Algiers

View of Algiers

Algiers (الجزائر) is the capital of Algeria in North Africa.

Understand

Algiers is a port city on a bay in the Mediterranean first settled over 1,000 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 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.

Get in

By plane

Houari Boumediene Airport (IATA: ALG) is 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Algiers: the airport is named after former Algerian president Houari Boumediene.

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.

International Airlines

Airport Transfer

By train

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.

By car

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.

Be careful about traffic jams, especially in downtown Algiers. There are almost no traffic lights. Lights are replaced by policemen. There are police and military checkpoints almost in every municipality. Slowing down is highly recommended. Utilization of mobile phones when driving is strictly prohibited. Be sure to have your seat belts on.

By bus

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.

By boat

There are regular ferry services to Algiers from Marseille, Nice, Palermo, Alicante .

Get around

The Grande Poste d'Alger building and access to the Grande-Poste Station of the Algiers Metro

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.

By metro

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.

Tickets can be purchased at the station, either from a ticket machine (multiple languages - but appear to only take coins, not including 200s) or from an attendant. A single trip ticket costs 150 Dinar, or a 10 trip ticket can be purchased for 400 Dinar.

    Stations
    Tafourah - Grande Poste
    Khelifa Boukhalfa
    1er Mai
    Aïssat Idir
    Hamma
    Jardin d'essais
    Les Fusillés
    Cité Amirouche
    Cité Mer et Soleil
    Haï El Badr

By taxi

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.

By bus

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.

See



Casbah

Casbah of Algiers

The Casbah is the ancient city, dating to the 17th century. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Buy

Unofficially exchanging money can be done in the Square Port Said. It's an incredibly common practice and feels very safe. The exchange rate is typically 40%-50% better than the official rate. People are most interested in exchanging Euro.

Eat

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.

Drink

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.

Sleep

Cope

Embassies

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, October 07, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.