Fianarantsoa, commonly abbreviated as Fianar, is a city in the Fianarantsoa Province of Madagascar. Due to its central location, it is a gateway city for transportation to many other places in central and southern Madagascar and many tourists visit to take the FCE train to Manakara. It is the centre of Madagascar’s Betsileo ethnic community. The city can serve as a basis for numerous activities and day trips in the surroundings.
Fianarantsoa has a 1 small airfield, however, as of November 2017, there are no scheduled flights.
The city is connected by rail to the port city of Manakara. Most visitors arrive from the North (Antananarivo) or the South (Toliara) and travel the rail road down to Manakara. It is not a reliable mode of transport due to the bad technical state of the equipment.
Fianarantsoa is a transportation hub where several national roads meet. They all have in common that they are narrow, wind themselves through mountainous territory and offer many scenic views. The roads to Antananarivo, Manakara, Ambalavao-Toliara and Ranomafana are all paved, as of November 2017, there were quite a few damaged stretches on the NR7 between Ambositra and Fianarantsoa.
To get in and out from Fianarantsoa by road, there are two scheduled bus lines:
- 1 Cotisse transport, ☎+261 32 12 027 02. Offers two daily scheduled minibus services to and from Antananarivo (gare routière du nord), buy tickets with seat reservation in advance. The buses depart on time even if not full. You are required to be at the station 45 minutes before departure. The station in Fianarantsoa has a toilet but does not sell any food/breakfast. Expect to travel around 9 hours, depending on how much time you spend in Tana’s traffic jam. 25,000 Ar per person. (updated Nov 2017)
- TransPost. Offers scheduled minibus services to and from Toliara. Inquire at the post offices (see “Connect” section) in these two cities for departure times. (updated Nov 2017)
For all other destiations, you have to rely on your own car or taxi-brousse, which start from the 1 stationnement near the train station. It is busiest in the early morning.