Best Places to Live in Madagascar (2024)

Madagascar is one of the most exotic places you could imagine living in. This tropical island is a paradise for most and a beckon for all nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Madagascar is one of the biggest islands in the Indian Ocean, with breathtaking views of nature, gorgeous white sand beaches, and mouthwatering local food. It’s famous for its extraordinary wildlife and biodiversity and is home to Lemurs, which can only be found in Madagascar. This wild island is definitely the place to add to your Africa bucket list

Madagascar is a place with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. There are things you should know if you’re visiting the area, but if you plan on living there, you need to know if Madagascar is safe and a good place to live.

Best Places to Live in Madagascar for…

  • Expats: Antananarivo
  • English Speakers: Antananarivo
  • Digital Nomads: Taolagnaro
  • Solo Travelers: Antsiranana
  • Couples: Tsarabanjina
  • Groups: Ile Saint Marie

Top 10 Places to Live in Madagascar

1. Antananarivo

Best Place to Live for Expats


Cost of Living: $$

Antananarivo is the largest city and the capital of Madagascar, with a population of 3 million people. As the hub of Madagascar’s rich culture, the city has many museums, historical sites, and vibrant markets. The people in Antananarivo are known for being courteous and non-confrontational, and the cost of living for expats is relatively lower than in most Western countries.

Tip: Try the typical dishes eaten by locals like lasopy, akoho, or fish in coconut sauce.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, English Speakers


  • If you’re a foodie, you can expect a diversity in cuisine. 
  • The city has many businesses, NGOs, and international organizations.
  • Antananarivo has reputable schools and universities with French and English-speaking schools.


  • There may be a language barrier, as the primary language spoken in the city is Malagasy. 
  • You should be vigilant about some security concerns, like petty theft. 
  • Antananarivo has a problem with traffic congestion and infrastructure. 

2. Taolagnaro

Best Place to Live for Digital Nomads


Cost of Living: $

Digital nomads looking for a work-life balance have a rare opportunity to work remotely in Taolagnaro in Madagascar’s breathtaking surroundings. Taolagnaro is an exciting option for digital nomads. It’s surrounded by stunning landscapes, including beaches and lush rainforests.

You will need a dependable WiFi connection to make frequent calls or send emails. Airtel, Telma, and Orange are the leading telecom companies in Madagascar, so make sure you research their coverage plans.

Tip: Madagascar doesn’t offer a specific digital nomad visa, so if you wish to stay longer, obtain the long-stay permit for tourism or business purposes.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital nomads, English-speakers


  • The city has an influence of mixed cultures, including Malagasy, French, and other ethnic groups.
  • Taolognaro offers a more laid-back lifestyle environment compared to larger cities. 
  • The city has pleasant weather all year round because of its tropical environment. 


  • There are options for leisure and shopping.
  • There are health facilities that some digital nomads may need help finding up to standard.
  • Finding employment prospects for digital nomads might be challenging, so stick to remote work.

3. Antsiranana

Best Place to Live for Solo Travelers


Cost of Living: $$$

Antsiranana is a port city, also known as Diego Suarez, that has the most beautiful deep-water harbors. It is surrounded by mountains and has a varied population of Sakalava, Antajarana, French, Arab, Chinese, and Comorien people.

Tip: As with any destination, you must take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety as a solo traveler and learn a few phrases in the local language.

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo travelers, couples, and groups.


  • Antsiranana has a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking or bird watching.
  • Solo travelers can connect easily with locals and experience the genuine friendliness of the community.
  • The city is very diverse in terms of culture and people.


  • Transportation may be costly, and certain goods and services may be limited.
  • It can be very hot and humid, which some may find challenging.
  • Women who travel alone will probably have men approach them without permission. However, a firm no should be sufficient.

4. Tsarabanjina

Best Place to Live for Couples


Cost of Living: $$

Tsarabanjina is more of a resort destination as it’s a small private island located off the northwest coast of Madagascar in the Mitsio Archipelago. This stunning island is known for its pristine, white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, and tropical surroundings. It is the ideal destination for couples.

Tip: Remember to embrace the serenity and beauty of Tsarabanjina by savoring the tranquility in this idyllic setting.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples, solo travelers.


  • It’s an excellent spot for couples to unwind, refresh, and share special moments.
  • There is abundant marine life around the island. 
  • The island is private, with upscale resorts.


  • Living on a private island can be costly, especially in post-resorts. 
  • The island is secluded and isolated, and because of that, goods and services from the mainland are not easily accessible.
  • Employment options are restricted to the hospitality and tourism sectors. 

5. Ile Sainte-Marie

Best Place to Live for Groups


Cost of Living: $$$

Ile Sainte Marie, known as Nosy Boraha, is a magnificent island with unique landscapes. If you’re a beach bum, you won’t need much convincing to live here after seeing a few pictures. It is a popular vacation spot and will give you an out-of-this-world living experience. This island’s vibe is very unhurried and rustic.

Tip: The most popular means of transport is cycling. However, there are other ways of getting around, like on board a traditional pirogue.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, solo travelers, and couples. 


  • Residents usually know each other.
  • There is marine life, making it an excellent location for water sports.
  • The island is packed with history dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries when the island was a safe refuge for pirates. 


  • Getting to and from the island will require taking a boat or small plane, which can be inconvenient and weather-dependent.
  • Economic stability is influenced by fluctuations in tourism numbers.
  • The island’s infrastructure is very basic.

6. Mahajanga

Best Place to Live for Cultural Enthusiasts


Cost of Living: $$

Mahajanga is a quiet, multicultural port city full of attractions. Tourists from other countries often praise it for its friendliness, carefree attitude, and art of living.

Tip: Embrace the local culture and community because building these connections will provide valuable support and assistance in your community.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, couples, expats, and cultural enthusiasts.


  • The town benefits economically from its ports and also offers opportunities for commerce, fishing, and tourism.
  • There’s tons of variety here regarding local festivals, customs, and food.
  • Mahajanga has beautiful beaches, such as Grand Pavois and Katsepy. 


  • The work market is less broad and diverse.
  • Road conditions may be an issue. 
  • French is frequently used in formal and business situations, so if you don’t speak or understand it, there may be a language barrier. 

7. Ambalavao

Best Place to Live for Traditional Architecture Enthusiasts 


Cost of Living: $$$

Ambalavao is a small town known for paper-making, silk-making, and wine. It is situated in the central highlands of Madagascar. It has a unique cultural heritage, traditional architecture, and bustling craft markets. It’s not as urbanized as larger cities. However, it does offer you a distinct charm and relaxed lifestyle.

Tip: The peaks surrounding the Ambalavao region are considered a resting place for the dead, and people who live in Ambalavao are said to be their protectors. If you plan on hiking or climbing Mount Ambondrombe, you must ask for permission from local authorities and be accompanied.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, cultural enthusiasts, architectural enthusiasts


  • If you’d love to experience the local culture, in Ambalavao, there is a strong sense of the Malagasy culture.
  • You’ll find various handcrafted items, including fabrics made from native plants.
  • There is beautiful scenery and a pleasant climate.


  • Ambalavao is not urbanized, so you may have restricted access to some facilities and services.
  • Job prospects may be more restricted, so consider looking into remote work.
  • The infrastructure is less modern and less developed than in Madagascar’s larger cities.

8. Antsirabe

Best Place to Live for Families


Cost of Living: $

Antsirabe is well known for its thermal springs, which can be your source of relaxation and wellness. It’s situated in the central highlands., and the weather is often calm and less humid. The town has kept much of its historical and cultural charm with colonial-era architecture and a distinctive local atmosphere.

Tip: It will be helpful to learn French to communicate with the locals.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, couples, and families.


  • Annsirabe has a variety of educational institutions, such as schools and universities.
  • The city is known for its skilled artisans who make crafts and textiles. 
  • The city is surrounded by lush green landscapes, and the hot springs only add to its natural beauty.


  • Antsirabe faces infrastructure challenges, including occasional power outages and limited access to specific amenities.
  • There are limited job opportunities.
  • If you don’t speak French or Malagasy, there may be a communication hurdle.

9. Fianarantsoa

Best Place to Live for Nature Lovers


Cost of Living: $$

Fianarantsoa is an old town that has a captivating history with traditional architecture, craft markets, and a vibrant local scene. It is often called the “City of Water” because it has numerous waterfalls, lakes, and rivers. It also has tea plantations and is home to the largest vineyard in Madagascar.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, digital nomads, families, and couples.


  • The city is home to many universities, colleges, and research organizations.
  • Many churches, mosques, and temples coexist.
  • Hiking paths, wildlife reserves, and national parks are nearby in Fianarantsoa.


  • Work prospects may be more restricted.
  • Like many areas in Madagascar, this small city faces challenges with its infrastructure.
  • There are health facilities. However, the city has limited specialized healthcare.

10. Toamasina

Best Place to Live for Expats


Cost of Living: $$$

Toamasina is the second largest city in Madagascar. It’s located on the east coast and is known for its stunning beaches and bustling ports. It has the busiest and largest port in Madagascar.

Tip: Toamasina celebrates the Malagasy New Year with the Famadihana ceremony, which involves exhuming the bodies of the dead.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and Digital Nomads.


  • Toamasina is the center of commerce and business opportunities.
  • The city has a diverse mix of cultures.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy exploring nature.


  • Toamasina has infrastructure issues like most parts of Madagascar.
  • The cost of living is higher compared to other regions in Madagascar. 
  • The availability of cutting-edge medical treatments may be limited.

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