Fianar’s hilltop old town is one of the Madagascar’s most picturesque, with narrow lanes and views across the modern city and its rice fields.
Wonderful lemur-watching, including troops of habituated indris, plus night walks and decent hotels, just a three-hour drive from Antananarivo.
#03 Île Sainte Marie
Heaven on a plate for beach-bum natural history buffs, with leaf-tailed geckos camouflaged obligingly on every other branch and a beach to make grown men cry.
The real-life version of your local rainforest experience, complete with tumbling streams, buttress-rooted forest giants and thousands of life forms. Take a waterproof.
#06 Nosy Be
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.
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, with easy access, good hotels and camping.
Moist coastal forest and creeks, home to lemurs and chameleons, with glorious beaches and onshore whale-watching, as well as some excellent guides.