When is the best time to go to Lalibela?
In general, the best time of year to visit Lalibela is between October and March during the dry season, when the weather is warm and the sky is clear.
Daytime temperatures hover in the mid-twenties, which means the conditions are pleasant and enjoyable for exploring the town or heading off into the surrounding highlands for hikes.
Due to the high altitude, the temperature can drop considerably at night, so warm clothes are still essential!
Lalibela's bustling saturday markets
To really experience the magic of Lalibela, we recommend visiting at the weekend. Every Saturday is market day, and the bustling, colourful marketplace is not to be missed. Here, visitors can join in with the crowds of vendors and shoppers to buy some delicious snacks or pick up the perfect souvenir from the wide range of unique local handicrafts on offer.
There is something about the chaos of these markets that bring the entire town to life - the sounds of the thousands talking and shouting, and friendly faces smiling at you as you meander through the maze.
Sunday morning service in the rock-hewn churches
Sunday is also a wonderful time to be in Lalibela. The stunning 13th century rock-hewn churches in the town are amazing any day of the week, but they really come alive on Sunday. The churches are still in active use - over 900 years after their creation - and soaking up the atmosphere during a Sunday morning service is an amazing experience.
Hundreds of white-robed locals arrive at dawn to pray and sing worship songs, bringing the churches to life. This is Ethiopia at its best.
January Festivals in Lalibela
The churches are incredibly important during Ethiopian Christmas as well, which takes place on the 7th of January. Thousands of pilgrims arrive in Lalibela for the festivities, and the town really comes alive. At this time, it can be harder to find accommodation and prices will rise due to the high demand, though visitors can save by planning well in advance. If you're visiting at this time, be prepared for big crowds and lots of noise!
Timkat, another major festival on the Ethiopian Calendar, falls on 19th January each year. Lalibela is one of the best places to be to experience the festival (Gonder and Addis Ababa are also great options at this time).
Visit Lalibela on these trips
Whatever your budget, interests, or appetite for adventure - get in touch with us and we can help create your perfect Ethiopian adventure.
Historic North and Luxury Lodges
Experience Ethiopia's northern circuit in style. Explore the incredible highland scenery, visit ancient monuments, discover unique cultural traditions, and break up your journey at luxury lodges set amongst incredible backdrops.…
- 12 Days
Historic North Circuit
Explore the Simien Mountains from a luxury lodge perched high in the escarpment, discover the architectural remains of ancient civilisations, and watch the sun set over the sandstone cliffs of Tigray. The Historic North Circuit is a flagship itinerary in…
- 12 Days
Historic North Circuit and Community Trekking
Fusing history, culture, landscapes and wildlife along a perfectly paced circuit, this trip is a synthesis of the very best experiences on offer in Ethiopia’s northern highlands. Explorations of the ancient cities Axum, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Lalibela are broken…
- 12 Days
Historic Towns of Ethiopia
Every city in Ethiopia has a story to tell. In under 10 days, discover some of Ethiopia's most important towns, each different from the last in so many ways.…
- 9 Days
Christmas in Lalibela
Ethiopian Christmas in Lalibela is one of the most memorable experiences anywhere in Africa. Thousands of pilgrims, draped in white gowns, gather around the 13th century rock-hewn churches for an evening of celebration, reflection, and reverence.…
- 9 Days
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…
- 5 Days
Simien Mountains and Northern History
This trip packs in a myriad of history, culture and some of the best scenery in Africa. Explore the palaces of Gondar, the world-famous rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, and the sweeping plateaus of the Simien Mountains. Leave enough time either…
- 7 Days
Highlights of the North and South
The classic northern trail extends south into the Omo Valley, passing through the Rift Valley Lakes and highland peaks of the Bale Mountains. A once in a lifetime adventure combining the very best that Ethiopia has to offer.…
- 20 Days
This classic route is perfect if you're looking for an introduction to Ethiopia, but don't have a lot of time. The focus is on the historic cities, monuments, and culture of northern Ethiopia, with plenty of wildlife and vistas along…
- 6 Days