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Basic information

  • Area: 2,119 km2 (818 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +225
  • Currency: West African CFA franc (XOF)
  • Population (EST): 4,476,397
  • Official language: French
  • Time Zone: GMT (UTC+0)

10 Reasons to Visit Abidjan

1. Wonderful Walking Trips

The city of Abidjan is quite spread-out, and home to various different districts. The easiest way to see it all is by taking a pleasant stroll. A great place to start a walk is at Le Plateau. See the Laza de la Republique, and pick up a nice walking map at the tourist information centre in the Ivoire Building. No doubt your trek will take you through the charming flea market, where there are numerous vendours and places to eat. Abidjan is a fantastic city for just setting out and seeing where you end up. Each district has a distinct feel to it, and it's pleasant to experience the different vibes of each one.

2. St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's is a beautiful gem within the city. The Cathedral is quite modern and imposing, and is one of the major landmarks of Abidjan. Built in 1985 in honor of the Pope, the architecture of the cathedral symbolizes the form of Jesus, with some added flourish provided by well-placed elephant tusks, which are the symbol of the Cote d'Ivoire. The beautiful stained glass work is of particular interest.

3. Grand Bassam

Grand Bassam was once the bustling capital, but today it's a lovely place to peruse the artisan shoppes, and see the beautiful local wood carvings. Everything is available for purchase, and you're sure to find some delightful souvenirs in the colourful stalls. Remember that bargaining is pretty much a national sport, so don't be afraid to haggle with the vendours. It's possible to work the price down quite a bit if you know how to play the game, so never settle for the first price that you are given.

4. Vridi Beaches

The Vridi beaches are a wonderful afternoon destination very near to the city, and a great place to escape and sit on the shores. Even though the waters are exposed to the ocean, and therefore a bit difficult for swimming, they're still beautiful to gaze at. There are a number of pleasant shoppes and cafes that line the beach, as well as carts selling cold beverages and nice little snacks.

5. Adjame

Adjame is a charming quarter of the city. It's interesting to visit the small lake here, and watch as the professional laundry cleaners use the lake to do their washing for the day. There are no detergents used in the lake, so the washers simply use the rocks and tires to pound the clothing and rinse it till all is thoroughly cleaned. The district itself is charming to take a stroll and see the local characters at work.

6. Exhibition Hall

This is one of the most popular spots in Abidjan for businessmen, thanks to the intercontinental hotel and conference space. There are always events being held here, and business folk find this to be the perfect place for their meetings. The amenities of the hotel are quite complete, and it's all in all a very lovely hotel to spend a weekend.

7. Relaxation

The Côte d'Ivoire is stunningly beautiful, and is quite popular for tourists who are looking to relax and stay in a resort-style setting. Most of the high-end resorts are just outside of Abidjan, but they're worth the trip if you're ready for some serious peace, quiet, and lovely beaches. Many of these resorts offer the kind of African Paradise that tourists crave, and also offer recreational activities like yachting, sunbathing, canoeing, swimming, and so much more.

8. Parc du Banco

The Parc du Banco resides on the northwest edge of town, and is a fantastic rainforest reserve. With its wonderful walking trails, stunning trees, and beautiful lake, you'll be able to take in the natural beauty of Abidjan. Here is another outdoor launderette, which is said to be the largest of its kind in Africa.

9. Local Food

Ivorian food is quite good, and there are many places to sit down and eat in Abidjan, as well as great food carts that offer local fare. The native foods of the Ivory Coast include yam, rice, cassava, and fresh bread. The latter of which is the staple breakfast food for the locals. Cassava is often eaten whole, but sometimes mashed into plakali, and mixed with banana. Fish is very popular in the city, and is quite fresh and delicious, right out of the local waters. There are also European style restaurants available to suit the traveler's needs. These more upscale establishments can be found in the wealthier areas such as Deux Plateaux, Zone 4, Cocody, and Plateau.

10. The Paris of West-Africa

Abidjan was once proclaimed to be the Paris of West-Africa, as it flourished under the care of the Godfather of the Ivory Coast, Felix Huphouet-Boigny. The wonderful energy and enrichment of that time still remains in the streets of Abidjan. You can feel the pulse of those days of the past, and see the great future that is to come. With so many interesting sites and excursions, Abidjan remains a fantastic destination city on the Ivory Coast.

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