Cultural Tour "Historic Route" with Harar and Awash — 18 Days

    Witness one of “the living wonders of the world” with a visit to the 12th-century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. On this journey, you will discover an ancient African civilization with a centuries-old culture.

    This cultural tour takes you on Ethiopia’s Historic Route North with the Simien Mountains, splendid Gheralta clusters, the ancient city of Harar, and Awash National Park. You will visit five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 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 walled city of Harar, Awash National Park, and the Great Blue Nile Falls, as well as the friendly and charming people.

    Trip Highlights

    • Visit six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two of which are national parks 
    • Be amazed by a visit to 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
    • Experience breathtaking highland scenery
    • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant
    • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
    • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries
    • Visit the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile falls
    • Discover an old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam
    • Discover the wildlife of Awash National Park
    • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Africa’s capital
    • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa 
    • Try the varied Ethiopian food
    • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony


    Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

    Arrive in Addis Ababa and afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

    In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

    In the morning, visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, visit the Blue Nile Falls.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

    After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery. In the afternoon, visit the castle compound from the 17th century and Debre Birhan Selassie Church.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

    After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park.
    Overnight: Lodge

    Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

    After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of Simien Mountains, Limalimo, and Tekeze River Gorge.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 7: Axum, Yeha

    After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, we have an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

    In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountainous of Adwa.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 9: Hauzien

    Today, you will explore the Tigray rock-hewn churches and the beautiful surrounding mountains of the area.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 10: Hauzien, Mekele

    In the morning, we drive to Mekele enroute visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 11: Mekele, Lalibela

    After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 12: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

    In the morning, we visit the first group of rock-hewn churches built from the 12th century. In the afternoon, we continue visiting the rock-hewn churches in the second group.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 13: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

    In the morning, we take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery.
    O/N: Hotel

    Day 14: Lalibela, Addis Ababa

    After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, we take a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, and Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 15: Addis Ababa, Diredawa, Harar

    In the morning, we fly to Diredawa and continue driving to Harar. For the rest of the day, we visit the ancient city.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 16: Full day in Harar

    In the morning, we visit the colorful open-air African markets and walk around the ancient city. After lunch, we visit the Hadere villages.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 17: Harar, Awash National Park, Nazreth

    In the morning, we drive to Nazreth through Awash National Park.
    Overnight: Hotel

    Day 18: Nazreth, Debre Zeit, Addis Ababa

    In the morning, we drive to Addis Ababa through the crater lakes of Debre Zeit. The rest of the day is left for shopping and preparation for the flight back.

    Additional Info

    • Trip Type: Cultural Tour
    • TourCode: GHET-028
    • JourneyType: Private Journey
    • TourDuration: 17 Days
    • Activities/Description: This Highlights of Ethiopia tour includes the mind-blowing rock-hewn churches at Lalibela and exploration of this amazing culture. Welcome to the beauty of Ethiopia’s Historic Route. The magnificent cultures and landscapes are indicative of an extraordinary past. It has left a mark on the land, the people, and their monuments. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago in what used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind.
    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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