It is located 1,500 m above sea level in a basin surrounded by volcanoes 167 km south of the capital Antananarivo. It has the coolest climate in Madagascar. In winter, the temperature can drop to zero degrees Celsius.
Antsirabe is nicknamed the "Vichy Malgache" because of the many sources of thermal or mineral water still used today. The virtues of its waters discovered by two Norwegian missionaries in the 19th century, attracted illustrious characters. The sovereigns themselves came to treat their rheumatism. Mohammed V and his son, the future King Hassan II of Morocco, were exiled there in 1955.
Antsirabe is also the capital of rickshaws. It has the highest number per capita among all the cities in the country.