Eritrea — Overview
Eritrea is a rather small yet exceptionally interesting country situated in the Horn of Africa, with its northeast and eastern coastline facing the Red Sea. This East African country has the soul of a true African nation with a touch of French, Turkish and Egyptian elements, both in terms of culture and architecture. Obscured from view of even the most curious travelers, Eritrea will surprise you with its many secrets. However, with its continuous inner turmoil and conflicts with neighboring Ethiopia, it is far behind in terms of tourism. Thanks to recent developments in the country’s peace and stability, many of its major attractions are now open for exploration.
Eritrea is a beautiful country that is worth visiting for its mesmerizing history and culture. Travelers are sure to enjoy the native wildlife and the remarkably diverse geography that offers wide stretches of coastal and beach areas, inland mountains, plateaus and highlands, deep gorges, and superb river channels and scenic tablelands.
Eritrea is definitely one of the most off-the-beaten-track destinations you will ever get the chance to uncover. The capital city of Asmara is home to stunning colonial structures. The glorious Massawa on the Red Sea Coast has its own unique Islamic flavor and provides instant access to the water, on the way to one of the most well kept secrets of the region, the Dahlak Islands.
Historical explorations do not stop with Massawa and Asmara, as towns in the southern region of the country are dotted with an impressive range of archaeological sites that tell the story of the country’s past. More than anything, the people of Eritrea add to the magnetism of its towns. This county is home to several ethnic groups, each with their own distinct culture.
Eritrea is fairly welcoming and finding a place to stay will be quite easy in the major cities like Asmara, Assab and Massawa. Making arrangements in advance is always recommended, as well as planning your itinerary with a reputable tour company.
International flights from Africa, the Middle East and major destinations in Europe such as Rome and Frankfurt arrive to both Asmara and Massawa Airports, located in the two prominent cities of Eritrea. There are no direct flights to or from the US. Domestic connections are also available between Assab and Asmara, though services are limited. Inter-city travel is quite reliable, but buses are preferred. The rail system is operational.
- Explore the vibrant capital of Asmara with its cluster of 19th century villages, stunning architecture and hodgepodge of religious edifices, eccentric avenues, museums, and lively cafés and bars
- Discover more colonial towns like Arkodat in Braka Province, with its haunting archaeological sites, Emberemi’s pilgrimage sites and Massawa’s old town, ancient remains and scenic picnic areas
- Visit religious areas, ancient tombs, old monasteries, and cathedrals
- Have an aquatic adventure at the beach, from snorkeling to scuba diving
- Cycle or witness one of the toughest races in the world, traversing the Asmara-Keren road
- Take an island tours of the Dahlac Archipelago, with its flat reef gardens and abundant sea life
- Go on a day trip to Martyrs National Park to admire unique wildlife and plant species
- Shop for gold and silver and other unique souvenirs such as home-spun gold threads