Visiting Algeria? You have found my personal notes and travel tips, such as the best time to visit Algeria and miscellaneous facts which I obtain from a variety of sources such as first hand observations, personal conversations, magazines, newspapers, websites, books and so forth.
Type of Things to do in Algeria
Ancient ruins, stunning historical architecture, non-commercialized beaches, trekking in the Sahara (including rock art), and the scenery and activities of the National Parks (including forests, mountains, bird watching) appear to be the main draws.
Where Algeria is Located
Algeria, located in Northern Africa, is located between Morocco on the west and Libya & Tunisia on the east. The northern coastline runs along the Mediterranean Sea.
Best Time to Visit Algeria
To see the whole country, it appears best to arrive in September, experience the Mediterranean coastline and then work southerly into the Sahara. During Ramadan, most people are fasting so it is not a recommended time to go.
Weather along Northern Coast
Rain in most frequently experienced in the winter and least likely in the summer.
Can be cold (40F/4.5C) at night to high 60’s (16C) during the day in December & January. Rain most likely in December & January. (Algiers)
Hottest in July/August where it averages 90F/32C in day and 70F/21C at night. Lowest frequency of precipitation in July (Algiers)
May, September, October good temperatures. Later May & Earlier in September experience less rain.
Note that weather appears very variable along the northern coast due to the mountains & sea and thus, snow is more than possible in certain areas in winter, etc. For instance, east of Algiers in Bejaia, there is on average a slightly lower frequency of rain and lower highs in the middle of summer. Yet, approximately the same distance to the east (although not directly on the coast) in Chlef, the temperatures are much warmer – averaging 100F(37.7C) in July & August.
Weather in Sahara
Precipitation unlikely year-round. Temperatures more comfortable late-September to early-May.
Is Algeria Expensive?
Doesn’t appear overly expensive in a general living sense. However, transportation & tour fees might be.
Tipping in Algeria
Not required or expected. Round up or 5-10% for whatever you want to tip on.
Do I need a Visa to travel to Algeria?
Yes – need to get visa before arrival. Fee for American passport holders to obtain tourist visa is $160 as of 2014. Most people will need passports unless you are from Albania, Mali, South Africa, Benin, Malta, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, Cuba, Niger, Tanzania, Egypt, Nigeria, Turkey, Ethiopia, Peru, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Portugal, Venezuela, Guinea, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Italy, Senegal, Malaysia and Slovakia. Check the Algerian Embassy page for up to date information (although you might want to find the Embassy for your country to see what the visa fee would be).
Do I need vaccines for Algeria? Medical concerns?
If you are coming from a country with Yellow Fever, you need Yellow Fever vaccination. Otherwise, Hepatitis A & Typhoid is recommended but not required.
Avoid swimming/bathing in fresh water due to potential for snail fever (“schistosomiasis”) in municipality of Khemis el Khechna and in the oases of Djanet, Iherir and Tarnadjert per IAMAT
Transportation into and around Algeria
Flying into Algeria
The major airport, Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG) is located in Algeria’s capital, Algiers, which is centrally located on the northern coast of Algeria.
Transportation from ALG Airport to Algiers
Taxi appears most utilized method at approx $20 USD as of 2014. Also possible to get a ride with private citizen or shared minivans.
Getting Around Algeria
Travel via car or plane. Airfare within Algeria said to be expensive. Car/tour appears necessary otherwise.
Other Countries to Visit from Algeria
Algeria is so large it seems unlikely for day trips into other countries. Most frequently traveled countries in close proximity would be Morocco and Tunisia.
What to Buy & Try in Algeria
Foods to Try in Algeria
Appears the restaurant scene is not very established. The primary staple of the cuisine centers around couscous. Lamb, chicken & fish are the utilized meats. Cuisine is somewhat a merger of French, Middle-eastern & Berber.
Gifts to Buy in Algeria
Fridays shops might be closed. Haggling commonplace in markets. Gifts include rugs, jewelry, woodwork, leatherwork, metalwork, et. al. The Toureg tribes in the south apparently are good craftsman for most of this.
Simple Words and Phrases in Algerian Arabic (Arbiya)
Algerian Arabic is somewhat different than other forms of Arabic as it combines Berber & French influences.
Quick Travel Facts About Algeria
Can you get by with English?
- The official language is Algerian Arabic with vast majority speaking it. French is helpful otherwise. English limited.
What Power Plugs are Used in Algeria?
- The European Plug (Type C & F). 230 Volts / 50 Hz. Be careful using things like US hairdryers without a converter. Most electronics (battery chargers, mobile phones, etc.) only need an adapter plug
Is the Tap Water Safe to Drink in Algeria?
- No, and further, the water in many places is turned off for most of the day
What currency is used in Algeria?
- Algerian Dinar (DZD). See conversion