Ethiopia is a vast country with a daunting variety of attractions to dazzle first time visitors. The best way to explore it is along one or two of the established routes described below.
Centered on the capital, the AddisAbaba Route - embracing everything from rock-hewn churches and lush montane forests to informative museums and cultural restaurants showcasing Ethiopia's unique cuisine and music - is well suited to those seeking cosmopolitan urban attractions or who have limited time to explore.
The craggy escarpments and ancient towns of the Historic North and the Simien Mountains Route are studded with atmospheric ruins and shrines - among them four UNESCO World Heritage Sites - that pay rich testament to a unique cultural heritage.
The East Danakil, Harar and Bale Mountains Route is wonderfully varied, embracing the misty peaks of the wildlife-rich Bale Mountains, the spectacular Erta Ale Volcano, and the world's fourth-holiest Islamic city in the form of the ancient walled citadel of Harar.
Ideal for those seeking an off-the-beaten-track experience, The West Lush Nature and Coffee Route passes through enchanting highland forests, canopy alive with birds and monkeys, understory dense with arabica coffee, before descending to the swampy lowlands of Gambella National Park, site of Africa's second-largest antelope migration.
The Rift Valley and the Cultural Mosaic of the South Route, passing through highlands incised by the gaping floor of the Great Rift Valley and string of pretty lakes, is a byword for scenic splendour, superb birdwatching and a thrilling cultural mosaic epitomised by the ethnic diversity of remote South Omo.