Best Tourist Places to Visit in Massawa, Eritrea, Africa

Best Tourist Places to Visit in Massawa, Eritrea, Africa

Massawa is a port city in Eretria, located on the Red Sea coast between 15°36′35″ N latitude and 39°27′00″ E longitude, around 110 km southeast of the national capital, Asmara. It is one of two important commercials towns of Eretria, another being Asmara and holds many active historic mosques including the Sheikh Hanafi Mosque.

Massawa is also popular for pristine beaches with snorkeling and diving opportunities and plenty of restaurants and cafes. Massawa also has become popular among visitors for its colonial buildings dating from Italian Eretria. Massawa is spread over an area of 477 sq. km and its summer generally sees high humidity.


History of Massawa:

Being a port settlement, Massawa had witnessed rule of many renowned European and African empires including the Medri Bahri Kingdom, Axumite Empire, the Ottoman Empire and Umayyad Caliphate. Massawa fell under the rule of the Kingdom of Italy in 1885 and since then, Massawa had been the capital of Italian Eritrea until 1897 when the capital was moved to Asmara.


How to reach Massawa?

Massawa holds an international airport with scheduled flights from Cairo, Cape Town, Dubai, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Karachi, Khartoum, Lagos, Lahore, Nairobi, Rome and Johannesburg. The airport is located around 15 km away from the city centre, which can be crossed by airport taxi or minibus service.

Buses are frequent between Massawa and Asmara from dawn to dusk. The local transportation of Massawa is served by minibuses, rental cars and taxis.


Food and Shopping in Massawa:

Massawa houses plenty of upgraded shopping centers welcoming tourists with a wide selection of branded items as well as locally produced jewels, handicraft and embroidery products.

One can see all types food corners in Massawa including bars, restaurants and cafes with both traditional and international menus. Some such restaurant options in Massawa are:

  • Sallam Restaurant
  • Beaches Bar & Restaurant
  • Eritrea Restaurant
  • Adulis Seafood


Things to do in Massawa:

  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Boat riding


Places to see in Massawa:


Sheikh Hanafi Mosque:

The Sheikh Hanafi Mosque is one of the identities of Massawa, dating from the 15th century. It can be visited with a prior permission only.


Tualud Island:

Tualud Island is packed with many specialties including entertainments centres, a popular tank monument, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and many high end hotels. It is connected to mainland Massawa by ferry.


Green Island:

Green Island is an uninhabited island and nature park, located around 20 minute boat ride away from the mainland Massawa. It features an abandoned pearl-fishing area, ruined ancient mosques, mangroves and a striking beach.


Historical budlings in Massawa:

Massawa is home to many recognized historical structures dotted all around the city of which the most famous ones are St. Mary’s Cathedral, Banco d’Italia and the Imperial Palace, constructed for Werner Munzinger in the 1870s.


The War Memory Square:

Situated in the heart of Massawa city, the War Memory Square houses 3 three military tanks that commemorate soldiers and natives died in different wars fought in the region including the Eritrean War of Independence. It is very well maintained and transforms pleasant feel to visitors.


List of the other places of interest in Massawa includes:

  • Mary’s Cathedral
  • Imperial Palace
  • Massawa International Airport
  • The Massawa Station
  • Hotel Torino
  • Dahlak islands
  • Ferrovia Coloniale Massawa-Asmara
  • National Museum Asmara
  • Joseph’s Cathedral
  • Asmara President’s Office
  • Cinema Impero
  • Fiat Tagliero Building
  • Al Khulafa Al Rashiudin Mosque
  • Enda Mariam Orthodox Cathedral
  • Asmara Theatre and Opera House


Ideal time to visit Massawa:

Probably from October to May is the best and most popular time to visit beach city Massawa in Eritrea.


Where to stay in Massawa?

Most upgraded hotels of Massawa are located on the Tualud Island. In below list, the first 5 hotels are in Massawa and the rest of hotels are located in Asmara (around 110 km away from Massawa):

  • Red Sea Hotel
  • Dahlak Hotel
  • Seghen International Hotel
  • Gurgussum Beach Hotel
  • Central Hotel
  • Albergo Italia
  • Sunshine Hotel
  • Hotel Asmara Palace
  • Savanna International Hotel
  • Crystal Hotel Eritrea
  • Asmara Central Hotel
  • Ambasoira Hotel
  • Embasoira Hamasien Hotel
  • Africa Pension
  • Hotel Khartoum

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