If you’re looking for an exciting start to a long African adventure, look no further than Ghana, the oldest independent country in sub-Saharan Africa.
This charming, colorful, and developed country on the coast of West Africa offers a rich and interesting history, plenty of reliable — and even luxurious — accommodation options, and myriads of national parks and reserves.
If the offer sounds tempting and the story interesting, check out this guide and learn where to stay in Ghana.
The Best Places to Stay in Ghana
Like many countries in Africa, the cities and villages in Ghana get progressively older as you move from the coast to the mainland.
With a few exceptions (Cape Coast and Elmina), the same holds for this charming West African country. That’s why our guide is progressively moving from the south to the north, from the coast to the mainland.
Only in that way can you follow the history of Ghana, from the colonial strongholds on the coast to its ancient kingdoms on the mainland, and decide its largest draw for yourself:
- Accra: The capital of Ghana is a vibrant metropolis full of historical landmarks and museums and some of the best and most luxurious accommodations in the country.
- Cape Coast and Elmina: The two coastal cities present the most important UNESCO World Heritage List landmarks in the country, as well as a beautiful national park and some pretty decent accommodations.
- Kumasi: The former capital of the Ashanti empire is the second largest city in Ghana and an important historical stronghold, but it’s also the most suitable option for budget visitors to the country.
- Tamale: The fastest growing city in West Africa and largest city in the North of Ghana is famous for its beautiful mosques and its close proximity to Mole National Park.
Where to Stay in Ghana: Best Areas & Hotels
Ghana may not be a popular tourist destination like other countries on the east of the continent (Kenya, Tanzania), but it offers a great opportunity for every adventurous and curious traveler.
As it has multiple large cities, the accommodation options are never a problem in this country. The best and the most expensive and luxurious hotels in the country are located in the capital, Accra.
Here, you’ll find numerous fancy five-star hotels offering everything under the sun. As you move from the capital to the other cities, the quantity of accommodation options stays roughly constant, but the luxury drops significantly.
Every city in Ghana has plenty of budget and mid-range hotels, but Kumasi is the most versatile and the least expensive. There are cheap hotels even in Accra, but prices are the lowest in the old city on the mainland.
Welcome to Accra, Ghana’s capital and its largest city, the center of the Greater Accra Region, which boasts a population of more than five and a half million people.
Today, Accra is a modern metropolis with a vibrant nightlife, imposing skyscrapers, and a strong economic outlook.
It’s the most likely destination for visitors who are looking to spend some more money in Ghana, as the city has a wide range of available accommodation options, with plenty of luxurious five-star hotels as well.
In the past, on the other hand, the territory which we today call Accra was covered by three forts, built by three distinct colonial powers: Fort James by the British, Fort Crêvecoeur (Ussher Fort) by the Dutch, and Fort Christiansborg by the Swedes and Danes.
The place was very important and served as the capital of the Golden Coast for 80 years — from 1877 to 1957 — after which the territory became the independent state of Ghana.
The first thing you could do in Accra is visit the remains of the colonial period and explore Jamestown, a symbol of modern Ghana and its emancipation.
You’ll surely be fascinated by the beautiful colonial architecture, the vibrant street atmosphere, and the now pitiful remains of Fort Ussher. To wrap things up and get a nice perspective on the city, climb the old lighthouse and take some fabulous pictures.
But after visiting Jamestown, don’t forget to check out Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, where you’ll find the remains of Ghana’s founder and a small museum dedicated to this powerful and brave figure.
Finally, Accra is also famous for its great food scene and lively markets that are perfect for buying souvenirs or practically anything you can think of.
The most exciting things about Accra and Ghana in general, however, are the festivals, the music, and the dances. Just make sure you schedule your trip for May, the time of the festival season in Accra.
Accra Budget Hotels
- Eastoment Hotel is a decent but very cheap two-star accommodation located in the largest city in Ghana. When you take into account how little it costs, the restaurant, the bar, and the outdoor pool come as a real surprise to every potential visitor.
- Pekan Hotel is a very cheap two-star hotel located to the north of the center of Accra. A great and affordable option for every traveler who’s on a budget, the hotel offers free Wi-Fi and parking, an outdoor swimming pool, and a restaurant on the premises, as well as a comfortable bar and a terrace.
Accra Mid-Range Hotels
- The Cabin Hotel is a three-star hotel located in the upscale Airport Residential Area and about ten minutes from the real Kotoka International Airport. The rooms are spacious and equipped with a sitting area and a minibar, and the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a fitness center on the premises.
- Midindi Hotel is another centrally located three-star hotel that provides a perfect option for visitors who want to spend their time in Ghana in a nice and comfortable place but without having to pay a lot of money. The hotel has no less than two swimming pools, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises.
Accra Luxury Hotels
- Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City is a gorgeous and quite expensive five-star hotel located both to the coast of the ocean and the famous Independence Arch. Some of the rooms in the hotel are equipped with a sting area, but all of them have flat-screen TVs and nice terraces. Finally, there’s an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, and a fitness center on the premises.
- Accra Marriott Hotel is a beautiful and luxurious five-star hotel, part of the world-famous Marriott chain of accommodations scattered throughout the world. Particularly suitable for couples and surrounded by a lush garden, the hotel provides no less than three restaurants, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center on the premises.
2. Cape Coast and Elmina
It’s the morning of 1478, and you’re firmly stationed on the coast of Elmina. If you get up early, you’re probably going to witness an event of considerable importance for both Africa and Europe.
Namely, eleven powerful Portuguese ships approach the harbor and start attacking the larger number of Castilian ships that were already stationed in the bay. Caught by surprise, the Spanish lost catastrophically.
A striking chain of events followed: the Portuguese king recognized the Catholic monarch of Spain but also got a practical monopoly on trade in this part of the world. The trade in gold, honey, and slaves had just begun.
Cape Coast and Elmina are two small coastal cities in the Gulf of Guinea. Both of them together are probably the most important historical cities in Ghana and a permanent witness of the atrocities of European colonialism in Africa.
They offer some of the most striking examples of the so-called “slave castles” on the Gold Coast, including Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle.
As former gold and timber trading centers, they slowly became the major prisons from where African slaves from Ghana and the adjoining countries were shipped to the Americas and the Caribbean.
Because of that, they are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and are visited by thousands of tourists every year.
On the brighter side of things, today, both Cape Coast and Elmina are lively cities with plenty of accommodation options, restaurants, and fabulous beaches. They’re also the best and most suitable starting point for visitors to the gorgeous Kakum National Park.
Boasting an area of around 145 square miles, they’re mostly covered in tropical forests full of fascinating flora and many endangered species like the African elephant and the Diana monkey.
Because of this, Cape Coast and Elmina are probably the most popular choice for first-time visitors to Ghana.
Cape Coast and Elmina Budget Hotels
- Downtown Virgins Hotel is a cheap two-star hotel that’s perfect for potential travelers who don’t want to spend a lot of money for their stay in Cape Coast. Every room in the hotel is equipped with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, a desk, and a fridge, and there’s a restaurant and a bar on the premises as well.
- E-town City Guest House is an extremely cheap and down-to-earth accommodation located in nearby Elmina, very close to the Elmina castle. The accommodation doesn’t offer much aside from the continental or Asian breakfast, free Wi-Fi and parking, and a bar on the premises.
Cape Coast and Elmina Mid-Range Hotels
- Marrets International Hotel – “Express” is a beautiful three-star hotel that comes at a relatively average price, neither too expensive nor too cheap. That reflects on the amenities and the staff, too. That said, every room is clean and equipped with a private bathroom, and there’s a decent continental breakfast in the morning.
- Veke Executive Lodge & Event Center is a three-star lodge located, relatively close to both Elmina Castle and Fort Amsterdam. The place offers a decent bed and breakfast but not much else. There’s a flat-screen TV in every room, as well as a private bathroom.
Cape Coast and Elmina Luxury Hotels
- Brynx Haven – Cape Coast is a gorgeous but extremely expensive three-star hotel located in Cape Coast, relatively close to the ocean. The rooms are large, with plenty of daylight in the morning, as well as a private bathroom and flat-screen TV with satellite channels. There’s also a bar on the premises and a continental breakfast.
- Elmina Bay Resort is an expensive and beautiful resort located in Elmina, right on the coast of the ocean. The hotel offers a restaurant, a bar, and free parking on the premises, as well as plenty of other services, like a free airport shuttle and professional room service.
After winning in the first two of the five Anglo-Ashanti Wars and defeating the colonialists, much like the Ethiopians, the Ashanti Empire finally succumbed under pressure and lost to the British.
One of the first consequences of the loss was the burning of Kumasi, the capital of the Empire, in 1824.
Before the sack at the beginning of the 19th century, Kumasi was the center of a powerful and developed kingdom with a complex and luminous culture, beautiful architecture, and elaborate societal structure that still fascinates the scholars of today.
Today, on the other hand, it’s the second largest city in Ghana, with a large concentration of banks, administrative buildings, and hotels. The city is mostly famous and frequently visited for its Ashanti legacy.
There are plenty of museums in the city that tell the story of this strong Empire that crumbled under the pressure of European colonialism. But, now, 200 or 300 years later, their art, culture, and stories survive in the museums, establishments, and the minds of all those who remember.
The UNESCO-listed Asante Traditional Buildings, located to the south of the city, are probably a great introduction in the story of this fascinating culture.
This middle part of Ghana is surrounded by rainforests of such thickness and beauty that Kumasi is also known as “The Garden City” because of the numerous types of plants and flowers that flourished in the past.
The city is also close to Lake Bosumtwi, the only natural lake in the country. If you’re especially interested in natural landmarks, we also recommend Digya National Park, located relatively close to the city, and Lake Volta, the largest body of water (albeit artificial) in Ghana.
Kumasi is a large city, and it’s packed with plenty of mid-priced and cheap hotels, apartments, and other types of accommodation. That’s why it’s the most suitable place in Ghana for budget visitors.
Kumasi Budget Hotels
- Glory Hills Hotel is probably the cheapest and the most budget-friendly hotel in all of Kumasi. It’s clean and decently furnished, but it doesn’t offer much aside from the terrace, the 24-hour front desk, the free Wi-Fi and parking, and the rooms equipped with private bathrooms and showers.
- Okumah Hotel is another very cheap two-star hotel located to the south of the center of Kumasi. Every room in the hotel is equipped with a private bathroom and flat-screen TV, and there’s even a spa and wellness center on the premises of the hotel. Finally, there’s also a decent fitness center and a bar in this budget-friendly hotel.
Kumasi Mid-Range Hotels
- Noble House Hotel is a decent three-star hotel with a beautiful garden. A calm and relaxed accommodation particularly suitable for couples and adults, it offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and fridges. If you’re feeling hungry, there’s a restaurant on the premises.
- Rexmar Hotel, located to the west of Kumasi’s city center, is another decent and not very expensive three-star accommodation. The best thing about the hotel is the lovely outdoor swimming pool that you can use any time you want. The rooms are nicely furnished with all the amenities, and there’s a tasty breakfast in the morning.
Kumasi Luxury Hotels
- Asantewaa Premier Hotel is probably the best and the most luxurious hotel in Kumasi. This four-star hotel is especially suitable for couples and other visitors who prefer privacy and quiet. It offers a restaurant and a bar on the premises, as well as a really nice breakfast. Every room has a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom, and some of them have a sitting area.
- Kumasi Luxury Apartments @ The Fairview is a four-star complex of apartments and a suitable choice for every visitor who’s looking for more upscale accommodation in Kumasi. Every apartment is equipped with a kitchen, sitting area, terrace, private bathroom, and flat-screen TV. Finally, there’s an outdoor pool on the premises.
You’re going to notice two things immediately after you set foot in Tamale. First, the city is surprisingly large, full of people, restaurants, and hotels; second, the number and the unique beauty of its mosques.
Those are, in nuce, the two basic facts you need to know about this charming city in northern Ghana. It’s the third largest city in the country in the fastest-growing region in West Africa. The almost one million people living in it are predominantly Muslim.
Tamale is getting better at tourism and hospitality by the day. The number of hotels is growing both in quality and quantity, and there are plenty of great restaurants in the city, offering food from many different traditions.
Its four mosques are also attracting tourists from all around the world, enjoying the special architecture of the sub-Saharan African Muslim population.
Music is also quite popular in Tamale, and there are plenty of venues and bars where you can enjoy the traditional vibe. But, spanking with complete honesty, there’s one place near Tamale that shadows every other attraction and landmark in the wider region — Mole National Park.
The largest wildlife reserve in Ghana is located around three hours by car from the city, and it’s the most popular of the seven national parks in the country.
It lies in the savannah parts of Ghana, and the entrance is near a village called Larabanga. The park covers around 1,897 square miles and is home to 94 mammals, more than 300 birds, 33 reptiles, and nine amphibian species.
Be ready to meet some gigantic elephants and hippos, as well as elegant gazelles, plenty of monkeys, crocodiles, and — if you’re lucky — hyenas, lions, and leopards.
The park is still not as well known as other wildlife and natural reserves in Africa, but it’s getting ever more popular, much like Tamale. Anyhow, it’s nice to visit a place “before it was cool.”
Tamale Budget Hotels
- Ruk’s Hotel is a very cheap but quite nice one-star hotel located on the eastern outskirts of Tamale. Aside from the cheap price and the low number of stars, the hotel has a lovely terrace, a decent bar, and a quite reliable restaurant on the premises. Every room has a private bathroom and constant air-conditioning.
- PICRONA HOTEL is an extremely cheap two-star hotel located in the center of Tamale. The hotel may be very cheap, but it still offers a bunch of useful things that’ll make your vacation more comfortable. It has a terrace, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises, as well as a very tasty a la carte breakfast.
Tamale Mid-Range Hotels
- Jeyads Lodge is a beautiful and comfortable mid-priced hotel located on the eastern outskirts of the city. The hotel offers plenty of services and amenities to its guests, like a free airport shuttle, fast room service, a restaurant and a bar on the premises, and facilities for disabled people. Finally, there’s a fitness center and breakfast in the morning.
- Target Hill Hotel is another relatively cheap but decent mid-range hotel located on the eastern outskirts of the city, a popular place for new hotels in Tamale. Every unit in the accommodation is equipped with a private bathroom, a terrace, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. If you’re in the mood for a drink, there’s also a bar on the premises.
Tamale Luxury Hotels
- The style of your life is probably the most expensive and the only thing close to a luxury you’ll find in Tamale. It’s an entire apartment with a kitchen, balcony, free parking, and free Wi-Fi. All in all, a perfect option for a longer stay in the city.
- Home away from home is another beautiful holiday home and perhaps the most luxurious lodgings you’ll find in Tamale. Again, the apartment has free WI-Fi, free parking, and a balcony with a view, aside from the bedroom, the spacious living room, and the well-kept bathroom.
So, Where Should You Stay in Ghana?
Tamale is the final stop on our trip through charming Ghana. Now, before we end our journey and finish this guide, let’s do a quick recap of the four best cities in the country.
|👑 Most Luxurious||Accra|
|🏆 Best for First Timers||Cape Coast and Elmina|
|💰 Most Budget-Friendly||Kumasi|
|🌳 Best for Nature Lovers||Tamale|
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Ghana has to offer. Happy travels!