This is a land where the Sahara rules. Taking up four-fifths of the country, it’s hard to ignore the call of this vast desert. Giant sand dunes are dotted with oases, mountain ranges, strange rock formations and villages where life follows age-old tribal traditions. Away from the desert you’ll find laidback coastal villages and bustling modern cities, all with the smell of the Mediterranean in the air. Algeria is complex, harsh, beautiful and completely addictive.

Algeria Tours & Travel

Articles on Algeria

What about Algeria?

Posted on Thu, 2 Jan 2014

Algeria has been off the map for mainstream tourists for around 20 years, after a fairly destructive civil war during the 1990’s rendered it off-limits. Though peace was restored by […]

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About Algeria

At a glance

Capital city: Algiers (population 3.5 million)
Population: 35.9 million
Language: Arabic
Currency: DZD
Time zone: (GMT+01:00) West Central Africa
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)
Dialing code: +213

Best time to visit Algeria

Algeria is a tale of two climates. The milder, Mediterranean-style north and the fierce desert climes of the south. Generally, the hottest months are May to September; the coldest month is January; the wettest months in the north are December and January, while in the south, rainfall is extremely rare at any time of year. Even in summer, nights can get very cold in the desert so be sure to pack warm clothes no matter what time of year you travel.

Algeria Weather Chart

Geography and environment

Sahara desert
While Algeria enjoys 1200 km of coastline, it’s the Sahara that dominates the country. Over 85% of the country is desert but that doesn’t mean it’s desolate. Two large mountain ranges, the Hoggar Massif and the Tassili N’Ajjer break through the sand and oases dot the landscape. Algeria is big, in fact it’s Africa’s second largest country. Its long borders are shared with Tunisia and Libya to the east, Niger and Mali to the south and Mauritania and Morocco to the west.

Top Picks

Hoggar Mountains

Top 10 Saharan Stops in Algeria

1. Beni Isguen

This 14th-century town is one of Algeria’s most fascinating. Traditional ways are strictly adhered to. Local women, who are draped in white shawls from head to toe, are allowed to have only one eye showing. Men and women lead completely segregated lives, and each gender has its own council.

2. Tamanrasset

Called the ‘red city’ because of its red mud-brick houses this town is full of life and character. Situated in the heart of the Sahara, it has a population of only 40,000. It’s the biggest of all Tuareg cities and is regularly visited by the camel caravans of these 'blue men of the desert'.

3. El-Oued

This is the ‘town of a thousand domes’ - almost all the buildings have domed roofs to alleviate the summer heat. El-Oued is also famous for its carpets, which often bear the traditional cross of the Souf.

4. Djanet

This Tassili town is exactly what you imagine an oasis village to be: pleasant and calm, with large, shady palm trees where daily life follows the slow rhythm of the desert.

5. Ghardaia

You’ll think all your birthdays have come at once when you spy Ghardaia, but it could be just the minaret sticking up, candle-like, out of the jumble of houses. The vibrant market is filled with stalls selling fresh vegetables, fruit, tea, sugar and, of course, fresh dates.

6. Oued Tadent

The rocky landscapes surrounding Oued Tadent are home to many Tuareg. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet with these nomadic people and get a taste of life in their camps, before heading off to set up your own.

7. Tin Agoula

While the Sahara isn’t really known for its wildlife, mountainous Tin Agoula plays host to some serious beasts. If you don’t spot camels, gazelles or even snow leopards during the day, you’ll be sure to see their footprints scattered throughout the camp each morning.

8. Youfarlal

In Youfarlal, huge rock formations and mushroom-shaped boulders are surrounded by softly rolling sand dunes. This is a great area to explore with lots of stunning photo opportunities. The spectacular needle-shaped rocks pointing to the sky can be seen from afar and are clear landmarks in a landscape of mostly round boulders.

9. Tamekrest

The natural spring of Tamekrest cascades down polished pink and purple granite. The Tuareg from the surrounding camps bring their goats and camels here to drink. On top of the granite rocks you’ll find a small oasis with surprisingly lush, green vegetation.

10. Hoggar Mountains

The highest points of the Hoggar Mountains give spectacular views over the desert below. Volcanic landscapes rise out of the sand dunes with black rocks, basalt peaks and dramatic cliff faces.

FAQs on Algeria

Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

All travellers need a visa to enter Algeria. Nationals of Israel, Malawi and Taiwan are not allowed into the country, and if you have a stamp in your passport from any of these countries your application will be rejected.

To apply for an Algerian visa you will need a letter of 'invitation' to visit the country from an Algerian contact or tourist agency. Intrepid will help with this invitation. Please provide your travel agent with a clear scanned copy of your passport for this purpose. We will then provide you with the Algerian letter of invitation. Once received you can take or send your passport to your local Algerian embassy and have your visa stamped in your passport. Please note that you must enter Algeria within 90 days of the visa being issued.

Visas CANNOT be obtained on arrival so you must obtain your visa prior to departing.
Tipping isn’t mandatory in Algeria but rounding a bill up or adding 10% for good service will always be appreciated.
Algeria’s cities and tourist centres have internet connections although speeds can vary. In the Sahara you’ll never be more than three days from accessing internet.
Mobile phone coverage may be limited outside of major centres. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone.
Algeria’s toilets may be basic. Be prepared for squat toilets, even in major centres.
Cup of coffee in a cafe = 40 DZD
Bottle of soft drink = 50 DZD
Simple lunch = 300 DZD
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 500 DZD
Tap water may not be safe to drink in Algeria. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, bring water purification tablets or ask your leader where filtered water can be found.
Credit cards are only accepted in large cities.
ATMs are very uncommon and cannot be relied upon to work. Payment in cash is always preferred.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 24 Milad un Nabi
May 1 Labour Day
Jul 5 Independence Day
Aug 8 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Oct 15 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
Nov 1 Anniversary of the Revolution
Nov 4 Islamic New Year
Nov 13 Ashura

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to:

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

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From Canada?

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The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
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Responsible Travel

Algeria Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Algeria

1. Be considerate of Algeria’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

11. Ramadan is the fasting month for all Muslims. During this month no food, drink or smoking is permitted during daylight hours. While non-Muslims aren't expected to fast, it's recommended to try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Inside Algeria Michael Von Graffenried

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 Alistair Horne

Sahara Unveiled : a journey across the desert William Langewiesche
Desert Divers Sven Lindqvist

SaharaMichael Palin
The Lovers of Algeria Anouar Benmalek