A Self-Guided Day Tour of Apia
Have a day to spend in Apia and don’t know what to do with it? This one-day itinerary of Apia will ensure you make the most of Samoa’s bustling capital! Rent a car, take a taxi, hire a driver or even do a mix of walking and taking one of the iconic Samoan buses to explore historical monuments, potter around attractive parks, take cultural tours, visit museums, snorkel among coral, and even find yourself at a natural waterslide! You don’t need to hire a guide, as this self-guided day tour of Apia lays out the top attractions on an easy-to-follow route complete with maps.
How to Get Around Apia Using This Self-Guided Itinerary
This self-guided one-day itinerary of Apia has you exploring the capital and its suburbs independently. The easiest way to get around is by hiring a car, scooter or private driver. Some of this itinerary can be done on foot, but you’ll want to either take a taxi or experience a Samoan bus ride to reach some of the suburban attractions. Tips on all of these transport methods can be found in the following guides:
- What You Need to Hire a Car in Samoa
- The Top Apia Car Rental Companies
- Scooter Hire in Samoa: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- How to Hire a Driver in Samoa
- Taxis in Samoa: Taxi Fares, How to Use & More
- Taking the Bus in Samoa: Bus Fares, Routes & More
For more transport options, check out our Apia Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Apia.
Samoa Tourism Fale to Mulinuu Peninsula
Distance: 2.4 km (1.5 mi), Driving time: 5 mins, Walking time: 30 mins.
Samoa Cultural Village and Friendship Park
Your journey starts at an easy-to-find waypoint in the heart of Apia, the Samoa Tourism Information Centre. From 10 am on weekdays, don’t miss the Samoa Cultural Village tour taking place at the fale behind the information centre. The free attraction provides interesting insights into the Samoan culture along with a weaving workshop, umu demonstration and a traditional lunch along with a fiafia show.
Beyond the cultural village and behind the towering Government Building is Friendship Park with an attractive mangrove walkway that’s well worth exploring before making your way west toward the Mulinuu Peninsula.
Savalalo Flea Market and Bus Station
Admire the Town Clock Tower from a safe distance by the Beach Road roundabout, then follow the northernmost road through Savalalo with the Nelson Memorial Public Library and the Apia Fish Market, the latter is at its most bustling on a Sunday morning. Directly opposite is the Savalalo Flea Market boasting an array of stalls of handicrafts and a charming atmosphere.
Continue west and you’ll come across Apia’s most bustling bus station and a good place to experience Samoa’s famous suited-up buses. Take one to Papase’ea Sliding Rocks or the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (more on these attractions later) using the routes listed in our guide to Taking the Bus in Apia & Upolu.
If you’re driving, take Mulinuu Road north. Otherwise, stroll along the seawall or through the Sogi Recreational Area if you’re on foot.
The Mulinuu Peninsula is awash in memorials and monuments to Samoa’s leaders and colonialists gone by, so take a walk through political history with the German Memorial and then the British and American Memorial, both on the lefthand side of the road. Further north and to the right is the German Flag Memorial before reaching the large grassy area of Samoa’s Parliament House. Here, you’ll also find the Mafata Mausoleum, while the 1962 Independence Memorial is a little further up the road and on the coastal side of the road. Your final memorial comes at the Maleitoa Tomb and Afamasage Tomb, also on the coastal side. These sites are listed in more detail in the 10 Best Historical Sites in Apia.
Mulinuu Peninsula to Vailima
Distance: 7.6 km (4.7 mi), Driving time: 15 mins, Walking time: 30 mins (to Fugalei Market).
Mulinuu Peninsula to Fugalei Market
Make your way back down the Mulinuu Peninsula now, checking out any sights you might have missed on the way up and perhaps stopping for lunch or a drink at one of the hotels, like the contemporary Lava Hotel or poolside at Tanoa Tusitala. Otherwise, you might want to hold off until you reach All Things Sweet Cafe along Fugalei Street – one of our 10 Best Cafes in Apia.
Fugalei Market to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
Make your way onto Vaitele Street and head west. The Museum of Samoa, Falemata’aga spotted with its bird mural on the righthand side of the highway is a worthwhile stop to learn more about the history of Samoa. Follow Vaitele Street all the way to the end and turn south on the Cross Island Road.
There are a few of Apia’s best dining options down this road, including Scalini’s, Giordano’s, the Krush Juice Lounge and ReVaiv Cafe, which are all outlined in the 20 Best Restaurants in Samoa.
In Papauta, look out for the side road down to Mailelani Samoa Body Care to check out its gift shop selling natural and locally made skincare products.
Finally, the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum is well-signposted off the Cross Island Road, taking through a manicured driveway to the grounds and villa of the famous 19th Century author. Take a guided tour of the villa and/or enjoy a hike up Mt Vaea on the Tomb Trail to experience lush tropical forest and get tremendous views of Apia. The trail can also be accessed from Vailima Botanical Garden, right next door, which is also worth a gander for its flower displays, information centre and refreshing swimming stream.
Vailima to Papase’ea
Distance: 15 km (9.3 mi), Driving time: 30 mins.
This part of our Apia one-day itinerary is definitely best reserved for those with their own vehicle or those willing to take a taxi (unless you want to be walking for three hours). We’ve saved some of the most active and water-related activities to enjoy toward the end of the day.
Vailima to Palolo Deep
If it’s due to be high tide when you’re finished up at the RLS Museum, we recommend heading back north toward Palolo Deep Marine Reserve for one of the best snorkelling sites in Samoa. Otherwise, you can skip this section and make your way straight to Papase’ea Sliding Rocks.
Head north on the Cross Island Road, then turn east onto Faatoia Road so you can call in at Pacific Jewell Gift Shop & Garden Cafe in Levili. Browse its array of quality handicrafts, where much of its apparel is handprinted on-site. You might also want to relax with a drink at their attractive cafe among tropical plants.
When you’re done, continue north until you reach the coast on Beach Road and follow the road west to the well-signposted Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. They have snorkelling gear available to hire if you haven’t got your own. It’s highly recommended to hire fins, as it’s a 100 m (100-yard) swim to the underwater trench that’s thriving with coral, fish, octopuses, turtles and more. Again, only visit at high tide.
Palolo Deep to Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
Follow Beach Road south past the Apia Marina where much of Apia’s nightlife can be found, past the historic Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Samoa’s only casino, and back to the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, where we recommend a quick look inside the architectural wonder of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral if you haven’t done so already.
At the Clock Tower roundabout, take the exit down Vaea Street where the Cornwall Rooftop Cafe is a cool stop for tropical smoothies and iced coffee (along with free WiFi).
Follow Vaitele Street west, then take Papaseea Road south where signs will point you toward Papase’ea Sliding Rocks. This natural attraction is open until 5:30 pm all week, making it a fun-filled way to end your day sightseeing in Apia by cooling off in the pools at the bottom of three natural waterslides!
More About Planning a Self-Guided One-Day Tour of Apia
That’s it for our one-day itinerary of Apia. For more details about the sights visited on this self-guided tour of Apia, these other articles should do just the trick!
- Sightseeing in Apia: Top 10 Sights in Apia
- 25 Best Things to Do in Apia
- The Food Guide to Apia: Places to Eat & Food Tours
Finally, don’t miss a thing in Samoa’s capital with The Complete Travel Guide to Apia.