Submitted by Heather Demars on July 30, 2016
Algeria is one of the most captivating countries in North Africa. It is the second largest country of the continent and the tenth largest county in the world. Covering such a vast stretch of landscape, Algeria is also a place of diversity. From the Mediterranean Coastline to the sandy dunes of Sahara desert, a vacation in Algeria has all the elements of adventure you are looking for in travel.
The capital city of Algiers offers a melting pot of traditions and modernism. Tribal culture is very much alive with the presence of its colonial past not forgotten. It has a rich history and ruins at Djemila, Tipasa and Timgad are mesmerizing to see. There’s also the town of In Salah that welcomes tourists by its creeping sand dunes and Timimoun which represents the oasis town of Sahara.
Moving out towards Sahara unwraps a whole new world of attractions in Algeria. The well-guarded gate and auction markets of the holy town of Beni-Isguen offer a tempting stop. There is also the lovely town of Ouargla also known as “the golden key to the desert” with its malekite minaret and stunning architectures. The Sid Fredj peninsula will also let you experience the beauty of the ocean.
With so much to see and explore in this historical and attractive country, visitors may find themselves lost in a myriad of tourist spots. Algeria’s geography is fascinating and traveling through the country is an exceptional experience. A week-long tour may not be enough to see Algeria’s best but a chance to see even a part of this huge nation should not be passed up.
When to Travel
With its Mediterranean climate along the coast, Algeria has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Towns and cities near the coastal area are best vacationed around spring and summer months. On the other hand, the Sahara desert with its wild summer temperatures will be best appreciated between late autumn and early spring around the months of November to April. Even though daytime temperatures hardly ever fall below 77°F (25°C), desert nights can be cold even in the height of summer. Rainfall ranges from more than 1000mm per year in the northern mountains to zero in the Sahara. Some places even go decades without a drop of rain. Overall, an Algeria vacation can be taken any time of the year depending on what you are looking for in your travels.
Cuisines and Drinks
Algerian food has had many influences that have contributed something distinct to the country’s cooking pleasures. Turks, Roman, Berbers, Arabs and Spanish civilization helped to make sure that Algeria’s cuisine is a vivid mixture of flavors and aromas.
The Turks and Arabs’ contribution to Algerian food is the added spice on food as well as various delicious pastries. On the other hand, the Berbers influence can be seen in the use of dried fruits, stews, lamb, vegetables and grains.
The use of tomato puree in Algerian dishes as well as in their aperitifs and sweets has been a mark shared by French cuisines. You will be able to taste the distinctive flavors of caraway, cumin, coriander, marjoram and fennel too. Lamb and chicken are commonly used in meals in addition to fresh fish from the Mediterranean. Algeria’s national dish is Couscous. This is steamed semolina served with meat, vegetables and sauce.
As for the drinks in Algeria, coffee is pretty popular but is served extremely strong together with a glass of water. Algeria also produces a wide selection of wine and beer if you know where to find them. However, a tea with a hint of fresh mint is much preferred in most restaurants and bars. Fruit juices and drinks are also enjoyed by the locals.
You can also look and have a taste of some of these dishes for a more memorable experience:
- Couscous – national dish
- Fettate – a specialty of Sahara
- Algerian Pizza
- Baklawa – almond cakes drenched in honey
- Taguella – also called the “bread of sand,” a nomad specialty
- Chorba – a meaty soup
Popular Vacation Sights
Algiers – capital of Algeria and is known as “la blanche” or the white one, Algiers is one of the best Algeria vacation destinations of the country. This huge, whitewashed city with the Mediterranean out front, hills and farmland backdrop is an interesting destination and the doorway to the country’s core.
Having the largest port in Northwest Africa, this city is the hub of all economic, political and cultural activities. During your adventure travel, walking around the city will be a real experience where you get to meet the locals with their daily hustle and bustle.
Despite of its rich past, Algiers was able to preserve some of its old charisma. With the city’s strong sense of distinctiveness and vividly white scenery, a glimpse of this city will be worth it.
Iles Habibaa Marine Nature Reserve – this iscolatedsome 12 miles from the Algerian mainland, near the Les Andolouses headland. This marine nature reserve covers a large area of various scrub vegetation and is comprised of two islands called the Charguia and Gharbia.
Nature enthusiasts and bird watchers will certainly enjoy the scenaries around this place during their vacation. It has been considered an important site because of the rare birds that nested here. The two rare bird species found in Iles Habibas are the Eleonora’s Falcon and Audouin's Gull. Other birds who found their sanctuary in this place are Yellow-Legged Gull, Osprey and European Shag.
Another interesting mark of the Iles Habibas is the lighthouse built in 1879. It has a 36 foot square tower with a gallery and lantern based upon a keeper’s house.
Even though you cannot get to the islands of Iles Habibas Marine Nature Reserve, a boat trip around the area can still present spectacular views of the scenery as well as its feathered inhabitants.
Le Jardin d'Essai – built in 1832, situated between the sea and the public road outside Algiers, this was established as a botanical garden with the aim of preserving and propagating all of the country’s indigenous plants. It was soon extended so that it will also accommodate various foreign plants that will prove suitable to the environment of Algeria.
In the present times, this once testing ground for scientific research is being enjoyed by the people as nature right on their doorstep. It has been said that a lot of couples have expressed their eternal love while basking on the splendor of the garden.
Travelers to this magnificent garden will be welcomed by a pathway lined with gargantuan date palms passing the sago palms of China and Japan. You will be in awe of the spiky yucca from South America or you can relax under the shade of a Norfolk pine tree. A large pond with a dazzling fountain is located in the midst of a carefully manicured lawn and a wide variety of multi-colored flowers form a border-like edge to the panorama. In addition to that, there are series of steps and pathways that will lead vacationers to verdant greenery with benches where they can loosen up and breathe in the beauty of the surroundings. Le Jardin d'Essai is definitely one place in Algeria you better not forget to visit.
Maduare Ruins – vacationers to Algeria often try to look for travel spots that are rich in history and a little off the beaten path. The province of Souk-Ahras preserves an ancient part of Algerian history – the Maduare Ruins. This is not only an interesting place to explore but a wondrous sight to behold. These ruins have been the tribute of Roman influence in Algeria.
Tourists will be able to marvel at the earliest designs and architectural techniques of ancient Romans. Walking through the ruins, you will be able to let your imagination go wild and let the city come alive once again. Some of the ruins still have Christian inscriptions and some structures really stand out. There are still Roman mausoleum, basilicas and Byzantine fortresses. Madaure is truly a historical site and tribute to the heritage of Algeria.
Biskra – the city of Biskra is situated on the borders of Sahara Desert. The city poses a scenic oasis of splendid buildings and enormous plantations of date palms that breaks the never ending horizon of sands. Travelers on Algeria vacations leave awe-inspired.
Biskra is known for its market that sells assorted fresh fruits of which dates, figs, pomegranates, olives and apricots are major products as well as wheat and barley. With its hot weather and best conditions in winter, many tourists go to Biskra during the colder season to marvel on its beauty and sun.
Another major attraction of the city is its sulphur springs known as Hammam Salhine. The water is legendary and is used in medical purposes for it is believed to heal skin diseases as well as rheumatism. They are also visited for recreation and are becoming more known to tourists.
The city is a good destination in Algeria that captures the glory of the desert while enjoying the luxury and comfort of hotels. Biskra continues to fascinate and inspire travelers around the world.
Algeria’s currency is in Algerian dinar (DA). One US dollar is equivalent to DA71. Some locals though, especially in rural areas might give prices which are in centimes (DA1 is 100 centimes).
Changing foreign currency is not a problem in banks and hotels. Credit cards can be used in international hotels and a traveller’s check might be accepted in Algiers. Although tourist-oriented businesses may accept US dollars, it will still be handy if you have spare dinars for day-to-day expenses.
Traveling with a "Trusted" Source
When choosing a vacation to Algeria it's important to know and trust the company you are traveling with. Trusted Adventures, through a member company, offers a fantastic adventure to Algeria and welcomes you to explore the option. Feel free to contact us or inquire about vacations to Algeria at any time.