Do you want to know what to do in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city? We just spent a couple of days there and we had lots of fun!
Antananarivo, also known as Tana, is the capital city of Madagascar, the fourth biggest island in the World, located off the
coast of Africa. This city is situated on a hilltop and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Antananarivo has a unique blend of African and Asian cultures and is famous for its historical sites and delicious cuisine.
For us, it was one of my least favorite cities in the country, mostly because it is a very crowded place. And we are also not big fans of cities. It is advisable to be careful while wandering the streets, don’t show your valuables.
In this travel blog, we will explore what to do in Antananarivo, the top attractions of Antananarivo, and give you an insight into this fascinating city.
What to do in Antananarivo Madagascar Capital City:
Walk to Andohalo Cathedral
Andohalo Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral, that was built in the early 19th century during the reign of Queen Ranavalona I, but it has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years. The cathedral’s architecture is a blend of European and Malagasy styles, with a large central dome and two bell towers. It is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city and an important religious center in the country.
The view from Andohalo Cathedral in Antananarivo is quite stunning. As the cathedral is located on top of a hill, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. From the cathedral’s courtyard, visitors can see the red roofs of the city’s traditional houses and buildings.
Visit Rova of Antananarivo
The Rova of Antananarivo is a royal palace that served as the residence of the Merina dynasty. The palace was constructed in the 17th century and is situated on a hilltop, offering a breathtaking view of the city.
The palace complex includes several buildings, including the Queen’s Palace, the Prime Minister’s Palace, and the Royal Tombs. The Rova of Antananarivo is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and offers an insight into Madagascar’s rich history.
Tsarasaotra Park is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Antananarivo. The park is situated on an artificial lake and is home to several species of birds and aquatic life. Visitors can take a relaxing stroll around the lake, watch the sunset, and enjoy the serene surroundings. The park also features a children’s playground and picnic areas, making it a perfect destination for families.
Explore one of many Antananarivo markets
Crowded, chaotic, dirty, and smelly. Antananarivo markets are truly something special! Antananarivo has a variety of markets selling local crafts, spices, and produce. The Analakely Market is the largest and most famous, but there are plenty of others worth exploring, like the Andohalo Market.
You can buy empty plastic bottles, new or used clothes and lots of food. If you are into buying something, bargaining is welcome, if not, just walking around will do the justice. Be careful with your valuables! Hide your phone and wallet.
Explore the town on foot
Antananarivo is a hilly city with narrow, winding streets and staircases. Walking around is a great way to explore the city’s architecture, history, and culture. Just don’t wander around at night.
Try local cuisine
Antananarivo has a variety of restaurants serving traditional Malagasy cuisine. Some popular dishes include romazava (beef stew), ravitoto (pork and cassava leaves), samosa, and vary sosoa (rice mixed with vegetables and meat).
The Queen’s Palace Museum
The Queen’s Palace Museum is a fascinating museum that showcases Madagascar’s history and culture. The museum is located in the Rova of Antananarivo and features several exhibitions, including the history of the Merina dynasty, the country’s independence struggle, and the royal family’s life. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum, learn about Madagascar’s history, and
appreciate the country’s art and craftsmanship.
Lemurs Park is a conservation area located on the outskirts of Antananarivo but totally worth a trip. The park is home to
several species of lemurs, which are native to Madagascar. Visitors can take a guided tour of the park, learn about the lemurs’ behavior and habitat, and observe them in their natural environment. The park also features several walking trails, a botanical garden, and a restaurant, making it a perfect destination for a day trip.
Antananarivo – a unique experience
Antananarivo is a city full of surprises, offering visitors a unique experience that combines culture shock, history,
culture, and interesting cuisine. For us, it for sure wasn’t the highlight of our Madagascar travel, but we still enjoyed it there.
If we could, we would skip it, but most of us start our Madagascar travel in the capital. So let’s take the most out of the situation. 🙂