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The best attractions & experiences in Zanzibar

Perhaps you’ve come for the culture, the history or the tropical scenery. Whatever your reasons for visiting, you can rest assured that Zanzibar won’t disappoint. But if there’s one thing this glorious island nation is famous for, it has got to be its beaches. What better way to indulge in some much needed me-time than lazing on the sand with a cocktail in hand? On Zanzibar Island, the most pristine shorelines can be found in the north and along the eastern coast. When you’re not soaking up the sun, a magical underworld world awaits. Menai Bay Conservation Area offers fantastic snorkelling and swimming opportunities with the chance to see a variety of marine life, including dolphins and giant turtles. 

When you’ve had your fill of beach activities, head inland to explore Zanzibar’s cultural heritage. Stone Town is one of the island’s most popular attractions - and for good reason. Meander through the spice-scented streets, sip sweet coffee with locals at the barazas and haggle at the markets. The town is also known for its intricately carved doors, which are used to signal wealth. They’re so photogenic you won’t be able to resist taking a snap in front of them.

One of the most famous landmarks in Stone Town is the National Museum of History and Culture, housed inside an imposing building known as the ‘Palace of Wonders’. After a few hours exploring the museum and learning about Swahili civilisation, head outside to the sea-facing Forodhani Gardens. At nightfall, this scenic park transforms into a bustling street food market, with dozens of hawkers serving everything from grilled octopus to spicy samosas. Grab a bite to eat and watch the sunset across the ocean. 

After exploring the city, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Zanzibar’s spice plantations. Soak up the scent of vanilla, cardamom and cloves and learn about the island’s famous spice industry. 

Evenings are usually a low-key affair, with a handful of bars and clubs to choose from in Zanzibar City. For more vibrant nightlife, head up the coast to the northern beaches for more bars and the iconic full moon parties.

Want to theme your holiday around your interests? All you have to do is add an Experience pack to create a bespoke itinerary. For example, the Stone Town and Spice Tour is included as part of our Base experiences pack and offers a great introduction to the island’s rich culture. Head over to the itinerary builder to find out more.

Experiences and attractions in Zanzibar

Stone Town

Making up the most famed half of Zanzibar City, this labyrinth-like, historical quarter is a cultural melting pot, packed full to the brim of ancient trading-hub secrets. Forget all the cliches of powder white sands and turquoise waters that lure tourists to the archipelago's beaches, this is Zanzibar at its most authentic.

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