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10 Most Beautiful Cities in Africa

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Sylvia Paige

Although the continent of Africa is full of fascinating culture, mystery, and incredible beauty, it is still one of the most underexplored regions on the globe. With its ancient history, geographical wonders, and glorious landscapes, there is no doubt you will be impressed.

If you are looking to get inspiration for your next trip, we have handpicked the most beautiful cities in Africa that are guaranteed to take your breath away.

1. Stone Town, Tanzania

In recent years, Zanzibar has become a tourism hotspot. The island, known for its cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove plantations, isn’t all about mesmerizing beaches, though. It also has its share of beautiful cities. 

Among the best is the vibrant Stone Town, which is set just off the coast of Tanzania. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the old town is characterized by chockful colorful markets, impressive wooden structures, and endless red-tile roofs. 

A highlight of the city is its historical Sultan Palace, which still contains some of the original furniture and paintings. One of the oldest living Swahili towns in East Africa, Stone Town will charm you with its winding, narrow streets and beautiful, crumbling buildings, some of which have recently received the much-needed renovation they deserve.

2. Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

The city set in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful places in Africa. Located among the shores of Lake Tana and the Blue Nile River, Bahir Dar boasts exceptional water views. Just a stone’s throw away from the impressive Blue Nile Falls, which spill from dramatic cliffs, the city is a real treat for the eyes. 

Bahir Dar’s most famous attraction is the palace of Ethiopia’s most known ruler – His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie. The stunning site is around three miles from the center, in the middle of jacaranda trees. Bahir Dar is renowned for its incredible natural beauty. The home of Ethiopia’s largest lake – Lake Tana – and numerous ancient monasteries with breathtaking frescoes will be a pleasant discovery for all travelers.

3. Essaouira, Morocco

While most people opt to visit Marrakech, Morocco has many other cities and towns that deserve your attention, like Essaouira. With gorgeous beaches and picturesque views, it is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Africa. Featuring an ancient medina and radiant fortifications, which were built in the 18th century, Essaouira is a great alternative destination that is much more peaceful and tranquil than other big cities in the area. 

Known as a watersport lovers’ paradise (since the wind and currents are pretty intense), Essaouira has something to offer for every traveler. Crenelated walls, houses in blue and white, and maze-like streets all add to the charming atmosphere.

4. Luxor, Egypt

Instead of heading to Cairo, perhaps it is worth including Luxor in your travel itinerary? The city, which once used to be ancient Egypt’s capital Thebes, is packed with ancient wonders. In fact, many Egyptologists still travel there to look for new artifacts. Some even consider Luxor to be the globe’s best open-air museum. In addition, the vibrant city has magnificent Nile scenery and the desert landscapes Egypt is so known for.

In Luxor, you will find the stunning temple of Karnak and the Temple of Hatshepsut, it is also where the remains of the tombs of the Pharaohs are located. An exceptional place to see is the Valley of the Kings, which is most beautiful, experienced from a hot air balloon.

Another exceptional sight is the city’s oldest mosque – the El-Mekashkesh Mosque, which includes remains of a 10th-century Islamic saint and numerous churches. Luxor, together with its monuments, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Windhoek, Namibia

The stunning country is known for having some of the best wildlife viewings on the continent, but did you know it also has the most beautiful cities in Africa? Thanks to its jaw-dropping natural wonders, Namibia is sure to leave an impression.

Windhoek is its largest city and capital. It includes pastel-painted buildings and traditional German houses. As you wander through the city center, you will be enchanted by its beauty. Since Windhoek is quite compact, you can easily explore it on foot. With neo-baroque cathedrals, German castles’, and splendid skyscrapers, the cosmopolitan city certainly deserves a place on your travel bucket list.

6. Lamu, Kenya

When searching for the most beautiful cities in Africa, don’t overlook the coastal town of Lamu in Kenya. One of Africa’s best-preserved Swahili settlements is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy a more slow-paced way of life. Away from the bustle and hustle, the only thing that could disrupt your peacefulness is a braying donkey.

Lamu, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been inhabited by Asians, Persians, Indians, Europeans, and Kenyans, therefore, it is a great example of blended cultures. Wander around the narrow, cobbled streets and admire the crumbling old forts and impressively carved front doors – beauty can be found in almost every corner.

Now is the best time to see Lamu since a multibillion-pound development of the harbor area is set to start soon. After that, its age-old splendor will be gone. If you wish to explore a Kenyan safari, you can get inspiration for your trip from our travel itinerary.

7. Johannesburg, South Africa

A must-see place while visiting Africa is Johannesburg. The city manages to retain its roots in South African culture while offering modern experiences too. It is perhaps the most prosperous metropolis on the whole continent. 

The real beauty of the city is hidden in its impressive collections of museums, which focus on the country’s history, art, culture, and many victories and tragedies. The Wits Origin Centre Museum, for example, is a great place to take a look at ancient rock art. 

Lined with dramatic skyscrapers, Johannesburg is pleasantly clean and slowly becoming a vibrant hub for arts and culture. In a way, it has a similar feeling to New York City – the overall atmosphere is young, frenetic, and vibrant. Since there is so much to do and see, creating a plan is the best way to get the most out of your trip. 

Find helpful tips on creating travel itineraries here. For a beautiful city getaway, the South African city won’t disappoint.

8. Agadir, Morocco

Set within the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains Range, Agadir is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa and the most bustling oceanside resort in Morocco. Adventurers swarm to the area all year round.

It is not difficult to see the allure of Agadir – it is the perfect combination of nature and city. Along a spectacular seaside promenade, you can enjoy trendy eateries and charming restaurants.

To enjoy the beauty of Agadir to the fullest, consider taking a boat trip on the Atlantic. The palm-lined boulevards create a Western-resort feel, but that doesn’t take away from its lovely atmosphere. Verdant green golf courses, well-kept honey-colored sandy beaches, and an impressive old citadel will enchant you instantly.

9. Franschoek, South Africa

For scenic views, there is no better place to visit in Africa than Franschoek. Set in the Western Cape of South Africa, the city is recognized for its endless vineyards and winding trails at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. French settlers, who planted the grapes hundreds of years ago, had a great impact on the city, which is part of the “Cape Winelands of South Africa”. 

The picturesque terrain along with vast farmlands is what characterizes Franschoek. Thanks to its pristine forests, it is an excellent destination for biking and hiking enthusiasts. As far as tranquil and beautiful cities in Africa go, Franschoek is one of the most unique. If you wish to see more of South Africa, take a look at our 7-day itinerary.

10. Tunis, Tunisia

Another stunning city that should be on your African travel bucket list is Tunis in Tunisia. Set in North Africa, Tunis has all the ingredients for a wonderful getaway – awe-inspiring beaches, beautiful desert, and exceptional fortified medinas with mosques. The heart of the city is the old town, where even strolling through the squiggly alleyways will be a fun experience. 

A must-see place is the Ruins of Carthage, which consists of evocative tumbled columns and piles of marble rubble. Oh, and the mesmerizing panorama of the Mediterranean Sea! It’s truly one of a kind.

The Olive Tree Mosque is home to some of Tunisia’s finest examples of religious architecture. Note that non-Muslims are forbidden to enter the prayer hall, but you can enjoy the exterior courtyard and head up to the rooftop to admire beautiful tile work. Thanks to the incredible views, it is also the best place to take Instagram-worthy shots!

While Africa is famed for its fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities, the continent’s cities have plenty to offer, too! From vibrant Johannesburg to captivating Luxor – there is so much beauty to discover. So regardless of which one of the most beautiful cities in Africa you decide to pick for your next adventure, you are in for a treat. 

Are you ready for your next African getaway?

Sylvia Paige

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