Algeria is located in North Africa between the Mediterranean coastline in the north and the Saharan desert in the south. One of the largest countries in the world, Algeria is not on the tourist path due to security concerns but organized tours or experienced independent travelers can admire several stunning well-preserved historical sites dating back to the Romans, and from the empires and dynasties of ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Ottomans and more. Beside urban cities like Algiers and Oran, Algeria’s main draw is its Saharan region, where visitors can experience the desert and its wide landscape of sand dunes.

Here are the Top Things to See in Algeria.

ALGIERS

The country’s capital and the largest city was initially founded in 944 by the Berbers by the Mediterranean Sea. Today the city is divided into two parts, the modern section by the seashore, and the ancient city with its 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site Kasbah seated on the hill. The main attractions include the Notre Dame d’Afrique Basilica, the Monument des Martyrs commemorating the Algerian war for independence, the green Jardin d’Essai du Hamma, the 17th-century El Jedid Mosque, one of the Dey’s old residences Villa Abd-el-Hair, the Great Mosque of Algiers and one of the oldest in Algiers, and La Grande Poste.

Ghardaïa - Entrance gante

Ghardaïa – Entrance Gate

ORAN

The second most important city after Algiers, Oran is a major commercial hub, with an old quarter and an 18th-century mosque. The town is also reputed for the artisanal products of its Medina Jedida, theCathédrale du Sacré-Cœur, the 14th-century fort of Merinid Sultan Abou Hassan also known as the Chateau Neuf (New Castle), and the Djebel Murdjajo (Aïdour mountains). Besides its historical buildings and secluded beaches like the Madagh beach, Oran is a great place to discover Algerian cuisine and listen to Rai music, which was born in the city.

Wall Painting of a Tea Ceremony

Wall Painting of a Tea Ceremony

The second most important city after Algiers, Oran is a major commercial hub, with an old quarter and an 18th-century mosque. The town is also reputed for the artisanal products of its Medina Jedida, theCathédrale du Sacré-Cœur, the 14th-century fort of Merinid Sultan Abou Hassan also known as the Chateau Neuf (New Castle), and the Djebel Murdjajo (Aïdour mountains). Besides its historical buildings and secluded beaches like the Madagh beach, Oran is a great place to discover Algerian cuisine and listen to Rai music, which was born in the city.

El Menia - Hassi Gara. Sunset from the Ksar

El Menia – Hassi Gara. Sunset from the Ksar

The second most important city after Algiers, Oran is a major commercial hub, with an old quarter and an 18th-century mosque. The town is also reputed for the artisanal products of its Medina Jedida, theCathédrale du Sacré-Cœur, the 14th-century fort of Merinid Sultan Abou Hassan also known as the Chateau Neuf (New Castle), and the Djebel Murdjajo (Aïdour mountains). Besides its historical buildings and secluded beaches like the Madagh beach, Oran is a great place to discover Algerian cuisine and listen to Rai music, which was born in the city.

CONSTANTINE

Often referred as the “City of Bridges”, the city is also known for its Abd al-Hamid Ben Badis Mosque, the Kasbah, the Massinissa’s Mausoleum of the 1st King of Numidia, and the Palace of Ahmed Bey who was the last Ottoman Bey of Constantine until 1848.

View of Constantine

View of Constantine

Other must-see is the Rhummel Gorges.

Constantine - Suspended Bridge Sidi M'Cid and Rhummel Gorges

Constantine – Suspended Bridge Sidi M’Cid and Rhummel Gorges

Constantine - Rhummel Gorges

Constantine – Rhummel Gorges

ANNABA

One of the main economic centers of the country, Annaba is also a major tourist destination. The main attractions are the St-Augustin Cathedral, the Roman ruins of Hippo Regius with its mosaics and bronzes and the surrounded mountains including the Eddoug National Park. Known for an active nightlife around Green Main Street, Annaba is popular for the sandy Mediterranean beaches as well.

Annaba, St-Augustin Cathedral

Annaba, St-Augustin Cathedral

GHARDAIA & ALGERIA SAHARA DESERT

The town is situated in the Sahara Desert and is mostly known for the M’Zab Valley, whose well-conserved medieval “walled village” structure are on the UNESCO World Heritage List for cultural consideration. The 10th-century Ghardaïa Mosque is of Moorish architecture with a simple but elegant tower and a large portal. Ghardaia is reputed for having its own religion and social traditions.

Street in the old town of Beni Isguen, in Ghardaïa

Street in the old town of Beni Isguen, in Ghardaïa

Boulila Watching Tower, Beni Isguen, Ghardaïa

Boulila Watching Tower, Beni Isguen, Ghardaïa

TAMANRASSET

The center of Algerian Tuareg culture which originated from the ancient camel caravan trading routes, Tamanrasset is the main hub to access two major National Parks: the majestic sandstone mountain range of Tassili n’Ajjer, and the Ahaggar mountains. Sometimes called the Hoggar Mountains, this highland region is a favorite for hiking and trekking. The Atakor Plateau, in particular, is worth the effort. Though it’s surrounded by the Sahara Desert, Tamanrasset is an oasis, providing the necessary water for fruits production such as citrus, apricots, and figs. Longtime considered a modern city, this is currently accessible only through a guided tour for safety reasons.

Camels in the Sahara Desert

Camels in the Sahara Desert

TLEMCEN

Known for its stunning Moorish 12th-century Sidi Boumediene mosque and tomb, Tlemcen is also a textile and leather center, mixing architecture and urban life.

TIMIMOUN

The city is reputed for its red ochre buildings mostly based on Sudanese influence, this is the place to go to experience true oasis experience.

Sahara Desert

Sahara Desert

SETIF

Founded by the Romans, the ruins are worth visiting, though few tourists extend their trip to that area. It would qualify as off-the-beaten-path and would be better visited by experienced travelers under high precautions.

Ghardaïa - Beni Isguen Museum

Ghardaïa – Beni Isguen Museum

BISKRA

The Hammam Salahine – also called the Bath of the Saints – is a modern spa with hot sulfur springs, a great setting within the numerous fruits, mostly dates, figs and pomegranates, that grow in the region.

IN SALAH

Once an important stop on the trans-Saharan caravan route, In Salah is known today for its salty water, and for its red buildings of Sudanese influence.

Berber Tent

Berber Tent

TIMGAD

Founded by Emperor Trajan around AD 100, this ancient Roman town displays remarkable ruins of a Roman city planning and was added as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

Tea Room

Tea Room

Note: We did not travel to Algeria ourselves but my parents-in-law did. This post is based on our common research prior to their trip, as well as their feedback and photos upon their return. 

Algeria Top Things To See // Discover Algiers, Annaba, Oran and Constantine, and admire several stunning well-preserved historical sites dating back to the Romans, and from the empires and dynasties of ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Ottomans and more. Beside urban cities like Algiers and Oran, Algeria’s main draw is its Saharan region, where you can experience the desert and its wide landscape of sand dunes.