Following the footsteps of the Queen of Sheba

10 Days - Cultural Tour to The Historical Route and Simien Mountains

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

    As you travel by road on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be able to explore more of the country's less-visited sites, beautiful nature, culture, and history as all these unfold in front of you each and every mile. As you drive from Addis Ababa, you will pass through many villages and small towns. On this route, you will stop at Jemma River Gorge and you will be driving through 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 a visit to 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 Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls. 
    • Explore the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
    • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum.
    • Visit different lesser-visited sites and meet with the local people. 
    • Try varied Ethiopian food.
    • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.


    Depending on the category of hotel 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 good hotels or in the best-available tourist-standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team regularly.

    Planned Hotels

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


    • 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

    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 well.

    Our Drivers

    Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know all the terrain and valleys you will be traveling in. 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 use well-maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling in. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

    Note: On this trip, there will be a domestic flight from Axum to Lalibela and then to Addis Ababa. The domestic flight 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 by your tour guide and driven to Jupiter Hotel (4*). For the rest of the day, you will take a city tour of Addis Ababa, which includes the National Museum, one of the churches in Addis Ababa, the Piassa, the Mercato, and the view from Mount Entoto. If you arrive later, the city tour will be on the last day.

    Accommodation: Hotel

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

    In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at various small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.The Blue Nile Gorge is a majestic and enormous river gorge that has a magnificent, alluring natural beauty. It is referred to by many as “the Grand Canyon of Ethiopia”. It’s one of the most captivating gorges in Africa.

    Accommodation: Hotel

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

    In the morning, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

    Accommodation: Hotel

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

    After breakfast, we will drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. Founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, Gondar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its many medieval castles and the design and architecture of its churches. Debre Berhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art. This afternoon, you will visit this ancient city.

    Accommodation: Hotel

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

    After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, you will be stunned with the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rest of the day we will trek among troops of endemic Gelada Baboons to explore the surrounding area of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park. 

    Accommodation: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras 

    Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum (B, D)

    After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains, to the Limalimo Lodge in the Tekeze River Gorge. While driving from the Simien Mountains to Axum, you will stop briefly in different parts of the park for the best views. You will have a picnic lunch under the shade of the trees past the Tekeze River Gorge and enjoy the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance. Then, we will drive to Axum.

    Accommodation: Hotel

    Day 7: Axum, Yeha (B, D)

    After breakfast, we visit the ancient city of Axum. This is the birthplace of the Ethiopian civilization and the last resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. This morning we visit the ancient city of Axum and explore the ancient steles and the ruins of the palace of Queen of Sheba and its major attractions. In the afternoon, we take an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

    Accommodation: Hotel

    Day 8: Axum, Lalibela (B, D)

    After having an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Axum Airport for your flight to Lalibela. After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the site 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

    Day 9: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela (B, D)

    In the morning, take a mule ride, and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. This is very 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

    Day 10: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

    After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Here, you will have a city tour if you didn't have one on the first day.

    Flight schedule permitting, 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 end to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner party, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight home. End of tour.

    B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner


    Rates are per person in USD.

    Rates on request

    Group size: 2–8



    • Roundtrip as per program
    • Transport in minibus or coaster bus with AC
    • All necessary transfers
    • Nine nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star hotel in Addis Ababa) 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 begins and ends in Addis Ababa. Tour may be longer with flights to and from Addis Ababa.

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

    Additional Info

    • Tour Type: Cultural Tour
    • Limited To: 8 Guests
    • Duration: 10 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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