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Algiers, Sidi M'Hamed, Algiers, Algeria
Wind your way from the whitewashed waterfront through narrow side streets and expansive, French-style boulevards as Algiers peels back her veils to reveal cosmopolitan, colonial and Islamic contrasts seemingly stacked at random. Rooftop views over the Bay of Algiers from Notre Dame d'Afrique, the Kasbah and Maqam Echahid, captivate, especially when accompanied by an evening call to prayer.
Coined the 'City of Bridges' thanks to the canyon that cuts through its centre, Constantine offers an exciting yet ancient ambience where mosques and minarets stretch skywards whilst the Rhumel River flows below. Despite the dramatic setting, Constantine has remained beyond tourism which makes visits to the old town kasbah and market, and the Palace of Ahmed Bey, all the more enlightening.
The mountain village of Djémila boasts some of North Africa's best kept ancient ruins with an impressive Roman amphitheatre and numerous arches, columns and paved piazzas to be found straddling slopes some 60km inland. This is a unique example of a Roman citadel built on a mountainous landscape with dramatic views always appreciated just as much as the ancient architecture.
The coastal setting adds impact to a trip to Oran with the gigantic market at Medina Jedida, the 17th century mosque at Sidi El Houari and the all-encompassing views from Santa Cruz Fort, on top of Mount Murdjadjo, all to be found on a sightseeing tour of the city. Seaside resorts and ancient forts vie for space with modern structures as Oran tries to cope with an increasing influx of visitors.
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All you need to know is
Algeria is located in northwestern Africa. More specifically, Algeria is the Maghreb Region of Africa. As a country that is almost entirely surrounded by land, Algeria's borders are shared with seven other African countries. In the northeast, Algeria is surrounded by Tunisia.With Morrocco to the west and Libya to the east,Algeria is also bordered by Mauritania, West Sahara, and Mali in the southwestern part of the country.Niger borders Algeria in the southeast. Algeria's only coastal border is along the Mediterranean Sea in the north.
Traveling by train is enjoyable and often more comfortable than by bus. Currently, there are two high-speed train routes in operation between Algiers, Oran, Annaba, and Constantine. Services in the capital converge at two main stations, the Gare de l’Agha and Gare Centrale where tickets can be purchased. You can take the bus to get around town and to reach the main train station. They stop at Place Audin, Place des Martyrs and Place Grande Poste in Algiers. A central terminal is found outside of downtown, where you can catch a ride to major towns like Oran, Ouargla and Annaba.
The official languages are Arabic and Tamazight(Berber language).The dialects of Arabic spoken in the North African "Maghreb" Region are closely related to each other,but not to the Middle-Eastern ones.They are called Darja (or Darija) and have been influenced by French and Berber vocabulary to various degrees.
Algeria uses the Algerian dinar (DZD). There are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 dinar coins. Banknotes circulate in denominations of DZD100, DZD200, DZD500, DZD1000 and DZD2000. Money can be exchanged at Banks or Post offices. Make sure that the exchanged bills are in a good condition, people tend to be picky with accepting ripped and older bills. Be careful with other currencies than euro or US dollars it could be hard to find a bank that exchange less common currencies.
Nationals of Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Seychelles and Tunisia, in addition to refugees and stateless persons residing in these countries, may enter Algeria visa-free for up to 90 days. All other nationalities require a visa. As of February 2017, transiting (up to 24h) through Algiers Airport is possible without obtaining a visa.
You can use your electric appliances in Algeria, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 – 240 volts. Manufacturers take these small deviations into account. If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100-120 volts, you need a voltage converter in Algeria. (In the US, electricity comes out of the wall socket at 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second.)
Beware of possible water contamination that can cause diarrhea or an upset stomach. While tap water is generally safe to drink, it’s a good idea to rely on bottled water at least for the first weeks. Vaccinations are not required, but advised for hepatitis B, tuberculosis and tetanus. The risk of malaria is low, but travelers are encouraged to use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
Police: 17 or 1548
Civil protection (medical emergency and fire department): 14
National Gendarmerie (especially outside cities): 1055
Support for children : 3033 . Numbers of administrations, hospitals and different agencies can be found on the yellow pages (pages jaunes) in airports and some hotels and on the internet.
When to visit
Best time to visit the destination
Temperatures in Algeria reach extremes during the summer, and travelers will be more comfortable visiting during the rainy season, between October and March. It’s best not to visit during Ramadan: Algerians take the fast very seriously, and few businesses will be open. The timing of this holy month is based on the lunar calendar, and it shifts every year; check here to make sure that the time of your visit does not conflict with Ramadan.
What to do?
Don’t miss to challenge your world
Discover prehistoric rock art in Tassili n’Ajjer
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tassili n’Ajjer National Park is the highlight of any visit to Algeria. Located in the deep south of the country over 1,800 kilometers (1,200 miles) from Algiers, it’s a day long bus journey or several hour flight from the capital. A landscape unlike any other awaits with sandstone peaks, rock arches, and Saharan montane woodlands. Meaning “plateau of rivers,” Tassili n’Ajjer once had much more water to sustain civilization.
Relax and wander the Jardin d’Essai du Hamma
The Botanical Garden of Hamma is known the world over for being one of the greatest. Set over an expansive 140 acres of botanical garden and 50 acres of arboretum, the gardens were created in 1832 by the French Civil Intendant and interim governor. Set in Algiers, the gardens now feature over 1,200 species of plants and are a relaxing way to escape the buzz of the city.
Assekrem and the Hoggar Mountains
In the southeast of the country are the breathtaking Hoggar Mountains, near Tassili n’Ajjer. Sharing a similar landscape, the barren Sahara gives way to stone buttes, shrubby desert, and hidden oases. In nearby Assekrem is the hermitage of Charles de Foucauld, a French priest who lived for years amongst the Tuaregs in this desolate region and later beatified as a saint.
You ask, we answer
FAQs about Algeria
Is Algiers worth visiting?
Well, the good news is that Algiers, the capital, is very much worth the detour, untouched by Easyjet, and better still, firmly in the 'OK to visit, but be careful' bit of the country.
Can you drink alcohol in Algeria?
The legal drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 18. Algeria produces a selection of wine (not in big volume in more) and also beer. However, Algeria is a Muslim country, and you do not find alcohol sold everywhere, you have to know where to find it.