Algeria is not really known as a tourist magnet as compared to its neighbour Morocco but the country is packed with varied landscapes and natural wonders, an enchanting mix of cultures, strong traditions and roots, illustrious history and glorious heritage that are worth exploring and discovering. This North-African country has everything from charming fishing ports and large cities with animated personalities to the dramatic and infinite Sahara Desert and the rugged Hoggar Mountain Terrain. This Mediterranean nation is every-bit a compelling destination to visit and vacation despite war and conflicts plaguing the country from time to time.
The first pit-stop in Algeria ought to be its capital - Algiers. Do stroll around on the old part of the city known as the Casbah or Medina. This traditional neighbourhood with winding and narrow maze of streets promises to offer a chance to view life in the city in its bygone era. Some of the other notable highlights in this city are the Ketachaoua Mosque known for its Moorish and Byzantine architecural-styles, Dejemaa el-Djedid - designed in Turkish style, Djama'a al-Kebir - Great Mosque of Algiers, Notre Dame d'Afrique - Catholic basilica designed in neo-Byzantine manner, botanical Garden of Hamma - 1200 species of plants in the garden and the Martyrs' Memorial - built to celebrate the Algerian war for independence.
Visit the port city of Oran, arguably European in nature with numerous reminders of its French colonial past such as the imposing Sacre-C?ur Cathedral which is now a library and the majestic Palais de la Culture. Oran is particularly known for being one of the most bustling Mediterranean ports in North Africa. The night-life in this metropolis is one of the most rocking in the country with a variety of dance clubs found in the city.
Constatine is an extraordinary metropolis with incredible buildings erected on massive cliffs. Renowned to be the oldest city in the nation, the megalopolis is put together by Phoenicians, Romans, Ottomans, French and Arabs, thus showcasing unity in diversity. Tlecem is housed in the Western part of Algeria, adjacent to the Moroccan border. The city is packed with stupendous Moorish buildings such as imposing Mosque but is also known for its handicrafts, Arabo-Andalu music and traditions.
A visit to Algeria is not complete without catching a glimpse of the fierce and the daunting Sahara Desert. It is the country's defining highlight and one of the biggest tourist attractions. It is so vast and limitless that is spans over four-fifths of the country. There are guided tours for attractions in the desert such as the oasis towns of Ghardia and Timimoun or take a trip to the center of the desert to marvel at the prehistoric rock art in the Hoggar Mountains and Tassili N'Ajjer National Park.
When it comes to shopping, souvenirs such as leatherware, rugs, copper, brassware, embroidered dresses known as mejboudi, Berber jewellery are quite popular. Bargaining is essential in traditional markets and small shops so as to procure items in reasonable prices. Do gorge on delicious Algerian cuisine while holidaying in Algeria such as the Merguez - a spicy lamb sausage. As for night-life cities such as Algiers and Oran have plenty of dance clubs to keep you grooving until the crack of dawn.
The stay options in Algeria is abundant. Those who are heavy on the pocket can splurge on the best luxury hotels and expensive private apartments the country can offer. Budget tourists can opt for cheap accommodations that are comfortable.
The northern part of the country has Mediterranean type of climate with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. The Sahara Desert has desert climate with extreme temperature differences between day and night. The best time to visit the country would be during winter before the heat becomes overbearing.