Solo Travel Destination: Lalibela, Ethiopia

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Anita, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Anita is from the United States, and submitted the following report about Lalibela. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: Amharic, English

photo, image, church of saint george, lalibela

Church of Saint George

Reasons to go:  A visit to Lalibela, Ethiopia is a walk into history that goes back almost 1,000 years. This beautiful small town in the highlands of Northern Ethiopia is best known for the Orthodox Christian churches carved out of rock. It is said that these churches and this area was designed to be the New Jerusalem when the real Jerusalem was taken over and occupied during a war. 

That alone is a reason to visit but taking the time to get to know the people is where lies the treasure of this area. It is fairly easy and simple to reach this destination if traveling by air because it is no more than an hour from the capital, Addis Ababa and upon arrival at the airport you are provided with a guide which helps a solo traveler to become acquainted with the area. 

A walk through this small town to the various churches makes it much easier to mingle with the locals who live and still worship here. Along the dirt roads there are small gift shops, coffee houses with some of the best coffee in the world, and restaurants with delicious local and western food. Ethiopia is very economical and you can reserve a decent room for under $50 a night and enjoy dinner for less than $8. 

Take the time to visit Yemrehana Krestos monastery, which is about 40 km from the town, not just because it is a world treasure located in a cave but because the trip provides a glimpse into the rural lives of the Ethiopians who are farmers, bee keepers and beer makers. On the way back, we encountered two wedding processions which was an awesome experience. Traveling solo provides a unique experience to encounter Lalibela and not just view it.

village, lalibela

Lalibela Villiage

photo, image, Yemrehana Krestos Church

Yemrehana Krestos Church

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)



  • Sara Jamri

    Im planning to go to Ethiopia on my own in December. Wondering if this is a good time and if you can recommend other places to visit in Ethiopia. How many days is it recommended to get the most of it? Thanks!!!


  • debbie

    I just went to Lalibela last weekend….and it is absolutely fantastic! The town is Christian – crime is virtually non-existent. The food is fantastic. The people in Lalibela are so welcoming. It was outstanding…and …as mentioned…so easy to visit. You can set everything up ahead of time — use tripadvisor….and then enjoy!

  • Janice Waugh

    Hmm. That’s interesting. We hadn’t thought of doing that. While it’s not perfect, you can use the search function near the top and add “solo travel rating __” fill in the blank with the rating you want. Hope that helps.


  • David C. Maness

    Sorry, this is off topic, but can I find destinations listed by the destination rating system?

  • Yemane

    Visit Ethiopia and you will get more positive things, new experience, culture, nature, history all things these things are in Ethiopia I hope I will see you in Ethiopia very soon with your friends and your beloved one.

  • Corinne Vail

    Ethiopia has been on my list for a few years. I just have to go. I’ve never heard a negative word about it. never.