As the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest country in the world, Algeria impresses every guest with its size. The distances are enormous, the scenic and cultural differences between the Mediterranean coast and the Sahara promise the traveler a lot of variety.
Algeria is a country with an ancient and eventful history, shaped by the influences of African, Oriental and Mediterranean cultures, a melting pot of many peoples. The long Mediterranean coast with sandy beaches and dreamy bays invites you to swim and attracts with ancient excavations. Oasis tours and the beauty of the Sahara impress every visitor. During expeditions and camel trekking you can get to know the culture of the Tuareg. Be inspired by our list of the 18 best places to visit in Algeria.
Algiers, located in the province of the same name, is the capital of Algeria. The city extends in the shape of a crescent in a bay on the Mediterranean Sea. Algiers has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers and cool and rainy winters. The area of today’s city was settled by the Phoenicians as early as 1,200 BC. Algiers itself was founded in 950 as Al Djazzair and developed into a business center by the French in the mid-19th century. Colonial buildings, but of course also the Maghrebian atmosphere determine the cityscape. Worth seeing, for example, is the Basilica Notre Dame d’Afrique or the Monument of the Martyrs. Also worthwhile is a visit to the Kasbah – the old town of Algiers, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Narrow alleys, countless small stores and a constant hustle and bustle…. Here you will also find a lot of traditional handicrafts.
Although the Atakor Plateau in Ahaggar National Park is difficult to reach without your own transportation, it is worth any effort or inconvenience. The landscape is a reddish-brown, arid landscape with rugged, steep peaks. The terrain is like something out of a science fiction flick and a sight to remember for a long time. The highlight of the plateau is Assekrem Peak. Assekrem means “the end of the world” in the Tuareg language, which aptly describes the view from the summit and the rugged landscape.
Tamanrasset is located in the south of Algeria as an oasis town in the Sahara on the edge of the Ahaggar Mountains at an altitude of 1,400 meters. In this tourist and commercial city live about 76,000 inhabitants, making Tamanrasset the largest city in southern Algeria. Tam has everything you can expect from a modern city. Due to its good location in the desert and on the edge of the mountains, this city is a popular starting point for exploration tours, such as to the Ahaggar National Park. The city is regularly visited by caramel caravans of the blue-clad Touareg.
Mont Adriane is the “landmark” of the town. It is flanked on both sides by small stores and cafes, workshops of craftsmen, the gendarmerie station, local travel agencies and souvenir stores. The old souk is also a highlight.
The city of Oran is a beautiful coastal city. It is one of the most important cities in Algeria, as it has a great cultural, commercial and industrial importance and is one of the most visited cities in the country. In the past, the city was used for trade purposes until it was dominated by the French.
Oran has a long boulevard lined with restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors. From here you have a fantastic view of the coast, the magnificent cliffs and the harbor. The city also offers many other facilities and amenities for tourists, including some luxury resorts. There is plenty to see and do in and around the city, making it a very attractive destination.
Oran’s city center is full of numerous impressive French-style buildings. It is very interesting and feels like a trip to 1940s France.
One of the buildings you will see on this walk is the Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur d’Oran, the first French cathedral built in the country. The cathedral now houses a library.
You’ll also stumble upon Place du 1er Novembre, Oran’s main square. The square has a beautiful fountain and a monument surrounded by buildings like the city hall.
Fort Santa Cruz is located on Mount Murdjadjo about 400 meters above sea level. The fortress was built by the Ottomans and Spaniards in the 17th century in a strategic position overlooking the city, the port of Mers El Kébir and the Mediterranean Sea. It is worth hiking up to Fort Santa Cruz for the spectacular views.
Djanet is also called the “Pearl of the Oases”. The small town in southeastern Algeria nestles with its white houses on rocky hills. Here you can find green palm gardens with about 20000 palm trees and oases with fresh vegetables and fruits.
Annaba is a port city in northeastern Algeria. On the Cours de la Révolution, the main street with a wide promenade, the architectural heritage of the French colonialists is evident. The St. Augustine Basilica was completed in 1900 and sits atop a hill to the south. Below is the ruined city of Hippo Regius, with its remains of Roman villas and baths.
The city was built on a limestone plateau and the Rhumel Gorge, which is about 100 meters deep, can only be reached by bridges, except in the south. The most famous is the suspension bridge Sidi M’Cid. Worth seeing are the mosque Salah Bey (Djama Sidi el Kettani) and the big mosque (el Kebir). The Archaeological Museum has exhibits of Phoenician, Numidian and Roman finds, such as amphorae, Tanit and Baal stelae, mosaics, sculptures and paintings.
Timgad is located in Algeria and is the new name of the large city Thamugadi, whose worth seeing and well preserved ruins are located about 40 kilometers east of the city Batna. In 1982, the excavation site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because the typical architecture of Roman city foundations is still clearly visible here, which is no longer recognizable in other cities of Roman origin due to later changes.
Timgad was built in the year 100 by the Roman Emperor Trajan on a previously unsettled site in the north of the Aurès Mountains. The city was a well-known military colony, whose square shape and subdivision are still particularly recognizable today. The large former city had numerous buildings and public facilities: the forum, the capitol, the temple, the assembly hall, a library, a theater with 4000 seats and 14 public baths. The city was supplied with water by an aqueduct from a spring several kilometers away.
In the well-preserved ruined city of Timgad there are highly interesting tombs. Not only that one discovers figural representations and inscriptions in good condition on the vertical tombs; the small tomb slabs in front of them are even more impressive: these are covered tables for the deceased. On them one can see nicely decorated serving plates, pans, food like bread and fish but also spoons and plates. Repeatedly, there are also depressions in which fresh drink and food offerings for the deceased could be placed.
Ghardaia is an oasis town in the M’zab in the north central Sahara at an altitude of 526 meters. Together with the southeastern cities of Beni Isguen, Melika, Bou Noura (Has Bunur) and El Atteuf (Tadjnint), Ghardaia forms the Pentapolis of the M’zab. Because of its exemplary urban development since 1982, the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On the Algerian Mediterranean coast lies the port city of Bejaia, once founded by the Carthaginians. The surrounding bay bears the same name. In the Roman Empire, the city then became an important military base and received the status of “colonia” under Emperor Augustus. Worth seeing are the old city gates, the old fortress, which is located on a hill or the mosque Sidi-Soufi.
Tlemcen is a city in western Algeria and serves as the capital of the province of the same name. The city had its heyday when it was the capital of an empire in western Algeria under the Abdalwadids from 1236 to 1554. Economic importance has the production of carpets, leather goods and textiles.
The center of Tlemcen consists of traditional and French-colonial quarters. There are buildings that represent evidence of a high level of Islamic culture. In the chessboard-like street systems of the colonial period, avenues of plane trees have been laid out. Southeast of the old center are the fortifications of the Mechouar (citadel). Not far from the city in the northeast direction, remains of the former Roman settlement of Pomaria have been preserved.
In the city area there are several mosques, among which the Great Mosque, its current shape dates back to 1132, and the Mosque Sidi Bel Hassen are among the important ancient monuments of the city. The latter houses the Museum of History. It displays exhibits of archaeological excavations, prehistoric finds and geological conditions from the region. A special feature of the museum is the magnificently designed mihrab with a stalactite vault.
7. El Oued
The landscape of the Souf, located in the northern part of the Great Eastern Erg, is characterized, even within the Saharan area, by the greatest peculiarity and originality. It is essentially a vast dune area whose sand hills reach significant heights at El Oued, its most important oasis.
El Oued, Souf or Oued Souf is the capital of the province of El Oued in Algeria. The oasis town is irrigated by an underground river, allowing the cultivation of date palms and the rare use (for the desert) of brick construction for residential purposes. Because most of the roofs are vaulted, it is known as the “city of a thousand domes.”
6. Djémila Ruins
The Roman ruins of Djémila are the architectural remains of the ancient Algerian city of Cuicul. Djémila is situated at an altitude of 900 meters and is located in the province of Setif. For visitors to look at and marvel at in modern times are a variety of buildings such as basilicas, forums, Christian churches, triumphal arches and former private homes. The ruined city also used to have a theater for 3000 visitors, a capitol and several thermal baths. Excavations of the ruins of Djémila began at the beginning of the 20th century and continued until 1957. Important exhibits and finds such as large and beautiful mosaics are displayed in the Museum of Djémila.
Cuicul, or Djémila as it was formerly known, was then a Berber settlement that became a Roman veteran colony at the end of the 1st century under the Emperor Nerva. The city flourished and prospered from the 2nd to the 4th century. It owed its wealth and prosperity primarily to agriculture – because of the humid climate at the time, the area was considered a “granary” of Rome. Still well preserved are several basilicas, two forums, a temple, Christian churches, triumphal arches and richly decorated private houses. Djémila is considered a good example of Roman town planning adapted to mountainous conditions. A visit to the ruined city is worthwhile not only for adults, but also families with children will experience many exciting things in these structures built 1900 years ago.
Not far from Algiers lies the ruined city of Tipasa. Founded by the Phoenicians, this city was expanded by the Romans into a military colony. In the state of ruins are preserved the Great Basilica, the Basilica Alexander and the Basilica of St. Salsa, in addition there are still old cemeteries, baths, a theater and the course of the city wall is also still perfectly traceable. Due to the Roman ruins Tipasa looks like an open-air museum and attracts many tourists because of its unique flair.
4. Grand Erg Oriental
As part of the largest sand desert in the world, the Grand Erg Oriental is one of the jewels of the Sahara. Located in Tunisia, Algeria and parts of Libya, the desert part, with its varied landscapes, offers many square kilometers of adventure, fascination and habitat. There is hardly a dune or a wadi where you don’t meet a Bedouin, a herd of camels or a goatherd. However, one is enchanted not only by the diversity of species in this sometimes almost hostile landscape, but also by the many landscape forms, which are unique in any case.
“But what is really so special about so much sand? Sand, heat, dust, …. what’s so great about it?” people ask over and over again. An old saying goes: one person will love the desert and return again and again, the other will find it repulsive and will not understand the other.
Taghit is an oasis town on the Oued Zousfana – which only carries water in winter and spring – and is located about 95 kilometers (driving distance) south of the provincial capital Bechar. East of the city is the deserted sand dune landscape of the Western Great Erg. The inhabitants of the city are almost exclusively Berbers.
Taghit was founded in the Middle Ages on a rocky spur in front of the sand sea; the dilapidated old town resembles a termite dwelling. Walk up the weathered mesa for a magnificent view of the oasis and the desert. Not far behind Taghit, beautiful rock engravings over 8,000 years old can be seen on large boulders – from a distant time when elephants and lions lived here; engravings from the turn of time show cattle.
2. Beni Hammad
Not far from the province of M`Sila, located in the north of Algeria, are the ruins of the former fortified city of Beni Hammad. At an altitude of about 1000 meters, the fortress was built around 1007 by Hammad, the son of the founder of the Hammadid dynasty. Due to the 7 km long fortress wall, Beni Hammad was the first Muslim mountain fortress. During its existence it served as the capital or the residence city of Hammad.
Bedouin tribes of Banu Hilal became the downfall of the city in 1090. Due to their pressure, Beni Hammad was abandoned and even almost completely destroyed by the Almohads in 1152. This Islamic construction with its 7 km long fortress wall was put on the UNSECO list of World Heritage Sites in 1980.
1. El Kala National Park
Algeria has a large number of national parks and one of the most diverse and beautiful parks is El Kala National Park. The park is located in the northeast of the country and here a lot is done to protect the area and educate the public to protect the environment. UNESCO recognized El Kala National Park as a Biosphere Reserve in 1990 because it is an extremely unique ecosystem. Since its establishment in 1983, conservationists have worked tenaciously to ensure the survival of the park’s animals and plants.
El Kala National Park is known for its diversity of ecosystems. There are breathtaking mountains, dense and picturesque forests, and numerous clean lakes. With such a wide variety of different habitats, the park is home to about eighty thousand animals and birds, many of which are on the endangered species list. Informative guided tours are regularly offered at the park, with the hope of creating more public awareness of environmental protection among the thirty thousand or so visitors who come to the park each year.
For avid birdwatchers, the park has a large number of birdwatching towers and younger visitors can visit the cute mini-zoo and explore the exciting eco-museum. Visitors to Algeria should take the opportunity to explore this magnificent national park, as El Kala National Park is truly a natural wonder and a fascinating attraction for anyone interested in flora and fauna.