Adigrat Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, activities to do, food to try, and tips for safety and health in Adigrat, Ethiopia. Plan your trip with this comprehensive travel guide.

Adigrat Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Adigrat is a charming city located in the northernmost part of Ethiopia in East Africa. Known for its cultural heritage and natural attractions, it is a popular destination for tourists who want to explore the beauty of Ethiopia. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will take you through all the must-visit places, things to do, and useful tips for visiting Adigrat.

Introduction to Adigrat

Adigrat is situated in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, which is known for its rugged mountains and ancient history. The city itself is surrounded by stunning landscapes of dry desert land and rocky hillsides. With easy access to some of Ethiopia’s most treasured historical sites and natural wonders, Adigrat is a bustling hub of tourism.

List of Places to Visit in Adigrat

Adigrat offers a plethora of attractions for travelers. Here is a list of some of the must-visit places:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Wukro Chirkos: It is one of the oldest and most respected Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches, located in Wukro town, which is just 10 km north of Adigrat. Visitors can explore the fascinating architecture and learn about the history of the church.
  • Abuna Yemata Guh Church: This church is located on top of a cliff, 2,580 meters above sea level. It is a challenging hike to reach the church, but the views and experience are one of a kind.
  • Mariam Korkor Church: This church is built into a cave and offers a unique experience for visitors. The cave is surrounded by a stunning landscape of mountains and valleys.
  • Adwa Battlefield: Adwa is a small town located 30 km west of Adigrat. On March 1, 1896, the Battle of Adwa between Ethiopian and Italian forces took place, which led to the victory of Ethiopian forces. Visitors can explore the museum and the battlefield.
  • Tigrai Rock-Hewn Churches: Located about 50 km south of Adigrat, the rock-hewn churches of Tigrai are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are renowned for their unique architecture and historical significance.

Natural Attractions of Adigrat: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Gheralta Mountains: Located near Adigrat, the Gheralta Mountains are highly regarded for their scenic beauty and stunning rock formations.
  • Dallol Depression: It is one of the hottest and driest places on earth. The area is characterized by bizarre landscapes of sulfuric hot springs and salt formations.
  • Lake Afrera: Located in the Afar Depression, Lake Afrera is a saltwater lake with therapeutic properties. Visitors can swim in the lake and enjoy the scenic beauty around.
  • Simien Mountains National Park: Located about 140 km northwest of Adigrat, the Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to rare species such as the Ethiopian wolf and the Gelada baboon.
  • Gashena Abune Yosef National Park: Located 105 km south of Adigrat, this park offers breathtaking views of its mountains and valleys. Visitors can spot animals like the Ethiopian wolf, ibex, and hyena.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Adigrat

Adigrat is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the best hiking and biking trails:

  • Gheralta Mountains Trek: This trek covers some of the most scenic parts of the Gheralta Mountains. Visitors can see the local communities, historic monasteries and climb to the peaks.
  • Dallol and Erta Ale Tour: This tour takes visitors to the otherworldly landscapes of the Dallol Depression, the salt flats of Lake Afrera, and finally to the Erta Ale volcano where they can see the lava lake.
  • Tigray Rock-Hewn Churches Trek: Visitors can trek to the churches in the Tigrai region, which are set in the incredible cliffs and rock formations. The trek offers great views and exposure to local culture.
  • Simien Mountains Trek: Visitors can trek through the Simien Mountains, which feature a vast expanse of breathtaking landscape and diverse wildlife.

Best Things to Do in Adigrat: Activities and Tours

  • Explore the Museums: Adigrat is home to several museums that provide insights into the history and culture of the region. We recommend visiting Adigrat Museum and Wukro Museum.
  • Visit the Local Markets: The local markets are perfect for travelers who want to experience the daily life of the local people. Adigrat and Wukro are famous for their bustling markets that offer everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.
  • Attend Festivals and Celebrations: Ethiopia is famous for its festivals, and Adigrat is no exception. The Maskal, Timket, and Fasika celebrations are worth attending if you’re in the area.
  • Join a Guided Tour: To make the most of your time in Adigrat, it’s best to join a guided tour. A knowledgeable tour guide can help you better understand the local customs, history and navigate the area.

Week-Long Itinerary for Adigrat

Here is a suggested week-long itinerary to explore Adigrat:

Day Activities
1 Arrival in Adigrat; explore the city; visit the Adigrat Museum
2 Visit Wukro and its famous Chirkos Church; hike to the Mariam Korkor Church
3 Trek to some of the Tigrai Rock-Hewn Churches
4 Explore the Gheralta Mountains
5 Visit the Dallol Depression and Lake Afrera
6 Explore the Simien Mountains national park and hike to Chenek camp; spot some endemic wildlife
7 Departure from Adigrat

Food and Drink Scene of Adigrat

Ethiopian cuisine is famous for its unique flavors and delicious dishes. Adigrat has its own unique culinary culture as well. Here are some must-try dishes and beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Injera: Injera, a flatbread made from teff flour, is the staple food of Ethiopia. It is often served with flavorful stews and curries.
  • Tibs: Tibs is a dish of sautéed meat (beef, lamb, or chicken) mixed with vegetables and spices.
  • Kitfo: Kitfo is a delight for meat lovers. It is made from minced raw beef, seasoned with spices, and served with injera.
  • Shiro: Shiro is a vegetarian dish made from ground chickpeas or lentils, mixed with spices and served with injera.

Local Beverages

  • Tej: Tej is a delicious honey wine that is often served at traditional Ethiopian ceremonies and celebrations. It’s a must-try for alcohol lovers.
  • Coffee: Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and Adigrat is no exception when it comes to love for good coffee. You can find an excellent cup of coffee in every café.

Where to Stay in Adigrat: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Adigrat offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Some of the best places to stay are:

  • Agoro Lodge: Agoro Lodge offers guests a comfortable and affordable place to stay with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Atse Yohannes Hotel: Atse Yohannes Hotel is a high-end hotel that provides luxury amenities to its guests. It is located in a quiet and peaceful area of Adigrat.
  • Korkor Lodge: Korkor Lodge is a charming eco-lodge built on a hill overlooking the town. It offers stunning views, comfortable rooms, and tasty food.

What to Buy in Adigrat: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Adigrat is known for its handicrafts and beautiful textiles. Here are some of the best items to buy:

  • Tigrayan Textiles: The Tigray region is known for its handwoven textiles such as shawls, scarfs, and traditional dresses.
  • Ethiopian Coffee: Ethiopia is famous for its coffee beans, which are some of the finest in the world.
  • Handmade Knives: The Tigray region is known for its well-crafted knives made from locally sourced steel.

Local Culture and Customs of Adigrat

Adigrat is rich in cultural heritage, and visitors should be aware of the local customs and manners. Ethiopians have a strong sense of hospitality and tend to be extremely friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Tipping is not required but appreciated. Ethiopians also dress conservatively, so it’s advisable to avoid wearing revealing clothing.

Best Time to Visit Adigrat

The best time to visit Adigrat is from September to April. During this time, the weather is warm and dry, perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Adigrat


  • Learn a few words of the local language (Tigrinya).
  • Respect local customs and dress conservatively.
  • Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat for outdoor activities.


  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol in public areas.
  • Don’t take pictures of people without their consent.

Safety and Health

Safety in Adigrat

Adigrat is generally a safe city; however, visitors should take precautions to avoid theft and pickpocketing in crowded areas. It is also advisable to carry a copy of important documents and to keep valuables in a safe place.

Health in Adigrat

Visitors should be aware of the potential health risks associated with traveling to Ethiopia. It is recommended that travelers visit their healthcare provider to get vaccinations and prophylaxis for diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and malaria. It is also important to drink bottled water and avoid food from street vendors.

Getting to Adigrat: Transportation Options and Logistics

Adigrat is located 903 km north of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Here are some options for getting to Adigrat:

Airports Near Adigrat

The nearest airport to Adigrat is the Mekele Alula Abanega Airport, located about 115 km from the city center. You can fly to Addis Ababa and then take a connecting flight to Mekele.

Bus Stations Near Adigrat

Adigrat has two bus stations - the Northern Bus Station and Southern Bus Station. Buses run from Adigrat to other Ethiopian cities such as Mekele, Axum, and Addis Ababa.

Other Options

  • Private Cars/Taxis: Visitors can hire private cars or taxis to travel to Adigrat from Mekele or Addis Ababa.
  • Motorbikes/Scooters: Visitors can rent motorbikes or scooters to explore the area.

How to Get Around in Adigrat

Adigrat is a small city, and visitors can easily explore it on foot. However, for longer distances, you can use tuk-tuks or taxis available on the streets.

Where to Go Next from Adigrat: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Adigrat is centrally located, making it a great base for exploring the surrounding regions. Here are some nearby destinations to visit:

  • Axum: Located about 141 km north of Adigrat, Axum is one of Ethiopia’s ancient capitals and is famous for its rock-hewn churches and ancient obelisks.
  • Mekele: Mekele is the capital city of the Tigray region and is located about 115 km from Adigrat.
  • Danakil Depression: Located about 250 km east of Adigrat, the Danakil Depression is a surreal landscape of volcanic activity and otherworldly geology.
  • Lalibela: Located about 336 km south of Adigrat, Lalibela is a town famous for its 11 rock-hewn churches that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


Adigrat is a fascinating destination that offers a mix of stunning landscapes, historical sites, and friendly local people. With this comprehensive travel guide, you can plan your trip efficiently and make the most of your time in Adigrat. We hope this guide has been helpful in planning your Adigrat itinerary and for exploring this beautiful part of Ethiopia.