Algeria is overlooked by many travellers, but if you do intend to visit, know that there are a great number of opportunities in this relatively unexplored country. From the bustling markets of Algiers and the Mediterranean coast to the Sahara desert, there is something for everyone to explore. Enjoy traditional cuisine, explore the ancient ruins and take in the breathtaking views. Algeria is a place that will leave a lasting impression on your heart and mind!
|Central Algeria (Algiers, Bejaia, Blida, Boumerdès, Tipasa, Tissemsilt,Tizi Ouzou)|
Starting point for travel in Algeria. Consists of bustling metropolitan areas within the rich cultural region of Kabylie, and the capital, Algiers
|Northeast Algeria (Annaba, Constantine, Batna, Timgad, Tiddis)|
Mountainous and hilly, the region is home to several important historical sites.
|Northwest Algeria (Oran)|
The mountainous coastal area west of Algiers
|Saharan Atlas (Bechar)|
The mountain range inland of the high plateaus
|Saharan Algeria (Tamanrasset, Timimoun)|
The least populated area and home to many deserts. Offers the traveller the opportunity to explore a slice of the Saharan desert.
- 1 Algiers (Arabic: الجزائر) — The capital of Algeria, and the nation's political and cultural center. It is a vibrant and multicultural city, with a mix of French, Arab, and African influences. The city is well known for its beautiful architecture, stunning beaches, and lively nightlife.
- 2 Annaba (Arabic: عنّابة) — a town with 200,000 inhabitants in the east of the country next to the border of Tunisia.
- 3 Batna (Arabic: باتنة) — the main city and commune of Batna Province, Algeria. With a population of 340,000, it is the fifth largest city in Algeria. It is also one of the principal cities of the Chaoui area and is considered the capital of Aurès.
- 4 Bechar (Arabic: بشار) — small city in the Sahara, not far from the Moroccan border.
- 5 Constantine (Arabic: قسنطينة) — Algeria's 3rd largest city with a canyon going down through it. Also known as "city of bridges" for having a lot of impressive and beautiful bridges.
- 6 Oran (Arabic: وَهران) — Algeria's 2nd largest city after Algiers, also called "second Paris" or "Rai city " by Algerians, with many impressive buildings from colonial times and also being popular for making quality rai songs
- 7 Sétif (Arabic: سطيف) — the trade capital of Algeria, Setif El-Ali (The High) is the capital of high plateaus, with quite moderate temperatures and occasional snow falls in the winter.
- 8 Tamanrasset (Arabic: تامنراست) — largest town in the south and starting point for expeditions to the Sahara and the Hoggar Mountains.
- 9 Timimoun (Arabic: ﺗﻴﻤﻴﻤﻮن) — a small Saharan oasis town which makes a good base for trips to the desert.
- Roman ruins at Timgad - outside Batna
- El-Oued with its domed architecture & nearby Grand Erg Oriental—the Sahara's second largest dune field
- Hippo Regius, 2 km south of Annaba, an ancient Numidian city and early center of Christianity with well preserved Roman baths and forum
- The fantastic architecture of the M'zab Valley
- Tassili N'Ajjer
|Currency||Algerian dinar (DZD)|
|Population||43.9 million (2020)|
|Electricity||230 volt / 50 hertz (Type E, Schuko, Europlug)|
|Emergencies||+213-14 (emergency medical services, fire department), 17 (police), 112 (police), +213-1548 (police), +213-1055 (gendarmerie)|
|edit on Wikidata|
Politics and government
Algeria is officially known as the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria.
Although the term "People's Republic" is commonly associated with communist states, Algeria is not a communist country. The term was adopted primarily because Algeria gained its independence through a revolutionary struggle against France.
Algeria is a multi-party republic with a strong executive branch led by a president. The president is both the head of state and head of government and is elected by popular vote. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Parliament, the Council of the Nation and the People's National Assembly. The government is led by a Prime Minister who is appointed by the president.
- Arabic: الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية, al-Jumhūriyya al-Jazāʾiriyya ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyya aš-Šaʿbiyya
- Berber: ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵜⴰⵎⴳⴷⴰⵢⵜ ⵜⴰⵖⵔⴼⴰⵏⵜ ⵜⴰⴷⵣⴰⵢⵔⵉⵢⵜ, Tagduda tamegdayt taɣerfant tazzayrit
- French: République algérienne démocratique et populaire (lit, Democratic and Popular Algerian Republic)
Algeria covers an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), making it the world's tenth largest country and the largest country in Africa. It is nearly twice the size of Mexico and nearly 200 times larger than Africa's smallest country, Gambia.
Algeria is made up of 58 provinces and more than 1,541 communes.
The history of Algeria can be traced back to the earliest civilisations that inhabited the region and beyond. The earliest known inhabitants of Algeria were the Berber people, who have inhabited the region since at least 10,000 BCE. From the 8th century BCE, Phoenician traders established trading posts along the North African coast, introducing the region to the wider Mediterranean world.
In the 7th century CE, Algeria was conquered by the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate and subsequently came under the rule of various Muslim dynasties. The region was colonised by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century and remained under Ottoman control until 1830.
French Algeria (1830-1962)
French rule in Algeria began in 1830 when France invaded the region, defeated the Ottoman forces, and established a colonial administration. After nearly a century of military rule, Algeria was declared a French department in 1848.
French authorities introduced a number of reforms, such as land reform, the secularisation of education, and the introduction of new laws and infrastructure. However, these policies were often accompanied by oppressive measures such as forced labor, restrictions on religious expression, and the suppression of opposition.
Algerians were treated very poorly by the French. Algerians were subjected to oppressive laws, such as the Code de l'indigénat, which denied them basic rights and freedoms. They were heavily taxed, forcibly conscripted into the French military, and stripped of their land and resources. Algerians were also subjected to violence, torture, and other forms of mistreatment by French colonial authorities.
The Algerian War (1954-1962)
The Algerian War for Independence was a bloody eight-year conflict between the French colonial government in Algeria and the National Liberation Front (FLN), a nationalist movement that sought to end French rule and establish an independent Algerian state. The war lasted from 1954 to 1962 and resulted in the death of over 1 million people, the displacement of over 5 million people, and the eventual independence of Algeria as a nation.
The Algerian War for Independence began on November 1, 1954, when the FLN launched a series of attacks against French military and police outposts throughout Algeria. The FLN hoped to spark a popular uprising against French rule, and the attacks were largely successful. The French responded with a massive campaign of repression, employing torture, summary executions, and collective punishments against the population.
The war soon escalated, with the FLN launching guerrilla attacks against French forces, while the French launched counter-insurgency operations that included the use of napalm and other forms of indiscriminate violence. The war was also characterized by atrocities on both sides, including the massacre of civilians by French forces and the use of torture by the FLN.
The war ended in 1962, when the French agreed to a cease-fire and granted Algeria its independence. After declaring independence in 1962, Algeria underwent a period of political turbulence.
Post-war period (1962-1991)
Immediately following independence, the FLN assumed power and established a single-party government. Under the leadership of President Houari Boumediene, Algeria adopted a socialist economic system and sought to strengthen ties with other Arab and African countries.
In the late 1970s, Algeria’s economic situation deteriorated and the government’s popularity declined. In response, the government began to crack down on political dissent and religious expression, leading to an Islamist insurgency.
Algerian Civil War (1991-2002)
The Algerian Civil War was a brutal conflict that caused great suffering to the Algerian people. Over 200,000 people lost their lives in the war, and more than 1 million were displaced. The conflict also had a lasting effect on Algeria's economy and society, as the country struggled to rebuild after the war. Although the conflict officially ended in 2002, its legacy continues to shape the country today.
The conflict began with the cancellation of the 1992 general elections, which saw the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) poised to win a majority of seats in the National Assembly. The Algerian government, a military-backed regime, responded by banning the FIS and arresting its members, sparking a long and bloody conflict.
The war was fought between the government and various rebel groups, most notably the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS). The GIA initially sought to overthrow the government and impose an Islamic state. As the conflict progressed, however, they became increasingly brutal and indiscriminate in their tactics, leading to a sharp decline in popular support. The AIS, on the other hand, sought to negotiate with the government for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Throughout the war, the government employed a range of tactics to combat the rebels. These included a massive deployment of troops, aerial bombardments, and the use of torture and other forms of human rights abuses. The government also sought to co-opt the population by providing economic incentives and social services, such as free health care and education.
Present history (2002 - present)
Since the end of the civil war, Algeria has experienced an economic boom due to increased oil and gas production. This has led to a marked reduction in poverty and unemployment.
In 2006, the Algerian government approved a new constitution, which aimed to protect human rights and improve the country’s political and economic situation. This resulted in a period of political reform, as well as an increase in foreign investment.
Despite its economic progress, Algeria is still facing several challenges. These include high unemployment, poverty, and corruption. The country is also struggling with terrorism, with attacks by extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS/IS).
Officially, 220 V 50 Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko", or the compatible, but not always grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Canadian and US travellers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Algeria.
Algeria has an incredibly restrictive visa policy, with most nationalities requiring a visa to enter the country. Citizens of the following countries can visit the country without a visa: Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara, Seychelles, and Tunisia.
Algerian visas tend to be very expensive. The Algerian Embassy in the United States usually charges US$160 for any Algerian visa, so plan and prepare accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, the longer you intend to stay, the more expensive the visa will be.
Although visa requirements vary from embassy to embassy, you're typically asked to submit the following with your visa application:
- A copy of your passport (must have a validity of more than six months)
- Two passport-sized photographs.
- Two visa application forms.
- A copy of your travel itinerary.
- A copy of your hotel reservation.
- A copy of your bank statement.
Most visitors normally enter Algeria by plane.
The main international airport and point of entry in Algeria is Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG IATA), which is situated in Algiers, the capital city. The airport is well-served by intercontinental flights.
The Algerian train company is named SNTF[dead link] and tickets can be bought at train stations. On-line booking does not appear to be possible any more; timetables are subject to changes; the best way is to ask at the train station. The network in the north is dense. You can reach Algeria by train from Tunisia, although you will have to change trains at the border post. All border points with Morocco are closed.
If you can, try to catch the newer trains as they are more comfortable and climate-controlled.
Driving into Algeria from Tunisia is the safest option.
Not possible at this stage. The Algerian-Moroccan border has been closed since 1994, and will remain closed for the forseeable future. If you like, you're more than welcome to visit settlements along the border.
Not recommended. The poor security situation in Saharan Algeria undermines the security of the Algerian-Mauritanian border.
Not recommended and ill-advised. The poor security situation in Saharan Algeria, the risk of terrorism, and the unstable political situation in Mali make the Algerian-Malian border incredibly insecure.
Not recommended and ill-advised. The poor security situation in Saharan Algeria, the risk of terrorism, and the unstable political situation in Niger make the Algerian-Nigerien border incredibly insecure.
The prices aren't usually cheaper than flying so if you can and have no car nor any huge amount of baggage, take a plane. Most connections are offered by Algérie Ferries.
- Alicante to Algiers and Oran
- Almeria to Ghazaouet and Oran
- Barcelona to Algiers
- Valencia to Mostaganem
- Napoli to Tunis & take a road for 1 hour
- Roma (Civitavecchia) to Tunis & take a road for 1 hour
With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), travelling between major cities in Algeria can take a lot of time and can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.
Due to the country's immense geography, the uncertain security situation, and the lack of adequately developed infrastructure, the most convenient way of getting around the country is by plane.
Algeria has a very small airlines industry ― as of 2023, only four airline companies operate in the country ― and all the airline companies are owned by the government.
The two main airline companies are as follows:
- Air Algérie is Algeria's national carrier and offers flights to almost any Algerian city. The airline uses Houari Boumediene Airport as its hub.
- Tassili Airlines, like Air Algérie, uses Houari Boumediene Airport as its hub and will take you all over Algeria. It is a subsidiary of Sonatrach, the largest company in Africa and one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world.
It's usual to take a taxi to travel near or in cities. The prices are pretty moderate but when travelling between bigger cities with large distances taxis are the same or more expensive as flying. Try to avoid unofficial taxis since it's very likely the driver will rip you off. Most taxis have no taximeter so arrange a price in advance. Many drivers will try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge but never pay more than DA30 per km regardless of what you are told. Tipping is not necessary but you can round up to the next DA10.
Uber doesn't operate in Algeria, but a similar app named Yassir does.
The road network is well developed in the north. The Algerian government has made much improvements regarding road building; new highways were built to replace the older roads. The most important highway is the 1200 km long N1 (Route est-ouest) from Annaba to Oran, almost all bigger cities in the north are connected to this highway including Algiers.
A car is not absolutely necessary because of the well run public transportation system, but could be sometimes useful to reach more remote areas. Keep in mind that the driving habits of the locals are completely different compared to those of Europeans and that driving rules and prohibitive signs are more seen as guidelines, even by the police! It would be a wise decision letting a local Algerian do the driving for you in the first few days to get an impression of the driving style. If this is not possible it's recommended to stay on the highways.
Do not try to reach the Saharan areas with a car other than a 4x4: occasional dunes on the roads and extreme temperature changes will offer a challenge for the driver and the car.
As of 2018, fuel did not cost more than DA50 a liter.
Algerian railways are operated by SNTF[dead link]; the trains and lines are being modernised. Ten comfortable high-speed trains named Autorail were bought, and two of them are in operation. Though the website is useful for checking times etc, tickets can not be bought online, only at the train stations. Prices are quite moderate but more expensive than buses or taxis, but in return you will have more comfort and enjoy wonderful landscapes.
- Algiers to Oran, five daily departures from Agha Station, this journey takes 4-5 hours, 2nd Class: DA900-1130, 1st Class: DA1200-1530.
- Algiers to Annaba, departing each evening at 19:40 and arriving in Annaba (via Constantine) at 05:38 the following morning. 2nd Class: DA900, 1st Class: DA1270.
- Algiers to Constantine as above
- Algiers to Touggourt, departing daily at 18:10, arriving in Touggourt at 05:00 the following morning. 2nd Class: DA1500, 1st Class: DA2005.
- Oran to Bechar, two daily departures. A daytime train leaves Oran at 10:20, while the night-train leaves at 20:30. 2nd Class: DA975, 1st Class: DA1370.
- Annaba to Tebessa, leaving Annaba at 16:40 and arriving in Tebessa at 21:49. 2nd Class: DA255, 1st Class: DA360.
Algeria has one of the most developed tram networks in all of Africa. As of 2023, there are tram networks in six major cities: Algiers, Oran, Constantine, Sidi Bel Abbes, Ouargla, and Setif.
The agency responible for the operation and maintenance of the tram network is Société d'exploitation des tramways (SETRAM).
Getting around Algeria by tram is remarkably economical; a ticket typically costs DA40. You may buy a ticket at a designated tram kiosk and you can get all the information you need at a tram kiosk.
Overview of the tram system in Algeria:
- Algiers: 23 kilometres long and has 37 stops.
- Oran: 32 kilometres long and has 19 stops.
- Constantine: 18 kilometres long and has 21 stops.
- Sidi Bel Abbès: 14 kilometres long and has 22 stops.
- Ouargla: 10 kilometres long and has 16 stops.
- Setif: 15 kilometres long and has 26 stops.
By cable car
Due to its highly mountainous and massive geography, Algeria has an extensive cable car network.
Algeria is brimming with hidden treasures, offering a wealth of sites for the brave and curious.
Algeria, much like neighbouring Libya, takes pride in its remarkable ancient ruins. Step back in time and explore the remnants of the Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations that have left an indelible mark on this land. Embarking on a journey to these magnificent ruins will transport you back in time and unveil the fascinating history of Algeria's ancient civilizations.
Prepare to be awe-inspired by some of the most renowned archaeological sites in Algeria:
- Timgad near Batna: Immerse yourself in the grandeur of this ancient Roman city, known as "The Pompeii of Africa." Marvel at the well-preserved ruins.
- Hippo Regius at Annaba: Walk in the footsteps of history at this coastal city where the famous philosopher Saint Augustine once resided. Explore the impressive remains of Roman structures, including a basilica and amphitheater.
- Djemila at Sétif: Delight in the splendor of this UNESCO World Heritage site, once a Roman military colony. Admire the well-preserved forum, temples, houses, and stunning mosaic artworks.
- Calama at Guelma: Uncover the secrets of this ancient Roman city, renowned for its exceptional mosaics. Roam through the ruins of temples, basilicas, and the intriguing Roman theater.
- Tipasa: Immerse yourself in the rich historical tapestry of Tipasa, where ruins from the Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine empires coexist. Marvel at the archaeological site, which includes a theater, amphitheater, basilica, and captivating views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Algeria's greatest tourist possibilities lie in the Sahara; there's no other place on Earth that can offer the same level of awe-inspiring experiences in this vast desert landscape.
The crown jewel of these adventures lies within the M'zab Valley, the epicenter of Mozabite culture. Prepare to be captivated by the five interconnected cities that form a breathtaking architectural playground, reminiscent of modern cubist and surrealist art. These cities are not just places to see, but experiences to be lived, leaving an indelible impression on your journey.
Marvel at the harsh yet majestic Saharan Atlas mountains, their rugged peaks standing as a testament to the forces of nature. Traverse the endless expanse of the desert and explore the towering Hoggar Mountains surrounding the desert capital of Tamanrasset.
Feel the thrill of adventure as you encounter the vast dune field of the Grand Erg Oriental at El-Oued, an otherworldly landscape that will leave you in awe.
Uncover Algeria's ancient history etched in stone as you discover the remarkable rock carvings of Djelfa and the Saharan National Park of Tassili N'Ajjer. These extraordinary sites showcase a treasure trove of prehistoric art, transporting you back in time and connecting you with the rich cultural heritage of the region.
While Algeria's major cities may not boast the same level of tourist attractions as its exotic locales, they offer a unique perspective on the country's modern culture, Islamic heritage, and colonial legacy. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the lesser-known treasures that lie within.
- Algiers, the renowned White City, may not be as heavily touristic as one would expect, considering its pivotal role in Algeria's economic, political, and cultural life. Nevertheless, as all visitors pass through Algiers, exploring the historic seventeenth-century center known as the Casbah is a must. Wander through its labyrinthine streets, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, and witness the blend of influences from various civilizations.
- Oran, the country's second-largest city, boasts a captivating blend of modernity and historical charm. Discover its vibrant arts scene, visit the iconic Santa Cruz Fort, and indulge in the city's lively ambiance.
- Tlemcen, a city steeped in history, will captivate you with its architectural marvels, such as the Grand Mosque and the beautiful Mansourah Mosque.
- Constantine stands as a major city deserving a spot on your itinerary. Known as the City of Bridges, it showcases a fascinating fusion of Roman, Arab, and Ottoman influences. Marvel at the impressive bridges that span deep gorges, explore the ancient ruins of Tiddis, and soak in the rich cultural heritage of this remarkable city.
Algeria boasts stunning Mediterranean beaches that will captivate beach lovers. Experience the vibrant marine life with beautiful fish, enchanting sea plants, and an array of stunning shells. The shores offer a variety of sands, from yellow and white to black. Whether you enjoy fishing, swimming, or simply basking in the beauty of a breathtaking sunset, Algeria's beaches have it all. The Turquoise Coast in Oran stands out as one of the country's finest beach destinations, perfect for relaxation. Annaba, Skikda, and Ghazaouet also offer beautiful coastal spots. For visitors near Algiers, the resort town of Sidi Fredj is an undeniable gem.
Algeria is full of Roman ruins & 10th-century desert towns. Some of which are:
- Tassili N'Ajjer National park: A national park in southern Algeria with tons of cave arts and dramatic sandstone formation.
- Monument of the martyrs: Iconic monument honoring independence, the people who died for the country, and veterans.
- The church of Nôtre Dame of Africa: a Catholic church with dramatic views in Oran
- Hamma scientific Experiments Park: gracious 19th-century botanical gardens.
- Fortaliza de Santa Cruz: mountaintop fort with scenic city views.
- Ketchaoua Mosque: grand mosque build in 17th-Century.
- Royal Mausoleum of Mauritania: Likely a tomb of an Egyptian princess in Tipaza, Algeria.
- Grand mosque of Algeria: Minarets viewing platform and a huge hall.
- Tikja: Winter ski resort with hiking in the summer. Located in El asnam, Algeria.
- Chrea National Park: Treks and a ski station amid a wooded peaks.
- Algiers Grand Post Office: Grand colonial-era post office.
- Prince Abdel Kader mosque: Landmark mosque with 2 tall minarets.
- Timgad Roman Ruins: Tons of Roman Ruins, Ancient Roman architecture, and ancient history located here.
Some common phrases in Algerian Arabic:
Algerian Arabic (also known as Darja), the local vernacular, is spoken natively by about 75-80% of the population. Algerian Arabic is often considered to be more difficult than other dialects due to its unique features and regional variations. The dialect is used primarily in informal and spoken communication and is not typically used for formal or written communication. If you don't know the local dialect, do not despair; all Algerians learn Modern Standard Arabic at school, so you should have no problems communicating in major cities.
Algerian Arabic has a lot of similarities with other Maghrebi dialects, including Tunisian and Moroccan Arabic. If you have some knowledge of Moroccan Arabic, you should have no problems getting by since Moroccan and Algerian Arabic are, to a significant extent, mutually intelligible.
Many Algerians who were born during French colonial rule (prior to the 1960s) are unable to read or write Arabic.
Kabyle is the most commonly spoken Berber language and is primarily spoken in cities such as Bejaia, Bouira, and Boumerdes. Berber was made an official language after major protests in 2002, and the language is taught in Algerian schools.
French, although it has no official status, has been referred to as the "lingua franca" of Algeria. It is taught in Algerian schools from an early age, and it is widely used in everyday business. Although many Algerians are competent in French, many Algerians consider the language as a painful reminder of French colonial rule. Of all the languages spoken in Algeria, French is arguably the most useful one.
English is gradually gaining popularity as a preferred language for learning, although a significant majority of Algerians have limited to no knowledge of it. Highly educated Algerians may be competent in English. Typically, Algerians start learning English at the age of 14. The Algerian government is actively promoting the language, but some, including politicians in France, see this as an attempt to diminish French influence in the country.
Exchange rates for Algerian dinar
As of January 2023:
Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com
Algerian currency is the Algerian dinar, denoted by the symbol "د.ج" or "DA" (ISO code: DZD). There are coins of DA5, DA10, DA20, DA50, DA100 and DA200. Banknotes are issued in denominations of DA100, DA200, DA500, DA1,000 and DA2,000.
Money can be exchanged at banks or post offices. Make sure the exchanged bills are in good condition; people tend to be picky with accepting ripped and older bills. Be careful with currencies other than euros or US dollars: finding a bank that exchanges less common currencies could be complicated.
A better exchange rate can usually be found by exchanging money through unofficial money changers on street corners. There are locations where this is a widespread practice. The exchange rate offered is generally better than the official rate. It seems to be a very safe practice and is often done in view of police, who don't seem concerned.
ATMs are widely available and can be found in every post office or larger bank where you can withdraw Algerian dinar with any major credit card and Maestro cards. If a pin with six numbers is necessary, enter two zeros before your pin.
Many Algerian-branded ATMs don't work for foreign cards (even when showing that they support Mastercard or Visa). You may have luck with Societé Générale ATMs.
Generally speaking, Algeria is very cash-based, and most establishments won't accept credit cards. Some hotels do (in particular larger establishments), but many don't. Bringing an ample supply of Euros or US dollars in cash can result in much cheaper travel by taking advantage of the much better exchange rates offered by the unofficial exchange market, as mentioned above.
Algeria has had a parallel currency exchange market for several years, e.g. with exchange rates in August 2018 being DA215 to the euro at the parallel market versus around 140 to the US dollar at the official Forex market. Thus, travellers willing to exchange euros will be roughly 50% more purchasing power. However, take care if exchanging on the parallel market: beware of the possibility of fake bills.
Compared to many developed nations, Algeria is a remarkably economical country; an underground metro ticket normally costs DA50 and the monthly rent for an apartment, depending on the area, is between DA40,000-100,000 per month.
DA100-1,000 will get you a full meal or a bus ride from one major city to another.
- See also: North African cuisine
Algerian cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean and North African flavors, with a strong French influence. Algerian cuisine is full of flavorful dishes such as tagines, couscous, and pastilla. Despite its rich flavors and vibrant ingredients, Algerian cuisine is not as widely known or appreciated as other Mediterranean or North African cuisines. Still, that shouldn't stop you from fully experiencing Algerian gastronomy.
- Fettate (Sahara speciality, in Tamanrasset)
- Taguella (bread of sand, a nomad speciality)
- Couscous (steamed semolina with sauce containing meat and/or potatoes, carrots, courgette, and chick peas)
- Buseluf (cooked lambs head)
- Dowara (stew of stomach and intestines with courgette & chick peas)
- Chorba (a meaty soup)
- Rechta (hand made spaghetti, usually served with a clear chicken broth, potatoes & chick peas)
- Chakchouka (normally, it has green peppers, onions and tomatoes; egg may be added)
- Mechoui (charcoal grilled lamb)
- Algerian pizza
- Tajine (stew)
- Mhadjeb (A dish which is a kind of flaky pancake made from semolina traditionally stuffed with onion, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, and spices)
Desserts and snacks
- Qalb El Louz (Sweet dessert made from layers of buttery semolina and ground almonds. Flavoured with orange blossom and a honey syrup, it is bursting with flavours and summery aromas. Each slice is topped with a whole almond for a lovely crunch.)
- Baklawa (Almond cake consists of many layers of very thin dough carefully hand crafted and drenched in honey)
- Ktayef (A kind of baked vermicelli, filled with almonds and drenched in sugar, syrup, and honey)
Algeria produces a selection of wine (not in big volume) and also beer. Algeria was once famous for its high quality wines. The new production is also of very high quality, particularly the red wine. Locally produced beer is also of a very high standard. Algeria is a majority Muslim country, so you do not find alcohol sold everywhere, but it is not hard to find it. Wine and alcoholic drinks are sold in the few bar restaurants in the big cities, better hotels, and night clubs. Some bar/restaurants can be found in nice parks, so if you are in a nice wooded park, look for the restaurants. The fast food restaurants that are open and affordable to the public do not sell beer, and the coffee shops do not sell alcohol. If you visit Algiers or coastal cities, there are fish restaurants in almost every fishing port, the fishing is traditional and the fish sold is very fresh; usually, these restaurants sell alcohol but you have to ask (do not expect to see it, some times it is on the menu, some times not).
Finally, you can buy your own bottle of Algerian wine to take home in discreet shops that sell alcoholic drinks. It is better to buy it at the Algiers airport, though expect to pay €15 per bottle. In smaller towns, buying alcoholic drinks can be challenging; you usually find them at the edge of the towns in sketchy areas and the conditions in which the alcohol was kept are sometimes questionable. Some Muslims drink but they consider it a sin. It is in private but socially. If someone invites you into his home and does not offer alcohol, he expects you not to be drunk or smell of alcohol, and does not expect you to bring your own bottle or even discuss drinking alcohol in front of his wife and children.
- Mediterranean juices (grenadine, orange)
- Very sweet green tea
- Strong coffee
Finding suitable accommodation in Algeria is not a challenging task, as the country offers a wide range of housing options, including luxury hotels and budget-friendly alternatives. For those seeking a luxurious experience, beautiful deluxe rooms for couples are available at prices ranging from €150-250 per day. Conversely, low-budget tourists can find rooms priced as low as €10-45 per day. Luxury hotels provide an array of services, including cafeterias, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and pools, ensuring a delightful stay.
During the summer season, which spans from June 15 to August 31, many property owners rent out houses and cottages along the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in the area from Port Say (Marsa Ben M'hidi) to El-Kala. Prices for these rentals vary depending on the number of rooms, usually ranging from €700-3000 per month, inclusive of electricity. It is advisable to make advance reservations through acquaintances or travel agencies to secure the desired accommodation. Additionally, many Algerians utilise internet ads for housing rentals, although it is recommended to send a trusted individual to inspect the property before making any payments, as some offers may appear attractive but prove to be deceptive.
Another notable attraction is the Meskoutine Hammam complex, which offers various amenities such as spas, pools, and more. Situated near a mesmerizing waterfall that boasts a natural hot water source with a temperature of 98 °C (208 °F), this site holds the distinction of being the second most sought-after hot spring in the world, surpassed only by the geyser in Iceland. The prices for bungalows in this complex vary depending on the number of rooms, typically ranging from DA1500-3000 per day.
Under current Algerian laws, non-Algerians are not allowed to purchase real estate in Algeria.
Although education is free and mandatory for Algerians aged 6 to 15, the Algerian educational system has been criticised for being poorly maintained; school enrollment rates are quite low, drop out rates are quite high, and it is common for people to repeat school years.
Very few people, if any, take advantage of learning opportunities in the country. Unless you're fluent in either Arabic, French, or both, learning opportunities in Algeria are unlikely to be of interest to you.
The oldest and most prestigious university in the country is the University of Algiers.
Finding employment in Algeria can be challenging; the country has long struggled with high levels of unemployment and many Algerians often move abroad in search of employment opportunities.
A lack of economic diversification, a poor educational system, rigid labour conditions, a high dependence on oil and gas revenues, and restrictive regulations on foreign investment and imported goods all contribute to the weak state of Algeria's employment situation.
One seldom manages life in the country effectively without knowing either Arabic, French, or both, so try to acquire the necessary language skills. Doing so will significantly enhance your employment opportunities in the country.
The largest employer in Algeria is the Algerian government and the government employs 30-40% of the Algerian workforce. If you manage to secure employment in Algeria, there's a good chance you might end up working for the Algerian government because the government has controlling stakes in many Algerian companies.
Algerian companies are hierarchial and there are set expectations for both senior managers and junior employees. Senior managers are generally expected to be decisive and demonstrate leadership qualities, and junior employees are generally expected to follow their superiors at all times.
While being a foreigner puts you at an advantage (Algerians generally trust foreign skills more than local skills), the importance of doing things the "Algerian way" cannot be overstated. Taking too much time to make a decision, showing no interest in doing tasks, not having good morals, not greeting superiors properly, and openly disagreeing with your superiors will undoubtedly distance you from people.
It is not unusual for Algerians to hire their close friends and family members. Algerians do not see this as an unfair practice; rather, they consider it gratifying to help others in need.
The working week typically runs from Sunday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday are rest days.
The Algerian authorities do not take too kindly to people abusing Algerian immigration laws; a lot of migrants from West Africa and the Sahel often try to enter Algeria illegally (without any paperwork and documentation) in search of better opportunities in Algeria. Many of these migrants work as labourers. Given Algeria's proximity to Europe, some migrants try to enter Europe. Keep this in mind and obey Algerian immigration laws.
Algeria, by and large, is a safe country.
Do not travel to and in Saharan Algeria overland if you have no experience with driving in desert areas or knowledge of Algerian roads. The area is sparsely populated (which means help is limited) and you can get lost easily if you don't know what you're doing. For this reason, access the area by plane.
Do not travel after nightfall; travel by plane if you can, instead of by car; travel with public transports; avoid minor roads; ask the police or gendarmes if you are unsure about your surroundings. Check the travel advice on the Australian, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand government websites.
Since gaining independence in 1962, Algeria has experienced a long history of political instability. Anti-government protests and demonstrations are not uncommon, and they can turn violent pretty quickly.
Do not take part in political protests or make strongly worded comments against the government on social media; people, including dual citizens of Algeria, have been prevented from leaving the country for doing that.
Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings; if you see any signs of a protest or disturbance, you should leave the area immediately and seek a safe place.
It is strongly recommended that you monitor and listen to local media during your stay in Algeria.
- See also: Hot weather
90% of the country is covered by the Sahara desert. Algeria is a very hot country and temperatures can go as high as 50 °C (122 °F). Be sure to hydrate often and wear appropriate clothing to deal with the heat.
Terrorism and banditry
Areas near the borders with Libya, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania are unsafe due to general lawlessness. Generally speaking, tourists have little or no reason to go to those areas as they have nothing that interests tourists. If you intend to drive into one of those countries, it's recommended that you get an armed escort.
Algeria has strict laws concerning the export of antiquities. If you buy a souvenir that looks old or antiquated, try to obtain the necessary documentation for it. Better to be safe than sorry. Not doing so will land you in serious trouble with the Algerian authorities.
Do not photograph government buildings, security installations, or military/law enforcement personnel. You will be promptly detained by the Algerian authorities.
As is the case throughout the Arab world and the Middle East, homosexuality is frowned upon by the vast majority of Algerians. Open display of such orientations may result in open contempt and possible violence.
Algeria is, to a significant extent, a welcoming country. Hospitality is a cornerstone of Algerian culture, and Algerians consider it shameful not to give a guest a warm welcome.
This being said, Black-skinned people may be incorrectly assumed to be migrants from the Sahel and may attract unwanted attention from the authorities. It's not uncommon for the authorities to racially profile Black-skinned people.
Algerian dual citizens
If you are an Algerian citizen – being a dual citizen of Algeria or having an Algerian father – possessing another passport will not exempt you from mandatory military service (applicable to men only) and grant you consular access and protection in the event you get detained or arrested.
If you are married to an Algerian, you are subject to Algerian marital laws. You do not require permission from your husband to depart the country.
Foreign women often attract the attention of Algerian men. Being overly friendly to or making direct eye contact with an Algerian man may cause him to think that you're "into" him.
Be warned that some men may sexually harass you. If this ever happens, don't be afraid to create a scene and don't feel the need to be polite; no woman should put up with rotten behaviour like that.
Although Algeria has a universal healthcare system that covers all citizens and provides free medical care at public facilities, the public healthcare system is notorious for being poorly maintained; the system has been beset by underfunding, understaffing, overcrowding, corruption, and mismanagement. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of the problems facing Algeria's already troubled healthcare system.
Medical care in Southern Algeria, particularly in the Sahara, is virtually non-existent, even for non-citizens. If you’re planning a trip to the area, it’s advisable to bring your own medical supplies.
Private medical facilities are generally much better equipped than public medical facilities. Few Algerians can afford to access private health care.
Counselling, psychological, and psychiatric services are limited, even in Algeria's largest cities.
Algeria is sometimes struck by localized power cuts during summer in the south, which means that refrigerated foods may go bad. Therefore, you should keep that in mind when eating in restaurants, as the likelihood of getting food poisoning is always there.
Mosquitoes are also a problem in Algeria, but they are just a nuisance, as malaria is not common. In urban areas, there is periodic city-wide spraying against mosquitoes.
Do not expect very good water quality in southern Algeria, for drinking you can buy bottles of water instead of drinking tap water, they are cheap at DA30 for 2L, so 5L of good water costs less than US$1.
Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month in the Islamic calendar and lasts 29–30 days. Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk. Nothing (including water and cigarettes) is supposed to pass through the lips from dawn to sunset. Non-Muslims are exempt from this, but should still refrain from eating or drinking in public as this is considered very impolite. Working hours are decreased as well in the corporate world. Exact dates of Ramadan depend on local astronomical observations and may vary somewhat from country to country. Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.
If you're planning to travel to Algeria during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.
Though many Algerians speak French (usually as a second language), it would be inaccurate and inappropriate to state that Algerians are French.
Honour is an important cornerstone of Algerian culture and forms the basis of all relationships in the country. Algerians believe that turning down someone's request causes them to lose honour and they will normally go out of their way to fulfil any kind of request.
Be smart about what you say openly — criticising someone in public or making someone look bad in front of others can cause an Algerian lose their honour, i.e, lose face.
Although Algeria is a Muslim country, there's no special dress code in effect. Algerian dress styles are generally similar to European dress styles. It's advisable to dress conservatively so that you don't stand out like a sore thumb.
Ask questions about Algerian history, geography, tourist attractions, culture; this will get Algerians to like and respect you.
Algerians respect their elders. You are expected to act politely around someone older than you, and it would be seen as rude manners if you attempt to challenge someone older than you.
Unlike in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, Algerians like to keep their private lives to themselves and do not like to discuss their family life, especially around people they're not well acquainted with. It's not considered rude to ask if someone's married or if they have children, but it's best to not have a whole discussion over it.
Domestic politics are both highly sensitive and polarised. Algerians, in general, have a strained relationship with their government and it is common for them to express feelings of frustration, annoyance, and anger towards the government. While it may be common to listen to grumblings about the Algerian government, avoid stating your opinion on local politics; Algerians consider this as "interference" in their internal affairs and will not appreciate it.
Avoid talking about Morocco. Morocco and Algeria have long had unhealthy relations.
Ethnic politics are source of tension in Algeria. The Berbers, who make up 15-20% of the population, have a long history of being mistreated by the Algerian government and have long struggled for autonomy and cultural rights in Algeria. For this reason, it would be unwise to ask an Algerian about what their ethnicity is as it could imply that you are questioning their loyalty to Algeria.
You should avoid discussing the following topics with Algerians as they are likely to engender strong reactions:
- The Algerian Civil War — scores of Algerians perished during the war and it is still a wound in the national consciousness.
- Algeria as a French colony — thousands of Algerians were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, and mistreated by the French, and Algerians feel that France hasn't done enough to acknowledge the harm it has caused to Algeria. In France, Algerians are sometimes discriminated against and treated with a degree of contempt.
Islam is the state religion of Algeria, and is practiced by 99% of the population.
- When visiting sites of religious importance, behave and dress well. Some mosques may be off limits to non-Muslims. If in doubt, ask.
- During Ramadan, you should refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing in public. Not doing so would be seen as insensitive and disrespectful.
- Refrain from criticising or speaking badly about religion.
- Do not talk about religion from an agnostic point of view; this will be met with total incomprehension.
- Anything hinting at proselytism will neither be appreciated nor welcomed.
All cigarettes are sold freely.
Smoking in the presence of someone who is not a smoker in a public place requires his permission. If someone does not like the smoke, coughs, or asks you not to smoke, just stop and say sorry. This is what the locals do. If you are invited to someone's house, do not smoke unless the host does and after he does, you can ask for permission to smoke.
If you are in a restaurant or coffee terrace where people smoke, you can smoke, but if you are with locals who are not smokers, ask them first if it is okay. Fewer and fewer people smoke, because of a global health awareness campaign.
If you are a non-smoker, you will still find it unpleasant in many public places because of smoking.
Mobile phone connections
There are 3 main mobile services in Algeria - Mobilis, Djezzy and Ooredoo (previously Nedima). It is easy to procure a pre-paid sim card for one of these operators at any airport. In February 2022, a SIM card with 60 GB of data was sold by Ooredoo for DA2500. There are several general stores all over the country which will sell you refill cards for these carriers. 3G services were launched on 1 December 2013, and 4G is available in a selection of major cities by all carriers.
The only internet provider is the government owned Algerie Telecom which offers ADSL internet with speeds that vary from 1 Mbps to 20 Mbps and prices of DA1600 to DA7200 respectively. 4G LTE is also available, but speeds are very slow and service is not very good in rural areas.