3 days

Historic Lalibela Extension

Historic Lalibela Extension

Addis Ababa's Art Deco architecture

UNESCO World Heritage-listed rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

Trip rating
  • Step back in time for a few days in ancient Lalibela. Explore the medieval rock-hewn churches and hidden crypts and grottoes carved into the red volcanic rock underlying the town almost a millenia ago.


    This trip will be discontinued from 01 January, 2015.

    Why we love it

    • Step back in time for a few days in ancient Lalibela.
    • Explore the medieval rock-hewn churches and hidden crypts and grottoes carved into the red volcanic rock underlying the town almost a millenia ago.
    • The 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela inspire the same breathtaking reaction as Machu Picchu or Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, but you won’t have to battle the crowds to see them.


    Day 1 - Addis Ababa

    • On arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Please ensure your flight arrives prior to 11.30am so that you can partake in the afternoon city tour.
    • At 2pm, after checking into your hotel, you will be collected for your afternoon city tour.
    • You will visit the National Museum, which consists of archeological collections from as early as Lucy (3.5 Million Years old) and other fossils of primates from earlier periods. This museum also includes archeological collections from the ancient civilization of Axum and other major sites in northern Ethiopia.
    • Merkato is the biggest market in the east Africa and its bustling outdoor markets are very colorful reminders of more traditional way of life. Addis Ababa's cosy espresso bars and pastries are reminiscent of Rome and the Mediterranean world and the people, the bursts of music from the cafes and shops, the pungent aromas of spicy cooking, of coffee and frankincense, form a unique Ethiopian pastiche.
    • This evening you will be treated to a meal at the well-known Habesha restaurant that serves national food and has traditional dancing. If you want to sample an authentic Ethiopian meal, this is the best restaurant to do it - serving different varieties meat dishes and vegetarian fasting food. There is also live music and traditional dancing every night.
    Global Hotel or similar

    Day 2-3 - Lalibela

    • You will take an early morning flight from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, where you will stay for two nights. Lalibela is one of the world's greatest historical and religious sites in the Christian world. Between 1137 and 1270, several astounding rock-hewn churches were constructed in Lalibela. Whilst these churches are definitely Ethiopia’s top attraction, the town of Lalibela, which lies in the Lasta Mountains at a height of 2630 metres above sea level, is a very isolated place. Lalibela’s churches are astounding because most are not carved into the rocks, but actually freed entirely from them.
    • Two afternoons are spent exploring the town churches. The Northern Group contains seven churches, a tomb, a chapel and a sunken chapel. At the centre of the group is Bet Medhane Alem, measuring 33.5 metres by 23.5 metres and said to be the largest rock-hewn church in the world. A tunnel connects three of the churches in a courtyard to the east, whilst another tunnel connects two other churches to the west of Bet Medhane Alem. However it is Bet Giyorgis (St George's), carved in the form of a Greek cross and lying slightly apart from the main northern cluster, which is the most famous and frequently photographed. This church is exceptionally well-preserved and is probably the most visually perfect. The Eastern group of five churches includes the only hypogeous church, where only the roof remains attached to the overhead rock.
    • On the morning of Day 3, you will drive for 42 kilometres out of Lalibela to Yemrehanna Kristos - the most incredible church outside of Lalibela. According to local tradition the church was built by King Yemrehanna Kristos between 1087 and 1127, and it was built within a cave rather than excavated. It sits atop a foundation of olive wood panels and features whitewashed marble panel exteriors. It is one of the most incredible sights, but is rarely visited by tourists due to its remote location.
    Lalibela or similar

    Day 4 - Addis Ababa

    • This morning will be at leisure to walk through the cobbled streets of Lalibela. Alternatively you may choose to take an optional morning mule ride to Ashetan Maryam Church, sitting atop a 3150 metre high mountain that overlooks Lalibela.
    • An afternoon flight takes you back to Addis Ababa. Your tour will end on arrival at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport in the afternoon. If departing from Ethiopia today, your flight out of Addis Ababa should not be booked to depart before 7.30pm. Additional post tour accommodation is also available in Addis Ababa (at additional cost).
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • An experienced, English-speaking local leader for sightseeing activities only
    • Return airport transfers
    • Return flight from Addis Ababa to Lalibela
    • Accommodation

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Tips
    • Personal items

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.

    Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or putting it on the ground and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PFEX
Start City: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
End City: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Style: Independent

What to know

Extra accommodation can be pre-booked at additional cost.

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