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Asmara, Eritrea
Asmara, Eritrea by Mulugeta Wolde on Unsplash.

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Eritrea Travel Notes

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Eritrea Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Find the perfect blend of adventure and tradition in Eritrea; a world of cultural richness, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality in the Horn of Africa.

About Eritrea

With a rich culture and history, Eritrea can be a rewarding experience for those interested in visiting an off-the-beaten-path destination in the Horn of Africa.

Popular activities in Eritrea include visiting ancient ruins and archaeological sites, exploring local markets, and scuba diving in the Red Sea.

Countries neighbouring Eritrea: Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Travel Map Mapping Eritrea

Map of Eritrea

Map of Eritrea

Eritrea is bordered by Sudan to the west, Ethiopia to the south, and Djibouti to the south-east.

The capital of Eritrea is Asmara.

Eritrea Overview

Located in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea was formerly under Italian control, and then taken over by Great Britain during World War II.

British Protectorate

Eritrea remained a British protectorate from 1941 until 1952.

At the insistence of the UN General Assembly the federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia was to be completed by September 1952.

Once the federation was concluded, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia made moves to end Eritrea's autonomy.

Within ten years Eritrea had been reduced to a province of Ethiopia. The seeds of resentment had already been sown, and watered.


Eritrea's economy is largely based on agriculture, although it also has mineral resources such as gold, copper, and zinc.

The country has a significant coastline along the Red Sea, which has potential for developing a fishing industry and supporting tourism.


The Eritrean Liberation Front sprouted up in 1958 and an armed struggle, that would last for 30 years, was getting under way; to be pursued more vigorously by a military splinter group called the Eritrean People's Liberation Front.

After capturing the major towns in the early 1990's, the EPLF were finally recognised by the international community as a provisional government.

Eritrea Independence

An almost unanimous vote in favour of independence from Ethiopia in April 1993, earned Eritrea a place in the United Nations the following month.

Sovereignty was proclaimed on 24th May, 1993 after a 30-year war, and since then Eritrea has been ruled by the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) government.

The country has a one-party system and limited political freedom, which has resulted in criticism from international human rights organizations.

Eritrea Language and Culture

Eritrea reflects many languages, cultures, and religions because of its diverse population.

Despite this ethnic diversity, the Eritreans have been closely bonded by their long drawn-out opposition to Ethiopian control.


Despite being a relatively small country, Eritrea has a rich cultural heritage.

Its architecture and cuisine reflect influences from various civilisations that have influenced the region over the centuries.

Eritrea is also home to a number of ethnic groups, each with their own traditions and languages.


It has a population of around 6 million people and its capital is Asmara.

Visiting Eritrea

Eritrea has faced significant challenges in recent years, including droughts, political instability, and a large number of refugees fleeing the country.

The government has made some efforts to improve the country's economic prospects, and it has recently opened up to tourism, making it an increasingly popular destination for adventurous travelers.

Eritrea has a rich history and culture, with influences from various civilisations including the Aksumite, Ottoman, and Italian.

If you are planning to visit Eritrea, some popular attractions include the ancient port city of Massawa, the ruins of the ancient city of Adulis, and the Dahlak Archipelago.

Note For Visitors to Eritrea

Eritrea is a developing country and may not have the same level of infrastructure and amenities as more popular tourist destinations.

It's also important to research any potential safety concerns and obtain the necessary visas and vaccinations before travelling to Eritrea.

Asmara - Capital City

Asmara succeeded Massawa as the capital of Eritrea in 1900, when the country was an Italian colony, and remained the capital when Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

Asmara Attractions

Although it would be easy to think of Asmara as an Italian built colonial city, its origins actually reach back some 700 years.

As well as the Grand Mosque there is also a Roman Catholic cathedral in Asmara.

The former Colonial Palace is also worth a visit.

Map of Asmara

Map of Asmara

Getting Around Asmara

Public transport is well organised in Asmara. Busses and mini busses have specific stops where they can be boarded.

Where to Stay in Asmara

Hotel Asmara Palace

Hotel Asmara Palace

Hotel Asmara Palace: Der Mie 4 Expo Area, Asmara, Eritrea.

As you would expect, this 5-star hotel in Asmara offers luxurious rooms, a beauty centre, tennis court, two swimming pools, and six restaurants and bars.

Guests at the Hotel Asmara Palace enjoyed the excellent service, delicious food and large rooms.

Hotels in Asmara.

Massawa (Mitsiwa)

This seaport, on the Red Sea near Asmara, was for many centuries a dominion of Abyssinia.

Then the Ottoman Turks took possession of it between the 16th and 18th centuries until it was ceded to Egypt in 1864.

Italian troops occupied Massawa in 1885, and it became a part of Eritrea.

Two islands and the mainland together form Massawa.


There is not much of interest in the mainland part of the town, although this is where the majority of the population live.

The first of the two islands is called Taulud with the old railway station, the St Mariam's Cathedral and the Imperial Palace.

Crossing the second causeway you enter the rather Moorish port area of town.

Eritrea Destinations

The potential of Eritrea as a tourist destination is immense.

The country is endowed with untold benefits, such as the Red Sea with its coastline of 1200 kilometres and more than 350 islands - perfect for fishing and deep sea diving. There are also numerous sites of historical and geological interest, many of which are only now in the process of being discovered.

Asmara Grande Travel and Tour Services was established in 2005 and is an active member of the Association of Eritrean Travel and Tourist Organizations.


Dekemhare - once the site of fairly extensive agricultural and light industry, and famous for its wine - suffered through several skirmishes and offensives during the War of Liberation.


This mountain city is one of the five major secondary towns in Eritrea, with a population of 121,000, and the regional capital of the Anseba Region.


Mendefera - a bustling market town - is also known as Adi Ugri.

The Red Sea

Red Sea Survival Kit

The live-aboard boat you choose for your Red Sea diving holiday may carry oxygen, but have no means of delivering it. It may have a poorly qualified crew. It may even be unseaworthy.

John Bantin's Amazing Diving Stories makes for compelling reading for all divers and would-be divers.

War and Famine

War, drought and famine have hit the country hard and by independence it was estimated that 20% of the population was displaced and as many as half a million were living as refugees in Sudan.

Eritrea Maps and Travel Guides

Eritrea 5th (Bradt Travel Guide) Map Pack - Sudan and Eritrea

Eritrea Travel Guides - Eritrea Maps.

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