On this blog post you can find all the top sights, activities and restaurants in Madagascars capital city Antananarivo. Often shortened to Tana, Antananarivo is the first introduction to Madagascar for most travellers as it’s where the international flights land. Some people skip Antananarivo and go straight to the national parks of Madagascar, but I think it would be a shame to not visit Tana. I recommend spending a day or two in this capital city to see all the top sights and experience some of the nice activities that Antananarivo has to offer. Besides my tips for sights and activities I’m also sharing my food tips for Tana. As always, I’m also letting you know where you can get nice vegetarian food.
Rova of Antananarivo
This royal palace complex is located high up on the hill of Tana. You’ll be able to see it from anywhere in the city. If you want to enter the grounds you’ll have to pay an entrance fee, and a guide is mandatory which you’ll also have to pay. The complex is abandoned, so you can’t enter the building itself.
Lemur’s Park is a beautiful small park about 30km West of Antananarivo. As the name suggest, you can see several species of lemurs here. The park is closed by a wall on one side and a river on the other, so the lemurs will stay in the park. There are several spots where the lemurs get leaves to eat so you can always see a few of them around those points. Your guide will help you see them. We also saw a tortoise and a chameleon, even though we heard it’s quite rare that you see chameleons there.
Lake Anosy is a heart-shaped lake in Antananarivo. It’s an artificial lake and you do need a bit of imagination to see the heart shape. The water is very polluted but it’s a nice walk to walk to pathway to the French monument for the soldiers who passed away in World War I.
The Presidential Palace is one of the few well maintained and impressive buildings of the city. It’s heavily guarded and you can’t visit it. I found out after I took this picture that you aren’t allowed to photograph it, so don’t do what I did.
It’s a nice experience to visit a street market. There aren’t any market stalls, but the people sell their goods on the street. You’ll see many fruits and vegetables, but also plastic toys or alive turkeys.
Le Buffet Du Jardin
Restaurant Le Buffet du Jardin is a great stop for lunch in Antananarivo. It’s centrally located on the Place de l’Independance and has a garden where you can eat outside. The garden is enclosed by a fence with plants on it, so you’re enjoying your food in a green environment. They have several vegetarian options on the menu, like this vegetarian club sandwich. You won’t be hungry for a while when you’ve finished this club sandwich!
Hotel and restaurant Le Glacier is located at the beginning of Avenue de l’Independance. They’ve got a balcony from which you’ve got great views of the lively street. They’ve got several vegetarian options at Le Glacier, including this vegetarian pizza. It’s big enough to share with two if you aren’t particularly hungry.
Grand Hotel Urban
Grand Hotel Urban is a great place for a drink in the evening or if you’re looking for some good Western style food. They’ve got tapas on the menu that are also great for starters. For main dishes they’ve got salads, pastas and hamburgers. This might sound simple, but the dishes are high quality and very tasty. Vegetarian options include these nachos as a starter or pasta with a leek creme and cheese as a main dish.
I recommend staying in hotel Niaouly during your stay in Antananarivo. They’ve got a very good price-quality ratio and offer airport pick-ups and drop-offs. They’ve also got a nice restaurant with a balcony for dinner outside. You can read more about Hotel Niaouly on this page. Hotel Sakamanga is also a nice hotel.