Under Ivan III, better known as Ivan the Great, the Kremlin became the center of a unified Russian state, and was extensively remodeled. Three of the Kremlin’s cathedrals date to his reign that lasted from 1462-1505. The Deposition Church and the Palace of Facets were also constructed during this time. The Ivan the Great Bell Tower was built in 1508. It is the tallest tower at the Kremlin with a height of 266 feet (81 meters).

Joseph Stalin removed many of the relics from the tsarist regimes. However, the Tsar Bell, the world’s largest bell, and the Tsar Cannon, the largest bombard by caliber in the world, are among the remaining items from that era. The Kremlin Armory is one of Moscow’s oldest museums as it was established more than 200 years ago. Its diamond collection is impressive.

The Kremlin’s gardens – Taynitsky, Grand Kremlin Public and Alexander – are beautiful. The Kremlin has also served as the religious center of the country, and there is a tremendous number of preserved churches and cathedrals here. The collections contained within the museums include more than 60,000 historical, cultural and artistic monuments. Those who enjoy the performing arts will want to consider attending a ballet or concert at the State Kremlin Palace. Completed in 1961, it is the only modern building in the Kremlin.

2. Red Square

Red Square

Lying at the heart of Moscow, Red Square is the most important and impressive square in the city. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions due to its wealth of historical sights and cultural landmarks.

Drenched in history, the huge square is home to incredible sights such as the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Mausoleum, among others. Consequently, it is not to be missed when in Moscow as it really is home to the city’s most stunning monuments.

It is here that many important moments in Russian history took place; the former marketplace has hosted everything from Tsar’s coronations and public ceremonies to rock concerts and Soviet military parades. Wandering around the massive square is a humbling experience and undoubtedly one of the highlights the city has to offer.

1. Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Located in the impressive Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral is gorgeous; its delightful spires appear as if out of a fairytale. The most recognizable building in the country, the cathedral is very much a symbol of Russia. No visit to Moscow is complete without having taken in its unique and distinctive features.

Ivan the Terrible ordered the cathedral’s construction in the mid-16th century, and legend holds that Ivan put out the architect’s eyes so that he would be unable to build another cathedral more glorious than St. Basil’s. Designed to resemble the shape of a bonfire in full flame, the architecture is not only unique to the period in which it was built but to any subsequent period. For various reasons, both Napoleon and Stalin wanted to destroy the cathedral but fortunately did not succeed.

Known for its various colors, shapes and geometric patterns, St. Basil’s Cathedral houses nine different chapels that are all connected by a winding labyrinth of corridors and stairways. On the lower floor, St. Basil’s Chapel contains a silver casket bearing the body of St. Basil the Blessed.

Throughout the cathedral are many beautiful murals, frescoes, wooden icons and other art works and artifacts. Outside the cathedral is a lovely garden with the bronze Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, who rallied an all-volunteer Russian army against Polish invaders during a period of the late 16th century known as the Times of Troubles.

Share this post:

madagascar tourist locations

Where to Stay in Moscow

madagascar tourist locations

14 Most Scenic Small Towns In Russia

madagascar tourist locations

10 Most Amazing Destinations in Eastern Russia

Best Places to Visit in Russia

10 Best Places to Visit in Russia

madagascar tourist locations

10 Top Tourist Attractions in Russia

Regions in Russia

9 Most Beautiful Regions in Russia

Tourist Attractions in Saint Petersburg

15 Best Attractions & Things to do in Saint Petersburg, Russia

madagascar tourist locations

15 Best Cities to Visit in Russia

madagascar tourist locations

10 Best All Inclusive Resorts in Fiji

Best Cities to Visit in Asia

25 Best Cities to Visit in Asia

Guía turística de Moscow

Planning a trip to Moscow? Our travel guide contains up-to-date, personal information on everything from what to see , to when to visit , where to stay , and what to eat !

  • General Information
  • What to see
  • How to get to Moscow
  • Where to stay
  • Where to eat

Why visit Moscow?

Majestic churches, impressive historic fortresses, and palatial buildings: Moscow is a fascinating city whose emblematic architecture reflects the turbulent history that has defined Russia throughout the centuries.

The traces of the USSR can be found around every corner of the city , side by side with the iconic relics of Imperial Russia , like the mythical Red Square , the imposing Kremlin , and the beautiful  St Basil's Cathedral . 

Discover a fascinating world of Cold War bunkers, golden-domed basilicas, world-class art museums, and the legendary "palace of the people,"  as the Moscow Metro has been nicknamed. Whether you fancy watching a classical Russian ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre , perusing the fine arts at the Pushkin Museum , or marveling at the sheer size of the monuments to the Soviet state's achievements at the  All-Russia Exhibition Centre , this travel guide will help you on your way!

Where to start?

If you're going to travel to Moscow and you don't know much about the city yet, the first thing to do is to dive into its legendary history - understanding the past will help you understand the present. Next, check out our practical hints and tips on traveling to the city before discovering which of its most important museums , monuments , and attractions pique your interest.

Looking for a place to stay?

Booking your accommodation in advance is the best way to get great discounts. Our detailed guide on where to stay in Moscow  will help you decide which neighborhood you'd like to look for hotels or apartments in, and our hotel search engine will find you the best deals!

Why is our Moscow travel guide the best?

Introducing Moscow is a  city guide written by travelers for travelers  and contains personalized advice to help you make the most of your trip to the city.

All the information in this guide is valid as of December 2022. If you find any errors or have any comments, please feel free to contact us .

Download the Civitatis app from the App Store

Our travel guides

  • top attractions
  • where to stay
  • and much more

madagascar tourist locations

Moscow Voyager

Moscow’s Top 13 – The Main Attractions of the Russian capital

madagascar tourist locations

13 Moscow Attractions

One of the most fascinating metropolis, breathtaking city, and a vibrant European capital, Moscow is a powerful mix of history and edginess, full of world famous sites and attractions that are worth exploring. However, it would take weeks to really explore all facets of the Russian capital – unfortunately hardly any traveler has that much time, which is why you should concentrate on the absolute Moscow top attractions and highlights. Here is the list of top 13 Moscow attractions you can choose on your next Russian travel journey.

What Times Square means to New York, Pariser Platz with the Brandenburg Gate to Berlin, or Trafalgar Square to London – Red Square means to Moscow. The heart of Russia’s capital it is the central meeting point and the most famous photo opportunity. No place stands for Russia and Moscow more than “krasnaja ploshchad”, as Red Square is called in Russian.

It is arguably one of the Moscow main attractions and most visited. With the gigantic military parade on Victory Day in World War II, which takes place every year on May 9, the pictures of the square go around the world year after year. But for the rest of the year you will mainly meet local and foreign tourists here, who take peaceful pictures and soak up the unique spirit. The square looks spectacular illuminated at night, but you should visit the square at least once in daylight as well.

madagascar tourist locations

If you stand in the middle of the huge cobblestone square, in the clockwise direction you can see the Kremlin and the Kremlin Wall with a total of 20 individually designed towers, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Historical Museum built with red bricks, the little Kazan Cathedral, the impressive luxury department store GUM, the imposing St. Basil’s Cathedral and, the bridge over the Moskva River. This unique ensemble offers more sightseeing highlights at one stroke than any other tourist attractions in Moscow or the world.

So it’s no wonder that Red Square is UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers the most popular photo opportunities worldwide. When visiting Moscow, there is no reason not to visit to Red Square and a selfie is practically also a must – getting there is easy even for Russia newcomers. Although Red Square does not have its own metro station, it is still child’s play to find the way there – especially since the Square is the absolute geographical center of the city.

There are four metro stations in the vicinity, from which it is only a short walk to Red Square, Okhotny Ryad and Teatralnaya directly at the northwest entrance of the Square at the Historical Museum; further to the west is the Lenin Library station, from which one arrives at the same entrance through the Alexander Garden. As well as the station Revolution-square behind the GUM department store, which leads past to the northeast side of the Square.

The Kremlin

This is the biggest active fortress in Europe offering a week’s worth of attractions. For more than 70 years, the Kremlin was the power center of the Soviet Union, which the US President Ronald Reagan called the Empire of Evil exactly 35 years ago, one of the symbols of the East-West conflict in the Cold War. People in the West feared the «dark» plans that were built behind the thick walls of the Kremlin.

The Kremlin is built in a triangular shape on the natural elevation above the Moscow River, known today as the Kremlin Hill. Today’s metropolis Moscow has expanded in a circle around it and the road around the Kremlin is considered the first of several ring roads in Moscow counting.

Now Kremlin has lost its terrifying image, although it is still the seat of the Russian President and thus one of the most important places in World political events. It is an inviting, historical sight for tourists, and one of the famous Moscow tourist attractions which can be visited for just a few dollars.

The large parts of the 28 hectare site can be visited by tourists – with the exception of the Kremlin towers, the presidential Grand Kremlin Palace and the Senate Palace. The first port of call on the site is the so-called Cathedral Square, which is the geographical center of the Kremlin and at the same time the highest point on the Kremlin Hill and contains the three oldest structures in the complex. The three 15 th -century cathedrals of the Kremlin (the Dormition, Archangel Michael and the Annunciation Cathedrals), which together with the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Cathedral of the Deposition of Mary, make the most famous ensemble of the Kremlin. Also to be visited here are primarily the Armoury and the Patriarch’s palace.

To get to the Kremlin, you have to pass a security gate at one of the two publicly accessible entrances – these are located at the Kutafja and Borovitsky towers. Tickets cost from 700 rubles upwards, the admission to the Armoury, the Ivan the Great bell tower and the Patriarch’s Palace being paid for separately.

More about the Kremlin

Lenin’s Mausoleum

This is the ultimate love it or hate it tourist attractions in Moscow It may be mistaken for a gloomy performance, but Lenin remains an absolute attraction almost a hundred years after Vladimir Lenin death. The founding father of the Soviet Union is not only a fascinating historical figure of world renown for supporters of communism. Despite ongoing discussions about a final burial of the leader of the communist October Revolution in 1918, hundreds of thousands come year after year to the dark marble building on Red Square, right next to the Kremlin wall, to see the embalmed body of the legendary Russian revolutionary.

First opened to the public in 1924, the Mausoleum attracts 2.5 million visitors every year, so, visitors have to wait a long time to get into the illustrious building. Also, photos from inside the Mausoleum are prohibited. But a visit is still a must for Moscow visitors, especially since the visit is free. Please note that the Mausoleum is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The queue starts behind the Historical Museum and before you get into the actual mausoleum, you have to pass an airport-like security gate – cameras and cell phones are not allowed into the Mausoleum, but can be safely placed in a cloakroom for a small fee. On the way out of the Mausoleum, after the visit, you pass the graves of the other Soviet heads of state. Including the grave of Josef Stalin, who was briefly kept next to Lenin in the Mausoleum after his death. But in the course of de-Stalinization, the cruel dictator was moved to the less prominent place behind the Mausoleum.

More about the Lenin Mausoleum

The Alexander Garden (Alexandrovsky Sad)

If you visit Moscow in summer, the hustle and bustle in the metropolis of millions can get over your head. The city, best known for its icy winters, can turn into an absolute burning furnace in summer. It sometimes takes over an hour to get to the edge of the metropolis. The perfect retreat, located in the center of Moscow, is therefore the Alexander Garden and one of the Moscow top attractions.

Located directly on the western wall of the Kremlin, the Alexander Garden is just a small, but all the more well-kept park that extends to the nearby Manege Square (Manezhnaya Ploschad). The garden undergoes a lot of changes, with old trees cut down in 2012 and over 200 planted, the authorities also claim that there will be a rosary of 3000 roses. As soon as the first rays of sun warm up the Muscovites, tormented by the long winter, they set off into the countryside. If you are right in the center, you can choose the small park right by the Kremlin.

With a café in hand, which you can get yourself on Manege Square, you can linger here between the carefully tended flower beds. With the Grave of the Unknown Soldier and the regular changing of the guard, there is even a real tourist attraction on top. Entry is free.

The Moscow Metro

In no other metropolis in the world would the subway be declared a sight. Yes, that is truly right as riding this one of the top Moscow tourist attractions is an experience in itself or just a walk through the station is amazing in itself. Whether in New York, Berlin, London or Paris – the big city inhabitants of the world metropolises have a love-hate relationship with their metro. It’s different in Moscow – the residents of the Russian metropolis love their metro and there is a reason for that: in the early days of metro construction, dictator Stalin had built the stations into “palaces for the workers”.

All the splendor of the tsars, which the ordinary Russian never saw, is now open to everyone, regardless of their origin. Indeed, a number of stations on the Moscow Metro, each built shortly before or after the war, are unmatched architectural masterpieces. Mayakovskaya station is often compared to a ballroom for its chandeliers and ornaments. The Teatralnaya stop, located directly below the world-famous Bolshoi Theater, shines with decorations reminiscent of the country’s theater and ballet tradition. Colorful glass windows, almost like in a sacred building, adorn the Novoslobodskaya station.

But the uncalled queen among Moscow’s metro beauties is Komsomolskaya station, named after the youth organization of the Soviet Union. With its huge chandeliers and detailed ceiling decorations, it is the crown jewel among the 331 metro stations. It is not uncommon for tourists to stand in the middle of the platform and take photos under the glances of passengers who just want to walk past the annoying tourists to and from work as quickly as possible.

A ride on the metro currently costs 57 rubles, which is less than one dollar. You should plan a few hours for a tour of the most beautiful stations, but the good news is, once behind the turnstile, a single ticket is enough to stay in the metro system as long as you want.

The Bolshoi Theater

To see Tchaikovsky Swan Lake or the Nutcracker by the same legendary Russian composer on the famous Bolshoi stage – that is the dream of every ballet fan. Home to the largest and one of the oldest ballet and opera companies in the world, nowhere else is the fine art of musical dance lived as much as in Russia – and has been since the times of the tsars.

The Bolshoi itself has been shining back to its former glory since it was built in 1776 since its extensive renovation that cost almost a billion dollars a few years ago. The large historical hall of the building impresses with its opulent golden decorations and creates a very special atmosphere – this was also used by the communist leaders of the Soviet Union, who held their congresses in the building directly at the Kremlin. The Theater is so famous that it currently adorns the 100 ruble banknote and is among the Moscow main attractions.

If you’d like to go to what is probably the most famous ballet theater in the world today, it’s easier than ever. The program can be found months in advance on the official website  and can be ordered at very reasonable prices. The cheapest seats in the hall can be booked for as little as 100 rubles, i.e. less than $ 2. However, you should reserve tickets early, as the performances are usually booked weeks in advance. Even for good seats, you pay very moderate prices compared to Western Europe.

There are a few things to watch out for, however, proper, appropriate clothing is welcome, but apart from the obligation to wear trousers, it is not an exclusion criterion for men. If you arrive late, you have to wait outside until the next break so as not to disturb the other guests during the performance. The best way to get to the Bolshoi is by taking the Moscow Metro via the Teatralnaya station, which was built especially for the theater and which stairs are right in front of the main entrance.

More about the Bolshoi Theater

The GUM department store

The Russian abbreviation GUM means main all-purpose shopping center and sounds quite formal for such a shopping temple. Located in front of the Kremlin on Red Square, GUM has existed as a department store since 1920 and was previously a market. It is the most iconic and largest department store in Russia and among the Moscow tourist attractions .   The facade of the building, built in 1890, fits perfectly into the overall picture of Red Square and is illuminated photogenically at night.

In contrast to the scarcity economy of the Soviet era, the GUM today really has everything to offer that one can imagine. It has become the flagship of the shopping and fashion metropolis Moscow. But today you will mainly find smaller luxury shops here. From western high-couture boutiques such as Prada or Gucci to fur for the icy Russian winter, a well-to-do Muscovite or a tourist will find everything their heart desires here.

People can walk through the wide and beautifully decorated arcades of the GUM, free of charge. Cafes invite you to linger. A delicatessen shop on the ground floor sells Russian specialties at affordable prices. Chocolate, honey and caviar, as well as the all-round vodka in Russia, can be bought here as souvenirs for friends and family at home. In addition, the Soviet-style cafeteria on the upper floor is very cheap for lunch.

The GUM offers a special highlight every winter when the department store administration built an ice rink in front of the building directly on Red Square. For only 200 to 300 rubles per hour, depending on the time of day, you can lace up your skates and glide over the ice with the unique panorama of Red Square.

More about the GUM department store 

The Historical Museum

The Historical Museum is a museum of Russian history wedged between Red Square, Lenin Mausoleum, small Kazan Cathedral, and Manege Square. The red brick building of the Museum is a real eye-catcher and Moscow top attractions located on the opposite side of St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is dedicated to Russian history and is built in the Old Russian style, the building did not open until 1883.

The Museum houses everything from an exhibition on the archeology of Russia, through the technological achievements, to the art of the gigantic empire in 16 sections and has a total of 5 million exhibits. So if you are interested in the history of Russia, you cannot avoid visiting this Museum and should plan enough time for it.

A visit costs 150 to 500 rubles, depending on which exhibition you want to visit. The Museum is open in winter, autumn and spring from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed on Tuesdays. In the summer months, the extended Saturday times apply daily.

It is probably the most famous park in the Russian capital and the top Moscow tourist attractions – a novel and its film adaptation and a Russian rock band have its name and numerous songs by Russian and international bands and TV series, such as House of Cards, mention it or act here. Gorky Park is a premier green space offering entertainment for every taste. Located southwest of the center of Moscow on the Moskva River, it is designed more for family attractions and rest and the classic park on the other side – has become one of the meeting places for Muscovites of all kinds in recent years.

Whether for a yoga class, a family picnic or beach volleyball match, skateboarding, and cycling – people meet here often. Because even in the Gorky there is an ice surface in winter, the largest in Moscow, which attracts many Moscow residents as well as tourists.

A large-scale renovation in 2011 breathed new life into the park – the roller kiosks were removed and more emphasis was placed on the maintenance of the green spaces. The park remained free of charge and developed into one of the most popular places in the capital. Whether with the rental bike through the green lungs, the pedal boat across the numerous ponds or simply watching the goings-on on the park bench – a visit to Gorki is also absolutely worthwhile for tourists.

Day trip to the Golden Ring

As much as the metropolis Moscow is fascinating, the side effects of a cosmopolitan city like Moscow – the noise, the traffic and the crowds – can overwhelm any tourist. What could be better than a day trip to escape the organized chaos of the cosmopolitan city?

The places on the Golden Ring near Moscow are an ideal destination for this and among the Moscow main attractions – located north-east of the metropolis, these old Russian cities, some of which have existed for much longer than Moscow itself, offer a welcome change from the hectic hustle and bustle of the capital.

Developed in the late 1960s uniting several mediaeval Russian cities located to the north-east of Moscow it is the most popular route around provincial cities of central Russia. More than a thousand year old city of Yaroslavl on the Volga is the largest, but at 260 km from Moscow also the most distant city of the Golden Ring. For only 650 rubles, however, you can take the three-hour train ride there.

Yaroslavl has been part of the world cultural heritage since 2005 and is best known for its two monasteries – the Monastery of our Savior and Transfiguration and the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Tolga are located directly on the Europe’s longest river Volga and its inflow Kotorosl. Both testify to the long history of the Russian Orthodox Church. The cityscape of Yaroslavl is also really worth seeing with its classicist buildings – walking through the streets of the city with 500,000 inhabitants is a welcome contrast to Moscow. Things are even more slow in the small towns of Suzdal and Vladimir, both of which can still be reached with the Moscow suburban train network (known as Elektrichka) for a good 500 rubles. In both cities time seems to have stood a little – large sacred buildings dominate the cityscape.

Especially the Assumption Cathedral, located in the center of Vladimir, and the Golden Medieval Gate are the main attractions for tourists. The church, built in the early 12th century, is best known for its almost 700 year old wall paintings and frescoes and is a World Heritage Site. The Suzdal Kremlin is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and was first mentioned in writing in 1024.

Suzdal with its only 10,000 inhabitants has still retained the character of a small Russian town and in the town, which will celebrate its millennium in 2024, you can still find numerous wooden buildings typical of rural Russia – whether churches or houses, the colorful buildings are ideal as Photo motif and give an impression of the simple Russian provinces life away from the metropolises.

The exhibition of the achievements of the national economies is not in every travel guide as a classic Moscow main attractions and a must see of the Russian capital. But no other place in the modern mega-metropolis exudes the spirit of the Soviet Union as much as the enormous VDNKh (All Russian Exhibition Centre) in the north of Moscow. It was built as an agricultural exhibition before World War II, but was then renamed world exhibition for the 15 individual Soviet states and their achievements.

From the Armenian, Estonian and Kyrgyz culture, to the Soviet achievements in space travel and nuclear power, to statues about the heroes of the Soviet history, the VNDKh (Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyastva) was an absolute attraction until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. After that, the old charm fell into disrepair and the large central pavilion, which was built in the splendidly pompous Stalinist style, was filled with small traders selling souvenirs and matryoshkas.

Since its renovation in 2014, the exhibition in the park-like area is absolutely worth a trip again and with the metro station of the same name you can get from the center to the VDNKh quickly and without problems. There are still strange souvenirs, plus huge Soviet monuments worth seeing, as well as numerous rides for children. The Kosmos exhibition still exists and is now part of the Cosmonaut Museum, which is located at the front end of the park when coming from the metro station.

Here you can experience the various achievements of Soviet and Russian space travel vividly. From the very first Sputnik satellite, the spacesuit of Yuri Gargarin, the very first human in space, to the Buran space shuttle, you can learn an incredible amount about the conquest of the cosmos here. However, you should plan several hours just for a visit to the Cosmonaut Museum.

More about the cosmonaut museum

The Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery

To complete the cultural program in Moscow, you should definitely make a tour to the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery when visiting the Russian capital. It is the largest museum of European art and among the Moscow top attractions. The former Museum of Fine Arts was named after Alexander Pushkin’s death in 1837 – it is still one of the most important art collections in the world today.

It boasts one of the richest collections of foreign art in Russia, showcasing global artistic developments from early times to the present day in expositions numbering 700,000 works of art.  Not far south of the Kremlin, exactly opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Museum is housed in a classic building specially built for this purpose in 1898. From early Byzantine art to the famous Madonna by Lukas Cranach, the Italian masters, Peter Paul Rubens and masterpieces of Expressionism, for example by Paul Cézanne, you can admire a huge selection of important art here.

The regular entry ticket costs 800 rubles and the Ьuseum is open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., during the week until 8 p.m. – only Monday is closed.

The second important art collection in the capital is the State Tretyakov Gallery. It is the national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the greatest museums in the world. Started by the textile entrepreneur and philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov as a collection of local contemporary art in 1851, the gallery has now developed into one of the cultural highlights of Russia. In contrast to the Pushkin Museum, you will primarily find Russian art from the 19th century and older icons.

Entry cost is 400 rubles and the Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Monday is also the day off.

Take a stroll across Red Square, meet Lenin and see the world-famous Kremlin?

Then first of all you need a visa! !

' src=

Alexander Popov

Welcome to Russia! My name is Alexander, I was born in Moscow and I'm a passionate tour guide. I want to share my passion for Russia and my hometown with you. On my website you will find useful information to make your individual trip to Russia as interesting as possible.

The Museum of Cosmonautics and the Planetarium in Moscow

Gorky park and sparrow hills: green lungs, place to relax and meet, you will also like, everything you need to know about russia: included..., traveling‌ ‌in‌ ‌russia‌ ‌–‌ ‌how‌ ‌safe‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌..., choosing the best guide for a free and..., how do i exchange money in moscow, eating out in moscow, the best time to travel to russia, how do i get from moscow airports to..., the best taxi services in moscow, moscow’s best free city tour, with sim card purchase in russia: use whatsapp,..., leave a comment cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

@2019-2020 - Moscow Voyager. Alexander Popov

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. By continuing to use our site you accept our cookie policy. Accept Read More


  1. The 10 Most Amazing Attractions In Madagascar

    madagascar tourist locations

  2. Madagascar

    madagascar tourist locations

  3. Places to visit Madagascar: tourist maps and must-see attractions

    madagascar tourist locations

  4. Places to visit Madagascar: tourist maps and must-see attractions

    madagascar tourist locations

  5. 21+ Top Madagascar Tourist Attractions, Places to Visit in Madagascar

    madagascar tourist locations

  6. Madagascar Travel Guide

    madagascar tourist locations


  1. Exploring Remote Places Of Madagascar

  2. Unreal Places In The World Part 48 😮 #travel #unreal #nature

  3. Madagascar Country Lifestyle|Madagascar lifestyle and Culture|Madagascar Cost of Living

  4. Top 10 Beautiful Sites To Explore In Madagascar

  5. 10 Best Places to Visit in Madagascar



  1. 12 Top Attractions & Places to Visit in Madagascar

    Visit the top tourist attractions in Madagascar to discover for yourself the natural, cultural and historical diversity that is this country. You'll instantly fall in love with it. On this Page. 12. Ranomafana National Park. 11. Tsingy Rouge Park. 10. Lemurs' Park in Antananarivo.

  2. Complete guide to Madagascar

    Madagascar. Africa. Lemurs, baobabs, rainforest, desert, hiking and diving: Madagascar is a dream destination for outdoors enthusiasts - half the fun is getting to all these incredible attractions. 01 / Attractions.

  3. 15 Best Places to Visit in Madagascar

    Lets explore the best places to visit in Madagascar: 1. Ifaty. Source: flickr. Ifaty. A single name for a duo of resorts, Ifaty (and its bigger brother of Mangily, also now confusingly referred to as just Ifaty too) is a stretch of sun-kissed onetime fishing villages on the south-western edge of Madagascar island.

  4. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Madagascar

    3. Isalo National Park. 675. National Parks. Distinguished by a canyon and beautiful, rolling plains, the Parc National de Isalo is an attractive reserve of Madagascar's land and wildlife. See full details. See ways to experience (14) 2023. 4.

  5. 10 Best Things to Do in Madagascar

    Holly Johnson December 1, 2023. Ranking of the top 10 things to do in Madagascar. Travelers favorites include #1 Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, #2 Avenue of the Baobabs and more.

  6. 12 Most Beautiful Places in Madagascar to Visit

    3. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Tucked away in Madagascar's western region lies the awe-inspiring Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park is a marvel of geological formations and a testament to Madagascar's beautiful places.The term "Tsingy" translates to "where one cannot walk barefoot," and once you witness the park's jagged limestone ...

  7. 12 Best Things to Do in Madagascar

    Madagascar is perhaps best-known for its lemurs—of which nearly 100 different species and sub-species live on the island—and for its massive baobab trees. The island is also home to the Tuléar reef, the world's third-largest coral reef system, making Madagascar one of the top scuba diving destinations in Africa.

  8. Must-see attractions Madagascar, Africa

    Discover the best attractions in Madagascar including Allée des Baobabs, Musée de la Photo, and Parc National Isalo. Lonely Planet. Destinations. Planning. Inspiration. Shop. Search. Saves. Open main menu. ... More destinations you need to see. South Africa. Morocco. Kenya. Tanzania. Egypt. For Explorers Everywhere. Follow us. become a member

  9. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Madagascar (UPDATED 2024)

    1. Lokobe Nature Special Reserve. First, you can only access the reserve by paddling a pirogue for 20-30min from a nearby village. 2. Avenue of the Baobabs. Best spot: getting a bit further during the sunset and watch the sun coming down in between the trees. 3. Isalo National Park.

  10. The Top Things to See and Do in Madagascar

    4. Nosy Be. Nosy Be is the place to go for Madagascar's trademark beaches. Located five miles off the coast of the main island, Nosy Be is a volcanic island that spans over 310 square kilometers (120 square miles). While it is a volcanic island, no eruptions have occurred in recorded history.

  11. Madagascar Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

    Madagascar is undoubtedly one of Africa's most fascinating countries, and certainly one of the continent's most unique. An island nation surrounded by the crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean, it's most famous for its incredible flora and fauna - from its charismatic lemurs to its towering baobab trees.Much of the country's wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth, and as such eco-tourism is ...

  12. Madagascar Travel Guide

    Isalo National Park. One of the best places to travel in southern Madagascar is Parc National d'Isalo. Midway between Fianarantsoa and Tuléar, this 810-square-kilometre sandstone plateau is a dramatic spectacle; its towering mesas and sculpted pillars creating a Monument Valley-style landscape.

  13. 10 Places To Visit In Madagascar To See A Unique Blend Of Nature

    7. Isalo National Park. Image Source. The surreal beauty of this national park makes it one of the best places to see in Madagascar. Tucked between Toliara and Fianarantsoa, this national park is considered the jewel of nature for its rock plateaus and an oasis of waterfalls.

  14. Madagascar travel guide 2023: Places to visit and top activities

    Parc National d'Isalo. A target for travellers overlanding from Antananarivo to Tuléar in southwest Madagascar, Isalo National Park is laced with inviting hiking trails, leading through ...

  15. Madagascar Travel Destinations

    Antsiranana Region. Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) Eastern Madagascar. Tamatave (Toamasina) Morondava District. Morondava. 1. 2. Where to go, best places to stay, travel tips and and best holiday destinations - inspiration from the experts at Lonely Planet.

  16. Madagascar Tourism: All You Need to Know Before You Go (2024)

    Madagascar Tourism: Tripadvisor has 1,11,753 reviews of Madagascar Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Madagascar Tourism resource. Skip to main content. Discover. Trips. ... Places to see, ways to wander, and signature experiences. 2023. Nosy Sakatia. 628. Islands.

  17. Tourism in Madagascar

    Avenue of the Baobabs, one of the most visited places in the country.. Despite a high potential for tourism, tourism in Madagascar is underdeveloped.Madagascar's tourist attractions include its beaches and biodiversity.The island's endemic wildlife and forests are unique tourist attractions. However, historical sites, craftsmen communities, and relaxed cities make it a favorite with return ...

  18. Places to visit Madagascar: tourist maps and must-see attractions

    Marojejy in the west and Zombitse in the south are wonderful national parks to watch birds, many of which are endemic to Madagascar. Baobabs, the trees that look like roots reaching for the sky also contribute to the island's natural riches. The Tsingy de Bemaraha are a must see. A UNESCO world heritage site since 1990, some describe these ...

  19. Home

    4 800 km of coasts. 23 million. inhabitants. Malagasy and. French. Dry season from April to Oct. Rainy season from Nov. to March. Come and discover all the treasures of Madagascar ! The country is full of incredible adventures to live and share : lemurs, whales, baobabs, Tsingy...

  20. 200 Million-Year-Old "Forest of Knives" Offers Glimpse into Madagascar

    Madagascar's Tsingy de Bemaraha is a geological marvel featuring towering limestone pinnacles and a thriving ecosystem. Dating back 200 million years, this UNESCO World Heritage site reveals ...

  21. List of tourist attractions in Moscow

    Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences. Gorky Park. Izmaylovskiy Park. Kolomenskoye. Losiny Ostrov National Park. Neskuchniy Garden. Sokolniki Park. Tsaritsyno Park. Fountain in Moscow's Square of Europe, lit at night.

  22. 17 Top Tourist Attractions in Moscow (+Photos)

    The interior is just as captivating to wander around, with its beautifully tiled floors and impressive altar. 8. Lenin Mausoleum. Opened to the public in 1924, Lenin's Mausoleum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Moscow. The red granite structure is located at the heart of the city in Red Square.

  23. Moscow

    Why visit Moscow? Majestic churches, impressive historic fortresses, and palatial buildings: Moscow is a fascinating city whose emblematic architecture reflects the turbulent history that has defined Russia throughout the centuries. The traces of the USSR can be found around every corner of the city, side by side with the iconic relics of Imperial Russia, like the mythical Red Square, the ...

  24. Moscow's Top 13

    Gorky Park. It is probably the most famous park in the Russian capital and the top Moscow tourist attractions - a novel and its film adaptation and a Russian rock band have its name and numerous songs by Russian and international bands and TV series, such as House of Cards, mention it or act here. Gorky Park is a premier green space offering ...