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Country info
Square area:
117,600 km2
4.5 million
Nakfa (ERN)
Tigrinya and Arabic
Christianity and Islam
Presidential republic
Rare speakers
Safety level
Petty theft is rare throughout most of Eritrea, even in Asmara. As anywhere else in the world, it’s advisable to be vigilant and not walk the streets alone after dark.

The country where public payphones still exist, and ATMs do not, is sure to entice a curious explorer. Yes: travel in Eritrea does come with its own set of quirks, and some areas are off-limits to foreigners. But travel in Eritrea also comes without the selfie-stick masses and with an inspiring sense of discovery. 

Despite Eritrea being a small country by the African standard, it holds many diverse experiences. Even though accessible only in part, the Dahlak Archipelago in the Red Sea is a world-class site, with pearl fisheries and bountiful underwater world. From the quintessential Abyssinian landscapes to the Red Sea shores; from Axumite ruins to Italian colonial heritage; to splendid wildlife and superb diving: a trip to Eritrea warrants a mind-boggling journey. 

  • Learn why UNESCO deems the Italian fascist and Art Deco architecture of the capital of Asmara a World Heritage Site. 
  • Scuba dive to admire over 350 fish species in the Dahlak Marine National Park and admire the iridescent blue hot springs in the Gulf of Zulu.
  • Find Safra's Dam and King Saba's palace at the archeological site in Quhaito. 
  • In the exotic rainforests of Filfil, spot many Abyssinian endemics, like the white-cheeked turaco or the black-winged lovebird.
  • Roam the camel market in Keren, then find the baobab which holds the chapel of St. Maryam Deari inside it.




Perfect For

The people of Eritrea come from nine different tribes, each with unique language, customs, dances, foods and clothes.


Capture the bustling street life, but venture to the outskirts of towns to find cliffside mausoleums, churches and mosques.


Over the last two decades, adult literacy has doubled in Eritrea, but one in two people still live below the poverty line.


Eritrea has the second longest coast on the Red Sea, after Egypt, and its gem, the 124 Dahlak islands, are a world-class diving spot.


Itinerary ideas

Upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by your chauffeur and transferred to hotel. Settle in and relax for the rest of the evening.
Enjoy a guided tour of the capital. Art deco and modernist architecture along with coffee shop dotted streets makes Asmara perfect for sightseeing and immersing in the local culture and atmosphere.
Head north to Keren, the second biggest town in Eritrea. Known for its vivid markets especially one for camels and livestock Keren attracts traders from all over the country. During travel enjoy orange and coffee groves views.
Get to know the history of Keren and enjoy views of creative architecture from the Italian era. Visit We Mariam Da’arit-a statue of Virgin Mary inside a baobab tree along with other interesting Keren's sites.
Off to the Red Coast, in the town of Massawa. En route, you will see last remains of Eritrea's tropical forest in Filfil. This green oasis lushes with wildlife, many unique mammals and diverse bird species.
Visit Adulis ancient port with historical links to Roman, Greek and Egyptian Empire before visiting Gulf of Zula. Spend the afternoon exploring Massawa and enjoy some of the amazing seafood that it offers.
Return to the capital, Asmara. Visit the shuq, Eritrean market. Whether it is food or souvenirs, the vibe of the place will amaze you. Hear the stories of British and Italian cemeteries from WWII, and the Mai Jhah Jhah fountain.
Proceed to Adikeyih. En route, make a stop at Decamhare, a town built by Italians once planned to be an industrial center of Eritrea. Italian architecture will dare you to explore more and enjoy this charming town.
Going to the border, to town Senafe, a great chance to visit the mountain area of Eritrea. En route stop in Quohaito, an historical and archaeological site built in the time of Queen Sheba as the legend says.
DAY 10
Enjoy some time at leisure before meeting with your chauffeur for a private transfer to Asmara airport for your outbound flight.
Eritrea is as charming as it gets. Explore its impressive history and culture, fall in love with the architecture and the streets of Asmara, and find out what makes Eritrea so special.
Upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by your chauffeur and transferred to hotel. Settle in and relax for the rest of the evening.
An essential part of Asmara tour is visit to different shuq including Medeber market for some great handicrafts. Also pay attention to the most popular building in the country-Fiat Tagliero building.
Proceed to the regional capital of the Anseba Region-Keren. Most popular Keren's social event can be visited on Mondays only -most vivid livestock market trading with sheep, goats, donkeys, and camels.
Besides sound, smell and colorful life Keren offers intriguing history. Hear the story on a decisive battle during WWII and the British and Italian cemetery as some of the most popular sites in town.
Off to Adi Keyh. Local people visit it mostly for its markets but for well-traveled individuals this is a place of a great archeological site - Qohaito. Being that a part of it is excavated, you will need few hours to explore this historical jewel.
In this part of Eritrea oldest human skeletal can be found. Continue to Senafe, known for the ruins of Metera and Enda-Tradqan monolithic church, but also as a market town.
Head toward the coast of the Red Sea, to the port town of Massawa. Even mostly destroyed in a war with Ethiopia you can still witness Italian, Ottoman, Portuguese, Arabs and British influence in town's architecture.
An unexpected highlight of the journey is visiting the Dahlak Archipelago. Ultimate beach experience, only without beaches being packed. Untouched by tourists, white sandy coastline awaits you.
Due to pleasant temperatures, the Dahlak Archipelago offers outstanding scuba experience bursting with colorful marine life, including possibility of some animal company, such as dolphins, sharks and turtles.
DAY 10
Head back to Massawa to visit the archeological site Adulis. Once a port of the Aksumite Empire and an excavation site for the foundation of a Byzantine basilica from 5th century - Adulis will be quite impressive for all history geeks.
DAY 11
Enjoy some time at leisure before meeting with your chauffeur for a private transfer to Asmara Airport for your outbound flight.
During this exclusive tour, discover special historical sites and get acquainted with Eritrean culture and the people. The Dahlak Archipelago promises to steal your breath away!
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What to Expect

Asmara has the widest choice in terms of accommodation in the entire country. From 5* to really questionable quality properties. There is no B&B concept in Eritrea. Better hotels have their own restaurants and smaller ones do not serve food but have restaurants nearby. If visiting Dahlaks, camping is the only option.
Albergo Italia Hotel in Asmara
• There is only one 5* hotel in entire Eritrea, in Asmara. Outside bigger towns there are really basic properties
• Basic camping on the Dahlaks
• Please note that most hostels have water and electricity supplies issues
• Be prudent with your use of water and electricity
Country can be divided into 3 zones; central highlands with high daily to freezing night temperatures, coastal region with warm to extremely hot weather, and western lowlands with mild winters and really hot summers. The entire country rarely gets heavy rain that would be significant to affect travel.
Asmara year-round temperatures
• Asmara has a pleasant temperature throughout the year
• Coastal area is very humid
• The coast is best to avoid from June through September due to extreme temperatures
• Winter is an ideal period for visit in terms of weather
If you want to be away from any news from the outer world Eritrea is the place for you. Internet is bad and controlled by the government. Getting a SIM card is impossible since even locals need to apply for it with authorities. WiFi is not good in most of the hotels and most locals, and visitors, rely on public internet cafes.
Internet cafe in Asmara
• Country code: +291
• WiFi is not so common and it is very slow. Internet cafes and payphones are the most reliable services
• No options for internet on the go
• Power plug types are C (European) and L (Italian). The standard voltage is 230 V and it operates on 50 Hz frequency
Once in Asmara don't be confused by food choice. Since it was an Italian colony, pizza and pasta will dominate in restaurants. Massawa is renowned for its excellent seafood. Local Eritrean food is known to be spicy, but delicious; meat and vegetables served on large spongy pancakes called injera , a staple made from teff, wheat or sorghum.
Injera with Asmara beer
• Eritrean specialties are based on spicy meat and vegetables with kitcha (a thin white bread) or injera (a spongy pancake)
Zigini and Zigna assa meat and fish stew
Suwa , mess , and daga are popular local brews
• Tipping is common in small amounts. Most hotels and restaurants have service charge included.
Eritrea is not a destination for avid shoppers but you won't be wrong if visiting some of the numerous vibrant markets. Asmara has few that offer local crafts but they look like most things you can get in duty free shop. Interesting thing to seek for is jewellery in Keren. Textiles are appealing but they are mostly imported which increases price.
Souvenirs of Eritrea
Netsela scarf specific for highlands
• Swords, pottery, haircombs, baskets are all traditional souvenirs
• Gold and silver jewellery along with religious artefacts from Keren
• Edaga Lakha is craft oriented market in Asmara
• Flea market of Asmara is a treat!
Located in Africa but influenced by Italy and Arabian countries, Eritrea is completely different from other African countries. It is essential to travel with realistic expectations as the country’s infrastructure lacks modernization and investment. If you are an avid photographer, please ask for permission before taking pictures.
Clash of cultures on the streets of Asmara
• Use of the left hand to greet, eat or hand something to someone is considered very dirty
• There are no ATMs in Eritrea. Their • Dress code in Eritrea is generally Western, women are not required to cover up but it is expected of a traveler to be modest
• Coffee is a specialty in Eritrea and being invited for one is a sign of hospitality. Preparing one is a true ritual
Besides area close to borders with Sudan and Djibouti, Eritrea is rather safe. Due to tensions between the nations, everybody in the area is heavily militarized and there are no borders crossings. To move around the country, one needs permits our local guides take care of. Many areas are off limits to visitors!
Baboon outside Asmara
• Tap water is safe for brushing teeth but not for drinking
• Avoid raw vegetables, unpeeled fruits and dairy products that are made from unboiled milk
• Limited availability of medical services and supplies
The easiest way to arrive to Eritrea is by plane to Asmara. Since foreigners can't cross borders, driving is not an option. We can also arrange arrival by boat to Massawa. Only in Asmara you might be needing a taxi, all other towns are rather small and everything can be reached on foot.
On the streets of Asmara
• Driving side: right
The only international airport is Asmara (ASM) • Foreigners need a permit to move between cities; all the paperwork will be taken care of by our staff
• Best way to travel in Eritrea is to have a driver/guide and private vehicle

What to pack

The key to packing for Eritrea is to pack for multiple climates. Be modest – we didn’t wear shorts and rarely wore short sleeves. Don’t be afraid to pack a nice pair of slacks and shoes (or a light dress, ladies) for passeggiata - the tradition appropriated from the Italians of a twilight stroll for socializing and drinking coffee or cocktails.

In The Media

Discover Asmara - Visit Shuk Market
Sights and Sounds of Asmara - Eritrea's Capital
Eritrea from the Air
Some of the First Drone Footage of Durfo Valley
Walking Tour of Asmara with a Local
Eritrean Capital, Asmara - UNESCO Heritage City
Reefs & Islands within the Dhalak Archipelago
Scuba Diving and Pristine Islands in Eritrea
10 Things You Didn't Know About Eritrea
Discover the Unknown
Eden Kesete - Shifoney
Popular Eritrean Music
Tigrinya Language for Beginners
Learn Some Useful Phrases

Best to combine with

Although one of the most closed down countries of the World, Eritrea has solid connections with most of its neighbors. Probably the easiest to combine is with their big southern neighbor Ethiopia by a short flight between the capitals. 

The two countries share the hottest place on Earth – the Danakil depression, and a history as steaming at times. But they share a vibrant culture and even a genotype, and reward with unique insights into the Horn of Africa.  

The two gems-less-traveled, Eritrea and Sudan are a unique journey off-the-beaten-path. From the underwater galore of the Red Sea shores, to the solitude of sandy dunes dotted in pyramids, discover the Africa unknown.  

Take in the bustling Egypt and its world-famed heritage – the pyramids, river Nile, Kairo, then get off-the-beaten-path in Eritrea and explore Axumite monuments, Italian colonial architecture and landscapes unbeknown to tourists.

Quirks for the Curious

Fascist Architecture of Asmara
Asmara is a unique place. With eternal spring weather, it is one of the most pleasant places on Earth for living. It is also a very pretty place with unique architecture reflecting Italian colonial rule. From Cinema Impero, to communal houses and stunning Fiat gas station, walking the streets of Asmara gives a very unique feeling: more classic European than African. And if you are staying at "Albergho Roma" hotel, you will only need Sophia Loren in maid outfit to complete the scene from a Fellini movie. And one more thing, there are no traffic lights in this 600 000 people city. They realized they don't need them after one power outage. Very polite and nice people.
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Haile Selasie Palace in Masawa
Eritrea is full of surprises. One of the biggest ones was the ruin of former palace of late Ethiopian king Haile Selasie. Located in Masawa, which used to be major naval base during the time when Ethiopia and Eritrea were one country, it was one of king's many palaces and a perfect place for meeting World leaders. But, during the 90s war between the two countries, the palace was bombed by Ethiopian air force. And never touched afterwards. There are still some interesting objects in the palace but it is in no shape for exploration if you don't want anything falling on your head.
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Dahlak Islands
This must be every diver's dream even though they don't know about it! Why? For a simple reason - untouched archipelago of over 120 islands forbidden for public since the late 1990s. There are only 5 islands at the moment accessible by a boat from Masawa but the number slowly increases as the government loosens its grip. Coral reefs, millions of all sorts of Red Sea fish, whales, mantas and sea turtles... everything is still there just like in some primordial paradise!
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