Join YPT as we explore one of the biggest countries of Africa – Algeria. Often compared to the rest of French-speaking North Africa, Algeria is one of the hardest to get to for travelers. Contrary to Morocco and Tunisia, most of Algeria hasn’t been exposed to mass tourism yet, making it a more authentic experience, and the visa remains relatively difficult to get.
On our tour you will see Algeria through its history, from the Roman Empire to contemporary Muslim movements and not forgetting the brutal French imperialism and local resitance. If you’ve not seen the film Battle of Algiers, we recommend it and we’ll be looking around the Martyr’s Museum, a rival to Pyongyang’s War Museum!
While Algeria is large, we will be seeing a large part of the country, visiting the Roman ruins of Djemilla, experiencing the majestic ‘city of bridges’ of Constantine and hanging out in the mysterious traditional villages of Ghardaia, with every day bringing you a variety of different experiences.
Arrival into Algiers at your convenience. Algiers is well connected from many countries in Africa and Europe
Meet at 6pm in the lobby of our hotel, Hotel Samir, before we head out for dinner and a pre-tour meeting where you can get to know your fellow travelers and YPT guide.
Dinner at Restaurant Arabesque, where you can sample generous portions of Palestinian and Syrian food.
After dinner we will head out to explore the nightlife of Algiers.
Overnight in Hotel Samir
Monday 11th January – Algiers
After breakfast we head out for a full day tour of the best of Algiers! A good part of the tour, due to the nature of the narrow roads of Algiers, will be walking, so bring good shoes!
For our first stop today, we’ll drive up to the Our Lady of Africa Basilica. This church is an important piece of history as it will help us understand the French presence in colonial times and it also gives us awesome views of the whole of Algiers
We then drive to the Kasbah of Algiers to explore one of the oldest parts of the town. The Kasbah is a UNESCO site, a citadel of winding streets for a truly Algerian experience
We then head to Martyr Square. One of the most iconic monuments of Algiers, this massive sculpture was erected to commemorate the sacrifice of those who fought for the independence of Algeria. Our next stop is Bastion 23, also known as the Palais des Rais, one of the last standing examples of what the Kasbah used to be like and a masterpiece of Moorish architecture. After the independence of Algeria, the palace was occupied by beggars and only reopened as a museum in 1994.
We continue our exploration of the Kasbah with Dar Khedaoudj el Amia. Now a museum to art and tradition, this palace was built in 1570.
Walk along the peniche with gorgeous views of the bay of Algiers, before we head downtown, stopping by the Grande Poste or Central Post Office, an important building during the French period.
We grab a quick lunch at a local restaurant where we can try Algerian fare.
In the afternoon, we’ll go for a ride on the Algiers subway. The metro has only been open for 9 years, with its construction being stopped many times during the civil war.
Head past the Jardin des Essais and up the cable car to the Martyr Museum. The museum, which is in itself an important piece of Algiers landscape, is any political history buff’s dream. If you’ve been to the Pyongyang Victorious Fatherland Liberation Museum, you can imagine the vibe here. This museum depicts Algeria’s struggle against the French colonialists.
Continue down the cable-car to visit Algeria’s National Fine Arts Museum and the surrounding Hammam botanical garden.
Dinner at restaurant Caracoyo. An upper-scale restaurant where those interested can have a taste of Algeria’s homegrown wine.
Overnight in Algiers at Hotel Samir.
Tuesday 12th January – Djemilla, Constantine
After our breakfast, we leave Algiers to head towards the ruin of Djemilla on our own minibus. The ride should take about 3 hours and we will have plenty of rest and photo stops along the way
The ruins of the city of Djemila, also known as Cuicul, are a must-see on any trip to Algeria. The well preserved ruins are what is left of an ancient Roman colony dating from the year 100 BC! It is known as one of the world’s most beautiful Roman ruins and its state of preservation truly allows us to picture what life was like at that time.
To understand more about the city, we pay a visit to its museum and have lunch near the ruins
We take the long road to the city of Constantine, stopping along the way for many photo opportunities, arriving in the early evening.
Dinner in Igherssan Restaurant, from which we will have a great view of Constantine’s famous cliffs and bridges at night.
We head out to take the pulse of Constantine’s nightlife.
Overnight in Constantine
Wednesday 13th January – Constantine/Ghardaia
Our day is dedicated to the exploration of Constantine. Referred to as the City of Bridges, it is truly a sight to behold. Here, houses built on cliffs are interconnected with stone bridges, something that seems right out of Lord of the Rings!
We first visit the Palace of Ahmed Bey, where the Algerian military moved in after independence before heading to visit the ruins of the Antonian Roman aqueduct.
Head to Abd Al Hamid Ben Badis, an important figure of the Islamic Reform Movement in Algeria and very present during the struggle for Independence. Our guide will be able to give us more information about the man.
TRIP HIGHLIGHT – we stop by the sidi M’cid Bridge, this enormous bridge is a feat of engineering and one of the most iconic sights in Algeria. It was the highest bridge in the world until 1925 hanging 125m high above the Rhummel River.
We then head to the second most important bridge of Constantine, Sidi Rached, an impressive viaduct bridge built in 1912.
We stop for lunch at the traditional restaurant El Khaima.
Our afternoon will be dedicated to the museum of Circa, containing collections of findings from the excavations nearby Constantine.
We catch a late afternoon flight to Ghardaia, the gateway of the Sahara.
Check-in before we head out for dinner and to explore the night in the center of Ghardaia.
Overnight in Ghardaia
Thursday 14th January – Ghardaia
Today is dedicated to the wonders of Ghardaia a city that is renowned for being very different from anywhere else in Algeria and it the rest of the world. Ghardaia, in the desert, has its very own traditions which cannot be found anywhere else.
Today, we’ll first head out of the centre to drive around the M’zab Valley. Five villages are waiting for us. Our first stop, El Atteuf was the first Mzabite settlement in the region, founded in 1020, where we’ll see palm tree plantations and the ancient winding alleys of the town. We’ll stop by a 700 year old mosque, the Mosque of Shikh Sidi Brahim, renowned for its unique architecture.
We’ll then go on to visit the Ksar of Ghardaia, or the centereof the region, which is located on a hill allowing us to see most of the region. Walking around the city, you’ll see people wearing traditional costumes just like if you were on a movie set.
Lunch at a local restaurant for traditional M’zab fare.
We then head to the fortified city of Beni Isguen. This city is a real maze of streets, punctuated by archways and wells. The buildings around this area are all ancient and will take you for a time-travel experience. We end this section by climbing up the watchtower for a great view of the town.
We finish by paying a visit to the lively market of Beni Isguen, where nomads come to trade their ware and we can haggle for all sorts of trinkets and local goods
We’ll go for dinner and explore some more of the city at night. Ghardaia is very conservative, let’s see it as a challenge!
Overnight in Ghardaia.
Friday 15th January – Ghardaia/Oran/Tlemcen
Free morning to explore more of Ghardaia or relax at the hotel
After grabbing a quick lunch, we head to the airport to catch our flight to Oran.
From Oran, we’ll be driving two hours more to the nearby, lesser-known yet fascinating city of Tlemcen
Dinner and overnight in Tlemcen
Saturday 16th January – Tlemcen
Today, we’ll be checking out a smaller city which truly has found its place in our heart: Tlemcen
Tlemcen used to be its own kingdom, ruled by the Zianid dynasty, we’ll visit what served as their place of consultation, the Mechouar. This place is formidably well-kept and scenic.
We then stop for a quick stop at the museums of Calligraphy and the Museum of Tlemcen to learn more about the rich history of the city.
Lunch in a local restaurant
After lunch, we head out of the city to the cave of Beni Add. This cave, the largest in Africa, used to link Morocco and Algeria and as such, was used as a smuggling route for Algerian freedom fighters until the French blocked the way by blowing it up. The stalagmites there make for a fascinating show.
We drive back to the city and up the hills to reach the Islamic Complex of Ali Bendiouane. This place, the Islamic Sufi answer to a monastery, provides us with great views of the city and an insight into the culture.
We go for a leisurely cable-car ride all the way up to the best viewpoint of Tlemcen.
Head on to the ruins of the ancient city of Mansourah in the form of its millenia-old minaret.
Dinner back in Tlemcen city centre.
Overnight in Tlemcen
Sunday 17th January – Oran
Breakfast at our hotel in Tlemcen
We drive back the very scenic road of rolling hills of green grass to Oran, Algeria’s second city and scene of Albert Camus’s novel, The Plague
Our first stop in Oran will be Murdjajo, a stop from which we can have an incredible panoramic view of the city by the sea.
We then head to the fort of Santa Cruz, Oran’s most iconic sight with its whitewashed walls overseeing the whole of the town. The fort has changed hands as often as Algeria has changed rulership. Built by the Ottomans, taken by the Spaniards, then the French and finally reclaimed by the Algerians, it is a real testament to the history of Algeria.
Inside the fort is a chapel which was built after the town barely survived an epidemic reminiscent of Albert Camus’s la peste.
If there is one thing the French were good at building around their colonies, it’s Post Offices, and we’ll have plenty of time to check the majestic Grande Poste of Oran.
This leaves us with a walk by the beachfront of Oran, where we’ll stop for tea of coffee and relax
Afterwards, we make our way to the palace of bay Mohamed. It is one of the most exquisite buildings of Oran, built to honour Mohamed El-Khebir, who wrestled Oran away from the Spaniards. By doing so, Mohamed became an important figure of the resistance against Spain in Algeria.
We head back down to the city for our final dinner. After a few dry cities, Oran will seem like the party capital as it is populated with bars, hookah cafes and fine restaurants.
Overnight in Oran
Monday 18th January
End of tour with airport drop-off arranged according to your flight details.
YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation, flights towards your next destination.Oran has cheap flights to Paris, London, Madrid and Istanbul, amongst others.
Those carrying onwards to Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania as part of our Saharan Odyssey Part 2 catch Air Algerie’s direct flight to Casablanca (not included in the price of the tour) and onwards the next day!
• Accommodation in twin share basis
• Letter of Invitation and visa support
• All transport by minibus and domestic flights to complete the tour
• Entrance Fees
• English Speaking local guide and YPT tour leader
• Flights to Algiers and from Oran
• Visa fee
• Single supplement (€300)
• Pre-tour or Post-Tour accommodation (€60)
• Lunches and dinners
• Drinks and personal spending
• Tips for the local guides and drivers
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.