Located less than three hours' flight from London, Algiers has all the ingredients needed for an ideal holiday destination: a sunny climate, beautiful beaches, UNESCO-certified attractions, and friendly inhabitants. Algiers was a popular vacation spot in the Victorian era, however, security concerns prevent most tourists from visiting the coastal city, and most travellers to Algiers these days are there on business.
Intrepid explorers who find themselves in Algiers, however, should start with a visit to the Casbah, which is the oldest part of the city and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Casbah is home to some beautiful mosques, including the El Kebir Mosque, which is the oldest in Algiers.
Another stunning sight is the Notre Dame d'Afrique; the small basilica is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture and offers great views of the city from the tower. Algiers also has some excellent museums, including the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Military Museum, the Museum of Antiquities, and the Museum of Traditional and Popular Arts.
One of the best ways to enjoy Algiers, however, is to soak up the sunshine. Visitors can do this at the Aquafortland waterpark, or at the seaside resorts like Sidi Fredj, Palm Beach, Douaouda, or the Club of the Pines.
Getting around Algiers is best accomplished in a car or taxi, as public transport is lacking in many areas. Walking is not recommended after dark.
Algiers has a Mediterranean climate characterised by hot, dry summers and warm, wet winters. Summer temperatures can be exacerbated by hot, dry sirocco winds that carry the desert heat northwards from the Sahara. Average high temperatures during the warmer months (June to October) are around 89°F (32°C), while in the cooler months (December to March) average lows are around 48°F (9°C). Spring and summer are the best times to visit Algiers.
Getting around Algiers is relatively easy. Taxis are plentiful and are the easiest means of getting around the city. They can be hailed directly off the street or found at taxi stands, and most are metered; there may be surcharges for travel at night. Shared taxis, which operate specific routes, are also common in Algiers. Municipal buses and trams operate in the city, although these are not as popular with tourists. A Metro system opened in 2011 and provides a good mode of transport for locals and visitors alike.
Central Algiers is quite easily navigated on foot; with movement in the Casbah largely restricted to pedestrians. Car hire is available from the airport or through a hotel, although those unfamiliar with the city may find driving a hair-raising experience due to local driving conditions. If driving outside Algiers, a four-wheel drive vehicle is essential. Public ferries also operate from Algiers to other main coastal towns, including Ghazaouet, Oran, Annaba and Bejaia.