"Savour the elegance of a bygone era" Antsirabe by CatherineReichardt
Antsirabe Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 147 photos
I knew that I was going to love Antsirabe the moment I laid eyes on its magnificent railway station, and nothing that we experienced during our all-too-brief stay there disavowed me of my initial impression!
Antsirabe is a laid back and charming spa town south west of Tana and the place in Madagascar where we had the strongest sense of the colonial era. In a country whose colonial history is so strongly dominated by the French, it is curious to discover the town was founded around a Norwegian mission, and one of the schools still celebrates its cultural origin, albeit with a logo sporting a jaunty ring-tailed lemur!
Antsirabe is an easy drive from Tana, and makes a good stopover point on the long haul south, as well as an obvious retreat in which to catch your breath after haring around the country. The climate is mild and it isn't too much of a stretch for the imagination to conjur up an image of the colonials retreating to 'take the waters' at the regal Hotel des Thermes.
The landscape round Antsirabe is pretty and punctuated by small circular lakes and hot springs - a legacy of the area's volcanic past. The architecture in the centre of town is particularly European (with some rather eccentric architectural confections to keep you amused as you wander - see my travel tip), and from certain angles, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in Europe rather than in the centre of an island in the Indian Ocean.
Antsirabe is a town made for walking. The generously proportioned Avenue de l'Independence between the railway station and the lavish Hotel des Thermes was designed for promenading, and the laid back atmosphere invites you to don your walking shoes and explore.
- Pros:It's impossible to imagine anyone (or anything) ever being rushed in Antsirabe
- Cons:The spa has seen better days ...
- In a nutshell:Antsirabe's ambience reflects the elegance and gentility of its colonial past
The centre of Antsirabe is a wonderful place for strolling - it's impossible to use the word 'walk' in a place so laid... more travel advice
Madagascar is justifiably famous for its semi-precious stones, and we were taken by our tour guide to an excellent shop... more travel advice
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