Exploring Algiers: Travel Tips And Insights

what to know about traveling to algiers

Algeria is the largest country in Africa and is known for its diverse landscapes, from the Sahara desert in the south to beaches along the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Algeria has a rich history, having been known as French Algeria for 132 years (from 1830 to 1962). The country has faced challenges with armed terrorist groups and civil war, but today, it is considered a safe place to visit.

When travelling to Algeria, it is important to be aware of the local laws and customs. The official language is Arabic, but French is also widely spoken. English is taught in schools, but it may be difficult to find people who speak it fluently. It is recommended to learn some basic French phrases before your trip.

In terms of transportation, Algeria has a variety of options, including buses, trains, trams, taxis, and a metro system in the capital city of Algiers. Flying domestically is also an affordable option for covering long distances.

When it comes to accommodation, hotels in Algeria can be expensive compared to the local living costs. Hostels and Airbnb are more affordable options, and camping is also possible in certain areas.

It is important to note that Algeria is a conservative Islamic country, and visitors should dress and behave respectfully. Men and women should avoid physical contact in public, and women may consider wearing a headscarf.

Overall, Algeria is a fascinating country with a lot to offer travellers, but it is important to stay informed about any travel advisories and take necessary precautions.

Characteristics Values
Visa requirements Visas are required for most countries. Must be obtained in advance from an Algerian embassy/consulate.
Currency Algerian Dinar (DZD)
Language Arabic (Algerian dialect) and French
Safety concerns Terrorism, kidnapping, theft, and civil unrest
LGBTQ+ safety Homosexuality is illegal. LGBTQ+ travellers need to be discreet and respectful of local laws.


Border areas to avoid

Algeria is considered a safe country, except along its borders with neighbouring countries. Here are some border areas to avoid when travelling to Algiers:

Algeria-Tunisia Border

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to within 30km of the borders with Tunisia in the provinces of Illizi and Ouargla and in the Chaambi mountains area. They also advise against all but essential travel to within 30km of the rest of the Algeria-Tunisia border. The US State Department and Smartraveller (Australia) advise avoiding travel to within 100km of the border with Tunisia.

Algeria-Libya Border

Smartraveller advises against travel to within 100km of the border with Libya.

Algeria-Mauritania Border

Smartraveller advises against travel to within 100km of the border with Mauritania.

Algeria-Mali Border

Smartraveller advises against travel to within 450km of the border with Mali.

Algeria-Niger Border

Smartraveller advises against travel to within 450km of the border with Niger. The US State Department advises against travel to within 250km of the border with Niger.

Algeria-Morocco Border

The land border with Morocco is closed.


Language barrier

Algeria has two official languages: Arabic and Berber. Arabic is the language of administration and education, and is spoken by about 90% of the population. Berber, which gained recognition as an official language in 2016, is spoken by 10% of the population.

French is also widely spoken in Algeria, due to its colonial history. It is used in the media and education, and is the dominant language in business and professional circles. French is also the most widely studied foreign language in the country, and a majority of Algerians can understand and speak it.

English is not widely spoken in Algeria, and it may be difficult to find people who speak it. However, most young people learn English at school, so you may be able to get by with basic English. It is recommended that you learn some basic French to make your trip easier.

Algeria also has a rich linguistic history, with several minority languages. Algerian Jews once spoke a distinct Judeo-Berber language, and Spanish has a long history in Oran, introduced during the Spanish occupation from 1509-1790.


Local currency

The local currency in Algiers, and Algeria more broadly, is the Algerian dinar (DZD). One dinar is technically divided into 100 centimes, a relic from French colonial times, but due to inflation, centimes are no longer in circulation.

ATMs are widespread in Algeria, but they are not card-friendly. It is recommended that you bring cash in euros or dollars and exchange this for dinars. Euros are the best currency to bring to Algeria and exchange.

There are limited opportunities to exchange money into the local currency, and credit cards are often rejected. It is therefore advisable to exchange enough money to last you until your next opportunity to exchange cash. Banks in Algeria include Banque d’Algerie (Bank of Algeria) and Banque Nationale d’Algerie (National Bank of Algeria).

The lowest denomination of Algerian dinar in circulation is the 100 dinar note, which is due to be replaced by a coin. There are also 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 dinar notes. The lowest value note is worth about 76 cents, and the highest is worth about $15.

In terms of coins, there are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 dinar denominations.


Transport options

Algiers, the capital of Algeria, has a newly built airport terminal, making arrivals smoother and faster. The city has a metro system, and there are five cities with trams. There are also buses, trains, planes, and taxis.


The road quality in Algeria is excellent in most parts of the country. Highways are comparable to those in Central Europe, and there are regular buses to every destination. However, buses may be uncomfortable and hot for long-distance travel.


There are three main train routes in Algeria, all in the northern part of the country: Algiers to Oran, Algiers to Constantine, and Algiers to Annaba. There is also a train from Oran to Bechar in the south, which takes about nine hours.


Given that Algeria is the largest country in Africa, flying is the best option for travelling long distances. Domestic flights are very cheap, and there are 18 international airports across the country.


Taxis are relatively expensive compared to other forms of transport. They are commonly shared, making them much cheaper. However, taxi drivers tend to overcharge tourists. A cheaper alternative is Yassir, a mobile app similar to Uber.

Other Transport Options

  • Car: Visitors can drive in Algeria with their national driver's license for up to three months. Renting a car at the airport is possible but expensive. It is cheaper to rent a car from agencies in the city. Petrol is very cheap. However, road travel is risky due to terrorist and criminal activity. Armed groups are very active in Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces in southern Algeria, and bandits use illegal checkpoints and blockades on roads outside major cities.
  • Cruise: A number of international cruise liners visit Algeria.


Safety and security

Algeria has had a bad reputation for armed terrorist groups and kidnappings, but these problems are long gone. The country is now considered very safe, except along the borders with neighbouring countries.

The U.S. Department of State advises travellers to exercise increased caution in Algeria due to terrorism and kidnapping. The same advisory warns against travelling to areas within 50 km of the border with Tunisia and within 250 km of the borders with Libya, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania. The advisory also warns against travelling to the Sahara Desert due to terrorism and kidnapping.

The Australian government advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Algeria due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping. The advisory also warns against travelling to areas within 450 km of the borders with Mali and Niger, and within 100 km of the borders with Mauritania, Libya, and Tunisia.

Terrorism is a concern in Algeria, with radical groups attempting to overthrow the government and targeting foreigners. These groups are mostly active in the south of the country and in border areas near Tunisia, Libya, northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. The capital, Algiers, has also been the target of several terror attacks.

Civil unrest is also a concern, with frequent protests that can turn violent. Most civil unrest is localised and sporadic, but there has been a big rise in protests over economic issues in recent years.

Kidnappings are a notable concern, with foreigners being targeted by radical groups. Kidnappings occur in the Kabylie region in the northeast and in the trans-Sahara region in the south, as well as in the southwest and in remote border areas.

To stay safe in Algeria, it is recommended to:

  • Inform local police when visiting locations outside of major cities.
  • Travel by air if possible and remain on major highways if travelling by road.
  • Travel with reputable travel agents who know the area.
  • Avoid staying overnight outside of the main cities and tourist locations.
  • Avoid travelling to remote areas.
  • Avoid political events, protests, and other public gatherings.
  • Stay at international hotels that provide a high level of security.
  • Avoid walking in isolated areas or alone at night.
  • Avoid deserted beach areas, even during the day.
  • Keep car doors locked and windows up, even when moving.
  • Use a local licensed guide for tours of the Kasbah area of Algiers.
  • Avoid displaying wealth, such as dangling cameras, flashing money, or wearing expensive jewellery.
  • Keep valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Use ATMs in public places and during daylight hours.
  • Avoid giving personal details to strangers online or over the phone.

Frequently asked questions

The official languages of Algiers are Arabic and Berber. However, French is also widely spoken.

The local currency is the Algerian Dinar (DZD).

Algiers has a variety of public transportation options, including buses, trains, trams, taxis, and a metro system.

Algiers is generally considered safe for tourists, but it is important to remain vigilant and avoid certain areas, such as those near the eastern and southern borders, due to the risk of terrorism and kidnapping.

Algiers offers a range of attractions, including the Martyrs' Memorial, El Mechouar Mosque, Roman ruins, and the Gantaret El Hibal bridge. The city also has beautiful beaches and is known for its diverse landscapes, including the Sahara desert to the south and mountains for hiking and skiing.

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