The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga(c)
The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga

The 5 Biggest Towns & Villages in Tonga


Tonga’s Largest Cities, Towns and Villages

Tonga is a nation of some 170 islands scattered across the South Pacific. While most of these islands are uninhabited, some are populated with small villages and towns. To say Tonga has “cities” is a bit of a stretch, as even Tonga’s capital is better described as a town than a city. Nevertheless, we’ve ranked the largest towns and villages in Tonga in terms of population size!

1. Nuku’alofa

Nuku’alofa is the capital of Tonga and incidentally the largest town in Tonga. The town is located along the northern coast of Tongatapu and has a population of around 34,150. Popular attractions in Nuku’alofa include the Royal Palace, the Royal Tombs, Talamahu Market and a wealth of shops and eateries. Many of Tongatapu’s major boat activities, such as scuba diving, snorkelling and whale swimming, depart from the town’s Faua Wharf. Interisland ferries depart from Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Wharf. Find out more about Tonga’s capital in The Complete Guide to Nuku’alofa.

Population: 34,150
Check out: 30 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa.

The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga(c)

2. Mu’a (Lapaha)

Located on the eastern side of Tongatapu on the shores of the Tongatapu Lagoon, the tightly compacted villages of Lapaha, Takamotonga and Talasiu collectively make the “ancient capital of Tonga”, also known as Mu’a. Tonga’s second-largest town is known for its array of burial tombs of past Tu’i Tonga (a kind of ancient king in Tonga before the current Tongan line of royalty was established). Find out more about exploring these villages in The Complete Guide to Tongatapu.

Population: 4,230
Check out: 5 Things to Do in Lapaha & Mu’a.

The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga©

3. Neiafu

Neiafu is Tonga’s second-largest town. The town is the main hub of the Vava’u Group located on the shores of the Port of Refuge on ‘Utu Vava’u (Vava’u’s main island). In stark contrast to Nuku’alofa, Neiafu is about the size of a small town with around 3,900 people living there. The town has a police station, schools, government offices, banks, shops, restaurants, a post office and a hospital. Many of Vava’u’s popular boat activities depart from the “Small Boat Marina”, such as scuba diving, fishing and whale swimming. Interisland ferries depart from Halaevalu Wharf. Find out more about Neiafu and Vava’u in The Complete Guide to Vava’u.

Population: 3,900
Check out: 10 Things to Do in Neiafu.

The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga(c)

4. Vaini

Sitting proudly in the centre of Tongatapu, Vaini is the fourth-largest village in Tonga with around 3,320 residents. The village is lovingly nicknamed “V-Town”. One of the highlights of the town is its dining scene, boasting a small but good selection of cafes and roadside food stalls serving Tongan and international cuisine. Learn more about them in The Food Guide to Tongatapu: Places to Eat & Food Tours. It’s also the closest large town/village to Fua’amotu International Airport, making it a common introduction to Tonga for many.

Population: 3,320.

The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga©

5. Nukunuku

Another large village on Tongatapu, Nukunuku the largest settlement on the western side of the island. There’s not too much here for visitors aside from the odd eatery and a taste of quintessential village life with its scattering of churches. Experience the village life through the guesthouse here, which we list in the 10 Best Village & Homestays in Tonga.

Population: 2,100.

The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga©

[BONUS] Pangai

The main hub of the Ha’apai Group, Pangai might not be one of the largest villages in Tonga, but it is the largest based on the island of Lifuka. The town is spread along Lifuka’s western shores and has a few shops, a couple of banks, a market, a bakery and a couple of restaurants. Interisland ferries depart from the Taufa’ahau Wharf in town. Learn more about Pangai and Ha’apai in The Complete Guide to Ha’apai.

Population: 1,030
Check out: 10 Things to Do in Pangai (Ha’apai).

The 5 Biggest Towns & Cities in Tonga©

More About the Biggest Towns and Villages in Tonga

For more information and data on Tonga’s towns and villages based on population, check out the Tonga Statistics Department website. As for more about the population and the size of Tonga’s islands, take a look at the following:

Finally, check out The Guide to the Tongan Culture and Traditions to learn more about the people of Tonga.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

Was this article useful?