Join YPT as we explore for the first time one of the biggest countries of Africa – Algeria. Often compared to the rest of French speaking North Africa, Algeria is a jewel for travelers. Contrary to Morocco and Tunisia, most of Algeria hasn’t been exposed to mass tourism yet, making it a very authentic and mysterious experience of the Maghreb.
Algeria blends in history from many important periods of the world. From the Roman empire to very contemporary muslim movements going by French imperialism. We will spend our stay there hunting the traces of these eras. This tour provide a real in-depth experience of this enormous country. We will be visiting the roman ruins of Djemilla, staying in the visiting the majestic city of bridges of Constantine and hanging out by the oasis of Terghit; with everyday bringing completely different experiences.
It wouldn’t be a YPT trip without going completely off the beaten track and this is why we will go visit the refugee camps of the Polisario, or the people of Western Sahara who have left their country hoping to muster their forces to take it back.
This tour acts as a wonderful preparation for the second part of our Saharan Odyssey where we visit Western Sahara and Mauritania and is sure to provide lasting memories of the most exciting places of Northern Africa.
Arrival into Algiers at your convenience. Algiers has flights from many countries of Africa and Europe
Meet at 6pm at our hotel, hotel Samir, before we head out to restaurant Arabesque for dinner and pre-tour meeting where you can get to know your fellow travelers and YPT guide.
Dinner at Restaurant Arabesque, consisting of generous portions of Palestinian and Syrian food.
After dinner we will explore the nightlife of Algiers.
Overnight in Hotel Samir
Sunday 5th January – Algiers
After a sustaining 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 basilica Our Lady of Africa. This church is an important piece of history as it will help us understand the French presence in the times of the colony. It also gives us a splendid view of the whole of Algiers
We then drive to the Kasbah of Algiers and walk down it. One of the oldest part of the town, the Kasbah is a citadel filled with winding streets. It is a UNESCO sight and it doesn’t get more authentic than that
We then head to the Martyr Square. One of the most iconic monument of Algiers, this massive sculpture was erected to commemorate the sacrifice of those who have fought the independence of Algeria. Our next stop is Bastion 23, also known as the Palais des Rais, one of the last standing example 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 and is a wonderful testament of the past.
Walk along the peniche and the gorgeous views of the bay of Algiers.
We head downtown to walk around, stopping by the Grande Poste or the General Post, an important building during the French period.
We have lunch at a local restaurant where we can try Algerian fare.
In the afternoon, we’ll go for a subway ride. The subway of Algiers has only been open for 9 years, with its construction being stopped many times such as during the civil war.
We will go past 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 the Pyongyang’s Victorious Fatherland Liberation Museum, you can imagine the vibe here. This museum depicts Algeria’s struggle against the french colonialists.
It’s 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.
Monday 6th 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.
We should arrive by the ruins by noon. The ruins of the city of Djemila, also known as Cuicul, are a must stop on any trip to Algeria. The well preserved ruins are what is left of an ancient Roman colony dating from a hundred year before Jesus Christ. It is known as one of the world’s most beautiful roman ruins and its state of preservation truly allows us to picture what was life like at that time.
To understand more about the city, we pay a visit to its museum.
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.
Tuesday 7th January – Constantine
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 like taken right out of the Lord of the Rings!
We first visit the Palace of Ahmed Bey, where the Algerian military moved in after independence.
We visit the ruins of the Antonian roman aqueduct.
We then head to Abd Al Hamid Ben Badis. Ben Badis was an important figure of Algeria and was very present during the struggle for Independence. Our guide will be able to give us more information about the man.
TRIP HIGHLIGHT – A tour of Constantine has to stop by the sidi M’cid Bridge or it isn’t complete. This enormous bridge, a feat of engineering, 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.
Drive back to Algiers airport
We catch a domestic evening flight to Bechar, very close to the Moroccan border.
We leave the airport to head toward Taghit.
Late check-in and overnight in Taghit.
Wednesday 8th January – Taghit
This morning, we’ll start with the site of the rock painting of Taghit, here are found some well-preserved prehistorical paintings dating from 5000 years ago.
Taghit is the most well known oasis of Algeria and is renowned for its impressive citadel, which we will explore in-depth!
We’re having lunch by the oasis.
In the afternoon, we’ll have free time by the oasis market, sipping coffee with the very curious locals, who don’t see foreigners that often!
Then, it’s up the biggest sand dune of Algeria in time to witness a sunset which is guaranteed to be one of the prettiest you’ve ever seen!
Dinner in Taghit city
Overnight in Taghit
Thursday 9th January – Timimoun
After breakfast, we hop on the bus heading to Timimoun
Timimoun is known for the ochre coloured building made in the same style of architecture as the buildings of Djenne or Timbucktu in Mali.
We’ll spend the whole day visiting this city very few people have had the chance to visit.
Lunch in a local restaurant of Timimoun
We visit a local school in Timimoun and interact with the kids there.
Dinner in Timimoun
Overnight in Timimoun
Friday 10th January – Tindouf
Up early for our bus drive to Tindouf, the capital of the Sahrawi Government in exile and home to the camps of the Sahrawi refugees. We can expect many checkpoints as we are entering a sensitive zone.
TRIP HIGHLIGHT – We spend the day around Tindouf meeting refugees who will tell us their views about the future of Western Sahara and their impressive life stories. This is a place where very few foreigners get to go and as close as one can go to actual Polisario-controlled Western Sahara. We can expect many surprises!
Western Sahara was taken by Morocco during the Green March, a movement where the people of Morocco chased Spain from the zone. Originally, the territory of Western Sahara was to be split between Morocco, Mauritania and the Sahrawi people. To this day, Western Sahara is recognized as a country by 34 African countries but not recognized by the rest of the world.
Lunch in a Sahrawi restaurant
Our afternoon will also be dedicated to going around the camps, meeting the people and their reality at the doorstep of the world’s biggest unrecognized country.
Dinner and overnight in Tindouf.
Saturday 11th January – Oran
Breakfast at our hotel in Tindouf
We head to the airport to catch our flight to Oran, the second biggest city of Algeria
We should arrive in Oran after lunch.
Our first stop in Oran will be Murdjajo, a mount from which we can have an incredible panoramic view of the city by the sea.
We then head to the fort of Santa Cruz, it is Oran most iconic sights, with its whitewashed walls overseeing the whole of the town. The fort has changed hands as often as Algeria as changed rulership. Built by the Ottoman, 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, so we’ll make sure to visit it.
We head back down to the city for our dinner.
Overnight in Oran
Sunday 12th January – Oran
After breakfast, our morning is spent exploring French Oran and the remains of the colony.
We’ll head to the Place d’Armes which is ideal for people-watching.
We check the masterpiece of architecture that was the Theater of Oran
The most impressive religious building of Oran is the church of Sacre-Coeur and it is our next stop!
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 building 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 then head out for lunch at one of Oran’s best restaurants.
Free afternoon in the city to do some last minute souvenir shopping and such
Overnight in Oran with drinks to celebrate the completion of our tour!
Monday 13th January – End of Tour
For those who carry on to Casablanca and the Saharan Odyssey Part 2, we catch our flight on Air Algerie to Casablanca right after lunch (flight ticket not included in the price of the tour)
End of tour, with YPT able to arrange connections to your next destination! Oran has cheap flights to Paris, London, Madrid and Istanbul, amongst others.
• Accommodation in twin share basis
• Letter of Invitation and visa support
• All transport by minibus and domestic flights to complete the tour
• Breakfast and lunch
• Entrance Fees
• English Speaking local guide and YPT tour leader