Mekele Travel Guide

Mekele is a hidden gem in Ethiopia. This travel guide will help you explore the history, culture, cuisine, and natural beauty of Mekele.

Introduction to Mekele

Mekele is a hidden gem in northern Ethiopia that is often overlooked by tourists. Known as the “capital of Tigray,” Mekele is a vibrant and dynamic city that offers visitors the opportunity to experience the culture, history, and natural beauty of this region. The city is home to several museums, historic landmarks, and stunning natural wonders, making it an ideal destination for travelers interested in exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations.

List of Places to Visit in Mekele

If you’re planning a trip to Mekele, there are several must-visit attractions that you can’t miss. Here is a list of the top places to visit in Mekele:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. The Emperor Yohannes IV Palace Museum
  2. The Martyrs Memorial Museum
  3. The Mekele Museum of Modern Art
  4. The Adi-Haki Church

Natural Attractions of Mekele: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. The Hawzien Mountains
  2. The Wukro Chirkos Church and Gheralta Lodge
  3. The Lake Hashenge

Hiking/Biking Routes of Mekele

Mekele is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The region offers several hiking and biking routes that are ideal for travelers looking to get off the beaten path and explore the stunning natural beauty of the region. Here are some of our top picks:

  1. The Gheralta Cluster
  2. The Tigray Plateau
  3. The Adwa Mountains

Best Things to Do in Mekele: Activities and Tours

Mekele offers a wide range of activities and tours for visitors. From cultural experiences to outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in Mekele. Here are some of the best things to do in Mekele:

  1. Take a cultural tour of the city
  2. Go on a hiking or biking adventure
  3. Visit a local market and try traditional food
  4. Attend a coffee ceremony and learn about the local coffee culture
  5. Take a cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional Ethiopian dishes

Week-Long Itinerary for Mekele

If you have a week to spend in Mekele, here is a suggested itinerary:

Day Activity
1 Arrival in Mekele, check-in at hotel, visit the Emperor Yohannes IV Palace Museum
2 Hike the Gheralta Cluster
3 Visit the Adi-Haki Church, the Martyrs Memorial Museum, and the Mekele Museum of Modern Art
4 Visit Lake Hashenge and enjoy a picnic lunch
5 Take a cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional Ethiopian dishes
6 Spend the day exploring the Tigray Plateau
7 Departure from Mekele

Food and Drink Scene of Mekele

Ethiopian cuisine is world-renowned for being flavorful, spicy, and healthy. Mekele is no exception, and offers a wide range of dishes and beverages that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Injera (a sourdough flatbread)
  2. Doro Wat (spicy chicken stew)
  3. Tibs (grilled meat)

Local Beverages

  1. Tella (a type of beer made from fermented barley)
  2. Tej (a sweet, honey wine)
  3. Coffee (Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and Mekele is known for its delicious brews)

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

Mekele offers a range of accommodation options for travelers of all budgets. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a budget-friendly hostel, you’ll find something that meets your needs. Here are some of the best places to stay in Mekele:

  1. Mekele Hotel
  2. Planet Hotel
  3. Adihaki Hotel
  4. Ayder Hotel and Resort

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

Mekele is known for its vibrant marketplaces and traditional handicrafts. Here are some souvenirs and local products that you can buy in Mekele:

  1. Handmade baskets
  2. Traditional Ethiopian clothing
  3. Spices and herbs
  4. Coffee beans

Local Culture and Customs of Mekele

Ethiopia has a rich and diverse culture that is rooted in history, tradition, and religion. Mekele is no exception, and visitors to the city will have the opportunity to experience the local culture and customs firsthand. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Ethiopians are very religious and conservative, so it’s important to dress respectfully and avoid any behavior that might be considered offensive.
  2. Ethiopians are known for their hospitality, and visitors are often invited to share a meal, drink coffee, or attend a ceremony with locals.
  3. Customs and traditions vary from region to region, so it’s important to be aware of the local customs and practices when visiting a new area.

Best Time to Visit Mekele

The best time to visit Mekele is from October to March, when the weather is mild and dry. During this time, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and sightseeing without the discomfort of extreme temperatures or rain.

Do’s and Don’ts of Mekele


  1. Dress respectfully and avoid any behavior that might be considered offensive.
  2. Try the local cuisine and coffee.
  3. Visit local markets and participate in cultural activities.
  4. Be respectful of local customs and traditions.


  1. Display affection in public.
  2. Take photos of people without their permission.
  3. Drink tap water without boiling or filtering it first.
  4. Visit or photograph religious sites without permission.

Safety and Health

Safety in Mekele

Mekele is generally a safe destination for tourists, and visitors are unlikely to encounter any serious safety issues. However, as with any foreign destination, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips:

  1. Avoid traveling alone at night.
  2. Keep your valuables in a safe place.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid unfamiliar areas.

Health in Mekele

Visitors to Mekele should take precautions to protect their health. Here are some tips:

  1. Drink bottled water or filtered water.
  2. Bring insect repellent and use it regularly.
  3. Consider getting a vaccination for yellow fever.

Getting to Mekele: Transportation Options and Logistics

Mekele is easily accessible by air or by bus.

Airports Near Mekele

  1. Alula Aba Nega Airport (MQX)
  2. Bole International Airport (ADD)

Bus Stations Near Mekele

  1. Mekele Bus Station
  2. Adigrat Bus Station

Other Options

Renting a car or hiring a private driver is also an option for visitors who prefer to travel at their own pace.

How to Get Around in Mekele

Taxis and buses are the most common modes of transportation in Mekele. Taxis are affordable and easy to find in the city center, while buses offer a more cost-effective option for longer journeys. Visitors who prefer to travel independently can also rent a car or hire a private driver.

Where to Go Next from Mekele: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Mekele is a great base from which to explore the Tigray region. Here are some nearby destinations and excursions that you can visit:

  1. The Church of Abuna Yemata Guh
  2. The Gheralta Mountains
  3. The Axumite Empire ruins in Axum


Mekele is a hidden gem in northern Ethiopia that offers visitors the opportunity to experience the culture, history, and natural beauty of this region. From museums and historic landmarks to outdoor adventures and delicious cuisine, Mekele has something for everyone. Whether you’re planning a week-long tour or just a short visit, we hope this travel guide has helped you plan your trip to Mekele.