Colourful, beautiful and unique
As far as awe-inspiring natural wonders and abundant animal and plant life goes, Madagascar is one of the top destinations on the planet.
It's the perfect place for nature lovers and outdoor types, with huge proportions of plant and wildlife being uniquely found on the island alone. And these, along with its subtropical climate and intriguing towns and cities, make it a captivating holiday hotspot.
Getting to know the area
You'll almost certainly start your trip close to the island's capital, Antananarivo, so you'll be able to immerse yourself in city living for a few days to kick start things off if you fancy. Most flights to Madagascar go to Ivato International Airport just outside the centre, with a few heading to Fascene International Airport.
In Antananarivo you'll find a couple of tourist attractions, namely the grand 17th-century Rova Palace, and a great selection of cafés and eateries. But most visitors head out to the countryside to see more of this gorgeous island as soon as possible.
The great outdoors
The coastline around Ile Sainte Marie is known for its great windsurfing, with its secluded little coves and sleepy villages dotted along your way.
To really immerse yourself in nature, visit the UNESCO-listed Tsingy de Bemaraha nature reserve. This area is home to brown lemurs, rare birds and the stump-tailed chameleon. Not only this, the landscapes are sure to take your breath away.
For a real photo worthy opportunity, check out the Avenue of Baobabs on the island's west coast. These ancient trees attract visitors from far and wide and just a quick glimpse will reveal why.
Food and culture
For authentic, budget-friendly food, explore the local markets. Meals here are simple and hearty, typically of rice, fish or chicken, and vegetables. It's the perfect fare for fuelling your explorations.
In the cities you'll find a few good, laid-back restaurants serving a mix of world cuisines. And to wash it all down, try some of the locally made wine, rum, or even alcoholic coconut water known as betsa-betsa. Although they're not all world-class quality, the fun is in the experience, and there are some tasty drinks to be discovered.