Destination Guide: Antananarivo
Colonial architecture, lively markets and peaceful garden escapes
Explore Antananarivo or ‘Tana’, Madagascar’s capital, straddling two ridges and
ringed by rice paddies. Climb from bustling Basse Ville to quieter Haute Ville, from
the crowded markets of Analakely to tranquil Jardin Antaninarenina and the
attractive old buildings of Isoraka.
Food and Drink
Dine at sumptuous patisseries and local Malagasy eateries. Relive Haute
Ville’s heyday in restored, century-old houses specialising in Malagasy
dishes. In Isoraka you can try French-influenced food or Creole cuisine.
Treat yourself to decadent pastries and ice-cream at charming patisseries in
Basse Ville, or snack at food stalls in Antananarivo’s market area.
Sightseeing and relaxation
Discover regal history and real Malagasy life. Glimpse the former grandeur of
Madagascar’s Merina royalty at the Queen’s Palace, the Rova. Escape
Antananarivo’s hubbub by strolling around the heart-shaped lake, Lac Anosy,
stopping at flower stalls, barbers’ shops and the war memorials before
treating yourself to spa treatments at luxurious Balnéoforme Colbert.
Take home local specialities and handicrafts. Buy bunches of vanilla pods from
vendors lining the steps climbing away from Antananarivo’s Avenue de
l’Indépendance. Ascend to Antaninarenina and Isoraka to find
jewellers, art shops and craft boutiques. Tana locals sell embroidery, raffia
basketry, carved zebu horn and paper embedded with pressed flowers at the artisan
markets of Andravoahangy and La Digue.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Experience traditional Madagascan sights and sounds. Watch a session of
traditional music known as hira gasy at Andavamamba or see folklore
stories performed as a mix of opera, dance and spoken word. Concerts and theatre
performances take place at Antananarivo’s Centre Albert Camus. For a drink
accompanied by local jazz, visit Grill du Rova below the Queen’s Palace.