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An unexpectedly delightful capital city, Asmara is dotted with marvellous art deco and modernist architecture, authentic street-front coffee shops that make for prime people-watching, and sobering testaments to the many difficult years of fighting in the lead up to, and ensuing years since, independence. Also, as long as travel restrictions remain in place for the rest of the country, Asmara offers the most freedom to travellers, with anywhere within 25km of the city fair game for exploration without needing to apply for travel permits.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Asmara.