Delve into Nigeria's exuberant West African culture at Lagos Island's National Museum on your first visit to Lagos. Buy locally made jewellery and sculptures at the museum's own craft centre or shop and unwind in Victoria Island's upmarket malls. On return visits to Lagos, relax on the beach at Tarkwa Bay.
Lagos sits on the Bight of Benin, the body of water bordering Lagos and forming part of the Gulf of Guinea, on the northern edge of Nigeria's coast. The city of Lagos is made up of some mainland area and several islands in Lagos Lagoon. Explore Lagos Island, home to the city's business and administrative centre, and join the crowds at its markets and large mosque. The island of Ikoyi was the site of Nigeria's government buildings until the capital relocated to Abuja in 1991. Go there today for upscale shopping and four-star hotels. You'll also find glistening western-style shopping malls and entertainment complexes on upmarket Victoria Island. A network of bridges links the islands to the mainland, where most of the population lives.
Find out about Nigeria's rich history and culture at the National Museum on Lagos Island. You'll see a fine collection of sculptures and carvings, exhibits on ancient civilisations and displays about Nigeria's more recent military history. Go shopping on upmarket Victoria Island and eat at Thai and traditional Nigerian restaurants in its modern shopping malls.
Visit monkeys, crocodiles and peacocks at the Lekki Conservation Centre then spend the day at the beach. Lekki Peninsula has lovely beaches where you can relax under a palm-frond umbrella, or go for a paddle in the sheltered waters at Tarkwa Bay. For performing arts, see what's on at the nearby National Theatre, located on Iganmu, half an hour from Lagos Island.
Lagos Airport (Lagos Murtala Muhammed International), Nigeria's largest, serves more than five million passengers annually and is modelled on Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. A new domestic terminal was inaugurated in April 2007 and the airport's amenities are gradually improving.
The Domestic and International Terminals are just over one kilometre apart. The easiest way to get from one to the other is by taxi, which takes about 10 minutes. Ranks are outside departures at the International Terminal. Negotiate a fee before setting off. Plans are afoot to construct a monorail linking the two terminals.
Terminal 2 has a new, fully automated five-storey car park.
Lagos Airport can be fairly chaotic, so allow plenty of time to check in. Keep an eye and ear out for announcements, as departure gates can often change at the last minute. For personal security reasons, don't take public transport to and from the airport.
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