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North Ethiopia Luxury (13 days)

About this Tour:

This tour is ideal for travelers who would like to explore the highlights of Northern Ethiopia without rush and without renouncing any comfort. This is our Luxury Northern Ethiopia Tour using only the best hotel and lodges outside of Addis Ababa. it is of course always possible to change our suggested hotels


  • Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar
  • Boat trip on lake Tana with unique island monasteries and nature (animal viewing- and excellent birding)
  • Former imperial town of Gondar (UNESCO world heritage site)
  • Breath-taking landscapes of the Simien Mountains with numerous endemic animals (UNESCO world natural site)
  • Former imperial town of Axum with many relics of a several thousand-year-old civilizations (UNESCO world heritage site)
  • Trekking to the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray in the Gheralta Mountains
  • Lalibela, the unofficial 8th wonder of the world (UNESCO world heritage site)

Short Info:

  • Tour Code: WET-NE-13
  • Hotel standard: highest standard available
  • Number of domestic flights: 2
  • Required fitness level: no requirements

Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa and City Tour

Upon arrival at Bole International Airport you will be met by a Welcome Ethiopia Tours representative and be taken to your reserved hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we have various sightseeing options:

  • Mount Entoto with the best views over the capital.
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where you can see a variety of artifacts from all the different regions reflecting the history and culture of the country
  • National Museum which among other exhibits the 3.5-million-year-old bones of Lucy.
  • Trinity Cathedral: this is the burial place of members of the imperial family and noted patriots; the cathedral is the most magnificent of its kind in the country, ornamented with carvings, mosaics and other artistic works.
  • The Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa

Accommodation: Golden Tulip Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa

Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Bahir Dar (flight)

In the morning, you will fly to Bahir Dar, where you will be picked up at the airport and be transferred to your lodge on the shore of Lake Tana.
Afternoon: Visit to the Blue Nile Falls
After lunch we will visit to the magnificent Blue Nile Falls. The water plunges here for 45m (148ft). It is about 35km/1hour drive from town. In the later afternoon, we drive back to Bahir Dar and discover the market, where you may purchase handicrafts like jewellery, woven and embroidered garments, ox-horn cups or grass baskets (Agelgil), for which Bahir Dar is well known, or simply watch the indigenous culture of the local community
Accomodation: Kuriftu Lodge or Sky Resort, Bahirdar

Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia

Day 3: Full Day in Bahir Dar

Morning: Boat Cruise on Lake Tana
After breakfast, we explore to the nearby monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret on the Zege peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass-roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals, the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret churches. Its architectural styles with mud plastered round wall and a conical thatched roof are typical examples of ancient Ethiopian orthodox churches. The monastery is found hidden in the forest of the Zege peninsula. Ura is especially well known for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, ecclesial objects, such as the crown of various emperors dating from the 14th century, gold and silver processional crosses, silver drums and royal vestments. On our walk through the densely forested area we hope to encounter monkeys and abundant bird life. On the lake you will also have a chance to see hippos and more wildlife.
After lunch you will have the chance to either take a stroll through the town or enjoy the beautiful resort on the shore of Lake Tana, famous for its sunset.
Hotel: Kuriftu Lodge, Bahir Dar (

Lake Tana, Ethiopia

Day 4: Bahir Dar – Gondar (170 km)

After breakfast we drive to Gondar, a 17th century royal city of Ethiopia, affluent in the imperial structure of a Castle Compound and the spectacularly painted Debre Birhan Selassie Church.
After lunch, we visit to the royal enclosures of Fassil Ghibe and all the castles of the Gonderian emperors as well as the famous Debre Berhan Selassie Church, which is completely covered in murals, with the angels’ faces on the wooden ceiling that have become a trademark of Ethiopian art and design.
Hotel: Gondar Hills Resort, Gonder

Gondar, Ethiopia

Day 5: Gondar – Simien Mountains National Park (120 km)

Morning /Afternoon:
Early in the morning, we continue our journey to the Simien Mountains National Park auf. We will reach the Simien lodge, the highest lodge in Africa, around noon. After lunch, we start exploring the Simien Mountains National Park. Due to its unique landscape and its endemic fauna the park has been declared a UNESCO world nature heritage site in 1996. In the park, you may experience the very close interaction with the friendly Gelada Baboons.

Accommodation: Simien or Limalimo Lodge, Simien Mountain National Park

Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Day 6: Full day in the Simien Mountain National Park

Today we drive up to Sankaber (3220m) and admire the impressive scenery with its deep gorges and valleys and the highest waterfall in Ethiopia, the Jinber (the gate to hell). Here a gentle walk would take us about 2 hours. We later drive back to the lodge. We hope to encounter further endemic animals, such as the Walia Ibex and the Simien fox.

Accommodation: Simien or Limalimo Lodge, Simien Mountain National Park

Gelada Baboons, Simien Mountains

Day 7:  Simien Mountains National Park – Axum (244 km)

After breakfast, we continue our way to Axum (approx. 7h) with once again stunning views. Axum at an altitude of 1637m is considered a holy city in Ethiopia where Ethiopian Christianity is said to have begun, dating back over 2000 years. The Axumite kingdom is considered the cradle of Ethiopian civilization.

Hotel: Atranos Fantasy Hotel, Axum

Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Day 8: Full Day in Axum

The city tour of Axum includes: Axum stelae or obelisks, the largest single piece of stone erected by human beings anywhere in the world, castles of former monarchs, Mariam Tsion Church which is built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church, the Palace of Queen Sheba, the inscriptions King Ezana’s and the tombs of the kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel.

Hotel: Atranos Fantasy Hotel, Axum

Axum, Ethiopia

Day 9: Axum – Yeha – Hawsen / Gheralta Mountains (200 km)

After breakfast, we will visit the temple of Yeha (approx. 50km / 1 hour.). The way passes through Adwa, where in 1896 the famous battle between the Ethiopians and Italians tool place. Yeha was a pre-axumite settlement and is famous for its well-preserved stone temple with 12 m high walls estimated to be 2‘500 years old.
After lunch, we drive through the amazing rocky landscapes of Tigray to Hawzen (approx. 3 hours)

Accommodation: Gheralta or Korkor Lodge, Hawzen

Gheralta Mountains, Ethiopia

Day 10:  Gheralta Mountains – Mekele (120 km)

In Hawzen we have the option of a spectacular half-day trekking into the Gheralta Mountains to explore the churches of Maryam and Daniel Korkor, which are built on top of several hundred-meter-high cliffs. The views from the cliff top over the plains of Hawzen are truly magic.
After lunch, we drive to Mekele and will visit the wonderful rock-hewn church of Abreha We Atsbeha on the way.

Hotel: Hotel Mekele

Hawzen, Gheralta Mountains

Day 11: Mekele – Lalibela (370 km)

Morning / Afternoon:
Today we have a rather long drive (approx. 8 hours) to Lalibela. However, the beautiful and ever-changing landscapes as well as the many villages on the way should make the drive still entertaining and enjoyable. We will reach Lalibela in the late afternoon.

Hotel: Maribela Hotel or similar, Lalibela

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Day 12: Full Day in Lalibela

We will visit the 11-renowned rock hewn churches of Lalibela, also known as the “8th wonder of the world”. The Lalibela rock hewn churches are physically carved from the rock on which they stand. These towering edifices seem to be a superhuman creation in scale, workmanship and concept. Some are sculptured out of a solid volcanic rock, others are connected by long underground tunnel and mazes. Some are quarried enlargements of caves. The first group of six churches lies in rock cradles, one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikeal, Bet Mariam, Bet Maskel, Bet Dangal and Bet Medhanealem. Bet Med Medhanealem hane’alem, the largest rock hewn church in the world is built like a Greek temple.
After lunch, we will visit to the second group of churches located to the south of the river Jordan. The second group comprises Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches. Bet Giyorgis lies somewhat isolated to the southwestern part of the village on a slopping rock terrace and can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four churches, south of the river Jordan river, comprises Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Aba Libanos and Bet Gabriel and Rufeal. Bet Emanuel’s elaborated exterior has been much praised by international art historians.

Hotel: Maribela Hotel or similar, Lalibela

Church Ceremony, Lalibela

Day 13: Lalibela – Addis Ababa (flight)

Depending on the flight times, we could visit the Ne’akuto Le’ab Monastery outside the town.
You will be picked up at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and taken to your hotel (day room until 6 pm). According to your interests, there are various sightseeing and shopping opportunities.
In the evening you will be invited to a memorable farewell dinner in one of Addis Ababa’s traditional restaurants with cultural songs, dances and traditional food and drinks. You will then be transferred to either Bole International Airport or, if you continue your stay in Ethiopia, to your reserved hotel.

End of Tour

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