Analakely Market, Antananarivo, Madagascar

Antananarivo

Often overlooked as a place to endure for a night at the start or end of your Madagascar holiday, there is so much more to the capital (known locally as Tana) than just as a stopover city.

Literally translated as “City of a Thousand” in reference to the king’s 1,000 Merina warriors used to protect it, the city resembles a chaotic Mediterranean hill town, built on hillsides rich in jacaranda, running down to the rice paddies that surround it.

Antananarivo landscape music tour
Antananarivo, Madagascar

A little more about Antananarivo

Split into two regions (upper and lower towns) the city is full of bustling streets, many of which are interspersed with hundreds of ancient stone steps leading to fascinating historical and architectural sites, and market stalls selling every kind of goods imaginable.

Travel in Madagascar may mean that you may have to spend a few nights in Tana during your trip, so make the most of the fascinating Merina tombs nearby and the World Heritage Site of Ambohimanga – off-limits for many years to Europeans.

Experiences

What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Antananarivo Markets

Explore avenues and alleyways, taking you through markets, museums and daily life.

Buildings on a hillside in the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar

Explore Antananarivo

Explore this hill city of coloured houses surrounded by rice paddies.

Man on a cart pulled by Zebu, Madagascar

Merina Culture

Experience the rich culture of the Merina people – the dominant tribe in this area.

Antananarivo landscape music tour

Antananarivo Music Tour

Take an urban Malagasy music tour around Antananarivo.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

La Varangue £££££

  • Madagascar
  • City

This lovely old creole style house oozes colonial charm with the brightly painted shutters and national flags on the outside a colourful contrast to the whitewashed walls and corridors. Vintage cars parked outside and the cool, darkly wooded interiors lit at night by hurricane lamps complete the picture, but its location, hidden away down a steep lane next to the Presidential Palace makes it feel even more exclusive.

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Maison Gallieni £££££

  • Madagascar
  • Boutique

Maison Gallieni is located within the Consulate of Monaco’s building in a side street along the middle of town, with good views across the city of Antananarivo. With just four rooms, enjoy being treated like a visiting dignitary – it’s not every day you get to stay in an Ambassador’s home, particularly one as stylish and welcoming as this. As you enter the cool, spacious lobby you notice the impeccable design and contemporary furnishings that make this a very special place indeed. With attentive staff, fascinating portraits and a number of interesting pieces of art adorning the walls of the main lounge and dining room upstairs, this is a place to relax and unwind enjoying a moment of serenity amidst the buzz of Antananarivo.

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Relais Des Plateaux £££££

  • Madagascar
  • City

Relais Des Plateaux is in a residential area, just 10 minutes from the airport and an hour from the city centre. There are 42 en suite rooms with the choice of luxury and family suites. Facilities include a large restaurant with seating both inside and outside, a heated swimming pool with recliners, a large bar, and a shop.

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Lokanga Boutique Hotel £££££

  • Madagascar
  • City

One of the smallest hotels in Tana, the property has gained a reputation as one of the friendliest places in the city. Each of the six bedrooms is decorated with vintage furniture, but include a splash of contemporary styling to lift the design.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Having trekked through rainforests, searched for ancient tombs and been mistaken for a priest, Chris continues to travel the length and breadth of this beautiful, baffling country. Whilst many people consider Madagascar a wildlife destination, he finds the culture and landscapes just as captivating.

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  • 01285 880 980

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