Often referred to as Mji Mkongwe—the Swahili word for old town—Stone Town is the oldest part of the Zanzibar and a popular destination for visitors to this incredible island. Pastel-colored mosques and ancient Persian, Indian and European-style stone buildings line the cobbled streets of lively place that was once a hub for spice and slave trade, but today, has become a hub for tourism and travel. Trans-continental influences can be seen in the culture and community of crowded city street corners and are also evident in the richly-spiced food available throughout Stone Town.
Visitors can navigate the maze of narrow passes that connect major city streets to the rest of this lively destination on foot or aboard bikes or motos. It’s the perfect way to explore the island’s unique architecture, which includes former palaces, churches and mosques that date back as far as the early 1800s.
In addition to the traditional Mwanakwerekwe Market, travelers should explore the Forodhani Gardens, the Darajani Market bazaar and the Peace Memorial Museum. And no trip to the Spice Island is complete without one of Zanzibar’s famous spice tours, which takes visitors straight to the forests and plantations where some of the nation’s most precious items are harvested and sold to the rest of the world.
Stone Town is located on the western coast of Zanzibar. It has a tiny airport where time-crunched travelers can get flights to the mainland without much hassle. Local ferries, which depart about every hour, provide the most popular access to Stone Town from Tanzania.