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16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cotonou, Benin Republic

16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

Cotonou is home to the most spectacular scenery and recognizable icons in Africa.

Cotonou is the largest city in Benin and is known for its beautiful history and a wide array of tourist sites. You can’t beat the tourist attractions in Cotonou, but it’s always nice to have a few alternatives.

Here are 16 top destinations you should visit if you decide to take a family holiday or even on your own.

1. Fidjrosse Beach

The Fidjrosse Beach, located in Fidjrosse town in Cotonou, Benin Republic, is amongst the world’s most stunning, long, and huge beaches.

Fidjrosse Beach is a beautiful beach in Cotonou, the capital of the Benin Republic. It provides a relaxing spot that serves as a family-friendly recreational hub.

Fidjrosse Beach is a fantastic stretch of golden sand that slopes into the ocean and makes you feel like you’re in a serene paradise. It is equipped with enough palm trees to provide shade for anyone.

Fidjrosse Beach offers vacationers clear blue water, soft sand, and a buzz of happy people easing stress. 

Activities at the beach 

· Relaxing and unwinding near the beachside

· Walking tour around the beach  

· Beach volley 

· Swimming 

· Water sports, such as snorkeling 

· Live music performance

2. Lagune de Cotonou 

Laguna de Cotonou, also known as Cotonou Lagoon, is a magnificent lagoon formed by Lake Maracaibo, close to Pont Martin Luther King and Dantokpa market.

The lagoon has varying elevations. Some beach areas are lower than seven meters above sea level, while others are higher.

Notable Attractions at the Lagon

Lagune de Cotonou is a perfect place to visit if you are looking for an exciting thing to do. It’s close to other nearby attractions that include, but are not limited to;

· Lake Nokue

· Kotonu Lighthouse

· Dantokpa Market, and 

Pont Martin Luther King. 

3. Fondation Zinsou

Foundation Zinsou is an African art museum and an exhibition center for artists, education, and social development.

Founded by the Zinsou family, it is a modern arts spot in the Cadjehoun neighborhood of Cotonou.

The exhibition center has a variety of art, including traditional, conceptual, and visual works.

Zinsou, created by a family of artists, promotes African art through paintings, photography, and sculptures.

Attractions at Fondation Zinsou 

· The venue is a vital resource for culture and art in the Benin republic

· It houses the wax fabric exhibit  

· There is artistic heritage related to Africa 

· Beautiful art books and café with wi-fi access 

Programs at the center 

· Dance performance 

· Workshops 

· Public art events 

· Concerts 

· Masterclasses 

· Artist talks 

Working hours 

The Foundation Zinsou works every Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 7 pm, and Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm

4. Obama Beach 

Obama Beach is a pristine beach with mild waves opposite the US embassy in Cotonou, Benin Republic. 

Obama Beach is an attractive beach with a variety of leisure activities, as well as great weather. Obama beach in Cotonou is a tourist sight with sparkling blue seawater and pure white sand. 

Obama beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cotonou. From a distance, the water sparkles blue and white sands stretch out into the horizon. Tourists from all over come to experience this unique beach.

The beach at the center of the city is quite entertaining, and although it’s not as big as other beaches, it still allows enough magnitude for horse riding.

Working hours  

The working hours in Obama Beach are from Sunday to Sunday, from 12:00 pm to 7:45 am.

Services at Obama Beach 

The Services at Obama Beach, the horse riding beach, include dine-in, takeaway, and delivery.

5. The Dantokpa Market 

Dantokpa Market is the largest open-air market in Cotonou. It’s a central market where one can buy most items needed for daily use, like clothing and food.

The Dantokpa Market, known as Tokpa, is among the tourists’ top attractions in Cotonou, Benin republic. 

The Dantokpa market is one of the most authentic markets in the city. It’s filled with great colors, smells, and sights all around.

With a commercial turnover of more than a billion CFA Francs per day, Dantokpa is economically essential to the Benin republic. 

Activities obtainable at the spot 

· The market is remarkable with its access to interact with female sellers

· It also permits goofing around with men in the electronic section 

· Dantokpa market has a spice section suitable for tourists. 

The Uniqueness of the market 

Tourists view the unique market through the overload of sounds of taxis, motors, and bicycles. 

The scenes and images in the market are picturesque. 

The sight of goods sold during fetishes, religious rituals, and talisman is worth checking out by tourists. 

Dantokpa market is ideal for purchasing gifts and tasting local food and drinks. 

What do tourists enjoy the most at the market?

· Tourists enjoy attractive goods ranging from fresh fruits, live animals, talismans, and spices to electronics, clothing, and jewelry. 

· The bustling atmosphere of the market is distinctive to tourists. 

· Walking through the pulsating open-air market is an unparallel experience for tourists.  

6. Artisanal Center 

Cotonou Artisanal Center is a market in Benin with an assortment of shops and stands on Boulevard St-Michel. They sell traditional crafts like masks and batik textiles while hosting various other cultural activities.

The Artisanal Center is a tourist-focused market with a gift shop.

A popular shopping spot is Dantokpa Market, but souvenirs are hard to find. Fortunately, some of the Artisanal Center’s boutiques have unique items not available at other stores.

Offerings of the Artisanal Center 

The market offers many items, including the following:

· Voodoo dolls 

· Handmade puppets 

· Carved wooden masks and batiks 

· Lots of ornaments 

Sightseeing in the center 

Besides unique items that tourists might want, the center serves as an art gallery, a place to buy souvenirs, and more. Among other things, you can find paintings, statues, hammocks, masks, and more.

7. Lake Nokoué

Lake Nokoué covers an area of 12,000 acres in Cotonou, with the city of Cotonou sitting on the southern border.

Lake Nokue is in the Atlantic Department and is Benin’s largest brackish water area.

It is an oval-shaped, salty lake with riverine freshwater from the north and seawater influx from the south.

Lake Nokoue, 11 km long and 20 km wide, has 78 different fish worth viewing at a minimum.

The lake draws people from all backgrounds, as Ganvie village sits in the middle.

Attractions at the lake 

· Bird watching 

· Fishing

· Flora and fauna sightseeing   

8. Bab’s Dock

Bab’s Dock is a private restaurant with European-style food located next to the lagoon in Cococodji.

Bab’s Dock is a restaurant located 11 kilometers from Cotonou in Benin with a beautiful cabin and rooftop bar. The space is also perfect for tourists who enjoy great food, cocktails, and some West African culture.

Mental reset is one of the benefits of eating at A European-styled restaurant. They have a traditional European setup and use local wood to give the interior a rustic look. It’s hidden on one side of the lagoon, so you feel like your time there is rejuvenating.

When you visit the serene environment of Bab’s Dock, you will enjoy the lush greenery and calming water.  

Things to know before visiting Bab’s Dock 

· Bab’s Dock has two rooms of accommodation per person, with each room having a king-size bed, bathroom en suite, and a toilet. 

· The establishment also has a makeshift room atop each room. 

· It’s only accessible on public holidays and weekends from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

· Tourists visiting for a day trip can drive there without prior booking. 

· Bab’s Dock has a mini zoo with animals like tortoises, donkeys, and monkeys. 

· Accommodation per night for one cabin room is #28,000 (45,000CFA). 

· The tourism spot has a restaurant serving European-styled meals with prices around #3000 to #4500 (5000 – 7000 CFA).  

How to locate the spot           

When visiting Bab’s Dock, the easiest way is to find Eraven Shopping Center, the biggest mall in Cotonou.

If you are heading to the beach from downtown, it’s easiest to follow mall road. From there, turn left at Bab’s Dock and head down to the beach.

Once you arrive at Bab’s Dock, a parking space is available. Take a boat to the Dock, and then pay #1600 (2500 CFA).

Activities available in Bab’s Dock 

The activities in Bab’s Dock are many, but some that have remained memorable for visitors include the following:

· Sailing or kayaking across the lake  

· Volleyball 

· Swimming 

· Canoeing 

· Strolling 

· Lying in the hammock close to the water’s edge 

9. Cotonou Central Mosque 

Cotonou Central Mosque is the oldest and largest in Cotonou, home to many worshippers of Muslim faiths.

Cotonou Central Mosque is the hub for Muslim devotees and travelers in Cotonou, Littoral, and Benin Republic.

The mosque in Cotonou, also known as Mosquee Centrale de Cotonou, is the most significant building at the core of the Muslim community there.

Attraction at the mosque

The main attraction for tourists at the central mosque is the breathtaking structure of the mosque, which provides a unique look from various angles.

10. Cathedrale Notre Dame de I’lmmaculee Conception

Cotonou is the country’s largest city, with a population of over 2 million. One of its oldest and most famous monuments is Cathedrale Notre Dame de l’Immaculee Conception.

Located in front of Bayole Square, the catholic cathedral is worth a quick visit accruing its ambiance. 

Why do you need to visit the cathedral? 

The history of this cathedral dates back to the seventies and has been going strong ever since. It is one of Cotonou’s most conspicuous landmarks.

Residents have been worshipping on the site for years, making the cathedral one of the oldest in the country. 

Attractions at the cathedral 

· Clock tower

· Garden 

· Square 

· Monument 

· Alley 

11. L’étoile Rouge

L’étoile Rouge is an essential intersection in Cotonou, located in the city center on five different routes.

L’étoile Rouge translating to “Red Star,” is a monument representing part of the nation’s history since 1975

After adopting Marxism-Leninism as its political ideology in 1974, the country officially received a monument from Russia in 1975, which was the first of its kind to be given to African countries.

Though the Benin Republic enacted democracy in 1991, the historic monument remains a reminder of the past.

Activities in L’étoile Rouge

L’étoile Rouge is for people who want to come in, relax and watch some sports.

Characteristics of the landmark 

· L’étoile symbolizes the resistance of the people of the Benin republic  

· The red star has a statue of a man holding a piece of wood, a gun, and a hoe above it.

· The spot is a sightseeing attraction in Cotonou.

12. Saint Michel Church 

Saint Michel church attracts many people during the day in Cotonou thanks to its many different service times and friendly atmosphere.

The church has a big hall for Anglophones and francophones at various hours for Sunday service and other sectors of prayers. 

The pastel pink and green Catholic Church is more notable for its exterior decorations and works 24 hours daily. 

Sightseeing elements at the church 

· The exterior of the church looking like a pink gingerbread house is one of the things to behold

· It has our lady of victory that makes dearest wishes come true

· The church, with small size concerts, a little snack bar, and restaurants, is worth viewing 

· Saint Michel church, decorated with the colors of a Christmas party, is a good place for tourists to relax. 

· There is a mini gallery at the church where Beninese art items are on sale 

· Line-up of beautiful trees around the environment, serving as a shade to visitors.  

13. Cotonou Cathedral 

Cotonou Cathedral, known as the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Misericorde, is a catholic cathedral near the Ancien Pont Bridge.

The Cotonou cathedral is a prominent landmark in Benin for its rich and varied architectural style.

The striking white and red stripes of the cathedral are a relief from Cotonou’s complete bustle.

Appealing objects in Cotonou cathedral 

· The main attraction for visitors to this cathedral is its art galleries and remarkable architecture. 

· Another beautiful thing to glance at in the church is a tower standing towards the left side of the church.  

· The church’s pretty stripes, sandstone, and cream-colored arches are fascinating. 

· Bookshops of academic texts and selling titles by regional writers make the spot more than a place of worship.

14. Grande Mosquee de Zongo

The Grande Mosquee de Zongo is an excellent mosque, among the largest in the country, registered at the postal code 9C4G+PGR, and its location is in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

This mosque, in the heart of a bustling area, has modern facilities and luxurious space for prayer.

Attraction at the mosque 

· The mosque’s beauty is the coming together of people from different nationalities to pray.

· Flags of the Islamic nations of the world arrayed around the mosque

· A library for Islam and Arabic lessons.

15. Ancien Pont Bridge 

The Ancien Pont Bridge is a pontoon bridge in Cotonou, Benin, and it crosses the Lagune de Cotonou.

The 1928 stunning bridge is the key feature of Cotonou’s city. It separates the two sides of the town and is a famous symbol for its importance.

The bridge is among the landmarks and tourist attractions of Cotonou in Benin.

Why is the bridge attractive?

Nobody can deny that the design and construction of the Ancien Pont Bridge are pretty appealing. Built-in 1981, Ancien Pont Bridge is considered one of the best bridges in Africa due to its modern touch, grand style, and relatively young age.

You can see the city of Cotonou from the bridge just by standing on it.

16. Cotonou Friendship Stadium

Cotonou Friendship Stadium, known as Stade de l’Amitie, is a multi-purpose stadium in Cotonou with facilities for athletics.

The stadium is another historical landmark with a capacity of 20,000 people and a football field.

Stade de l’Amitie is an important part of the identity of Cotonou. It has a rich history and generates a unique atmosphere that boosts its value to some extent.

Attractive activities at the stadium 

· Skating 

· Football

· Races 

· Jumping and throwing events 

Conclusion 

Tourist attractions in Cotonou are many, but the destinations listed above draw visitors from around the world all year round, and exploring them will make your stay memorable.

Whether you are looking for unusual landmarks, monuments, historical buildings, breathtaking museums, and more in Africa and precisely in Cotonou? Benin Republic is the destination you should visit.

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