Nestled in the exotic nature, biodiversity, and captivating culture of the island of Madagascar awaits your most exciting adventure as of yet.
To the southeast of Africa’s mainland, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, and its pristine coast, lush rainforests, and serene highlands are worth being on your bucket list.
We’ll cover all of that and more, but most importantly, we’re here to aid your quest to find where to stay in Madagascar.
The Best Places to Stay in Madagascar
There are many places in Madagascar that offer a unique and unforgettable stay. Here’s an overview of our favorite areas:
- Antananarivo: The best area for cultural exploration because it’s a hub of Malagasy culture and history, as well as the nightlife hub of Madagascar.
- Morondava: The best place to visit if you want to enjoy the natural wonders of Madagascar thanks to the otherwordly Avenue of the Baobabs and unforgettable surrounding landscapes.
- Ifaty: A top spot to relax and enjoy the visual allure of the coast and a great town for fishing enthusiasts.
- Nosy Be: The best place for beach lovers and snorkelers due to its stunning beaches, clear turquoise waters, and vibrant marine life.
- Andasibe-Mantadia: The place to be if you are keen on wildlife encounters, including the iconic Indri lemurs.
The Best Areas & Hotels in Madagascar
What will be the best place to stay in Madagascar for you depends on your interests and budget. This is why learning what each part of this magical island has to offer will make it easier to make a smart decision.
If you’re looking for a coastal haven, relaxation, and rest, you’ll find your ideal accommodation in Ifaty.
On the other hand, if you wish to experience the vibrant Malagasy culture and discover their rituals, craftsmanship, and a variety of traditional dishes, as well as Madagascar’s party scene, then Antananarivo is the best choice for your stay.
Wildlife lovers eager to meet new species will be happy to spend some time at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, while those who are partial to snorkeling should opt for Nosy Be.
1. Best Area for Nightlife: Antananarivo
Antananarivo, also known as Tana, is the bustling capital of Madagascar, the cultural center of the Malagasy and the largest city on the island. If you like learning about the local culture of the places you visit and simply want to enjoy an urban holiday, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Antananarivo.
Those looking for a more relaxing and slow holiday should perhaps consider Antananarivo only as a day trip because it’s definitely not a good choice for those seeking peace and quiet.
Your first impression of Antananarivo will be guided by its well-known architectural diversity. The precolonial houses are mostly built from wood, while the architecture from the 19th century and onward is characterized by brick-and-stone colonial style.
Then, if you’re keen on exploring the arts and crafts of the natives, head to one of Antananarivo’s markets, such as Digue Market. Expect to haggle, though! If that’s not your cup of tea, head to Antanimora or, more specifically, to Lisy Art Gallery.
You’ll find little souvenirs like jewelry and carvings, as well as larger works of art, horn works, and woven containers and mats. The surrounding shops are also great, and the salespeople are not pushy.
If you’d like to relax after a long stroll, Tana also has some great parks. We suggest Tsarasaotra Park, next to Lac Masay. Even though it’s a bit off the beaten path, it’s truly sublime and relaxing.
Birdwatching enthusiasts will be glad to know that they’ll also encounter the endangered Madagascar pond heron. Alternatively, go to Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which also houses a museum with tribal carvings and skeletons.
Lastly, as we mentioned, Antananarivo truly comes alive after dark. While it doesn’t have a dedicated party district, you’ll find a variety of clubs and bars scattered throughout the city, each with a distinct vibe.
Our favorites, however, are Kudéta Urban Club, Cabaret du Glacier, No Comment Bar (for its cocktails), and Mojo by No Comment, the lattermost of which also has happy hours every single day.
Antananarivo Budget Hotels
- Hotel Taj is near the Sorano Station and the Pirate Museum. This two-star hotel offers nice and clean rooms, and you can use their private parking for free.
- Maison Lovasoa is a beautiful two-star hotel with a mesmerizing garden located in a cute, rosy building with tasteful decor. The rooms are clean and tidy, and the hotel offers continental British, Irish, or American breakfast.
- La Residence d’Ankerana is a bit further from the center of Antananarivo, but it’s a good option if you have a car. This three-star hotel is ideal for families because it has a playground, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool. It’s also possible to arrange a massage service and a shuttle to and from the airport.
Antananarivo Mid-Range Hotels
- Aparthotel Madeleine is a three-star hotel with small studios ideal for couples or friends. Each studio has an equipped kitchenette, a coffee machine, and a microwave. Parking is free. Guests can also use the hotel’s beautiful garden to relax.
- Hotel Brajas is known for its very stylish and warm interior design. It’s only 10 minutes by foot from Soarano Station. This three-star hotel has an all-inclusive service that includes a variety of coffee, French and Indian dishes, and cocktails at the bar.
- Atmosphere Hotel and Spa is a three-star hotel near the Sorano Station. It offers a gym, swimming pool, terrace, sauna, hot tub, and free private parking. Each room has a small fridge and a minibar. The hotel also has a restaurant and a bar on the premises.
Antananarivo Luxury Hotels
- Radisson Hotel Tamboho Waterfront is a four-star hotel located only five minutes from the center of Antananarivo by car. Masay Lake and the Tana Waterfront Commercial Zone are two minutes away. The hotel offers an outdoor pool, intriguing Malgasy details in its interior, a bar, a terrace, and delicious European and Malagasy dishes in its restaurant.
- Carlton Madagascar is one of the best hotels you can find in Antananarivo. Boasting five stars, airport shuttle services, complimentary breakfast, and an opulent interior, it’s located on the banks of Anosy Lake, merely 10 minutes away from the historical center of Tana. Each room is air-conditioned and has free Wi-Fi and a seating area. Its two restaurants are amazing, and so is the swimming pool. The fitness and wellness center with a tennis court is the cherry on top.
2. Best Area for Nature: Morondava
Nestled along the western coast of Madagascar, Morondava is a coastal town known for its captivating landscapes and charming culture.
One of the most famous tourist attractions in this area is the iconic Avenue of Baobabs, an alley filled with ancient baobab trees that will make you feel like you’re in a tropical fairytale.
The town also has a bustling market that breathes life into local traditions and customs, giving you a glimpse into the daily life of Malagasy people. Here, you can buy authentic souvenirs such as handicrafts and textiles and find delicious street food.
Just a bit outside of the city, though, is where Morondava truly shines. The nearby wildlife-rich Kirindy forest, part of the Kirindy Mitea National Park, is enchanting.
It’s also rather flat, which means you won’t have a hard time hiking, and you can focus on wildlife spotting.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience. If you’re willing to go on a multi-day excursion further off the beaten track, Morondava is also a great home base for exploring Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.
The UNESCO World Heritage site offers geological structures unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, connected with suspension bridges overlooking deep gorges.
Put on comfy shoes, though, because the hikes are not exactly easy. Make sure to also take a boat trip on the Tsiribihina and Manambolo rivers — the sunsets in such a setting are simply marvelous.
Morondava is not ideal if you’re looking for an urban environment or luxurious hotels. In fact, the accommodation options in and around Morondava are rather sparse, so make sure to book well in advance.
Keep in mind that our categorization of the hotels is only in the relative sense to what’s available, so the luxury suggestions won’t necessarily be five-star resorts. For that, we’d suggest heading to Nosy Be.
Morondava Budget Hotels
- Havana Hotel offers modest, clean, and tidy accommodation with a continental breakfast offer and all the necessary amenities such as Wi-Fi, a private bathroom, toiletries, and a shared lounge. Best of all, it’s very close to the beach.
- Hotel Trecicogne is a quaint little hotel in a central part of Morondava, minutes away from the beach. The one-star hotel has a restaurant, free private parking, Wi-Fi, room service, a bar, and a 24-hour front desk. For a charge, you can also get an airport shuttle.
Morondava Mid-Range Hotels
- Select Hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, a shared seating area, a restaurant for guests, a lounge, and a terrace. It’s ideal for two-person trips.
- Centre Ecotouristique Menabe offers rooms with private bathrooms, toiletries, and free Wi-Fi. Continental or American breakfast is available every morning. The rooms are cute, colorful, and cozy, and there’s a large garden outside of the hotel.
Morondava Luxury Hotels
- Cap Kimony is a three-star accommodation that features free bikes, an outdoor pool, and a garden. Wi-Fi is also free, and guests can enjoy American and French breakfast or cocktails in the bar.
- Kimony Resort is a beautiful three-star hotel with an outdoor pool, restaurant, and lounge. The rooms are authentically decorated with white canopies and wooden details.
3. Best Area for Fishing: Ifaty
Located on Madagascar’s southwestern coastline, Ifaty lures travelers with its idyllic coastal charm and abundant marine wonders.
Pristine beaches stretch along the azure waters of the Mozambique Channel, offering plenty of diving opportunities, marine life observation, and, most importantly — fishing. After all, Ifaty is primarily a fishing village, and while the natives have embraced tourism, they still tend to their traditions.
As a tourist in Ifaty, you’ll have the rare chance to glean the Vezo fishermen’s secrets regarding traditional fishing methods first-hand, making this village the prime destination for fishing enthusiasts.
You’ll have the chance to catch scorpion fish and stone fish, as well as encounter torpedo fish and stingrays, for which the hidden underwater coral reef provides a safe refuge.
The Vezo are also very hospitable, and should you find yourself on a fishing trip with the locals on their peculiar “dhow” vessels, they won’t hesitate to invite you for dinner and share the catch of the day.
However, as we said, Ifaty has bought into the tourist industry, and you’ll be able to find plenty of guided tours, offering canoe trips to the nearby villages as well.
Another must-see natural landmark, apart from the coral reefs, is the nearby spiny forest, laden with baobab trees and succulents, as well as rare birds. Lastly, it’s worth noting that if you’re primarily seeking a modern or urban environment, Ifaty might not be the best destination for you.
Ifaty Budget Hotels
- La Bella Donna is a great low-cost hotel in Ifaty, located steps away from the beach. The hotel has free private parking, a bar, and a private beach area. It’s top-rated as accommodation for couples or two-person travelers.
- Le Jardin de L’Isle offers charming hotel rooms and various breakfast options for their guests: continental, English, Irish, American, Vegetarian, and Halal. Most rooms have a fantastic sea view, a terrace, and garden access.
Ifaty Mid-Range Hotels
- Ifaty Beach Club Resort is a three-star hotel that offers wonderful rooms with canopy beds and often their own balconies. It’s located 15 minutes by car from Musee Rabesandratana. Breakfast is included in the price and is usually a choice between continental and American breakfast. The hotel also has a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, private parking, a garden, and a shared lounge.
Ifaty Luxury Hotels
- Princesse du Lagon is located on the beachfront, to which guests have private access. The five-star hotel is only 15 minutes by foot away from the Reniala Reserve. Each room is equipped with all the necessities for the perfect vacation, such as a hairdryer, toiletries, and TV, but every guest will also get a beach kit with a hat, bag, and sandals.
4. Best Area for Watersports: Nosy Be
Nosy Be is Madagascar’s tropical gem located in the northwest part of the island. Its palm-fringed beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and many water-based activities make it an ideal place to stay for sunseekers, snorkelers, and divers.
Nosy Be offers crystal-clear waters teeming with rich marine life, making it a haven for underwater exploration. If you’re seeking a serene getaway to a place rich in biodiversity, you’ll relish in Nosy Be offerings.
Its lush landscapes are home to many lemurs, chameleons, and bird species, presenting a unique opportunity for nature enthusiasts.
The island’s volcanic origins are seen through attractions like Mont Passot, offering panoramic views of crater lakes and neighboring islands. However, Nosy Be’s prime attraction is the beach, and that makes it perfect for a tropical summer getaway.
To cut a long story short and get to some practical recommendations, suffice it to say that Nosy Be is simply idyllic and promises an unforgettable island vacation with its captivating beauty.
Nosy Be Budget Hotels
- Les Bungalows d’Ambonara is a one-star hotel on an old coffee plantation close to Hell-Ville. The hotel has a restaurant and an outdoor pool. It’s located some half an hour by car from Palm Beach. Guests who wish to explore the area can get bicycles to ride around the place.
- Ylang Hotel offers rooms with a sea view, a huge balcony, and an outdoor pool. On-site, guests can enjoy horse riding, fishing, golfing, or just relax and enjoy themselves in the garden. The three-star hotel is located in the central part of Nosy Be.
- Hotel Benjamin features rooms with balconies and garden views. Each room has a private bathroom with a shower; some also have a kitchen and a fridge. The three-star hotel is located two minutes on foot from the Ambatolaka beach.
Nosy Be Mid-Range Hotels
- Anjiamarango Beach Resort is a spacious three-star hotel offering bungalows with wooden floors and a thatched roof. Each room has a fridge and fan or air conditioning, as well as a private bathroom. The hotel has access to the beach within walking distance and an outdoor pool.
- Hotel Mahita Tsara is near Djamandara. A continental breakfast is served to guests who wish to have breakfast in the facilities, and lunch can be served in the privacy of each room’s balcony. The two-star hotel has its own garden for guests to enjoy. It’s possible to order an airport shuttle to and from the facility.
- Le Moya Beach is a three-star beach lodge close to Djamandjary Beach. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and a garden barbeque for guests. Some rooms have a sea view, and interested guests can enjoy a continental breakfast. The facility also has a billiard table, table tennis, and darts.
Nosy Be Luxury Hotels
- Home The Residence is a luxury four-star hotel in Befotaka Bay. The residence has an outdoor pool and free private parking. Each room has a balcony, a kitchen with an oven, a fridge, and a microwave. Hotel guests can enjoy meals in the restaurant within the hotel. Since the hotel is somewhat remote from the urban area, ordering groceries at the reception is possible.
- Andriana Resort and Spa is a five-star resort just a 10-minute walking distance from Ambatoloaka Beach. Each room has a sea view, and guests can enjoy the hotel’s restaurant and bar. The hotel’s facilities offer a hot tub and a spa center. The whole area around the hotel is bicycle-friendly for those who like to mix sports with sightseeing.
- Eden Lodge is set five minutes from Ambatoloaka Beach on foot. This five-star hotel offers an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a garden, and free private parking. Breakfasts are a la carte or continental. The facilities are also equipped with a hot tub and a spa center for those who wish to relax and detox.
5. Best Area for Wildlife: Andasibe-Mantadia
Andasibe-Mandatdia is a national park in Madagascar and a favorite destination among nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. This park will be your heaven if you seek immersive encounters with unique flora and fauna.
You can explore this area’s wonders on your own or by joining some organized guided tours. On your journey, you’ll encounter exotic plant species in the rainforest and the island’s iconic animal – the lemur, including the Indri species and their mesmerizing calls through the trees.
There are also night tours you can take to discover the night species of Madagascar, which can be a captivating exploration of the nocturnal world, revealing unique adaptions and behaviors among aminals that are hidden from curious eyes during the day.
Nearby, there are also two popular natural/wildlife reserves. The Mitsinjo Reserve contributes to various animal species conservation efforts, and the Vakona Private Reserve is where you can closely encounter rescued lemurs.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a modern urban experience, cosmopolitan luxury amenities, and lively nightlife, you should probably look elsewhere. Also, we should mention that the area can be a bit problematic for travelers with mobility issues due to its rugged terrain and limited infrastructure.
Since the whole area is a national park, there are few low-cost accommodations. In fact, accommodation options here are scarce, and what is available is in the upper price range compared to other parts of the island.
Andasibe-Mantadia Budget Hotels
- Andasibe Sifaka Lodge is located five minutes by foot from the Mitsinjo Reserve and features an outdoor pool, garden, and a huge green terrace. Guests can use private parking for free and order American breakfast if they wish to have it in the facility.
- Eulophiella is located an hour by foot from the Mitsinjo Reserve and 10 miles from Analamazoatra Reserve. It offers the perfect oasis of peace for those seeking relaxation and a mindful vacation in nature. The facility has a large garden, terrace, and restaurant and offers free private parking.
Andasibe-Mantadia Mid-Range Hotels
- Andasibe Lemurs Lodge is located 20 minutes by foot from the Analamazoatra Reserve, which is why the lodge offers free bikes for guests. If you choose to stay here, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to mix sports with sightseeing. They also have car rental if cycling is not your thing. All rooms are fully equipped with a private bathroom with shower and free toiletries.
Andasibe-Mantadia Luxury Hotels
- Relais De Mantadia is a somewhat more luxurious accommodation providing guests with shuttle and concierge service. All hotel rooms are equipped with air conditioning and a terrace overlooking the nearby mountains. The hotel offers a buffet type of breakfast, and it’s located only 2 miles from Mitsinjo Reserve.
So, Where Should You Stay in Madagascar?
Madagascar is a captivating island in the Indian Ocean known for its exceptional biodiversity, unique ecosystems, and exotic animal species.
As we wrap up our guide, let’s summarize your options if you’re still uncertain about where you should stay in Madagascar:
|🎉 Best for Nightlife
|🌳 Best for Nature Lovers
|🎣 Best for Fishing Enthusiasts
|🛥️ Best for Watersports
|🐒 Best for Wild Life Experience
So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing areas in which to stay, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Madagascar has to offer. Happy travels!