ALGERIA Travel Guide for 2024: Discover Charms of the Desert

Algeria Travel Guide - osam tour

Welcome to our ultimate Algeria travel guide. Embark on a captivating journey through the diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage of this North African gem.
In this Algeria travel guide, we’ll provide valuable insights and tips for an unforgettable adventure. From ancient ruins and Sahara wonders to mouthwatering cuisine and unique souvenirs, get ready to immerse yourself in the allure of this enigmatic destination.

What to See and Do in Algeria

Whether you’re an experienced traveler out to explore some of the most famous landmarks in Algeria or someone setting foot here for the first time, there’s never a shortage of things to do or sights to see. Here are the best places to visit in Algeria for first-timers.

  • Explore the Ancient Ruins of Tipasa: Wander through the UNESCO-listed ruins of Tipasa, an ancient Roman and Phoenician city. Marvel at the well-preserved amphitheater, temples, and stunning Mediterranean views.
Algeria Tipasa - osam tour
  • Discover the Sahara Desert: Experience the magic of the Sahara by joining a desert tour. Embark on camel treks, watch mesmerizing sunsets over the dunes, and immerse yourself in Berber culture at traditional camps.
Algeria Sahara Desert - osam tour
  • Visit the Casbah of Algiers: Step back in time in the historic Casbah of Algiers. This labyrinthine maze of narrow streets, alleys, and whitewashed buildings showcases the city’s rich history and Algerian heritage.
Casbah of Algiers - osam tour
  • Explore Tassili n’Ajjer National Park: Venture to this UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its breathtaking rock formations and ancient rock art. The park offers opportunities for hiking and immersing yourself in the Saharan wilderness.
Algeria Tassili n'Ajjer - osam tour
  • Marvel at the Roman Ruins of Djémila: Delight in the well-preserved Roman ruins of Djémila, a UNESCO site that features ancient temples, theaters, and bathhouses set against a picturesque mountain backdrop.
Algeria Djemila - osam tour
  • Experience the Beauty of Ghardaïa: Visit the captivating M’zab Valley and its five ancient ksour (walled villages), including Ghardaïa. Explore the traditional Berber architecture and witness the unique way of life of the Mozabite people.
Algeria Ghardaia - osam tour
  • Experience the Timgad Archaeological Site: Step back into Roman history at the well-preserved ruins of Timgad. Wander through the ancient city’s streets, temples, and amphitheater, imagining life in Roman times.
Algeria Timgad - osam tour

Fast Facts About Algeria

  • Climate: Algeria’s climate varies from region to region. In the north, you’ll find a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The Sahara Desert in the south experiences scorching summers and chilly nights.

  • Local Currency: The official currency of Algeria is the Algerian Dinar (DZD). ATMs are available in major cities, but it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially when traveling to remote areas.

  • Power Voltage: The standard power voltage in Algeria is 230V, and the plugs have two round pins (Type C and F). Don’t forget to bring suitable adapters for charging your electronic devices.

  • Language: Arabic is the official language of Algeria, while French is widely spoken, especially in urban areas. English is not as commonly spoken, so learning a few basic Arabic or French phrases can be helpful.

  • Religion: Islam is the predominant religion in Algeria, and you’ll find many mosques throughout the country. Respect local customs and traditions, especially during prayer times and religious holidays.

  • Safety: Algeria is generally safe for travelers, but it’s essential to stay informed about the latest travel advisories and follow local guidelines. Avoid traveling to areas close to the borders and remote regions known for security concerns.

  • Cultural Etiquette: Algerians value hospitality and respect. When visiting homes or religious sites, dress modestly, and remove your shoes if required. It’s polite to accept tea or coffee when offered, as it signifies a warm welcome.

  • Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory in Algeria. In restaurants and cafes, leaving a small tip (around 10%) for good service is common.

When to Visit Algeria: Seasons and Festivals

Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and notable festivals to consider when you plan a trip to Algeria.


  • Spring (March to May): Spring is a pleasant time to visit Algeria, as the weather is mild and the flowers are in bloom. The coastal regions are especially attractive, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. However, spring can also be unpredictable, with occasional rain and sandstorms. If you want to explore the Sahara desert, spring is a good time to do so, as the heat is not too intense and the nights are not too cold.

  • Summer (June to August): Summer is the hottest and driest season in Algeria, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C in some areas. The coastal regions are more bearable, with a refreshing sea breeze and lower humidity. However, summer is also the peak tourist season, so expect crowded beaches and higher prices. If you want to avoid the crowds and the heat, you can head to the mountainous regions, such as the Kabylie or the Hoggar, where the climate is cooler and the scenery is stunning.

  • Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another great time to visit Algeria, as the weather is still warm and sunny, but not as hot as summer. The colors of the landscape change, creating a beautiful contrast between the green oases and the golden sand dunes. The Festival International du Sahara is held in November, celebrating Saharan culture and traditions. Autumn is also a good time to visit the historical and cultural sites of Algeria, such as the Roman ruins of Timgad and Djemila, the Casbah of Algiers, and the ancient rock art of Tassili n’Ajjer.

  • Winter (December to February): Winter is the coldest and wettest season in Algeria, with temperatures dropping below 10°C in some areas. The coastal regions experience mild winters, while the Sahara can get quite cold at night. Winter is not the best time to visit the desert, as the roads can be blocked by snow or mud. However, winter is a good time to visit the cities and towns of Algeria, where you can enjoy the festive atmosphere, the local cuisine, and the indoor attractions.


  • National Amazigh Film Festival: Held in January, this film festival showcases full-length feature films, documentaries, shorts, and animations that celebrate the Amazigh culture in Algeria. The Amazigh are the indigenous people of North Africa, who have their own language, traditions, and identity. The festival is a platform for Amazigh filmmakers to express their creativity and share their stories with the world.

  • Ghardaia Carpet Festival: Held in March, this festival is centered on the tradition of carpet-weaving in Algeria. Artisans and designers come together to exhibit and sell their work, as well as participate in competitions. The festival is also marked by a lively procession accompanied by traditional music.

  • European Cultural Festival: Held in May, this cultural event assembles artists from some 16 countries to perform traditional rhythms, jazz and flamenco. It is held in three different cities, Algiers, Tlemcen and Constantine.

  • Dimajazz Festival: Held in June, this music festival features performances from well-known musical artists from all over the world. The festival is dedicated to jazz, but also incorporates other genres, such as blues, soul, funk, and world music. The festival is held in the city of Constantine, which is known as the “City of Bridges” and the “Capital of Arab Culture”.

  • Festival du Rai d’Oran: Held in July, this music festival celebrates the most popular genre of music in Algeria: Rai. Rai is a fusion of traditional Algerian music with modern influences, such as rock, pop, reggae, and hip hop. The festival features performances from local and international Rai stars, as well as workshops, exhibitions, and debates. The festival is held in the city of Oran, which is the birthplace of Rai and the second-largest city in Algeria.

How to Get Around Algeria

Algeria is a vast country with different regions and terrains, so getting around can be challenging. Here are the best ways to get around to consider when planning your Algeria trip:

  • By air: The most convenient and comfortable way to get around Algeria is by air. Algeria has several domestic airports that connect the main cities and towns, such as Algiers, Oran, Constantine, Annaba, Tlemcen, and Ghardaia. Air Algérie is the national airline that operates frequent and reliable flights within the country.
  • By road: Another option to get around Algeria is by road. Algeria has a network of highways and roads that link the major urban areas, as well as some rural and desert regions. However, driving in Algeria can be risky and stressful, as the traffic is chaotic, the roads are poorly maintained, and the drivers are reckless. Therefore, it is not recommended to rent a car and drive yourself, unless you are experienced and confident.
    If you want to travel by public transport, you can use buses or taxis. Buses are the cheapest and most common way to travel between cities and towns, but they can be crowded, slow, and uncomfortable. There are several bus companies that operate in Algeria, such as ETUSA, SNTV, and CTN.
    Taxis are more convenient and faster than buses, but they can be more expensive and hard to find. There are two types of taxis in Algeria: regular taxis and shared taxis. Regular taxis are metered and can be hailed on the street or booked by phone. Shared taxis are unmetered and can be found at designated stations. They operate on fixed routes and fares, and they depart when they are full.
  • By rail: A third option to get around Algeria is by rail. Algeria has a railway system that covers some parts of the country, mainly along the coast and in the north. The trains are operated by the Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviaires (SNTF), which offers different types of services, such as express, intercity, and suburban. The trains are relatively fast, comfortable, and affordable. The railway network is expanding, with new lines and stations being constructed, such as the high-speed line between Algiers and Oran.
  • Ferries: If you plan to visit Algiers, consider taking a ferry from the nearby towns of Tipaza or Blida for a scenic coastal journey.
  • Camel treks: In the Sahara Desert, camel treks offer a unique and adventurous way to travel through the vast dunes and experience traditional desert nomadic life.

Where to Stay in Algeria: Accommodation Tips

Finding a suitable place to stay during your Algeria trip can be a challenge, as the country does not have a well-developed tourism infrastructure. However, there are some options for travelers who want to enjoy the comfort and convenience of a good accommodation. Here are some tips and recommendations for finding the best places to stay in Algeria:

  • Hotels: Hotels are the most comfortable and reliable option for staying in Algeria, especially in the major cities and tourist destinations. Hotels usually provide amenities such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, TV, and private bathrooms. However, hotels can also be quite expensive, especially during peak seasons and holidays. The average cost of a hotel room in Algeria is between $40 and $90 per night, but it can vary depending on the location, quality, and availability. Some of the best hotels in Algeria are the Algiers Marriott Hotel Bab Ezzouar and the Residence Inn Algiers Bab Ezzouar, both located in the suburb of Bab Ezzouar, between the city center and the airport.
  • Hostels: Hostels are the cheapest and most social option for staying in Algeria, especially for backpackers and solo travelers. Hostels usually offer dormitory-style rooms with shared bathrooms and common areas. Hostels can also provide services such as breakfast, laundry, and tours. The average cost of a hostel bed in Algeria is less than $40 per night. Some of the best hostels in Algeria are the Auberge du Sud in Djanet, the Auberge de la Rose des Sables in Ghardaia, and the Auberge de la Jeunesse in Algiers.
  • Guesthouses: Guesthouses are a more authentic and cozy option for staying in Algeria, especially in the rural and desert regions. Guesthouses are usually family-run establishments that offer private or shared rooms with basic facilities. Guesthouses can also provide meals, hospitality, and cultural exchange. The average cost of a guesthouse room in Algeria is around $10 per night. Some of the best guesthouses in Algeria are the Dar Hassan in Tlemcen, the Dar El Yasmine in Constantine, and the Dar Fatma in Algiers.
  • Apartments: Apartments are a more modern and independent option for staying in Algeria, especially for longer stays and larger groups. Apartments usually offer fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms, as well as Wi-Fi, TV, and washing machines. The average cost of an apartment in Algeria is around $50 per night. Some of the best apartments in Algeria are the Appartement Alger Centre in Algiers, the Appartement Oran Centre in Oran, and the Appartement Annaba Centre in Annaba.

Algeria Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Here are some practical money-saving tips to help you make the most of your budget during your Algeria travel adventure:

  • Fly with low-cost airlines: Algeria can be expensive to fly into, but you can find cheaper flights if you use low-cost airlines, such as Air Arabia, Vueling, or Transavia. These airlines often offer deals and discounts, especially if you book in advance and avoid peak seasons and holidays. You can also save money by flying into nearby countries, such as Morocco or Tunisia, and then taking a bus or a ferry to Algeria.
  • Use public transport: Algeria has a network of public transport that can help you get around the country, such as buses, trains, and taxis. Public transport is usually cheaper and more reliable than renting a car or hiring a driver, but it can also be crowded, slow, and uncomfortable. You can use online platforms, such as BlaBlaCar, to find and share rides with other travelers.
  • Stay in hostels or guesthouses: Algeria offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels, and from traditional guesthouses to modern apartments. However, the cheapest and most social option is to stay in hostels or guesthouses, where you can meet other travelers, enjoy local hospitality, and experience the authentic culture of Algeria.
  • Eat local food: Algeria has a rich and diverse cuisine, influenced by various cultures and regions. You can find delicious and affordable food in local restaurants, street stalls, and markets, where you can taste the specialties of Algeria, such as couscous, tajine, shakshuka, and harira. You can buy fresh and cheap ingredients in local markets, such as the Souk El Feth in Algiers or the Souk El Had in Oran.
  • Visit free attractions: Algeria has many attractions that are free to visit, such as historical sites, natural wonders, and cultural events. You can explore the ancient ruins of Timgad and Djemila, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that showcase the Roman legacy in Algeria. You can admire the stunning scenery of the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, where you can see the prehistoric rock art and the sandstone formations. You can also enjoy the festivals and celebrations that take place throughout the year, such as the National Amazigh Film Festival in January, the Ghardaia Carpet Festival in March, or the Festival du Rai d’Oran in July.

What Food to Try in Algeria: Traditional Cuisine

Algeria is a country with a rich and diverse cuisine that reflects its history, culture, and geography. Its dishes are often based on natural ingredients, such as cereals, vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish, seasoned with aromatic spices and herbs. Algerian cuisine is influenced by various culinary traditions, such as Arab, Berber, Turkish, and French, creating a unique and delicious fusion of flavors. Here’s a Algeria travel guide to the culinary delights and traditional dishes you must try during your visit:

  • Couscous: Couscous is the national dish of Algeria, and one of the most famous dishes in the world. It consists of steamed semolina grains, served with a stew of meat, vegetables, and sauce. There are many variations of couscous, depending on the region, the season, and the occasion. Some of the most common types of couscous are couscous with lamb and vegetables, couscous with chicken and raisins, couscous with fish and tomato sauce, and couscous with seven vegetables.
  • Tagine: Tagine is a type of stew that is cooked in a clay pot with a conical lid, giving it its name. Tagine can be made with various ingredients, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and olives. The tagine is seasoned with spices, such as cumin, paprika, turmeric, saffron, and cinnamon, and herbs, such as parsley, coriander, and mint. Some of the most popular tagines are tagine zrodiya (with carrots and lamb), tagine el bey (with eggs and cheese), and tagine mqualli (with chicken and lemon).
  • Harira: Harira is a hearty soup that is traditionally eaten during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, to break the fast at sunset. Harira is made with meat, chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, onions, celery, and vermicelli, and flavored with spices, such as ginger, pepper, cinnamon, and saffron, and herbs, such as parsley, coriander, and mint.
  • Mhadjeb: Mhadjeb is a type of flatbread that is stuffed with a spicy mixture of onions, tomatoes, and peppers, and folded into a square shape. Mhadjeb is cooked on a griddle until golden and crispy, and then cut into pieces and served hot or cold. Mhadjeb is a popular street food and snack in Algeria, and can also be filled with other ingredients, such as cheese, meat, or tuna.
  • Makroud: Makroud is a sweet pastry that is made with semolina dough, stuffed with dates or almonds, and fried or baked until golden and crunchy. Makroud is then soaked in honey or sugar syrup, and sometimes sprinkled with sesame seeds or pistachios. Makroud is a typical dessert in Algeria, especially during celebrations and festivals, such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

What to Bring from Algeria: Souvenir Ideas

Bringing home a piece of Algeria is a wonderful way to cherish your Algeria travel memories:

  • Copperware: Algeria has a long tradition of copper craftsmanship, dating back to the Ottoman era. You can find many items made of copper, such as trays, pots, lamps, and vases, decorated with intricate patterns and designs.
  • Leather goods: Algeria is known for its high-quality leather products, such as bags, wallets, belts, shoes, and jackets. Leather goods are made from various types of leather, such as camel, goat, sheep, or cow, and dyed with natural colors. Leather goods are often embellished with embroidery, beads, or metal studs, giving them a unique and elegant look.
  • Ceramics: Algeria has a rich and diverse ceramic art, influenced by various civilizations, such as Roman, Arab, Berber, and Turkish. You can find many ceramic items, such as plates, bowls, cups, tiles, and figurines, made of clay, porcelain, or faience, and painted with colorful glazes and motifs. Ceramics are not only beautiful, but also useful and symbolic. You can use ceramics to serve food, display flowers, or adorn your walls. You can also find ceramics that represent the culture and history of Algeria, such as the Hand of Fatima, the Star of David, or the Crescent and Star.
  • Jewelry: Algeria has a rich and diverse jewelry art, influenced by various cultures and regions, such as Arab, Berber, Tuareg, and Kabyle. You can find many jewelry items, such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and brooches, made of silver, gold, copper, or brass, and adorned with stones, pearls, coral, or enamel.
  • Spices: Algeria has a rich and diverse cuisine, influenced by various cuisines and regions, such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, African, and French. You can find many spices that enhance the flavor and aroma of the Algerian dishes, such as cumin, paprika, turmeric, saffron, and cinnamon. Spices are not only delicious, but also healthy and beneficial.

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