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
Since 2004, a broad tourism development strategy has been implemented, which has positively resulted in many hotels of a modern standard being built.
There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria, including Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad, Tipasa, a Phoenician and Roman town, and Djémila and Timgad, both Roman ruins. The country also has a natural World Heritage Site, the Tassili n’Ajjer, a beautiful mountain range.
The capital has been a port since Roman times and was commercialized by the French in the mid-19th century. But, Algiers still maintains the feel of the Maghreb to it, with many zig-zag alleyways, mosques and a casbah.
The unquestionable highlight is getting up just before dawn and ascending the hillside to watch the sun break over the beautiful peaks.
The holy town of Beni-Isguen, a fortified city near Ghardaia, is a remarkable sight. Set in the Sahara, behind great ramparts, not much has changed since it was built in the 14th century. Visitors are advised to observe a strict set of rules before entering, there’s a dress code, no photos are allowed, and everyone must be accompanied by a guide.
Constantine is a natural citadel located across the River Rhumnel. Founded by the Carthaginians, who called it Cirta, it is the oldest inhabited city in Algeria. You should see the Ahmed Bey Palace (the most picturesque in the Maghreb) and the Djamma el-Kebir Mosque.
This stunning Roman city near to the city of Sétif is incredibly well preserved. In a stunning setting, surrounded by hills and pine forests, you’ll discover temples and a superb amphitheater.
When you see the size of some of the Saharan dunes, dune skiing suddenly makes sense. You can bring your own skis, otherwise quite a few tour agencies offer this experience.
Nothing is quite as evocative of the Sahara’s endless sand seas as the sight of a camel caravan. It is an unforgettable experience.
Deep in the Grand Erg Occidental desert region, is the oasis town of El Goléa, which is often referred to as ‘the pearl of the desert’ or ‘the enchanted oasis’ because of its luxuriant vegetation and abundant water.
An impressive, jagged range of peaks across Algeria’s southern Sahara, the Hoggar Mountains reach as far as Libya and are surrounded by desert. The massif consists of a plateau of volcanic rock and eroded cliffs and granite needles form fascinating shapes in pink, blue or black basalt.
In the east of the M’Zab region is Ouargla, referred to as ‘the golden key to the desert’. This town is well worth visiting for its malekite (an Islamic sect) minaret overlooking an expansive landscape.
The southern Sahara around Tamanrasset is the place to head to if you want to ascend some amazing rock formations in the Hoggar Mountains.
Picturesque Tamanrasset, is the unofficial capital of Algeria’s Sahara region. Tourists often stay in ‘Tam’ and use it as a base for touring the mountains or hiking in the open desert. It is also a popular winter holiday resort.
Tour the Tassili N’Ajjer, or ‘Plateau of Chasms’, a vast volcanic plateau crossed by massive gorges gouged out by rivers which have long since dried out or gone underground. The Tassili conceals a whole group of entirely unique rupestrian paintings (rock paintings), which go back at least as far as the neolithic age.
Within easy reach of Algiers along the coast, the fascinating ruined city of Tipaza has exceptional Roman, Punic and Christian ruins, and a Numidian mausoleum overlooking a stretch of the Mediterranean coast.
Tlemcen was an important imperial city from the 12th to 16th centuries. It stands in the wooded foothills of the Tellian Atlas.
Zeralda is a beach resort with a holiday village and a replica nomad village. The Sidi Fredj peninsula has a marina, an open-air theatre and complete sporting facilities.