Archaeology

Qohaito Ruined churches on scenic mountaintops, and ancient cave paintings to boot.

Adulis Historic port city – and economic engine – of the Aksumite kingdom, and ongoing active dig site.

Metera Stopping point on the trade route between Aksum and Adulis, and home to mysterious stele.

Belocalo Hilltop Italian-era iron cross, built over an ancient religious and pilgrimage site with cave graves.

Colonial Architecture

Albergo Italia A classy restored turn-of-the-century hotel in operation since the Italian colonial era.

Asmara Opera House The opera company's gone, but get a coffee on the colonnaded porch out the front.

Banco d'Italia This once-grand building on Massawa's waterfront is now in shambles, but it remains atmospheric nonetheless.

Bar Zilli Ask for a cold drink on a hot day in this cool late 1930s bar.

Cinema Roma Have a tea in this 1930s cinema that is stuffed with posters from Fellini and friends.

Fiat Tagliero There's no more petrol for sale, but tourists still line up for the futurist architecture.

Grand Hotel Dahlak Stay in colonial luxury at this Italian-era favourite on the Red Sea shore in Massawa.

Hotel Savoiya Sip an espresso from the lobby bar in the shady arcades or the upstairs balcony.

House of Mammub Mohammed Nahari One of the few standout Ottoman-era structures still around; see it before it falls apart.

Villa Roma This classy ambassadorial residence is closed to the public, but worth gawking at from the outside.

Markets

Camel Market Debate the price of dromedaries or haggle over hens at this busy Monday livestock bazaar.

Keren Market Search for souvenirs or just mingle in the multi-ethnic crowds of Keren's riverbed Monday market.

Medebar Market Curious how spices are ground or where all your recycling goes for reuse? Look here.

Central Market In the heart of Asmara, this produce market fills to the brim on Saturday mornings.

Ghinda Market En route from Asmara to Eritrea, the Wednesday market pulls shoppers from around the highlands.