Algiers (الجزائر) is the capital of Algeria in North Africa.
Algiers is a port city on a bay in the Mediterranean first settled over 1000 years ago. It is a large city with a population of over 3 million.
While downtown Algiers looks modern, the capital is struggling to keep up with rapid growth. The standard of living for many of its population is poor. Algiers has also been marred by violence in the past decade. A civil war which started in 1991 destroyed much of the country. In recent times things (in Algiers at least) have returned to normal. Substantial reconstruction of the infrastructure has taken place and is still ongoing.
Algiers is known locally as El-Djazaïr and the residents speak Berber, Arabic and French.
Algiers is not a considered a popular tourist destination and the US State Department does warn against travel to certain other parts of the country. In Algiers, most of the interesting sights are in the old part of the city known as the Casbah or Medina. The travelers that do make it to Algiers are impressed with the very friendly and hospitable people. The many old French buildings, the promenade along the seafront and the food also get good ratings.
The airport is the home base of the flag-carrier Air Algerie.
Air Algerie serves the most important Algerian cities (such as Oran, Annaba, Tammanrasset, Skikda, Tlemcen, Constantine) several times daily. There also many connections to African capitals such as Bamako, Cairo, Abidjan, Dakar, Tunis, and Ouagadougo.
Air Algerie operates from Hall 1 since Hall 2 is reserved for the international airlines.
- Aigle Azur (Basel/Mulhouse, Lille, Lyon, Nice (seasonal), Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Toulouse)
- Air Berlin (Cologne-Bonn)
- Air France (Marseilles, Paris-Charles de Gaulle)
- Air Méditerranée (Montepellier)
- Alitalia (Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino)
- British Airways (London-Gatwick)
- EgyptAir (Cairo)
- Iberia (Madrid)
- Jetairfly (Brussels, Seasonal)
- Libyan Airlines (Tripoli)
- Lufthansa (Frankfurt)
- Middle East Airlines (Beirut)
- Qatar Airways (Doha)
- Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca, Oudja)
- Saudi Arabian Airlines (Jeddah)
- Spanair (Alicante, Barcelona, Valencia)
- Syrian Arab Airlines (Aleppo, Damascus)
- TAP Portugal (Lisbon)
- Tunisair (Tunis)
- Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk)
- Taxi (Outside of Hall 2). Taxis can be found outside of the Hall 2; as they have no taximeters, a price should be settled in advance. The ride to the centre of Algiers takes around 20min and should not cost more than DZD600 (USD4).
- Bus. The bus operates every 30min in the daytime to the centre. It costs DZD25 paid to the bus driver.
Algiers Central Train Station is located near the city centre. The station offers regular services to major Algerian cities such as Oran, Annaba, and Constantine. SNTF (the national Algerian Train company) has made big improvements during the last years; new air-conditioned trains have been purchased and new routes launched.
Being the capital of the country most, if not all major roadways in Algeria begin and end in Algiers. So getting into Algiers is quite easy. However, the infrastructure of Algerian roadways is not highly regarded so arriving by road might not be the most desirable option. There are a number of road projects around the country that are aimed at improving the infrastructure, most notably the East-West highway running from Annaba in the east to Oran in the west, of course coming through Algiers.
La Gare Routiere, Algiers's central bus terminus, in the commune of Hussein Dey (about 7-10min drive from downtown), offers a plethora of bus services to most major Algerian cities and towns. It is a very cheap and efficient way to get to/from a pair of Algerian cities. Most of the coaches used are modern and air-conditioned so the rides are, more often than not, comfortable. However, there are a few old coaches still in service, so try to avoid those, for the ride won't be as pleasant.
For long distances such as Algiers-Tammanrasset or Algiers-Annaba travelling by plane is recommended due the long duration.
There are regular ferry services to Algiers from Marseille, Nice, Palermo, Alicante .
Algiers' public transport system is lacking, but there was a major improvement with the opening of the metro. There are buses operating within the city centre and to the suburbs.
After more than three decades of construction (or lack of it) the first segment of the Algiers Metro finally opened on 1 November 2011. Line 1 services ten stations from Tafourah Grande Poste just south of Gare d'Alger, the central railway station, in the city centre to Haï El Badr, with stops along several of the most important places in the city.
|●||Tafourah - Grande Poste|
|●||Cité Mer et Soleil|
|●||Haï El Badr|
Taxis are a fast and cheap way to get around in Algiers. They can be found at taxi stands but negotiate the price before riding. A tip is not expected but can be given if the service was really good.
Buses operate within the city centre and to the suburbs: tickets are purchased on the bus for 20 dinar. Typically, a man with a bundle of tickets approaches you when you board.
- Great Mosque of Algiers. Built in 1097 and added upon by the French in the 1840s.
- Martyrs' Memorial (Maqam Echahid) (in city center). An iconic concrete monument commemorating the Algerian war for independence.
- La Grande Poste. A masterpiece of neo-Moorish architecture built in 1910 by the French.
The Casbah is the ancient city, dating to the 17th century. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Ketchaoua Mosque. Built in 1794 by the Dey Baba Hassan.
- El Djedid Mosque. Built in 1660 during the Turk reign.
- El Kebir Mosque. Oldest mosque in the Casbah.
There are several restaurants in the Bois des Arcades area. This is the hill 0.5km South East of the big Martyrs memorial. Particularly good views over Algiers and the coast can be found from here. The hill is also a woodland, so is a nice area for walking too.
- Al Boustan Restaurant (El Boustene), Bois des Arcades Riadh El Feth. Panoramic restaurant overlooking Algiers. The restaurant is modern and very smart. An outdoor terrace offers the best views of Algiers and the coast. Food is excellent and fine Algerian wine is served.
In recent years, Algeria has resumed the production of wines. Algeria was famous for the production of particularly fine red wines. The new production is also of very high quality and will be appreciated by wine aficionados. It is rarely found on the international market. Locally produced beer is good quality. Alcohol is readily available in hotels, good restaurants and shops.
- Sofitel Algiers Hamma Garden.
- Mercure Alger Aeroport
- Sheraton Club des Pins Resort and Towers. Beachfront resort.
- Ibis Alger Aéroport.
- Spa Dahli Hotel Hilton. Scenic hotel among pine trees overlooking the bay. Offers lunch at The Pool House, traditional tagine at Casbah and a drink at the late-night Kantara Bar.
- Hotel Suisse, 6, rue Lt. Boulhart (ex-Drouillet), ☎ . Town centre hotel. Very old, but reasonably comfortable. Good value for town centre. Wireless internet throughout is fast.