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The Best Things to See and Do in Cotonou

There is a lot to see and do in Cotonou, Benin’s capital is vibrant cultural and urban life at the best. It’s the most cosmopolitan city in the country with a lot to offer itenthusiastic visitors. From the heart of the city to the streets – the energy is infectious, the people are friendly and life can be sweet. So you may have difficulty deciding what’s worth your time. From beaches to nightlife to markets and nature, here’s our guide to the best things to do and see on Cotonou, Benin.

We also recommend our brief guide to Pointe-Denis beach.

Artisanal Centre

top Things to See and Do in Cotonou
Antique and craft store in Cotonou, Benin. © Marcelo Tardío

Definitely a top to get African souvenirs in the city, you wouldn’t be disappointed. You’ll find local crafts, bronzes, woodcarvings, batiks, leather goods, etc. There’s always a good bargain when if you find a piece you’re interested in. Unique pieces at great prices.

Address: Boulevard Saint Michel, Cotonou, Benin

The Dantokpa Market

top Things to See and Do in Cotonou
Grand Marché de Dantokpa, market in Cotonou, Benin. © Deodat MARIYO

Grand Marché de Dantokpa consist of all the things that you wish to buy in a typical city market. This market in Cotonou is one of the largest open-air market in West Africa, and also of economic importance for the country. Seemingly endless opportunities for tourists and locals. From loads of colourful ankara (African fabrics) and vehicle parts to African food items, crafts and sourvenirs. There’s a good deal for everyone, both retailers and wholesalers. Market is very large and can be tough to cover, stressful but rewarding.

Cathedral de Notre Dame

Best Things to See and Do in Cotonou
Cathedral in Cotonou, Benin. © Karel Frimas KODJA

The Cotonou Cathedral is a quiet and cool escape from the bustle of the city. Situated near the Ancien Pont Bridge in Cotonou, Benin. Visitors can indulge in some church service or take personal time to reconnect with your spirituality. But you can also enjoy the archtectuire that is the building and take a moment to capture its vibrant red and white stripes.

Address: Ave Clozel, Cotonou, Benin

Fidjrosse Beach

A good beach, neat and clean beach loved by tourists and locals. Great place to visit and chill by the sound of the beach waves and the birds. Fun place to escape the city and relax in the stretch of sands and indulge the culture and food like locals.

Bab’s Dock

Best Things to See and Do in Cotonou
Recreation centre in Benin. © Razvan S

Any visit to Cotonou gets more fun with a trip to the Bab’s Dock, a private lake home. Take an adventure and explore the breath-taking waterfronts of the area. Relaxing drive along the lush mangrove offer visitors beautiful sights of nature and wildlife that leads to the final destination. A stunning secret destination of nature about 30 minutes away out of the city. A true hearty experience for locals and tourists heading up for the picturesque location.

Address: Houndodji, Cococodji, Benin

Fondation Zinsou

A modern and informative museum in the city, offers good guiding to visitors. It’s not to be missed when in Cotonou, Benin. In 2005, the Zinsou Fondation opened its door to the nation and helped in promoting Africa’s artistic heritage. This venue is space for exhibition of arts and culture and creative hub to contemporary African artists in the region. Truly colourful and fun with shops that allows visitors to buy crafts. Interesting place to learn about the culture and beauty of the country.

Address: Fondation Zinsou rue 400, Cotonou, Benin


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