Destination The Maghreb: Why Not Choose… Algiers?
The capital of Algeria and the largest city in the Maghreb, Algiers, known as "the white city", will take you on a magnificent journey through time, for an unforgettable holiday. Wander through its picturesque neighbourhoods and be amazed by its exceptional architecture. Just a stone's throw from the city is Kabylia, where historical treasures and natural wonders await!
A Dazzling City, in All Senses of the Word!
Arriving in Algiers, the first thing that will strike you is the colour of the city, with white walls as far as the eye can see.
Start by exploring the streets of the Kasbah: the old town. Its tangled alleys are lined with old houses, palaces and mosques. They form a strong connection between the city's past and present. Get lost in this labyrinth, where you can mingle with artisans working leather, wool, wood and metals. Stop for a moment on Martyrs Square and visit the Palace of the Raïs. The old town is a vestige of the Roman occupation and the Ottoman period. It forms a striking contrast to the modern city left by the French occupation and constantly expanded since colonisation ended.
Next, cross Boulevard Abederazak-Hadad, and you will find yourself in another key neighbourhood for your itinerary: Bab El Oued. Its famous three-faced clock is sure to catch your eye, but Algiers' architecture will also surprise you with its splendour. Don't miss the Palace of the Raïs, and of course the Grande Poste post office, the Bardo National Museum, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa, which stands 124m high, offering a delightful panorama of the white city of Algiers.
What's more, if you fancy getting up high, you have plenty of options: for an unbeatable view of the city, head for the Saint Raphaël Balcony, or if you have a head for heights, take a trip on the cable car. Wherever you are, if you want a breath of fresh air, the beaches are easily accessible.
Finally, if you're more of an adventure-seeker, why not make the most of your stay to discover Algeria's emblematic Kabylia region? Famous for their local crafts, which play a major economic and social role, the Kabyle people have become masters in the art of making gold jewellery, reputed for its sophistication and bright colours. They are also skilled in weaving, pottery and woodwork. If you love the mountains, you can take on the Babors. The highest point of the range is at an altitude of over 2000 metres.
Top 10 Must-Sees
The Kasbah: a true open-air museum, the Kasbah, or the Medina, is an enchanting place. With its winding streets, its artisans, its commemorative plaques, its view over the city and key sites like the National Art Museum, the Kasbah is a city within the city. This charming and picturesque old citadel, which features on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is not to be missed!
Martyrs Square: for a long time, this square was the heart of Algiers. Located at the front of the Kasbah, it was known as Government Square under French rule. Recently, works on the Algiers metro have revealed an ancient, buried city.
The Palace of the Raïs: a rare vestige bearing witness to the former extent of the Kasbah, which stretched out to the sea during the Ottoman period, the Palace of the Raïs is a set of three palaces and six fishermen's houses built on the site of a 16th-century fort. Since 1994, it has been home to the Centre of Arts and Culture, which hosts exhibitions and museum events.
Bab-El-Oued: stroll through this colourful neighbourhood, famous for its Three Clocks Square and its Triolet Market. In the heart of the area is the famous three-faced clock: a historical landmark.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Africa: from its altitude of 124m, this jewel of Algiers overlooks the city, offering a spectacular panorama. Seen form here, Algiers is true to its nickname: "the white city".
The Grande Poste: this imposing building, built in 1913 in a neo-Moorish style, will leave you speechless. Step inside and you will be equally dazzled. Architecture lovers will adore its columns, its arches, its ceramic decoration and its highly detailed sculptures.
The Bardo National Museum: this museum of ethnography and prehistory inaugurated in 1930 houses collections of objects dating back to the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods, which bear witness to the prehistoric occupation of the Algiers region. In 1985, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Botanical Garden of Hamma: this famous botanical Garden in the centre of Algiers contains over 3000 different species, some of which are very rare. Algiers' answer to Central Park, it is considered one of the 10 most beautiful gardens in the world. Just a walk down its central path will tell you why. Its combination of order and flourishing nature is bound to impress.
Tizi Ouzou: around 10km east of Algiers, this city in the heart of Kabylia is an excellent window on the emblematic region. Admire its magnificent landscapes, come face to face with Barbary macaques, and above all, visit the unbelievable Roman Ruins of Tigzirt.
- The Babor Mountains: if you love the mountains, these twin peaks, the Tababort and the Djebel Babor, are an exceptional place for hiking. The Babor is home to a 1700-hectare national park, where you can see species found nowhere else in the world, such as the Algerian fir, the Atlas cedar and the Algerian nuthatch: a bird species endemic to Algeria. Its summit, at an altitude of 2004 metres, offers an unbeatable view over the sea and the hinterland.
A Festival of Flavours and Colours
Inherited from the Berber culinary traditions, then influenced over the centuries by Ottoman, Spanish and French gastronomy, Algerian cuisine is an unbelievable blend of Mediterranean flavours. Börek, pastilla, mechoui and delicious semolina breads promise fine and copious meals! And if you still have a little room, the pastries drenched in honey are real delicacy. Makroudh, cigars, gazelle horns and jalebi are served with traditional mint tea for a moment of pure pleasure.
January: Yennayer, Berber New Year
Yennayer is New Year's Day in the Berber calender. On this occasion, families traditionally share a large meal of chicken couscous.
May: Algiers International Fair
The most important commercial event in Algeria takes place every year at the Palais des Expositions exhibition centre, Pins Maritimes. Dozens of international pavilions come to present their products. The fair is accompanied by a range of peripheral events (shows, exhibitions, craft, etc.).
July: Independence and Youth Day
Algerians celebrate the anniversary of the country's independence, proclaimed on 5 July 1962. Fanfares, parades, processions, concerts and fireworks… Each city participates in the celebrations. In Algiers, the Olympic Stadium hosts a sound and light show, and Raï concerts are held on the esplanade at the foot of the MakkamEch-Chahid. There are generally fireworks in each of Algeria's cities.
November: Revolution Day
On 1 November, the Algerians commemorate the start of the Revolution (1 November 1954). The event, mainly marked by contemplation ceremonies and exhibitions about the Algerian war, is much more subdued than Independence Day.
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