Algeria


Overview

Algeria travel information, including maps of Algeria, food, drink and where to stay in Algeria plus the best time to travel in Algeria

Africa’s second-largest country Algeria was once as popular as neighbouring Morocco until civil war broke out in 1992. Now adventurous travellers are returning and although a lack of tourist infrastructure doesn’t make this the easiest country to visit, there are plenty of rewards for those that do.

Visits to Roman remains, Ottoman palaces, desert safaris and mountain scenery are all on the to-do list in Algeria. About 85% of the country is taken up by the Sahara and a trip to M’Zab Valley in the desert can’t be missed. For what have been described as the best sunrises and sunsets in the world, join an organised trip to the Hoggar mountains.

Wanderlust recommends

  • Join the Tuareg and cross the Sahara by camel
  • Head to Algiers and Oran – Gateway to the smaller centres of Constantine, Annaba, perfect for seeing layers of decaying colonial architecture
  • Tourist-free site – Visit the Roman tourist-free sites of Tipaza and Timgad
  • Ascend the great massif –The Aurès, and the hills and valleys of Kabylia
  • Rock art – See the pre-historic rock paintings around Djanet and Tamanrasset
  • Sunrise, sunset – Gaze at the sunrise in the mountains of Assekrem

Wanderlust tips

Some of the information about Algeria in guidebooks can be scary. However, don’t be put off. For a safe trip, get the very latest advice before you travel, speak to a knowledgeable tour operator and listen to the locals once you’re there.

Further Reading

Travel in Algeria vital stats

  • Capital of Algeria: Algiers
  • Population of Algeria: 32 million
  • Languages in Algeria: Arabic, French and Berber
  • Time in Algeria: GMT +1
  • International dialing code in Algeria: + 213
  • Voltage in Algeria: 230AC, 50 Hz
  • Visas for Algeria: Algeria visa
  • Money in Algeria: Algerian dinar (DA).
  • Credit cards are only accepted in luxury hotels, and at very few restaurants or shops. Although some cash machines accept European cards in theory, the process rarely works. Cash advances with UK cards may be obtained from major banks, but be prepared for a wait.
  • Algeria travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Tourist Board: Office National du Tourisme

When to go to Algeria

In the Mediterranean zones, April to October are the best weather-wise; in the south, the October to April period avoids the extreme heat.

International airport

Algiers Houri Boumediène (ALG), 20km from Algiers, Annaba-Rabah Bitat (AAE), 12km from the city, Constantine (CZL), is 9km from the city.

Getting around in Algeria


Let’s be honest: getting around in Algeria is not easy. Flying Air Algérie is the only practical means of travelling major distances. Car hire is best arranged through a travel agent once in the country. Driving in the north – except parts of Kabylia – is safe and practical. In the south, notification to authorities is obligatory and police escorts may be imposed.

Algeria accommodation

There aren’t many tourists in Algeria and so there aren’t many accommodation options. With a few exceptions, hotels are of relatively low standard, particularly in the medium to low price bracket. The big chain hotels are only to be found in Algiers and Oran. Camping grounds in Algeria closed during the 1990s and few have reopened.

Algeria food & drink

Algeria is full of fast food joints and most of the good restaurants are hidden away. Ask the locals for recommendations and snap up any invitation to eat at a family home. 

Dishes include couscous with lamb or chicken stew, plus rarer items such as rechta (tagliatelle with chicken, courgettes and chick peas) and chekchouka (strips of crêpe-like pasta). The French culinary imprint is still strong, with bread, croissants and coffee for breakfast.

Algeria was once a major wine producer and still makes quite drinkable wines, mainly red and rosé. Alcohol is served in hotels and European-style restaurants but not at cheap eateries or cafés.

Health & safety in Algeria

Read the Foreign Office’s advice carefully before traveling to Algeria.
Safety is an issue. No vaccinations are currently required but check with your GP or travel clinic before you go for the latest information. Drink bottled water.

Further reading on travel in Algeria

  • Algeria (Bradt 2008)
  • Africa on a Shoestring (Lonely Planet, 2004) has a short section on Algeria
  • Penguin Classics publish eight volumes of Albert Camus’ work