Discover Lalibela

Any trip to northern Ethiopia is incomplete without a visit to Lalibela. Its rock-hewn churches, stunning landscapes, and amazing restaurants make it a must-see in the country. To this day, Lalibela remains the living, beating heart of spiritual Ethiopia.
5 Days

Discover Lalibela - 5 - $736

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

With the rock-hewn churches taking centre stage, it can be all too easy to whizz past this fascinating town in a day or two, never to return, having left so much undiscovered. If you've got a little extra time to play with, the highlands around Lalibela have a lot to offer, and it's easy to weave these wonderful destinations into your itinerary. 

Churches and Monasteries

The monasteries of Yemrehane Kristos, Asheton Maryam, and Nakuta La'ab are an afternoon drive away from central Lalibela. 

Mountain Peaks

Sitting at 4,260m above sea level, Abuna Yoseph is the 6th highest peak in Ethiopia, and the 19th highest in Africa. It's a challenging but rewarding hike that offers stunning views of the northern highlands and Goha Mountains. 

Hudad Lodge & Local Hikes

Locally run, Hudad Lodge is perched on the edge of an escarpment outside Lalibela. A short drive takes you to the trailhead, and a moderate hike of 2-3 hours brings you to the lodge. The views on the trail and at the lodge are staggering, and it's the perfect way to spend a final night in Lalibela before continuing your onward journey. 

Ben Abeba

Ethiopia meets Scotland. Everything about Ben Abeba is incredible. From the location atop a spine of hills, to the Ethiopian modernist architecture and - of course - the delicious menu designed to be a fusion of Ethiopian and Scottish flavours. Anyone for an Ethiopian scotch egg?

Brilliant says: while not included in this itinerary, you might want to consider including some community trekking in Wollo, just outside Lalibela. Wollo is where community trekking first began in 2004, and the meditative walks and jaw-dropping views have been delighting travellers ever since.

Start from Addis Ababa and end at Addis Ababa

Landmarks potentially visited on Discover Lalibela


Day 1: The Adventure Begins

Catch a flight from Addis Ababa to Lalibela where your guide will be waiting for you. Spend the afternoon exploring the clusters of rock-hewn churches. You'll begin with the north-western cluster: Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, and Bet Danaghel. Our local guides will help you understand the historic significance of this World Heritage Site.

If you're lucky enough to visit during one of the religious festivals, you'll be a part of something few people ever experience. 

Accommodation: Top Twelve Hotel

Accommodation Upgrade Options: Mezena Lodge, Maribela Hotel, Ben Abeba Hotel

Meals: None

Day 2: Hudad Lodge

Your day starts with an early morning service before visiting the south-eastern cluster of churches: Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos.

Finally, visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis. If you've done any research into Lalibela, you'll have seen pictures of Bet Giyorgis. It's the most well-preserved of all the churches and is a sure highlight of any visit of Lalibela. 

In the afternoon, hike to Hudad Lodge. This hike can take anywhere from 1.5 to 5 hours depending on your starting point. We'll happily make the appropriate arrangements to limit/maximise your hiking time depending on your preferences. En route, visit Asheton Maryam, a church carved into the cliff face at an elevation of nearly 4,000m. Spend the afternoon in the hills of Lalibela. 

Accommodation: Hudad Lodge

Accommodation Upgrade Options: None

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Abuna Yosef

For the ambitious hiker, today affords the opportunity to visit the Abuna Yosef Mountain (4260m). This is a full day of hiking (~9 hours) and should not be underestimated. Challenging though it may be, the rewards are well worth it as you soak up the views from over 4,000m, You might even be able to spot an endemic Ethiopia Wolf. For those less interested in hiking, you can spend the day exploring around the lodge - there's no shortage of smaller hiking routes. Overnight at a local village. 

Accommodation: Home stay 

Accommodation Upgrade Options: None

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Ancient Monasteries

Today you'll hike for around 4-7 hours to Yimrehane Kristos, an under-appreciated gem of Lalibela. In stark contrast to the famous rock-hewn churches, Yimrehane Kristos was built rather than excavated, and is likely to pre-date the rock-hewn churches by nearly a century. The elaborate decoration of the interior is juxtaposed by the mummified bodies that inhabit the caves behind the church. 

In the afternoon, your driver will take you back to Lalibela where an evening spent at the breathtaking Ben Abeba is an absolute must. 

Accommodation: Top Twelve Hotel

Accommodation Upgrade Options: Mezena Lodge, Maribela Hotel, Ben Abeba Hotel

Meals: None

Day 5: Onward journey or return home

Catch a flight to Lalibela to Addis Ababa to connect with your international flight home, or to continue your onward journey. 

Prices and Inclusions

Prices are per person based on 2 people travelling together. Price is guideline only. Price will depend on your final itinerary, group size, accommodation choices, and time of year. 


  • Domestic flights. 
  • Airport transfers and road transport by private minibus.
  • Accommodation based on double/ twin room sharing.
  • Meal plan bed and breakfast. Full board (including mineral water) trekking.
  • Fees for entrances and local guides for activities mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All government taxes for the services included in the tour price.


  • International flights and visa fees.
  • Lunches and dinners, unless stated as included above.
  • Activities not mentioned or stated as optional in the itinerary.
  • Fees for photos and video.
  • Other personal expenses, souvenirs, tips and gratuities, etc.

Questions about this Trip?