When we published our article about Kenyattan Market, many people asked us: How did you get to Nairobi? Did you take a direct flight? Did you stop somewhere on the way? The answer is yes, we stopped. The first stop during our trip to Africa was Ethiopia. After almost 8 hours flight from Dublin, we finally landed in Addis Ababa. When we got out of the plane, we checked flight’s schedule, and we noticed, that our next flight was in 10 hours ! What a great opportunity to explore the city. First thing we did before we took our transition visa was filling out the form, where you put your personal info like: date of birth, passport number etc.
Because we arrived in the morning, the line wasn’t that long as usual, so we did all the paperwork in 10 minutes and finally we left the airport. The airport is not that far from the city, so you can take the bus and be in downtown in 10 mins. What can you expect in the morning after a long flight?! You are starving! Obviously, we started to look for some local traditional ethiopian breakfast. As we arrived on Sunday early morning, it took us a while to find a good place opened. After arriving to an ethiopian restaurant, we ordered the famous Injera (Ethiopian sour and spongy round bread with mincemeat and sauces) and Shirofirfir (Mix it with vegetables and spicy berbere sauce and local bread). It was delicious !
After breakfast we jumped into the city discovery. The first impression we had was that the city is well connected with public transportation. It is easy to get from point A to point B. Also, it is possible to get to the main areas as they are accessible by walking distance. The first place we decided to visit was The Lion of Judah Statue.
This attraction is located on Churchill Street. It is one of the most famous historical monuments in Addis Ababa. After taking few pictures we hailed a cab and went to the National Museum of Ethiopia.
We had a few things on our list to see, and one of them was the world-famous Lucy, the oldest human skeleton ever discovered. She’s 3.2 million years old and was named after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Inside the museum you can find a range of exhibit arts from all over Ethiopia. This was an amazing moment that we surely recommend!
After 8 hours of flight and the good walk, we suddenly felt a little bit sleepy.. it was the perfect time to fuel up at the oldest and best coffee shop in Addis, Tomoca, located in the hectic Piazza district. If you are a coffee lover, we highly recommend this place. This is a typical local’s spot and they are very happy to see tourists would advise you on the best coffee according to your taste ! What we noticed inside was beautiful decorations, the smell of freshly ground coffee and description of each type of coffee. We ordered 1 black coffee (really strong) and 1 macchiato. In the shop you can also buy coffee in packages.
After drinking this delicious regional coffee, we came back to life and went to the city for a walk. During our walk we saw different architecture of buildings, churches (like Holy Trinity Cathedral), streets. We really enjoyed our walk.
Our goal was also to buy some souvenirs, and what is the best place to buy souvenir gifts in Addis? Without a second thought, Addis Merkato. This place is one of the biggest African markets. They are selling everything from baskets and scarves to jewelry. Located west of Addis city centre, it is a good place to see how locals are doing grocery shopping Even if you are not planning to buy anything, it is a good idea for walk and to feel local vibes.
After few hours walking there, we started feeling hungry again, so we decided to go for one last meal before going back to the airport. After a quick search we chose to go to YOD Abyssinia restaurant (which is located not far away from the airport), where they serve traditional Ethiopian food. When we entered the placed, a waitress who was wearing regional outfit welcomed us very politely. She took us to our table and we started exploring the menu. Inside restaurant, we noticed beautiful decoration and local music. This time we ordered Try Firfir with Ethiopian bread and sauces. Before they brought our food, to welcome us, they came to us to wash our hands! It is a tradition in Ethiopian houses and restaurants to give respect to the guests.
The food was really good I must say, and I noticed that the space is very suitable for tourists groups as well.
After we finished our food, we took a bus and we went to the airport. It was a really good day in Addis Ababa with mix of activities, good walking tours and good vibes. If you guys have some longer layovers, don’t hesitate to go outside the airport and discover place on the way to your final destination!
- To avoid the line in a security check after your arrival, we recommend you to apply for transit visa online (it is cheaper and faster)
- Don’t exchange money at the airport (you can take out some cash at ATM and change money in a city for better rates)
- Don’t take taxi from the airport to the main road is only 3 min walk and you can take it from there
- If you are planning to visit National Museum of Ethiopia, get there before 4 pm. The last admission is at 4.30 and museum closes at 5.30 pm