Antananarivo is the capital and the largest city in Madagascar. It lies around 90 miles from the East coast, around 1,200m above sea level, and is built on the summit of a mountain ridge. Founded in the early 1600s, it is one of the only southern African capitals established before the arrival of the colonialists. There is no direct flight from London to Ivato Airport (TNR), but do an online price comparison and finding a cheap flight with a short stopover, usually in Paris, will be no problem. Antananarivo is the springboard to the rest of the island and finding a cheap flight to other Madagascan cities is simple. Antananarivo is still somewhat off the beaten path. For the more adventurous tourist, this is part of the charm. Whilst there, check out the Rova, or Queen's Palace, partly destroyed by fire in 1995, it still offers the best 360 degree views of the city. Stroll along the narrow, cobbled streets of the historic upper borough and see the colonial houses, cathedrals and palaces set amongst the traditional wooden houses of the Malagasy people. Check out Avenue de l´Indépendence, which has plenty of opportunities for shopping, eating out and nightlife. Also worth checking out are the plentiful open air markets around the city.
Travelling the 10 mile distance to the city from Ivato Airport leaves three main options. The Taxi-brousse, a local bus service which will take you to the capital's market. This is the cheapest but slowest option, and not recommended at night, especially if you have luggage. The ADEMA shuttle bus, a privately run bus service scheduled to coincide with flight times. A better value option. Or you can take a taxi if you don't mind spending a little extra. From Ivato Airport it is simple to do a quick price check and find a cheap flight to many other cities in Madagascar, if you want to continue your journey elsewhere on this unique and beautiful island.