In the northern parts of the country, you find the major cities of Algiers, Oran, and Constantine. The northern areas are where most people focus their independent travels, and then book tours for treks across the Sahara or down to Tamanrasset in the south. The coast cities offer some amazing blue Mediterranean waters, beautiful beaches, luxury hotels and resorts.
One spot that is a must is M’zab Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the northern part of in Sahara desert. The valley is made up of 5 villages that have some the best fortified towns in Africa. Established in 1010AD, the Mozabite people – a Berber tribe of Ibadi Muslims – settled in the hills above the valley. Between the architecture and the way of life, the M’zab Valley is a historical and cultural gem.
Places to Visit in Algeria
Unique Things to See and Do in Algeria
- Tour the Notre Dame d’Afrique
- Admire the Sidi Boumediene mosque
- Explore the colonial buildings left by the French and Spanish in Oran
- Walk through the most beautiful Botanical Garden of Jardin D’essai
- Go desert surfing on Sahara dunes
- Try the Berber Tajine with lamb and caramelized plums
Algeria’s major cities
Each region in Algeria has a diverse geographical landscape offering a multitude of sights to see.
In central Algeria, you’ll find the capital city of Algiers. The city features old white-washed French buildings, parks filled with palm trees and fountains, churches, mosques – and the most popular sight - the Casbah. With plenty of cafes, boulangeries and patisseries, this city still enjoys the french influences. The Casbah is the oldest quarter in Algiers, with narrow alleyways and historic old houses, but most of them are on the brink of ruin and are not well maintained at all. Safety can be an issue here too. Don’t venture into areas if you can’t see women and children (the easiest safety guide).
Other cities to visit include: Constantine, a historical city perched on dramatic cliffs and known for its numerous bridges; Oran, the second largest city known for its Rai music and its French and Spanish colonial buildings; and Tlemcen, a beautiful city in northwest Algeria known for its historical sites such as Mechouar (palace and mosque) and its Islamic culture.
Annaba is said to have some the most beautiful beaches in Algeria (you be the judge!), but it is also an important commercial port for exporting goods such as iron, zinc. and cereals. Being a port city also means it has beautiful beaches, plenty of hotels, and good nightlife.
Getting Around Algeria
Algeria is the largest country in Africa and travelling between cities can be time-consuming, especially if you are travelling from the north to the south. The southern roads, bus connections and train services are patchy and can be difficult. If you are travelling with a tour group (often the safest), the coaches will be much more comfortable.
The best way to travel between cities is by plane. All major cities have airports, and the smaller more remote areas (Sahara cities) are serviced with smaller planes and are a bit more expensive.
Taxis are great for around the cities but almost as expensive for travel between cities. Most taxis don’t have a meter so you need to decide a price before getting in. Ask your hotel for ballpark rates between destinations.
Did you know…?
Over 90% of Algeria is covered by the Sahara desert!
Did you ALSO know…?
Algeria has the cutest emblematic national animal- the Fennec. (Les Fennecs is also the name of their national football (soccer) team.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Algeria
Algeria has some stunning landscapes to see, particularly the sand dunes of the Sahara desert, and the best times to see them is during the shoulder months – spring and fall. The weather can be quite hot in the summer time, with temperatures reaching as high as 42˚C in the Tell region!
Winters are not cold, but the drop in temperature can go as low as 12˚C. This can get quite cold indoors at night, especially since many houses are tiled.
If you’re planning on visiting the Sahara, the daytime temps are incredibly hot with the nights being very chilly.
Many consulates are warning citizens against travelling to the Kabylie region and remote areas of southern and eastern Algeria. The recent attacks have included bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes, although mostly directed towards military and police forces, some Europeans and US citizens have lost their lives.
Ready to plan your visit to Algeria? Check out these popular guides and trips.