Welcome to Stone Town, the enchanting heart of Zanzibar. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a captivating blend of history, culture, and architectural wonders. With its labyrinthine streets, ornate doorways, and rich heritage, Stone Town offers visitors a journey back in time to the days of sultans, traders, and explorers.

Explore Stone Town

Historical Landmarks

Explore Stone Town



House of Wonders

Built-in the late 19th century as the ceremonial palace of Sultan Barghash, the House of Wonders is an architectural marvel. Its grand facade, adorned with intricate carvings and Arabesque motifs, is a testament to Zanzibar’s opulent past. Today, the building houses the Museum of History and Culture, showcasing artifacts and exhibits that chronicle the island’s rich heritage.

Old Fort

Constructed by the Portuguese in the 17th century and later expanded by the Omani Arabs, the Old Fort stands as a silent sentinel overlooking Stone Town’s waterfront. Its weathered walls and imposing battlements offer a glimpse into Zanzibar’s turbulent history. Today, the fort serves as a cultural center, hosting events, exhibitions, and concerts beneath the stars.

Sultan’s Palace

Also known as Beit al-Sahel, the Sultan’s Palace is a majestic edifice that once served as the official residence of the Sultan of Zanzibar. With its imposing columns, elaborately carved doors, and lush gardens, the palace is a testament to the island’s royal heritage. Visitors can explore the palace’s opulent interiors, which are adorned with exquisite furniture, artifacts, and royal regalia.

Anglican Cathedral

Built on the site of the former slave market, the Anglican Cathedral is a poignant symbol of Zanzibar’s dark past. Its towering spires and Gothic arches stand as a memorial to the thousands of enslaved Africans who passed through the island’s shores. Inside, visitors can view the haunting slave chambers and reflect on the legacy of slavery in East Africa.

Cultural Experiences

Swahili Architecture

Stone Town’s architecture is a captivating blend of Swahili, Arab, Persian, and European influences. From its labyrinthine alleyways to its grand palaces, every corner of the town tells a story of cultural exchange and adaptation. Visitors can marvel at the intricately carved wooden doors, graceful balconies, and ornate facades that adorn the town’s historic buildings.

Traditional Music and Dance

Zanzibar is renowned for its vibrant music and dance traditions, which reflect the island’s multicultural heritage. Visitors can immerse themselves in the hypnotic rhythms of taarab music, the energetic beats of Ngoma drums, and the graceful movements of traditional dances like Mdundiko and Beni. Local performances and cultural events offer a window into Zanzibar’s rich artistic legacy.

Local Markets and Bazaars

Darajani Market is the bustling heart of Stone Town, where locals gather to buy and sell a dazzling array of goods. From fresh produce and spices to textiles and handicrafts, the market offers a sensory feast for visitors. Exploring its labyrinthine lanes, visitors can sample exotic fruits, haggle for souvenirs, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling bazaar.

Exploring the Streets of Stone Town

Explore Stone Town



Narrow Alleyways

Wandering through Stone Town’s narrow alleyways is like stepping back in time. Lined with ancient buildings and bustling with activity, these winding streets offer endless opportunities for exploration. Visitors can lose themselves in the maze-like network of lanes, discovering hidden courtyards, secret gardens, and tucked-away cafes along the way.

Ornate Doorways

Stone Town is famous for its elaborately carved wooden doors, which are a hallmark of Swahili architecture. Each door tells a story, with its intricate carvings and symbolic motifs reflecting the status, religion, and cultural identity of its owners. Visitors can admire these masterpieces of craftsmanship as they stroll through the town’s historic neighborhoods.

Hidden Courtyards

Tucked away behind the town’s imposing facades are hidden courtyards, tranquil oases of calm amidst the bustling streets. Visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of the town and unwind in these peaceful retreats, where lush gardens, trickling fountains, and fragrant flowers create a serene ambiance.

Museums and Galleries

Explore Stone Town



Peace Memorial Museum

Housed in the former Sultan’s Palace, the Peace Memorial Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Zanzibar’s history and culture. Exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the island’s maritime heritage to its role in the slave trade. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries, which are filled with artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring Zanzibar’s past to life.

Palace Museum

Located in the heart of Stone Town, the Palace Museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts and royal memorabilia. Visitors can wander through the palace’s opulent chambers, admiring its lavish furnishings, exquisite artworks, and priceless antiques. Highlights include the sultan’s throne room, the harem quarters, and the royal gardens.

Cultural Arts Centre

The Cultural Arts Centre is a vibrant hub of creativity and expression, showcasing the work of local artists and artisans. Visitors can browse a diverse range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and jewelry, and purchase unique souvenirs to take home. The center also hosts workshops, performances, and cultural events, providing a lively glimpse into Zanzibar’s artistic community.

Food and Dining

Explore Stone Town



Traditional Zanzibari Cuisine

No visit to Stone Town would be complete without sampling the island’s delicious cuisine. Visitors can feast on a mouthwatering array of dishes, including biryani, pilau, and seafood delicacies like octopus curry and grilled lobster. Traditional Swahili spices such as cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon infuse every dish with flavor, creating a truly unforgettable culinary experience.

Popular Restaurants and Cafes

Stone Town is home to a vibrant culinary scene, with an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and eateries to suit every taste and budget. Visitors can dine in style at

Luxury Hotels

For those seeking an indulgent stay, Stone Town offers a selection of luxury hotels that combine modern comforts with old-world charm. The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, housed in a historic building overlooking the Indian Ocean, offers elegant rooms and suites adorned with local artwork and furnishings. Guests can unwind in the rooftop infinity pool, savor gourmet cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant, or indulge in a pampering spa treatment. The Zanzibar Serena Hotel, located in the heart of Stone Town, offers a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling streets. With its lush gardens, sea-facing rooms, and opulent decor inspired by Swahili architecture, it’s the perfect retreat for discerning travelers.

Boutique Hotels

For a more intimate and personalized experience, boutique hotels in Stone Town offer a charming blend of comfort and character. Emerson Spice, located in a restored merchant’s house, exudes old-world charm with its antique furnishings, rooftop terrace, and panoramic views of the city. The Swahili House, nestled in the heart of Stone Town’s historic quarter, offers stylish rooms decorated with traditional Zanzibari fabrics and artwork. Guests can enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the courtyard garden or relax with a cocktail on the rooftop terrace as the sun sets over the city.

Budget-Friendly Hostels

Travelers on a budget can find affordable and comfortable accommodations in Stone Town’s hostels and guesthouses. Shangani Hotel, located just steps from the waterfront, offers clean and cozy rooms at budget-friendly prices. Guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a convenient location within walking distance of Stone Town’s main attractions. Lost & Found Zanzibar, housed in a beautifully restored colonial building, offers dormitory-style accommodation with modern amenities and a laid-back atmosphere. With its communal kitchen, rooftop terrace, and friendly staff, it’s the perfect base for budget-conscious travelers exploring Stone Town.

Day Trips from Stone Town

Explore Stone Town



Prison Island

Just a short boat ride from Stone Town lies Prison Island, a tropical paradise known for its pristine beaches and giant tortoises. Visitors can explore the island’s historic prison, stroll along the white-sand beaches, or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. It’s the perfect escape for a day of sun, sea, and relaxation.

Spice Farms

No visit to Zanzibar would be complete without a tour of its famous spice farms. Located just outside Stone Town, these lush plantations offer visitors the chance to see, smell, and taste a wide variety of spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla. Guided tours provide insight into the cultivation and harvesting process, as well as the medicinal and culinary uses of each spice.

Jozani Forest

Nature lovers won’t want to miss a trip to Jozani Forest, Zanzibar’s only national park. Home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including the endangered red colobus monkey, the forest offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting. Visitors can explore the forest’s winding trails, walk along raised boardwalks, and learn about the park’s conservation efforts at the visitor center.

Travel Tips for Stone Town

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Stone Town is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. The weather is mild and pleasant during this time, with sunny days and cool evenings. It’s also the peak tourist season, so be sure to book accommodations and activities in advance to avoid disappointment.

Safety Tips

Stone Town is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always important to take precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in poorly lit or deserted areas. Keep your valuables secure and be vigilant against pickpockets, particularly in crowded places like markets and bus stations. Use reputable transport services and accommodations, and trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.

Cultural Etiquette

Respect local customs and traditions while visiting Stone Town, especially when visiting religious sites or interacting with locals. Dress modestly, particularly in mosques and other places of worship, and ask permission before taking photos of people or their property. Learn a few basic phrases in Swahili, the local language, to show respect and connect with the community.


Stone Town is a captivating destination that offers a glimpse into Zanzibar’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring its historic landmarks, sampling its delicious cuisine, or simply soaking up the vibrant atmosphere, Stone Town is sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and discover the magic of this enchanting city for yourself.


What is the best way to get around Stone Town?

The best way to explore Stone Town is on foot, as many of its attractions are located within walking distance of each other. However, you can also use taxis, dala-dalas (local minibusses), or hire a bicycle for longer distances.

Is it safe to walk around Stone Town at night?

While Stone Town is generally safe for tourists, it’s always wise to take precautions, especially when walking alone at night. Stick to well-lit areas, avoid deserted streets, and trust your instincts.

What should I wear in Stone Town?

As a predominantly Muslim city, Stone Town has a conservative dress code. Visitors should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees, especially when visiting religious sites or local communities.

How many days should I spend in Stone Town?

A stay of 2 to 3 days is usually sufficient to explore the main attractions of Stone Town, including its historic landmarks, markets, and cultural experiences. However, you could easily spend longer if you want to immerse yourself fully in the city’s charm and atmosphere.

Are credit cards accepted in Stone Town?

While some larger hotels, restaurants, and shops in Stone Town may accept credit cards, it’s always advisable to carry cash, especially for smaller purchases and in more remote areas. Be sure to notify your bank of your travel plans beforehand to avoid any issues with card transactions.


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