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 hiking adventures.
Due to the high elevation the temperature can drop considerably at night though, 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 unmissable collection of 13th century rock-hewn churches in town are amazing to visit any day of the week, but they really come alive on Sunday. The churches are still in active use, over 900 years since their creation, and soaking in 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 quintessential Ethiopia.
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 - but Gonder and Addis Ababa are also great options at this time.
Ready to explore Lalibela?
Whatever your budget, interests, or appetite for adventure - get in touch with us and we can help create your perfect Ethiopian adventure.
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…
For guidance on how to plan a trip to Lalibela, and how to book your trip with us, visit our Lalibela Tours page.