In our new Globe Trotter series, Viral Travel reviews all the best places to see, eat and stay at in every country of the world!
This week we visit: Algeria
Algeria’s not known for its shopping credentials, but shoppers will find enough to satisfy the urge in the country’s markets and souks, found mostly in the northern cities. Globalization has made its mark in Algiers, where ‘Western’ shopping centers provide modern shopping experience.
You will find leather ware, rugs, copper and brassware. Locally embroidered dresses, called mejboudi, make great gifts, although are pretty expensive. Algeria is known for its leather in particular, so shoppers can expect to find great bags and shoes for an excellent price. Berber carpets are beautifully decorated, but rather than buying them here, go to Ghardaia where the quality is better and the prices more affordable. Berber jewelry is also on demand but many pieces will be made from coral, which while beautiful, is ethically dubious in its origins. From the Sahara comes dyed basketwork and pottery, which also make great gifts.
Bargaining in street markets and smaller shops is customary, so haggle, but remain polite. The rue Didouche Mourad is the most known shopping street in Algiers; you’ll find small boutiques lining the historic street.
Algeria’s nightlife won’t be the main reason you’re visiting, but there should be enough options to keep most visitors satisfied. The main towns of Algiers and Oran offer reasonable options for entertainment, and many hotels have their own nightclubs.
In Algiers, there are a couple of tourist hangouts – Zeralda, and Sidi Fredj – where clubs cater to party animals. However, much of Algeria’s nightlife is aimed at men, with women less visible in the clubs and bars. Try Rue Larbi M’Hidi, a pedestrianized area that’s quite popular with tourists. If you prefer something more sedate, some cinemas show foreign films.
It’s expensive to drink, while many traditional bars have closed down due to the negative effect on business of having liquor licenses withdrawn.