The largest country in the continent of Africa, Algeria has a diverse landscape and lots to offer travellers. The journey from Europe is only a short one but the difference between the two continents is immediately noticeable and provides a sense of adventure and intrigue for tourists. Algeria has many charming cities with winding streets and stunning architecture, Mediterranean coast, lush landscapes and roman ruins to rival anywhere in the world.
The main attraction in the country however is the Saharan region where the never-ending sand and the mysterious and lively cities are enough to indulge even the most seasoned traveller’s imagination.
Despite advise about the country not being safe to travel and certain regions being off limits. Most Algerians greet tourists with warm welcomes and are happy to share their way of life with any guests to their country. All the same, any trip to this beautiful country should be well researched to ensure that all travel rules are adhered with. Let’s have a look at the best places to visit in Algeria!
Algiers is the capital city in Algeria and has an estimated population of around 3,500,000. The city was founded by the Ottomans and is rife with history and beautiful architecture. The ancient Casbah is a winding urban maze, with streets flowing through the old town like streams. Also worth exploring is the Dar Hassan Pacha, which was once the city’s most decedent mansion. The interior of the house has been under renovation since 2005 and is unfortunately closed to the public. The city of Algiers offers visitors from the west a stark and beautiful contrast and an intriguing glimpse into the past, present and future of Algeria.
Although difficult to reach without your own transport, the Atakor Plateau, situated in the Ahaggar National Park, is worth any of the effort or inconvenience. The landscape is a red-brown dry landscaped dotted with harsh sheer peaks. The terrain is like something straight out of a sci-fi flick and is a sight that will stick with you for a long time. The highlight of the plateau is the Assekrem Peak. Assekrem in the Tuareg language means “the end of the world” which is a fitting way to describe the view from the peak and the rugged harshness of the landscape.
Tamanrasset, sometimes referred to as ‘Tam’ is a modern and lively town that you will find if you travel south through Algeria towards Niger. Tam has everything you might expect from a modern town including a number of shops, restaurants, banks and travel amenities. The town is a great base for exploring the Ahaggar National Park whilst retaining comforts of a well equipped town. For various reasons, the town is considered unsafe to visit at present and it is only possible to visit as part of a fully guided tour. Proof of a guided tour must be provided upon arrival in the town. Although this is currently a requirement it is not necessarily a bad things as it improves the safety of visitors and several fun excursions such a 4×4 tours are often included.
Oran is the second city of Algeria, it is a lively port city with heaps of character and beauty. Oran is an attraction in its own right and has historical buildings a plenty to explore including beautiful mosques, the Casbah and Le Theatre. The range of beautiful architecture is possibly the best of any city in Algeria. Oran is also a great place for scuba diving, sampling Algerian cuisine and listening to lively Rai music which has its origins in the city. Despite many positive reasons to visit the city there are also many signs of the country’s political troubles in the 90s are visible in Oran. The city filled novelist Albert Camus with so much dread that he based his novel ‘The Plague’ here.
There were many geographical reasons for the Phoenicians to found Annaba that are still apparent today and are the reason for the cities relative prosperity. The city has a natural port which handles many of the country’s exports but for travellers, the city’s history and culture, especially Hippo Regius, is the main attraction. The ruins of Hippo Regius are surrounded by olive trees on one side and the sea on the other. The ruins include mosaics, bronze trophies and ruins of villas and temples.