Fun things to do in Eritrea

  • Shida Square, the sandal statue
    Shida Square, the sandal statue
    by georeiser
  • Shida Square, the sandal statue
    Shida Square, the sandal statue
    by georeiser
  • Recycling market, Asmara
    Recycling market, Asmara
    by georeiser

Most Viewed Things to Do in Eritrea

  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    Keren - The tranquil Hilltown

    by janiebaxter Updated Mar 2, 2008

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    You can visit Keren in a day from Asmara. The roads are good and there are places to stop to eat and drink on the way.
    Keren is worth a visit to see the camel market and the other market behind it, the old and new cathedrals and the surrounding hill villages along the route, as well as the 2nd world war graveyards.

    New Cathedral
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  • alayola's Profile Photo

    Humble yet Biutifull

    by alayola Written Oct 26, 2007

    Now here is a diamond in the rough. Here is a place where you can still see war damage from its civil war, some amazing and biutifull buildings that were damaged and nearly destroyed, and yet the streets are surprizingly clean, the people are friendly, it was a great experince. and the beaches are very nice, you get the oportunity to swim in the Red Sea, that is pretty cool.
    There are nice park, a few restaurants, the local quisine is a little diferent but quite good.

    Bombed out Ottoman palace I was told this used to be a Governor's home... Market area in  Massawa...

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  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    The Old Steam Railway Line

    by janiebaxter Updated Oct 13, 2007

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    The old steam railway line runs from Asmara to Massawa, on the red sea coast and uses the original old trains and track. The journey takes you through the beautiful mountain scenery and traditional villages.
    The line was built between 1873 and 1911 by the Italians and was restored in 2003. The original drivers, signalmen and railway workers were got out of retirement to run the trains.
    It's a great way to see the countryside.
    The trip was organised by The Railway Touring Company in the UK, who specialise in railway trips around the world.

    Train in Massawa
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  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    Massawa - Pearl of the Red Sea

    by janiebaxter Written Sep 9, 2007

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    Massawa is a very run down in parts but despite that, has a certain charm and it is worth spending at least one night there.
    You can walk across the causeway and explore the Old Town on foot very easily with its dilapidated old ottoman style buildings along the sea front and the markets. There is a 17th century house made of coral in the old town.
    Also along the sea front is the old Palace which has been partly destroyed by Ethiopian bombing, but hopefully will be restored.

    Massawa Old Town
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  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    Try the Local Food

    by janiebaxter Written Aug 24, 2007

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    The local food in Eritrea is similar to the food in Ethiopia, and can be quite spicy.
    The Wat and Injera found all over Ethiopia is common in Eritrea too. This is a large doughy pancake with a spicy stew and is served on a special metal tray, placed on a basket table which everybody sits around to eat communally. The dough is rolled and dipped into the stew.
    For a morning pick-me-up try Silsi, a peppery fried tomato and onion sauce or legamat which is deep fried dough.
    You won't be able to avoid Tsebhi the fiery sauce and you can have it with goat or vegetables.
    Italian food is very good in Eritrea too and is available in many places.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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  • hunwagner's Profile Photo

    Asmara

    by hunwagner Updated Mar 29, 2005

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    Eritrea's capital is its main attraction.
    While most African capitals are simply places to get through a quickly as possible, Asmara deserves a special trip in itself.
    It is a real gem architecturally, sometimes feeling more like a small, time-wrapped town in Italy than the modern capital of an African nation.
    Its climate is pleasantly cool and dry, food and accomodation are both excellent quality and very affordable, and it is about as safe and clean as a place can get.

    For more information, see my separate Asmara pages.

    Asmara's main street

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    Massawa

    by hunwagner Updated Mar 28, 2005

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    Eritrea's main port city, Massawa is just a short journey from Asmara yet it feels like a completely different world altogether.
    It is a typical, old-fashioned Arab trading port of the sort that is now very, very scarce along the coasts of East Africa and the Arabian peninsula. It is also the gatway to the Dahlak archipelago, easily the most tempting diving and snorkelling destination of the Red Sea.
    Note that it is very hot and humid for much of the year, and is also bearing many scars from the wars with Ethiopia.

    See my Massawa pages for more information.

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  • hunwagner's Profile Photo

    Keren

    by hunwagner Updated Mar 28, 2005

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    The major town in Western Eritrea, Keren is just a three-hour-long bus-ride away from Asmara yet has a completely different feel to it once again.
    Although its centre does retain a collection of low-key, Medirreanean-style buildings, much of the town has a definitely North African feel to it, with camels wandering the streets and Tigre and Bilen women going about in colorful costumes, with their men in baggy trousers and turbans remiscent of Kassala in Sudan. There is a profusion of mosques and a colorful bazar, and the typically African round huts dot the outskirts.

    See my Keren pages for more info!

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  • Saagar's Profile Photo

    Keren's market

    by Saagar Written Mar 11, 2005

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    I went to Keren's market and found it very lively and good. The jewelry part (silver, mostly) was probably along the line of what a tourist could be looking for. For myself I bought Barka sandals (see separate tip).

    Lively Keren market
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  • Saagar's Profile Photo

    "Must smell"-tip: coffee grinders and sales

    by Saagar Updated Mar 11, 2005

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    Coffee is a material cultural icon of Eritrea. You will find very well prepared coffee of different varieties learnt from long times past (local brews) and from the Italians. I learnt to like macchiato here...
    In the back streets beyond and to the side of the Liberation Avenue are several small coffee shops where they sell the beans and will also grind them for you. The smell - even if you are not a coffee lover - is just fantastic. You may learn to like coffee here!
    Then came the EriEthi conflict of 2000, and all coffee import from Ethiopia stopped. This was nearly seen as a catastrophe in its own right, but then Yemeni coffee was imported and things got even better, albeit pricier. Yemen wouldn't import the bottom-of-the-bag coffee that Eritrea originally imported from Ethiopia, having only limited production herself. Thus, excellent coffe came to the Asmara coffee tables after that, and people bit into the bill and smiled over the coffee...

    Good coffee in Eritrea
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  • Saagar's Profile Photo

    The Eritrean Railway

    by Saagar Updated Mar 11, 2005

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    The railway network in Eritrea doesn't really exist... but there was one and there is a reconstructed line. Here's the story:

    Asmara is nearly 2400 meters up in the air and with the port city of Massawa with its export-import facilities one big steep slope away. The Italian colonial masters completed a railway line here, zig-zagging the mountain in 1911. Later, it was extended to Agordat and completed in 1928. The Ethiopians shut down the railway in 1975 due to difficulties in running it with the Eritrean sabotage and attacks and repair cost soaring.

    After the liberation war the Eritreans have revered their toy-train railway as some kind of national icon and treasure and have proceeded to reconstruct the stretch Massawa-Asmara. It was again operational in 2003.

    There is no regular schedule, but charters and the occasional sightseeing and transport down and up.

    The locomotives are 70-year old Italian steam engines, some old diesels and nearly 100 year-old passenger cars.

    The way to find out if there is a train running is probably to go the Asmara train yard or to any tourist and travel agent in Massawa and Asmara.

    Zig-zagging down from Asmara along the main road
    Related to:
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    • Trains
    • Photography

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  • Saagar's Profile Photo

    (under construction) Eritran liberation history

    by Saagar Written Jan 20, 2005

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    NB - draft stage!!!!

    Ethiopia/Haile Selassie: belongs to Ethiopia from times of Queen of Sheeba
    Post 2nd ww federation w Ethiopia
    60' Italians in 40'ies, a degree of industrialisation, British invasion and mandate
    UN Commission: sea access for Ethiopia,
    federation 1952, and annexation 1962.
    ELF formed in '61 in opposition to federation and ethiopian dominance
    EPLF split with ELF in 1970, joint fight
    US support to Selassie until 74, soviet bloc assistance from '74 when the derg took over
    drought
    ELF EPLF ERA

    Arab ELF
    African EPLF
    Went from guerilla to army by capturing field guns etc.
    Nakfa front
    Keren hills
    Underground factiroes
    Self-reliance

    Post-liberation continued struggle

    Abandoned tanks dot the landscape
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    • Museum Visits
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  • Saagar's Profile Photo

    City recycling factory

    by Saagar Updated Apr 27, 2004

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    In Asmara, close to the city centre there is a factory yard where all sorts of scrap metal arrives and gets recycled. The innovativeness here is just fabulous, and should serve as a reminder to the rest of the world of how to take care of scarce resources.
    Ask some locals to take you there and see it.
    There may be something to buy also, made from scrap metal. However, the scrap generally goes into small-scale metal implements production, not exactly for tourists.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Adventure Travel

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  • You must see the market in...

    by palin Written Aug 25, 2002

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    You must see the market in Keren on monday morining. It takes 2 hours to go to Keren from Asmara.
    You must visit Asmara, the markets, the italian quarters.
    In Massawa, you have to see the old town...rather destroyed but still beautiful..no cars!
    see more on
    http://site.voila.fr/eritrea
    http://site.voila.fr/massawa
    http://site.voila.fr/keren
    http://site.voila.fr/asmara
    or write to
    gier.lafforgue@wanadoo.fr

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Eritrea Hotels

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  • InterContinental Asmara

    Arrived at the hotel after a late night flight from Frankfurt. Staff was always pleasant especially...

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