A voyage of discovery through an area with a surprising diversity of environments, cultures and traditions. An itinerary that winds its way through elegant cities that seem crystallised in the last century, daring ups and downs, enchanting panoramas, valleys dotted with majestic sycamores and fiery coastal plains, until it reaches the white deserted beaches of the Dahlak Archipelago, an uncontaminated natural paradise with colourful coral reefs and lively underwater fauna.
We will visit places full of reminiscences of a past that concerns us closely and of which today there remains a considerable imprint in the urban and social fabric of the country. The capital, Asmara, the “little Rome”, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the extraordinary mix of architectural styles that embellish its public and private buildings. The fascinating Massawa, with its Arab-Moorish imprint, which has paid a high tribute to the ferocity of the war, but in the past was one of the most important commercial hubs of the Red Sea. And then there is cosmopolitan Keren, with its kaleidoscopic weekly markets that attract people from all over the plateau. The villages of the Bilen people, with their characteristic clay, thatched and rough stone houses, and the camps of the Rashaida, semi-nomadic farmers of Arab origin, who will welcome us under their heavy tents before setting sail for the islands.
Day 1: Friday
Outward flight/Asmara (ASM)
Day 2 : Saturday
The futurist and art deco architecture of the “little Rome”, a UNESCO heritage site.
Day 3: Sunday
The colonial train, the sycamore valley and the thatched and mud villages of the Bilen.
Day 4: Monday
The crowded cattle market of Keren and the “Virgin of the Baobab”.
Day 5: Tuesday
The “road of the Italians”, a difference in altitude of 2,300 metres in 115 km, amidst breathtaking views and hamadryas baboons.
Day 6: Wednesday
The Axunite site of Adulis, the encounter with the Rashaida nomads and the ruins of Massawa.
Day 7: Thursday
The paradisiacal Dahlak archipelago, with its white sandbanks, tropical fish beds and Afar fishing villages.
Day 8: Friday
Dahlak Islands/Green Island/Massawa
A last swim in the crystal-clear waters of Dahlak before visiting mangrove-covered Sheikh Said Island.
Day 9: Saturday
The panoramic road of Filfil and the markets of Asmara.
Day 10: Sunday
Asmara (ASM)/Return flight