12 Most Loved Cities in Nigeria

Nigeria is a fascinating destination, blessed with amazing cities and towns. Most of these cities and towns are known across the country for their fascinating attractions, beautiful scenery, natural resources and cultural heritage.  Abuja, the capital city is one of the most loved cities in the country. There are other major cities in Nigeria which are very much loved and visited. Some are loved for their homeliness and hospitable demeanour, others are for their economic and business advantages; yet more are loved for their availability of fun, tourism and vacation spots.

We’ve scouted about, dug around and browsed the Internet for recommendations from Nigerians, and tourists, and we still came up with a definitive list of the most loved cities in Nigeria. Therefore, in no particular order, here are the most loved cities in Nigeria to visit:

1. Ibadan

Ibadan (2)

It’s also called the ‘ancient city’ and it’s the state capital of Oyo. It’s described as the biggest city in the whole of West Africa. Located in the south-western part of Nigeria it is densely populated with so many industrial and commercial activities. This city has the first advance learning institution – the University of Ibadan (formally the university college Ibadan), also the first sky scrapper (Cocoa house) and the first teaching hospital in Africa. The city is made up of interwoven streets with local and international markets and malls. This city is known for tourism too, with a remarkable museum in the African study institution, botanical and Zoological garden in Agodi and in the University of Ibadan respectively, Mapo colonial city hall. Life in this town is beautiful with diversity of lifestyle and culture.

2. Abuja

Abuja Residential Area

Nigeria’s Federal capital, Abuja is currently one of the most developed cities in the country. Little wonder it is loved and experiencing alarming levels of immigration. Abuja is Nigeria’s seat of power and it is believed that in Abuja, life is good. Whether rich, middle class or poor, there somehow is a place for all. It is also considered a highly business destination. While in Abuja, experience a different kind of sightseeing that will make your visit memorable. Places like Jabi Lake, Silverbird Cinema and Millennium Park are really cool spots to unwind and have fun. For folks who love to shop, some of the big shopping stores in Abuja will give you value for your money.

3. Jos


‘J town’ as it is popularly called is one of the “cool” and most loved cities in the northern region of Nigeria. Aside from its recent crisis, the city is a lot of fun and people love it particularly for the weather and serene environment. The southern part of Jos is said to be peaceful and the people there are really accommodating. What’s more? The standard of living in Jos is very affordable. It also boasts a number of attractions including two museums, a wildlife park and game reserve, breathtaking waterfalls and striking hills and rocks. Jos is a beautiful town and is a really nice place to raise a family or live.

4. Calabar

Calabar Carnival, Cross River State

Located in South-eastern Nigeria and watered by the Great Kwa and Calabar rivers, the city is home to a variety of attractions such as Obudu Cattle Ranch and Tinapa Resort. The city attracts visitors with its array of tasty delicacies, beautiful architecture and festivals. Every year, Calabar hosts Africa’s biggest street party known as the Calabar Carnival, where diverse colourful cultural costumes are displayed. There’s never a dull moment in this carnival. For indigenous vacation in Nigeria, Calabar is often the first location that comes to people’s mind. The city boasts of several other attractions including an integrated sports complex, a free trade zone and Port and an international air and sea port among many others.

5. Minna

Minna                        Photo Source: Juju Films on Flickr

Located in the west central part of Nigeria, Minna is a quiet and loveable commercial city. This beautiful town was a collection point for agricultural produce way back then. According to history, Minna was a labour camp for railway construction and this led to the gradual development of the town to now a major commercial city. The populace in this area are involved in all sorts of farming. This town is not densely populated and it has a blend of several cultures and life styles. Minna has some notable tourist sites to her name amongst which are the Gurara falls, Baro port (which was used in the colonial days for transport), The Wushishi Transway engine (First railway Locomotive engine and others like Kainji lake national park that is not so far from the city. Electricity is very constant because of the proximity of the Kainji Dam to the town. Food, accommodation, transport and general life style here is quite affordable.

6. Enugu

Enugu CIty

Popularly known as ‘coal city’, a pseudonym that was given to Enugu due to its mining activities.. Located at the south-eastern part of Nigeria, it’s the state capital of Enugu. It’s described as one of the oldest urban areas within the region. Her populace are involved in agriculture, besides the mining of coal and other solid minerals. Enugu is loved by so many not just for ‘coal’ but for its notable tourist destinations like Nike Holiday Resort, Iva Valley (coal mine) and the famous Nmanwu Cultural Festival. The road network here is well designed with so many state of the art buildings (complexes and malls). In general, it is highly commercialised and life in Enugu is like living on a fast lane.

7. Port Harcourt

Port Harcourt

Port Harcourt is a coastal city with scenic shorelines. This city as described by tourist is a “centre of black jewel (oil)”. It is known as the Garden city because of its greenery and aesthetic parks within the metropolis. This city is the state capital of Rivers located in the south-south region of Nigeria. This town is known for its level of commerce as far back as 1912 due to the presence of the sea port (used for exports). This city is densely populated and full of industrial activities. It is home to so many multinational companies, most of which are affiliated to oil and gas. Port-Harcourt city is loved for numerous reasons but most for its wealth as a result of oil. She is home to many tourist sites such as Sea Ports, Isaac Boro Park, Monument of Jaja, Bony Island, Ifoko Beach, the oil refineries, the tourist beach etc. The standard of living here is high and this spans across food, shelter and clothing. The city is well known for its lively and dynamic nightlife.

8. Uyo

Jos                         Photo Source: Jae Pete on Flickr

Once adjudged the neatest city in Nigeria, Uyo is a cool, calm, classy and serene destination. Also in South-eastern Nigeria, it is the capital of Akwa Ibom, a major oil producing state in the country. The city is loved for its peace and serenity among other things. Although life in Uyo is quite expensive, people don’t mind because of the low crime and crisis rate. The inhabitants are predominantly farmers and traders. With the increased level of infrastructural growth and human development, Uyo is definitely a place to look out for. The Ibom connection and Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Ibom Tropicana Resort and other projects under construction are some of the soon to be bubbling spots in the area.

9. Kano

Durbar Festiva, Kano State

The city of Kano is the capital of Kano state in Northern Nigeria. The second largest city in Nigeria, Kano is the second major seat of the Hausas/Fulanis, the other being Sokoto. Kano is an ancient city and is the pride of most Northerners. The city boasts an international airport and a number of tourist attractions including Bagauda Lake/Tiga Lake Resort Man-made, Tourist Camp, Audu Bako Zoo, Gidan Makama Museum Monument/Museum and Kofar Mata Dyeing Pit among others. The major festival is the Durbar festival hosted by the Emir of Kano to mark and celebrate the two annual Muslim festivals Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The majority of the populace are farmers which is no surprise since Kano is considered the most extensively irrigated with over 3 million hectares of land suitable for cultivation.

10. Warri


It’s one of the biggest cities In Delta state. Located on the Lower Niger/Delta coast line. Its not the state capital but it’s more popular and has a lot of history compared to Asaba the capital. Its an old town known for oil production and the presence of the traditional kingdom Warri, dated back as far as the 15th and 16th century. Its a port town that has a lot of industrial activities (oil and steel). People from this notable town are called wafarians, known for business and tourism. The presence of oil has a ripple effect on its commerce. Tourism here is huge as tourist are exposed to attractions like the palace of the Olu of Warri, Nama palace, Koko Red Mangrove Swamp, Effurun Garden Park, beaches and resorts.

11. Lagos


It’s the most populous city in according to population census. It is also known as the economic capital of Nigeria. This mega city is separated by water bodies into two main parts (Island and Mainland). It is located in the south-western part of Nigeria. Lagos is known for commerce, filled with industries from all economic sectors. The road network is next to none and it boasts of a good number of tall buildings and sky scrappers. The nightlife in this city is as busy as the day, painted with a lot malls, clubs, restaurants and bars. Visitors will always have a first class experience in terms of buying and selling. Lagos has local and international markets of all kind. The coastline makes Lagos a ravishing beauty!

12. Ilorin


Ilorin is a very interesting city. It’s a city that has not really being in the lime light but is surprisingly one of the largest cities in Nigeria. The capital of Kwara, Ilorin is located in the North Central region of the country. As quiet as Ilorin seems, it has an international cargo airport, a 20,000 capacity stadium and the only standard base ball Court in West Africa. Ilorin is also home to several prominent “learned” men and women as the legal profession is really strong there. Ilorin is blessed with several natural resources and the standard of living is affordable. Pottery and traditional textile industry among others are thriving businesses there also. Tourist attractions in the area include the Esie museum and the stately Sobi Hill; and that is why it is one of the most loved cities in Nigeria.


Want to share your travel stories, photos and experiences with the world? Send it to innocent[at]travelstart.com

Our Readers Comments

  1. I think some of us failed to read the write-up that preceded the list of cities. Note that the publisher made it specifically clear that the rankings were in no particular order. Also, the write-up stated different reasons why different people love the cities in the list. I don’t see any reason why the cities on the list shouldn’t make the list based on the criteria stated by the publisher.

  2. Questions: Is it correct to say that Kwara State is located in the North-South Western part of Nigeria?
    Is it one of the seven states where Yoruba is spoken at present and in the past?

  3. where is other loved cities in Nigeria? and is it based on the resources derived from each city?

  4. Warri is a blessed land with so much swag, Delta 4 life.

  5. Where’s Benin City.

  6. What of sapele?

  7. Warri for life o

  8. Akwa ibom 4 really

  9. Am always amazed whenever i see comment like this.. I am from the yoruba speaking area of kwara state. That am a Northerner doesn’t mean am not yoruba.. Region is quite different from ethnicity.. OK think of this.. How would you regard the yoruba clans of Republic du Benin.. Would you say they are not yoruba because they are Benenoise..?? And point of correction not all kwara belong yoruba tribe examples include nupe, Bokos, Bokobaro dat dominates d northern part of d state, and few fulani, and Gobir of Ilorin and Jebba areas.. Though some can speak yoruba but all can speak their individual language fluently. All in all, it will not be fair wen you say d entirety of kwara is yoruba.. kwara looks good and better in d North central Region dan being in d west..

    • Warri the d big heart

  10. Loved! Ok, if it were the most important I would think Onitsha would be there because it is the heart of trade and commerce in Nigeria and neighbouring African countries. Ppl may not love it for its busy and ‘business minded’ nature but it is lovable because it feeds and empowers a lot of families.

  11. Good one o. But how did you guys discover that people hates or loves such a place? its strange o

  12. nice list… I rep my city Enugu

  13. This is interesting as the listing cities were made in order.

  14. where is katsina

  15. Calabar 4 real

  16. Please leave your comment…Love U,adore U ,cherish My Eva Luvin UYO

  17. All these states are wonderful o.

Have something to say...