• Explore this hill city of coloured houses surrounded by rice paddies
  • Best place in the country to experience the rich Merina Culture and history
  • Avenues and alleyways take you through markets, museums and daily life
  • Nearby sacred tombs and world heritage sites for a few days exploring


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 Kings 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.

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. 


Try and catch a performance of Hira Gasy, a striking mix of music, dance, opera and the spoken word - hard to find as this is a very local affair. Failing this, try and catch the flower market on the outskirts of town every Sunday – a dazzling display of colour.




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