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  • Overview

    With the Mediterranean caressing its rugged coastline, Algeriapromises an escape from all things. Sun-touched cities temptvisitors in. Snow-capped mountains hint at greater mysteries thatonly first-hand experience can reveal. The journey begins in theenchanting north and leads on to many treasures.

    The capital, Algiers, projects its turbulent history through itsarchitecture. French-built boulevards come together withsocialist-era monuments and elegant apartments, weaving a texturedtale of destruction and rebirth. The Casbah citadel watches fromits hillside, as it's done for centuries. All told, culture,sapphire seas, and green ravines draw visitors to the Bay ofAlgiers, parting the sheer veil over Algeria's charm.

    Those who venture on discover more. Laid-back Tlemcen provides achange of pace from the capital. Surrounded by olive trees andvineyards, it's a wonderful destination for leather and textileshopping. Hikers can explore the lunar landscapes of thenorthwestern mountain ranges. Timgad, Djemila and other beautifullypreserved Roman towns offer a glimpse into the area's past. Farthersouth, the Saharan region extends over a sea of sand to mountainsthat are as beautiful as they are unyielding. Their caverns containrock paintings that date back over 10, 000 years.

    Unlike neighbouring Morocco, Algeria has yet to become anestablished tourist destination. But, given its natural beauty,history and rich culture, its standing may change. Much depends onwhether some fascinating parts of the country become safer. Atpresent, visitors should avoid travelling to rural areas within 31miles (50km) of the border with Tunisia due to terrorist andcriminal activities. The same is true for regions within 155 miles(250km) of the borders with Libya, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania.Also, terrorist and criminal groups operate in parts of the SaharaDesert. Travellers venturing there should travel by air rather thanoverland.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Algiers has a Mediterranean climate characterised by hot, drysummers and warm, wet winters. Summer temperatures can beexacerbated by hot, dry sirocco winds that carry the desert heatnorthwards from the Sahara. Average high temperatures during thewarmer months (June to October) are around 89°F (32°C), while inthe cooler months (December to March) average lows are around 48°F(9°C). Spring and summer are the best times to visit Algiers.

    Algeria holds all the hallmarks of a Mediterranean climate. Warmbut wet in the winter along the coast while extremely cold on thehigher plateau. Summers are dry along the coast and downright aridas you progress inland. The hot sirocco wind can make for anunpleasant summer.

    Houari Boumedienne Airport
    Location: The airport is located 11 miles (18km) southeast ofAlgiers.
    Time: GMT +1
    Transfer Between Terminals: The terminals are linked by a free shuttle bus.
    Getting to the city: A bus run by ETUSA operates between the city and airport roughlyevery 30 minutes.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies include Hertz and Rapide.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available at the airport; a ride into Algiers couldtake up to 50 minutes in heavy traffic.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include ATMs, currency exchange, informationpoints, duty-free shopping, and restaurants.
    Parking Long- and short-term parking is available.
    Money:

    The unit of currency is the Algeria Dinar (DZD), which isdivided into 100 centimes. Algeria has a cash-based economy.Although ATMs are available in the bigger cities most won't acceptinternational cards. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux dechange, and the larger hotels. Credit cards are only accepted atlarge hotels.

    Language:

    Arabic and Berber are the official languages in Algeria.The most widely spoken foreign language is French, followed byEnglish.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current in Algeria is 230 volts, 50Hz.European two-pin and Schuko plugs are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals require a passport valid for at least six monthsfrom the arrival date. Visa required.

    UK nationals require a passport valid for at least six monthsfrom the arrival date. Visa required.

    Canadian nationals require a passport valid for at least sixmonths from the arrival date. Visa required.

    Australian nationals require a passport valid for at least sixmonths from the arrival date. Visa required.

    South African nationals require a passport valid for at leastsix months from the arrival date. Visa required.

    Irish nationals require a passport valid for at least six monthsfrom the arrival date. Visa required.

    US nationals require a passport valid for at least six monthsfrom the arrival date. Visa required.

    New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for at least sixmonths from the arrival date. Visa required.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Passports must be valid for at least six months after intendedstay. Visas are required for all visitors except when in transitand spending less than 24 hours without leaving the airport. Atransit visa for up to 48 hours can be obtained from airportauthorities. Visitors may be required to produce return/onwardtickets, other documents for next destination, and proof ofsufficient funds. Those arriving from yellow fever risk countriesmust carry proof of vaccination.

    Travel Health:

    Travellers visiting Algeria should get vaccinated for hepatitisA, hepatitis B, typhoid fever, tetanus and yellow fever. Travellersshould also include rabies as the disease occurs in some parts ofthe country.

    Tipping:

    A 10 percent tip is expected but may be factored into the priceat more upmarket venues.

    Safety Information:

    Algeria's president has lifted the two-decade state ofemergency, however this is widely believed to be an attempt topacify growing unrest within the country. Travellers to Algeriashould always be vigilant and check with their tour operator ortravel agent before embarking. Travel to most of the southern partof Algeria is advised against by most Western governments,including: Tamanrasset, Tindouf, Boumerdès, Bouira and Tizi Ouzou.Long trips and overland travel should be avoided, as well as crowdsand protests. Terrorism is a big problem in Algeria, taking theform of kidnappings, bombings and cross-country ambushes.

    Local Customs:

    Greetings and hospitality are very important to Algerians. Maletourists should shake hands with Algerian men, though wait forwomen to offer a handshake. Female tourists should use their ownjudgement as to whether a handshake or a polite hello is the rightgreeting.

    As Algeria is a predominantly Islamic country, visitors shouldavoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during the month ofRamadan. For the same reason, drinking alcohol is generally frownedupon.

    Women are expected to dress conservatively. Homosexual activityis illegal and punishable by imprisonment. Photographing of policeor military personnel or establishments is strictly prohibited.

    Business:

    Pleasantries are considered essential to business dealings inAlgeria. Ask after one another's health and demeanour. Do not backout of a handshake too hastily. Closeness is an expression ofwarmth and familiarity to Algerians. Business cards are used, ifpossible though, have them translated to Arabic and/or French.

    Communications:

    The international access code for Algeria is +213. The outgoingcode is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for theUnited Kingdom). The area code for Algiers is 21. Mobile coverageand internet access are steadily improving.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers over the age of 17 do not pay duty on 200 cigarettes,50 cigars or 400g of tobacco. The same applies for 250ml of Eau deCologne, 0.15g of perfume in opened bottles, and 1l of alcoholicbeverages per person. Narcotics and gold are prohibited.

    Useful Contacts:

    National Tourist Office, Algiers: +213 21 43 8060

    Algeria Embassies:

    Algerian Embassy, Washington: +1 202 265 2800

    Algerian Embassy, London (also responsible for Ireland): +44 207299 7077

    Algerian Embassy, Ottawa: +1 613 789 8505

    Algerian Embassy, Pretoria: +27 12 342 5074

    Algerian Embassy, Canberra (also responsible for New Zealand):+61 2 6286 7355

    Foreign Embassies in Algeria :

    United States Embassy, Algiers: +213 770 082 000

    United Kingdom Embassy, Algiers: + 213 770 085 000

    Canadian Embassy, Algiers: +213 770 08 30 00

    South African Embassy, Algiers: +213 21 484 418

    Australian Embassy, Paris, France (also responsible forAlgeria): +33 1 4059 3300

    Embassy of Ireland, Berne, Switzerland (also responsible forAlgeria): +41 31 350 0380

    New Zealand Embassy, Cairo, Egypt (also responsible forAlgeria): +20 2 246 16000

    Algeria Emergency Numbers : 14 (Ambulance and Fire Services), 1548(Police).
    Algeria

    Getting around Algiers is relatively easy. Taxis are plentifuland are the easiest means of getting around the city. They can behailed directly off the street or found at taxi stands, and mostare metered; there may be surcharges for travel at night. Sharedtaxis, which operate specific routes, are also common in Algiers.Municipal buses and trams operate in the city, although these arenot as popular with tourists. A Metro system opened in 2011 andprovides a good mode of transport for locals and visitorsalike.

    Central Algiers is quite easily navigated on foot; with movementin the Casbah largely restricted to pedestrians. Car hire isavailable from the airport or through a hotel, although thoseunfamiliar with the city may find driving a hair-raising experiencedue to local driving conditions. If driving outside Algiers, afour-wheel drive vehicle is essential. Public ferries also operatefrom Algiers to other main coastal towns, including Ghazaouet,Oran, Annaba and Bejaia.