The popular northern circuit can be covered in between five and eight days by air or two weeks by road. Append some time in Addis Ababa and take a detour to the Simiens and Harar if you have time.
1 Addis Ababa
Don’t miss the National Museum, a fine introduction to Ethiopian history, or the incendiary local food and dancing at Habesha 2000.
2 Lake Tana
Basing yourself at the port city of Bahir Dar, take a scenic boat trip to the monasteries of the wooded Zege Peninsula.
3 Blue Nile Falls
Witnessed in the rainy season, the Blue Nile Falls are one of the most spectacular cataracts anywhere in Africa.
Head north from Lake Tana to absorb the Portuguese-influenced stone castles and churches of the former capital.
5 Simien Mountains National Park
Day walks or overnight hikes in this mountainous park come with a certainty of encountering, among others, the endemic gelada monkey and spectacular lammergeyer.
Explore the ancient stelae and ruined palaces that litter this most ancient fulcrum of Ethiopian culture.
A tour of the town’s famous rock-hewn churches could be followed by a day hike to Asheton Maryam or a drive to the churches around Bilbilla.
Fly east, via Addis Ababa, to enjoy this Islamic walled citadel and its legendary hyena men.