Antananarivo, nicknamed Tana, is the largest city and capital of Madagascar and is usually considered a get-in-and-get-out kind of place. There is much to see in Madagascar, so why spend more than the absolutely necessary in its high-altitude capital?
It's true that if you expect a plethora of sights and a smooth tourist experience in this city, you will probably be disappointed as the infrastructure just isn't there. But then that could be said about almost any city in Africa. Getting around will take a bit of effort, but on the other hand, with a five-star Carlton hotel in town you know it's not going to be exactly *that* bad either.
The city has an interesting set-up, being built on three different levels (downtown, intermediate and upper town). The upper level has sights like Le Rova (the Queen's Palace) and Prime Minister's Palace which are worth heading up to. The former is an imposing building that used to be the seat of the Merina royals, sat high in the hills from where you can get good views of the city. Other sights in the upper levels include the cathedral while in the downtown the Avenue de l´Indépendence is worth a visit if you want to do some souvenir shopping (for instance for jewellery) and mingle with the locals. Lake Anosy with its jacaranda trees is a quite scenic area that is good for a casual stroll around.
Outside of town you find the royal retreat of Ambohimanga, which although not exactly well-kept is worth visiting to learn more about the Malagasy culture and history. Make sure to get a guide. [Review by travelindicator]
- Antananarivo is a city in Madagascar. It has a population of 1,613,375, is situated at an altitude of 4104ft and the best airport to fly into is TNR (Ivato International Airport, Antananarivo)
- The main spoken language here is Malagasy, and the average English skill is low
- Note: Antananarivo is a good point of entry for trips to Madagascar as it is well internationally connected (by air)
- The currency used in Madagascar is the Malagasy ariayry (MGA)
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More Antananarivo travel resources
At World66 you find a list of 5 must-do's which is not too bad, but the best resource you are likely to come across is the very extensive and detailed Travel Madagascar. Then there is the Antanarivo Wikitravel and well, not much else really.