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Why travellers love Addis Ababa

Visit the birthplace of coffee, explore a millenium worth of history, wander through the bustling city centre and eat your fill of fantastic food – just some of the many reasons why international travellers can’t get enough of Addis Ababa. *

Coffee

Ethiopians have been drinking coffee for over 1000 years, and the Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a truly unique experience. The green coffee beans are roasted over open flames before being ground, placed into a clay pot, boiled, and sieved several times.

Tomoca Coffee Shop in the Piazza-downtown area

Tomoca Coffee Shop in the Piazza-downtown area

The roasting process can take over an hour, but Addis Ababa’s thriving cafe culture means that there are plenty of contemporary coffee shops for travellers in search of a caffeine hit on demand. The oldest coffee roaster in the city is Tomoca Coffee on Wawel Street, less than 10 minutes by car from the Marriott Executive Apartments.

Museums and History

As one of the world’s oldest civilisations, Ethiopia is brimming with history, and a visit to Addis Ababa should always start with a visit to see Lucy – the fossilized remains of one of the world’s earliest hominids. Housed in the National Museum of Ethiopia, Lucy is part of an exhibit that spans 1000 years and features everything from ancient statues to modern art.

The National Museum of Ethiopia

The National Museum of Ethiopia

For a sobering look at the country’s recent past, including Ethiopia's infamous Derg regime and the famine of the 1990s, pay a visit to the Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum.

Once you’re finished exploring the city’s past, take the short walk to Meskel Square – a bustling hub of industry surrounded by some of Addis Ababa’s grandest buildings, including the National Palace. Finally, after a busy day of sightseeing and exploring, retreat to the opulent Sheraton Addis and spend a few hours unwinding in the hotel’s spa.

Food

Traditional Ethiopian cuisine

Traditional Ethiopian cuisine

The classic combination in Ethiopian cuisine is sourdough pancakes (injera) topped with thick, spicy stew (wat). The plate-sized injera is piled high with the wat, and then the pancake’s edges are folded and torn away to create a handy parcel. It’s a way of eating that brilliantly showcases the country’s different flavours and fresh ingredients, but there’s a lot more to Ethiopian food, and visitors to Addis Ababa are in for a treat.

The best way to experience all the city has to offer from a culinary perspective are the Addis Eats Walking Food Tours, which are all about helping travellers eat like locals, alongside locals.

Injera topped with wat

Injera topped with wat

Visiting the open air markets and some of the most popular restaurants in the city will give you the chance to try sambusa (a fried dough pastry), chechebsa (injera cooked in berbere sauce and served with honey and eggs) and the ever-popular tej (honey wine). You’ll find many of these restaurants clustered together in the Bole district, and you can stay within easy reach of them all at the Impress Hotel.

** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the activities most endorsed in Addis Ababa by international travellers.