20 Best Places to Visit in Algeria

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Algeria, a North African nation, boasts a rich history and varied landscapes, from the Mediterranean coast to the expansive Saharan desert. Notable features include picturesque beaches, vibrant cities, and opulent accommodations.

Algeria’s natural beauty is preserved across 20 national parks and 2 reserves, spanning over half a million hectares. These areas showcase diverse ecosystems, with highlights such as the ancient rock art in Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, estimated to be over 12,000 years old.

This article provides a concise overview of Algeria, touching on its climate, history, attractions, population, and natural resources.

Algiers, Algeria’s Capital City

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Algiers mixes history and modernity, with French architecture and diverse cultural influences. It houses over 3.5 million people and Africa’s second metro system.

The UNESCO-recognized Casbah provides a distinctive experience with its labyrinthine streets, traditional crafts, and sea views, offering a glimpse into Algerian heritage.

Notable sites include the Martyrs’ Memorial, honoring Algeria’s independence war, and the National Museum of Fine Arts, showcasing the country’s artistic heritage. The museum’s rooftop provides stunning views of the city and the Mediterranean, emphasizing Algiers’ artistic and scenic charm.

Casbah of Algiers

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The Casbah of Algiers, a historic site recognized by UNESCO, has a rich history of occupations by various groups including Carthaginians, Berbers, Romans, Arabs, and the British. It also served as a base for Algerian revolutionaries during their independence struggle.

The Casbah’s unique layout, often likened to a labyrinth, features Ottoman-style houses, narrow alleyways, and vibrant doors.

Its charm extends to the Mediterranean coast, with its appearance often compared to the Ark of Noah and a pine cone.

Oran

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Oran, a coastal city in Algeria, is notable for its historical and cultural richness. The center features impressive buildings, including the Cathedrale du Sacre-Coeur d’Oran, now a library, and the main square, Place du 1er Novembre.

The Sidi el Houari district, built along the slopes of the Aidour and Wadi Rhi, offers historic buildings and the Le Ciel D’Oran Restaurant in the Sheraton Oran Hotel Towers, known for its seafood and exceptional evening views.

The culinary scene is highlighted by its street food, especially the Karantica and Chicken Shawarma sandwiches, which are local favorites.

Oran offers a dynamic nightlife centered around La Corniche, offering bars, lounges, and nightclubs that cater to various tastes, some located within luxury hotels.

Constantine

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Constantine, recognized for its numerous bridges, is an old city with a diverse history. It features a deep gorge, several bridges, and a range of cultural and historical locations such as museums, the Palace of Ahmed Bey, and the Emir Abdelkader Mosque.

Modern Constantine presents a variety of attractions, from the Roman Ruins of Djemila, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to diverse bridges like the Mellah-Slimane Footbridge and the Sidi Rached Viaduct, highlighting the city’s architectural variety.

Constantine is less frequented, offering to discover one of Africa’s oldest cities without the usual tourist crowds. The city offers modern art through attractions like the Ben-Badis Mosque, The Palace of Ahmed Bey, and the Gustave Mercier Museum.

Béjaïa

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Bejaia, a historic coastal city, provides a mix of natural and cultural sites. These include Cap Carbon, Aiguades, Place du 1er Novembre, and Toudja’s Water Museum.

The city’s terrain features diverse attractions like mythical caves, a high natural lighthouse at Cap Carbon, and tranquil Lake Mezaia. Modern leisure spots, such as Auberge du Thais, demonstrate a balance of natural charm and tourist development.

During summer, Bejaia becomes vibrant, with Saket village being a popular beach destination, indicating the city’s ability to handle increased tourism and its allure as a travel spot.

Tlemcen

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Notable landmarks in Tlemcen include the Great Mosque, the Eiffel Bridge, and the waterfalls in the nearby National Park. The city also houses the largest university campus in Algeria.

El Mechouar Palace, or Zianide Royal Palace, is a key attraction in Tlemcen, once part of a citadel. Only the outer wall and minaret remain, featuring impressive buildings and a beautiful garden.

Tlemcen is characterized by its many medieval structures, narrow, arched streets, and shops The 12th-century Great Mosque, built by the Almoravids, is a prime example. The Grotto of Rabbi Ephraim ben Israel Ankawa is another notable site.

Setif

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Sétif is a significant city in northeastern Algeria. It houses a large Roman mosaic and an archaeology museum featuring mosaics from the 3rd century AD. The mosaics illustrate a victorious Dionysus procession and exotic animals.

Sétif sits over 1,100 meters above sea level, making it one of the coldest Algerian cities in winter. It occasionally experiences flash floods but is also known for its hot summers, with temperatures potentially exceeding 40 degrees in July.

Annaba

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Annaba, a port city in northeastern Algeria, features a central promenade and French colonial architecture. Notable landmarks include the St. Augustine Basilica and the nearby Roman ruins of Hippo Regius. The Musée d’Hippone houses artifacts from these ruins.

Its main street, Cours de la Révolution, boasts French colonial architecture, while the towering St. Augustine Basilica overlooks the city. A shrine to Saint Augustine is located centrally, and the main square showcases elegant colonial architecture. The city also boasts beautiful beaches.

Annaba houses popular tourist spots and lesser-known attractions, such as the ancient Roman site of Timgad, a well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city enjoys a Mediterranean-coastal climate and is reachable by car, bus, or taxi.

Batna

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Batna, located in northeastern Algeria, is a notable city with historical significance dating back to the third century BC. Its name combines Arabic and Berber languages, translating to “where we sleep tonight.”

The city’s landscape is characterized by the rugged Aurus Massif, a part of the Atlas Mountains, and experiences a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters.

A key attraction in Batna is the Great Mosque, recognized as the second-largest in Africa and showcases remarkable architecture that adds to the city’s allure. Additionally, Batna houses a shrine with a fusion of Eastern and Greek architectural styles.

Ghardaia

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Ghardaia, situated in the northern desert of Algeria, approximately 600 km south of Algiers, serves as the capital of the Ghardaia state.

It’s a fortified area in the M’zab Valley featuring houses with rooftop windows and an old town mosque, Sidi Brahim. Noteworthy attractions encompass the M’zab Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, bustling markets, and scenic oases.

Timgad

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Timgad, an ancient Roman town, was established around 100 CE in the Aurès Mountains, Algeria, by Emperor Trajan. Originally named Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi, it served as a significant trade hub in the Mediterranean.

Today, one can explore the remaining Roman ruins, including a temple and remnants of houses, all nestled within a striking mountain landscape. Additionally, a Martyr’s Memorial is present in the city.

Djemila

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Djémila, a small mountain village in northern Algeria, east of Algiers, holds well-preserved Roman ruins, over 1,000 years old. The village also hosts a thermal spring at an altitude of 200 meters, known for its healing properties due to mineral-rich, boiling water.

The site hosts Christian quarters, including a church, a round Baptistery, a great bath, and a market. Notably, the Severan Forum, one of the largest from the Paleochristian period, is in the town center. It also showcases mosaic pavings illustrating daily life and mythology scenes.

Tipaza

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Tipaza, a town and capital of Tipaza Province, was once part of the Roman Empire. Established in 1857, it’s recognized for its sandy coastline and historical ruins, situated on a peninsula with numerous sandy beaches.

The town’s charm can be experienced through exploring its ruins. Boat rides along the river or beach offer scenic views. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tipaza attracts tourists with its ancient ruins, historic port, and regional cuisine.

Tamanrasset

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Tamanrasset, also known as Tam, is a city in the Ahaggar Mountains and the capital of Tamanrasset Province. It’s the main city of the Algerian Tuareg tribe and is situated at an altitude of 1,320 meters.

It’s a stunning oasis town ideal starting point to discover the nearby Ahaggar National Park. The town’s central museum is top-notch, featuring well-lit exhibits such as pottery and lamps from Roman Setif and mosaics in the ground floor’s central court.

Chrea National Park

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Chrea National Park, located in Algeria’s Blida Province, provides diverse terrains, a rich flora, and various animals and birds, including several raptor species.

It houses ancient Atlas Cedar forests, home to the endangered Barbary Macaque, a unique Old World monkey with a short tail due to evolutionary adaptation. The park offers numerous walking trails.

As a biodiversity hotspot, it hosts unique species like the Atlas hare, emphasizing the importance of preserving its diverse ecosystems. The waterfalls, rivers, and cedar forests support various wildlife and offer recreational activities like hiking, trekking, and skiing.

Djanet

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Djanet, a lively desert oasis town in southeastern Algeria, is recognized for its minimal inhabitants and serving as an entrance to the Sahara. The town offers markets, eateries, and traditional Berber residences from the 16th century.

Access is typically through the border from Tunisia and offers trekking opportunities, and desert sceneries within the Tassili National Park desert. The town provides a range of hotels to accommodate different preferences, from complimentary breakfast to pet-friendly rooms.

El Oued

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El Oued, an ancient city in Algeria, offers a delightful day trip. It’s renowned for its historical sites such as Bastion 23 – Palais des Rais, one of Algeria’s oldest structures, and shopping opportunities.

The city’s market, particularly lively on Fridays, sells unique local products like carpets featuring the distinct Souf Cross design and traditional slippers known as Affanes. The city enjoys pleasant weather year-round, with June and May being the windiest months, averaging a light to moderate breeze.

Wrap-Up

Algeria presents a multitude of captivating destinations that cater to diverse interests. From the historic sites of Algiers and Timgad to the natural wonders of the Sahara Desert and the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, the country offers a wealth of experiences.

The coastal towns of Annaba and Bejaia provide stunning Mediterranean vistas, while the mountainous regions of Kabylie and Djurdjura offer thrilling outdoor adventures.

The cultural richness of Constantine and Ghardaia further enriches the Algerian travel experience. Each location highlighted in this list holds unique appeal, making them worthy inclusions in any travel itinerary.

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