Monday, 4th December 2023

Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan – What you should see in Nigeria’s three biggest cities

By Guardian Nigeria
04 September 2023   |   2:20 am
If you're ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Nigeria's culture, history, and urban life, you're in for a treat.

If you’re ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Nigeria’s culture, history, and urban life, you’re in for a treat. We’re about to embark on a journey through three of Nigeria’s biggest cities – Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan.

From bustling markets to historic sites and hidden gems, these cities offer a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. So, grab your travel essentials and let’s dive into what you should see and experience in each of these fascinating destinations.

Lagos: The Megacity of Dreams

Welcome to Lagos – Nigeria’s largest city and a vibrant hub of energy, creativity, and diversity. From the moment you set foot in this dynamic metropolis, you’ll be swept up in its fast-paced rhythm and infectious spirit. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning for more, Lagos has a way of leaving an indelible mark on your heart.

Plan a trip starting with the iconic Third Mainland Bridge, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline and the lagoon below. Lagos is a city of contrasts, where luxury high-rises stand side by side with bustling markets.

For an authentic taste of Lagosian life, head to Balogun Market – a sensory overload of colours, sounds, and aromas. And don’t forget to indulge in some local street food – from suya to puff-puff, the flavours of Lagos are an adventure for your taste buds.

You’ll also get to try out the new Blue Rail Line if you visit after September 4th, making travel around the city a breeze.

Kano: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

Venture north to Kano, a city that’s steeped in history and tradition. Known as the “Centre of Commerce,” Kano offers a fascinating blend of ancient landmarks and modern progress. The city’s ancient walls, which have stood for centuries, provide a glimpse into its storied past. As you walk through the bustling streets, you’ll feel the echoes of a rich cultural heritage that’s still very much alive.

No visit to Kano is complete without exploring the famous Kurmi Market. This market is a whirlwind of activity, where you can find everything from intricate textiles to exquisite crafts. And speaking of crafts, don’t miss the opportunity to witness traditional dyeing and weaving techniques passed down through generations.

Ibadan: A City of Rich Heritage

Now, let’s journey to Ibadan – a city that’s known for its historical significance and its status as one of Nigeria’s largest urban centres. Ibadan offers a more relaxed pace compared to the bustling metropolis of Lagos, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a blend of culture and tranquillity.

One of Ibadan’s standout attractions is the Cocoa House, a historic skyscraper that towers over the city. This iconic building isn’t just a symbol of architectural achievement; it also represents the city’s economic and industrial progress. The Cocoa House is a must-visit for history buffs and those interested in understanding the city’s economic roots. Once you’re inside, you can explore its halls and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of its storied past.

To take a step back in time and immerse yourself in Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, head to the Ibadan National Museum. This treasure trove of a museum houses an extensive collection of artefacts and artworks that provide a glimpse into the country’s diverse history.

From ancient sculptures to traditional textiles, the museum is a window into the past, showcasing the artistic and cultural expressions of Nigeria’s various ethnic groups. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the stories of the past while gaining a deeper appreciation for the present.

For those seeking a bit of adventure and a taste of the great outdoors, a hike up Oke Are, also known as Old Mapo Hill, is a must. This natural landmark offers more than just a cardio workout; it rewards hikers with panoramic views of the city.

As you ascend, the cityscape gradually unfolds before your eyes, revealing Ibadan’s unique blend of old and new. At the summit, you’ll find tranquillity and a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and reflect on your Ibadan journey.

Ibadan is also known for its vibrant cultural festivals and traditions. Depending on the time of your visit, you might have the opportunity to witness colourful events like the Egungun Festival, where masked performers channel ancestral spirits through elaborate dances and costumes.

No visit to Ibadan is complete without savouring its local cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to try dishes like amala and ewedu soup or suya, a popular Nigerian street food consisting of skewered and grilled meat coated in a spicy peanut sauce. These culinary delights are a testament to the city’s rich food culture.

If you’re up for some shopping and mingling with locals, explore the bustling markets of Ibadan, such as the Bodija Market. Here, you can discover an array of goods, from traditional textiles and crafts to fresh produce and spices. It’s a sensory experience that will introduce you to the lively energy of the city.

As you journey through Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan, you’re not just exploring cities – you’re delving into the heart and soul of Nigeria. Each city has its own unique story to tell, its own rhythm to dance to, and its own flavours to savour.

These cities embody Nigeria’s resilience, diversity, and the blend of tradition and modernity that define the nation. From the vibrant streets of Lagos to the historic walls of Kano and the cultural treasures of Ibadan, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of contrasts, connections, and discoveries.

So, fellow travellers, it’s time to pack your bags and set out on a journey that promises to be both enlightening and exhilarating. Explore the markets, taste the local cuisine, engage with the people, and soak in the rich tapestry of experiences that Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan have to offer. With each step, you’ll uncover the layers of history, culture, and life that make these cities not just destinations, but unforgettable chapters in your travel story.