ERITREA Holidays and Vacations
Eritrea is a small country in the horn of Africa, bordering Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti and the red sea. It is unique place to visit with desert, sea and beaches, large towns, old architectural beauty, scenic landscape and most of all for its people that smile all the way!
Tourist attractions and things to do in Eritrea
Food trips in Eritrea
Eritrea’s food is almost similar to that of Ethiopia and the only thing that changes is the names that they each call the dishes. Due to Italy’s influence over Eritrea, you will find many Italian restaurants littering the Eritrean streets and if you are the more adventurous type of tourist, you can take your food trip to the different food trip vendors. Some of the local dishes that you should definitely try out while in Eritrea include the following.
- The Foul dish, this involves smashed beans and they are normally prepared for breakfast.
- The Tibsi dish, these are mutton pieces that are cut into small parts and mixed with tomato sauce.
- The Kicha dish, the Kicha are small pieces of bread that are served with different types of source and it is you to choose which source you want to eat it with.
- The Shoro dish, this is all just chickpea but spicy and if you are not a fun of spicy food, you should stay away from this.
- Pasta, this is majorly served in the Italian restaurants in the country with other Italian dishes.
Visit the Dahlak islands
The Dahlak islands are one of the destinations that you should squeeze into your itinerary while in Eritrea. Located in Massawa, the Dahlak Islands are considered a paradise and the only way to get to know all that they offer is going to Eritrea to explore them. Getting to the Islands might be a little bit expensive and before you go there you will also need a permit from the National museum of Asmara and after that a tour guide can take you around the islands.
The Karen city
Karen is one of the cities that are found in Eritrea and are worth visiting. The city is filled with old buildings that showcase the history of Eritrea during the colonial times and some of the things that you can engage in while here include going to the animal market where all types of animals like cows, goats, sheep, bulls, camels are on sale and the market normally happens on Mondays. After your shopping spree you can also check out the old cemetery where most of the Italian and British colonialists who fought during the WWW two are buried and also join the locals as they participate in the different traditions.
The beaches in Eritrea
The strategic location of Eritrea next to the Red sea has provided the country with some of the most beautiful beaches in the horn of Africa. Travel to Massawa and relax at some of the beaches found in the area.
Asmara which is also located in the highlands of Eritrea is one of the regions that you should visit. Take a walk around Asmara and get to discover the unique culture of the Muslims who live in the highlands.
Accommodation facilities in Eritrea
When it comes to where you can stay while in Eritrea, you do not need to worry as everything is sorted with the numerous hotels that are scattered all over the country. The accommodation facilities that are found in Eritrea are categorized into three that is budget friendly accommodation facilities, mid-range accommodation facilities and the luxury hotels. Below is a list of some of the hotels that you should check out in the different cities that are found in Eritrea.
Accommodation facilities in Karen, Massawa and Asmara
Eritrea hotels have three categories when it comes almost in each city and some of the best you should try out while here include:
Budget accommodation facilities
- The Luna Hotel, when it comes to the budget friendly hotels in Massawa the Luna hotel is the best for tourists. There are two types of rooms that are found here that is the extremely basic rooms which go for 20 US dollars and if you get these, you will need to share a dirty bathroom. The second option of rooms are way better and they even have ACs in them but these go for 40 US dollars.
- The Sicilia hotel, this is a budget friendly accommodation facility and the hotel rooms cost between 9 and 12 US dollars. Although the rooms here are very basic, they are surrounded by a garden and a beautiful terrace and you will find that the rooms are extremely clean.
- The Top five hotel, this is a budget mid-range hotel that is found in Asmara and it has rooms that come with a private bathroom but no ACs going for 20 US dollars although if you want something better at the same hotel, you will need to pay more.
- The African Village, this is a budget friendly accommodation facility that is found in Asmara and the beauty about this hotel is that you will get clean rooms of all prices starting from as low as 10 US dollars and onwards.
Mid-range accommodation facilities
- The Karen Hotel, this is a mid-range hotel found in Karen and it was the first one in the city. They have self-contained rooms, offer good meals to the guests and each room goes for roughly around 50 dollars.
- The Crystal palace, this is located in Asmara and although it is a mid-range hotel it has better services and rooms as compared to other mid-range hotels that are found in the country and each room goes for 60 US dollars.
- The Dahlak hotel, the Dahlik hotel is found in the city of Massawa and it is a mid-range hotel. They have self-contained rooms and other services that you should check out. The rooms at the Dahlak hotel go for 70 US dollars.
Best time to visit Eritrea
The best time to visit Eritrea highly depends on the tourist destination that you are trying to get to since the country experiences three seasons that is the winter season, summer and the semi-arid. The country is separated into three parts that is the lowlands, the highlands and the coastal areas and all these experience different climatic conditions and therefore do not be alarmed if you get to experience the three seasons in less than 24 hours.
From April to October in the highlands comes the hottest months, at the coastal lands in Eritrea the hottest months are from June to September and the same applies to the lowlands of Eritrea. The heat experienced during the dry season sometimes becomes unbearable but if you can bear with it, then it is safe to say that Eritrea is an all year round destination for tourists.
The best time to visit the highlands of Eritrea is between the months of September to February when the weather is a little bit cool but beware of the cold nights during this time.
The best time to visit the lowlands of Eritrea is also between the months of December to February when the rains come in and the heat experienced in the country is a little bit bearable.
The best time to visit the coastal lands of Eritrea is from November to March because during these months the heat is bearable.
What should I pack for my trip to Eritrea?
You will need to pack all that you consider essential but the clothes to pack will depend on the season that you have chosen for your visit. During the dry season pack some light clothes due to the harsh weather conditions and during the rainy/ winter season, make sure you pack some warm clothes to keep warm.
Is Eritrea safe to visit?
Inspite of the old conflicts that raged the country in the previous years, the country is now extremely safe for tourists to visit although there are petty criminals who might scam or pick pocket you once they find out you are a foreigner.
What is the main religion in Eritrea?
There is no main religion in Eritrea but the country is divided into two religions according to the regions that they live in. The lower parts of the country are filled with Christians that is both Orthodox and Catholics whereas the highlands also known as the Asmara region and the coastal lands are filled with Muslims.
What languages are spoken in Eritrea?
There are three languages that are mostly spoken in Eritrea and these are Tigre, Dahlik and Tigrinya and these are spoken by almost all the people in the country but the first language that is spoken in the country is Tigrinya.
What should I expect in Eritrea?
Eritreans have a great love for coffee, the beer that is served in the country especially in the Asmara region is watery, older people in the country speak Italian, the Christian Orthodox fast two days every week and during this period, only vegetables are served, and the locals are extremely welcoming people.
Is there internet in Eritrea?
Unfortunately there is no WI-FI in the country and the only way you can access the internet in Eritrea is by going to the different internet cafes that are found in the country but note that even then the internet is extremely slow.
What is the currency in Eritrea?
The Eritrean currency is known as the Eritrean Nakfa (ERN) and as of 2020 the exchange rate of the dollar stood at 1 US dollar for 15ERN. Exchange of money used to be done at the black market but it is no longer available.
How do I get around while in Eritrea?
Getting around Eritrea is quite easy. You can rent a car but it is better if you get someone to who knows the roads to drive you around. You can also use buses or minibuses and these are the most commonly used although they can get a bit crowded.
Places to visit
Asmara is the capital city, with the main airport, a number of shops, internet cafes, good Italian architecture, warm and friendly climate and people. Start your Eritrea Asmara tours with visit to the former Governor’s palace built in 1897 and was used by Emperoer Haile Selassie. The National Museum, the central market, the great mosque, Enda Mariam Orthodox cathedral, and the catholic cathedral include some of the Asmara Eritrea tourist attractions.
Massawa is a sea port on the Red Sea and can be compared with Zanzibar on the Indian ocean. If you are visiting Massawa, St. Mariam Orthodox Cathedral past Dahlak hotel illuminates the sky, opposite the cathedral is the independence monument. The imperial Palace overlooks the port although lies in ruins after 1872. It was also another winter palace for the Ethiopian Emperor Haille Selassie. Other interesting places to visit in Massawa Eritrea include the old railway station, Sheikh Hanafi mosque, the Eritrea diving centre on Taulud Island or Green Island and the vibrant local markets.
Things to do
There is excellent diving on the Red Sea with Eritrea dive centre with short PADI course. The green island is a good boating destination located 12 minutes ride from Massawa with scerene retreats from Dahlak hotel. Try swimming on Asmara Piscina . Eritrea holidays have so much to offer: visit the desert on camel rides or take a cultural safari tour and meet the different people and cultures of Eritreans
There are two international airports with flights to Eriteria. Asmara international airport is the main aiport located in the capital Asmara and Massawa Airport from the sea port town of Massawa on the Red Sea. There are flights with Lufthansa air from Amserdam, Milan, Rome, Istanbul, and from Yemen and Cairo using Egypt Air.
By land, cross from Djibouti at Rhaita or Moulhoule, south of Assab on 112km dusty road. The Ethiopian border post remains closed due to conflicts between the two countries.
There is a train with schedules from Asmara to Massawa. There are also cars, buses and motor cycle that can take you around Eritrea in the different towns.