Small Group Ethiopian Festival Tours

Discover the world of the ancient Ethiopians as you take these festival tours on the Historic Route of Ethiopia. With more than 80 different ethnic groups living together with traditions as old as humanity itself, Ethiopia is a melting pot of cultures. In this fascinating country, you will be amazed to witness how ancient historical traditions have been preserved in a remarkable manner for thousands of years. And, indeed, the ceremonies and rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church open a window on the authentic world of the Old Testament. Like nowhere else, in this country you will find yourself so dramatically transported back in time to participate freely in the sacred rituals of an ancient faith.

Below you will find small group departure festival tours carefully crafted around some of the most important and colorful festivals in the Ethiopian calendar. On these tours, you will also visit the unmatched sites of Ethiopia’s Historic Route among which four of the sites are listed under UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Step back in time and explore thousands of years of history, legend, and lore as you take these trips to the Historic Route of Ethiopia to witness some of the most colorful and ancient Christian festivals.

    Ethiopian Easter Festival — 9 Days

    Join us on this trip of discovery as we witness an ancient way of celebrating Easter and explore the world of the ancient Ethiopians. Step back in time and celebrate Easter the way it has been performed for centuries. You will be amazed how ancient historical traditions and unique African culture have been preserved in an incredible manner. 

    This tour takes you deep into the land that used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago. Moreover, it is a past which began as the cradle of mankind. Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the magnificent Simien Mountains, the less-visited rock-hewn churches of Tigray, the Great Blue Nile Falls, and last but not least, the friendly and charming people.

    Trip Highlights

    • Celebrate of Ethiopian Easter.
    • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
    • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
    • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world”. 
    • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
    • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
    • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
    • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
    • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
    • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
    • Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine
    • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

    Tour Guide

    This tour will be led 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 and always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They 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 AC and seat belts.

    Note: On this trip, there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa that must be arranged separately.


    On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa. On the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team.


    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. If you arrive in the morning, we will arrange a city tour.

    Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

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

    In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stopovers at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

    Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

    Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

    In the morning, we will take boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

    Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

    Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

    After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery arriving around lunchtime.
    After lunch, we tour the ancient city of Gondar.

    Overnight: Goha Hotel

    Day 5: Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

    After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. The rest of the day, we trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

    Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

    Day 6: Gondar, Lalibela (B, D)

    After breakfast, we will drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute we will stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim of living together peacefully and working collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are very important.

    Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

    Day 7: Good Friday at Lalibela (B, D)

    After an early breakfast, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to as one of "the living wonders of the world". The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis. In the afternoon, we will witness the Good Friday ceremony at Bete Mariam rock-hewn church. This is a special day for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and it is celebrated with great devotion and in a very ancient way.

    On this day, the faithful who have been fasting the whole day without any food or water, dressed in their dazzling white cloths, walk to St. Mary’s Church to attend service. The devotion of the faithful and the special centuries-old practices for this day that remember the suffering of Jesus Christ when he was crucified is very emotional. 

    Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

    Day 8: Lalibela (B, D)

    In the morning you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvellous past with a visit to other Lalibela  churches. The rock-hewn churches that you will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most colourful annual Easter markets at Lalibela. In the evening, you will witness one of the most important ceremonies of Easter in one of the biggest rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Bete Medhani Alem.

    In the evening, all the rock-hewn churches will be filled with people who have been fasting for 55 days. None of them have eaten anything at least for a day and half without any food and water. They are here to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There will be prayers and a candlelit ceremony accompanied by chanting and dancing of the priest until 3:00 in the morning. After the ceremony is over, everybody goes home to break the fast with the special Easter meal.

    Overnight: Mount View Hotel, Lalibela

    Day 9: Ethiopian Easter Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

    After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure, an optional city tour can be arranged.

    In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary special Easter farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks. Flight schedule permitting, there will also be cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to your trip! At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

    Dates: 2023 and 2024 on request

    Rate per person sharing double: $2,212.00 USD
    Single supplement: $602.00 USD


    • Roundtrip as per program
    • All necessary transfers
    • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
    • All meals as stated in the program
    • All entrance fees
    • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
    • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)

    Not Included

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


    Additional Info

    • Trip Type: Cultural
    • TourCode: GHET-FF4
    • JourneyType: Small Group Fixed Departure
    • TourDuration: 9 Days, April 21–29, 2019
    • Activities/Description: Join us on this trip of discovery as we witness the ancient ways of celebrating Easter and explore the world of the ancient Ethiopians.
    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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