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Previously thought of as not a popular destination for holiday purposes, Antananarivo is the underdog which is now being brought into the spotlight because of its countless attractions. Symbolically representing the establishment while being the capital, Antananarivo is centred by the Rova Palace located atop the highest hill of the area, regarded as the Queen’s palace from the 17th century, which even though in ruins from a fire, has many of its ruins and basic structure intact. The rehabilitation of the site has added in monuments, while preserving a chapel and other landmarks. These include the Terra Cotta Bas Relief, with stone carvings depicting the royal rituals of the country’s monarchy. The Palace also overlooks the largest green areas like the Ambohimanga Gardens and the Avenue of the Royal Trees signifying plantation drives of the royals. Towards the upper borough area, the oldest colonial neighbourhood of Andohalo exists, which is highly regarded for its catholic Christian roots as well as red brick buildings. The St Laurient Church, the oldest missionary school, a catholic church and the Rainilaiarivony's Palace (Prime Minister’s palace) are all located here, with the palace serving as the national museum for preserving artefacts from the Queen’s palace as well as other landmarks. The Temple of Ambohipotsy, the temple of Ampahamarina and the Ambohimanoro cathedral are additional landmarks for the dedicated practice and following of Christian cultures and traditions fostered in the community. For wildlife species indigenous to Madagascar, there are over nine different types of Lemurs at the Lemurs Park, and other options are the Botanical and Zoological Park of Tsimbazaza having its Tsimbazaza zoo. The Is’Art art gallery and the Soavinandriamanitra Park are avenues for local art talent to exhibit their skills on canvasses, clothing wear and even performance arts. Head over to the famous Park Gasikara and explore the various characters that define the perfect model of Madagascar. It is home to the country’s most prized traditions, culture and a lot more and hence poses as one of the best spots to visit. Historical institutions also include an archaeological museum in the main independence avenue, which also includes the State Palace, and the Palace of Justice. A mini wonder within a city-wide tour is the Pirate Museum decked along the coasts. An ideal spot to get away from the city hustle and bustle is Mantasoa, providing an idyllic artificial lake designed in a heart-shape, known as Lake Anosy with complete banks and botanical gardens.
Some of the top airlines that are providing cheap flights from London to Antananarivo are Kenya Airways, South African Airways, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius and Air France.
Currently there are no airlines providing direct flights from London (UK) to Antananarivo.
The average flight time from London to Antananarivo is approximately 12 hours and 50 minutes, apart from a single stop over.
Ivato International Airport is the main international airport serving Antananarivo and is situated at a distance of 16 kilometres away from the city centre.
The airport provides its passengers with a regular Shuttle Van which will take you to and from the Antananarivo Airport to the city centre. This shuttle service takes the route from Airport to Isoraka or Analakely and will pick or drop you from any hotel that you are staying at.
The cheapest form of transportation however is the taxis which are easily available just outside the airport.
There are many ways to get around and explore Antananarivo. One of the most popular methods to navigate your way through the capital is by taking a taxi. However one should bargain a rate before getting into the taxi. There is heavy traffic on the roads which may cause delays hence it is advised to avoid the rush hours.
Another popular and cheap method of travelling is by taking a van. If you are comfortable sharing and squeezing into a tiny van then this is the best way to save up on travelling costs. Beyond the city towards the countryside as well as the towns, bush taxis have the monopoly catering for the entire transport traffic in the area.
The capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo is blessed with a temperate climate which is because of its altitude of over 1,300 meters hence the best time to visit is between April and December. This is because you would be avoiding the wet and cyclone season.
The hotel and accommodation options in Antananarivo range from being located in the old colonial segments, with boutique chalets and refurbished buildings transformed into guest houses, some providing deluxe rooms to even suites. Exclusivity is the main catch, with the general trend more focused on heritage and culture rather than luxury amenities like spas and pools. Dining is facilitated traditionally with attached restaurants and cuisines. Owing to excessive French influence dominating the country, the couple of international hotels which are present follow French themes, and are the only examples present of modern towers dominating the urban centre. Towards the boroughs and the port, there are places and rooms with verandas in single story buildings to facilitate good views of the coast.