Compact Historic Route of Ethiopia Tour

7 Days - Cultural Tour

    This cultural tour focuses on the ancient history and culture as well as the people and nature of the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia. Among other things on this tour, you will visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites as we follow in the footsteps of the legendary Queen of Sheba.

    As you travel by road on the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be able to explore more of the country's less-visited natural and cultural sites as history unfolds in front of you each and every mile. From Addis Ababa, you will pass through many villages and small towns stopping at Jemma River Gorge and the magnificent Blue Nile River Gorge, Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon.

    You can book this tour on any date as an individual journey.

    Trip Highlights

    • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
    • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
    • Explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. 
    • Visit the ruins of the Queen of Sheba.
    • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar. 
    • Visit the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park, "the Roof of Africa".
    • Discover the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. 
    • Visit the source of the mighty river, the Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls. 
    • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
    • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum.
    • Visit less-visited sites and meet the local people. 
    • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
    • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.


    Depending on the category you booked on this trip, you will be staying in either in a 3- or 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa; and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts that are selected and regularly inspected by our team. 

    Planned Hotels


    • Addis Abeba: Jupiter Bole
    • Bair Dar: Avanti Blue Nile
    • Gondar: Goha
    • Axum: Sabaen
    • Lalibela: Tukul Village


    • Addis Ababa: Venetian or Heyday
    • Bahir Dar: Rahnile
    • Gondar: AG-Hotel
    • Axum: Consular
    • Lalibela: Harbe

    In case these hotels are not available, we will provide accomodation in hotels of a similar quality and standard.

    Tour Guide

    This tour will be lead by our experienced, A-rated friendly cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Ethiopia well.

    Our Drivers

    Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling in well. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe and have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.


    On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be traveling primarily by coaster bus. We have well-maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

    Note: This trip requires domestic flights from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela, and Addis Ababa. These  flights must be arranged separately.

    Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

    Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel.

    For the rest of the day, you will take a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, one of the churches of Addis Ababa, the Piassa, and the view from Mount Entoto.

    Accommodation: Hotel in Addis Ababa

    Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

    In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. At Bahirdar, you will be picked by your driver for the transfer to your hotel. After checking into the hotel in the morning, we will take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter twenty monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. In the afternoon, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

    Accommodation: Hotel in Bahirdar

    Day 3: Bahirdar, Gondar (B, D)

    After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

    Gondar was founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635. This UNESCO World Heritage is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and architecture of its churches. In particular, Debre Berhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian School of traditional art. This afternoon, you will visit the ancient city.

    Accommodation: Hotel

    Day 4: Gondar, Axum (B, D)

    In the morning, transfer to the airport for your short flight to Axum. After checking into your hotel, you will spend the day visiting the ancient city of Axum. This city is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization and the last resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Accommodation: Hotel in Axum

    Day 5: Axum, Lalibela (B, D)

    After an early breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Axum airport for your flight to Lalibela. After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the site of a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to by many as one of "the living wonders of the world." These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine — the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

    Today, we will visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. In the evening, there will be a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

    Accommodation: Hotel in Lalibela

    Day 6: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela (B, D)

    In the morning, we will take a mule ride, and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, which is famous for its 12th-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft. above sea level. 

    After having lunch and resting at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches — their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed!

    Accommodation: Hotel in Lalibela

    Day 7: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

    After breakfast, you transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. After checking into the hotel, you will take city tour of Addis Ababa for the rest of the day that includes the Mercato and the view of Addis Ababa from Entoto. You will also have the chance to walk around the Piassa and Churchill Avenue for shopping.

    In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with a traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner party, transfer to Addis Ababa airport. End of tour.

    B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner


    Rates on request



    • Roundtrip as per program
    • Transport in minibus or coaster bus with AC
    • All necessary transfers
    • 6 nights accommodation in good hotels in double rooms
    • All meals as stated in the program
    • All entrance fees
    • Boat trip on Lake Tana
    • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
    • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
    • Taxes

    Not Included

    • Visa fees
    • Tips
    • Meals not stated in the program
    • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
    • Domestic flights

    Tour Duration

    The tour duration shown above does not included the flights to/from Addis Ababa. 

    Call +0251-116-183163 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

    Additional Info

    • Tour Type: Cultural Tour
    • Limited To: 8 Guests
    • Duration: 7 Days
    • Price: on request
    Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours has been operating responsible travel activity and adventure holidays in Ethiopia for more than a decade.Travel to Ethiopia with Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours and discover amazing Ethiopia. We have a wide selection of holiday tour packages including the following: cultural tours for groups and individuals, family holiday options, varied adventure tours and travel packages, photo expeditions, trekking adventure holidays, cultural explorations in the Omo Valley, and photo tours in Ethiopia. We are the local travel specialists and the leading Ethiopian tour operator based in Addis Ababa. Contact us for your holiday in Ethiopia.
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