At approximately 100 km north of the city, it's admittedly hard to call the eerily beautiful Gede Ruins (sometimes spelled Gedi) a cultural attraction in Mombasa proper. Still, this Muslim Swahili village, populated by thousands between the 14th and late 16th centuries only to be abandoned later for unknown reasons, is deserving enough of the short 1.5 hr drive to warrant its addition here.
Throughout the site and accompanying museum, visitors can observe the remnants of a surprisingly advanced trading outpost. Its grand palace and mosque were wonderfully ornate structures for their time, while its houses are said to have been equipped with a rudimentary form of flushing toilet. You can even check out excavated artifacts originating from as far away as Italy and China. Despite stories of Gede's haunted history, visitors (as far as we know) take nothing more away from the ruins than a singularly unique cultural experience, so don't hesitate to add this little gem to your coastal Kenyan itinerary.