Lalibela and Northern Ethiopia

About Lalibela and Northern Ethiopia

Lalibela is a small rural village, set against a stunning backdrop of the Lasta mountains in the eastern highlands of northern Ethiopia. It is best known for its 13 rock-hewn churches, made by hand over 900 years ago and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The churches are arguably the most impressive historical site anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa.  

Some of the lesser known attractions around Lalibela are the four equally historic but less frequently visited churches in the small village of Billbilla, and also the relatively new community reserve established to protect the endemic wildlife that inhabits the upper slopes of Mount Abune Yoseph. Elsewhere in the region, the twin towns of Dessie and Kombolcha are very useful overnight stops which provide access to the scenic Lake Hayk and the busy Bati livestock market,. The modest town of Weldiya is best known for its Tuesday and Saturday markets but is primarily used as the main springboard for public transport to Lalibela.

For more information, why not speak to one of our experts on +44 (0) 20 7843 3500 or email info@africatravel.co.uk


  • No visit would be complete without seeing the famous monolithic churches.
  • Take a highland trek across smooth rock paths to churches cut from white cliffs.
  • Lalibela's many markets are a great place to buy local handicrafts and take in the array of colours on offer.


  • Walia Ibex
  • Gelada Baboon
  • Lammergeier


Lalibela's position in the central highlands of Ethiopia means that it receives its heaviest rainfall from June to early October, but a visit is possible all year round.


In The Know

    • It's worth going on a guided tour when you visit the rock-hewn churches, you'll learn about the history and special features of each building before you enter them. 
    • A visit to the churches will cost an entrance fee of 50 US$ but if you don't want to visit all the churches, you can take part in the Mass and avoid paying an entrance fee.
    • There are several direct flights running every day to Lalibela from Addis Ababa.

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