Known for its Italian colonial architecture, Asmara is a lively city in the Horn of Africa. It’s the capital city of Eritrea and has a colourful history dating back some 700 years. There’s a lively street scene to soak up, with most of the action centred along palm-lined Independence Avenue. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of rooftop restaurants, open air cafes and characterful cinemas.
Things to do in Asmara
The best place to get your bearings is at the Former Governor's Palace, which sits at the western end of Harnet Avenue. From here, it’s an easy stroll to the Catholic Cathedral, an elaborate building inspired by Italy’s Lombard Romanesque churches.
A combination of scrapyard and a memorial, the Tank Graveyard is one of Africa’s quirkiest attractions. The open field is strewn with decommissioned military vehicles and is a photographer’s dream come true.
Completed in the 1920s, the Opera House is one of Asmara’s most beautiful landmarks. The eccentric Fiat Tagliero Building is another architectural highlight and was built to resemble an airplane.
For a taste of authentic African cuisine, don’t miss the sprawling Central Market. The best time to visit is on Saturday morning when local farmers flock from across the region to sell home-grown produce.
Getting around Asmara
Local buses cruise along Asmara’s main streets and are a convenient way to reach most main attractions. You can also jump aboard a share taxi or flag down your own private ride, while bikes are an eco-friendly way to get from A to B. Asmara International is Eritrea’s only airport and is just seven kilometres from Harnet Avenue.