Best things to do in Benin
Find out more about those top places in Benin
You will be forgiven if you have never heard about Cotonou. It is a large port city, located at the south coast side of Benin in the western region of Africa.
Not as popular as other West African cities like Lagos and Accra, but it certainly has its own unique charm. It is the commercial capital of the nation and home to quite a number of key government offices as well.
Cotonou is a very vibrant city it has an exciting nightlife, tropical beaches and serene art galleries. Some places to visit include the Dantokpa Market, Fondation Zinsou and great Notre Dame de Miséricorde.
If you do a random survey asking travelers who have visited Cotonou where your first stop should be when visiting the city, a vast majority would say the Dantokpa Market. Locally known as the Grande Marché de Dantokpa the market is located between the Boulevard St. Michel and the lagoon. The market represents the culture of the Beninese people, it attracts vendors and buyers from all over the country. Items such as clothes, bags, pottery and fruits can be found here and to cap it all off, is has an amazing fetish market.
Simply known as the Cotonou Cathedral the long-standing church is located close to the Ancien Pont bridge. Established on June 26, 1883, the cathedral is hard to miss when going through the city, with its eye-catching burgundy and white striped color. The interior being equally impressive as the exterior, has cream colored arches. Not only a place of worship, it also has a bookshop selling works of indigenous writers.
One of the country’s best architectural work, the impressive Ancien Pont Bridge was built in 1928 and it goes over the Laguna de Cotonou. The bridge is the biggest in Cotonou - created by the Government to solve the country’s transportation issues. Renovated in 1981 it remains a nice place to drive over while marveling at the brilliance of architecture.
Established in 2005 by the Zinsou family in order to promote the works of local artists in Benin. The Fondation Zinsou is the perfect place to see the beautiful artworks of your favorite Beninese artists including paints, sculptures and photography. The center is not acted as an art Gallery, but offers different programs for visitors such as workshops, concerts and dance performances. If you are a lover of arts, this is one place you don’t want to miss out.
With clear white sands and rushing waves, the Fidjrosse Beach is one of the best places in the city. Usually filled with many people especially on weekends, the beach presents an avenue to escape from life in the city. Like most West African beaches, the Fidjrosse Beach is surrounded by coconut tress which gives it that paradise feeling – there are many activities to engage in at the beach and it is a good way to familiarize yourself with the city’s culture.