Things to do in Algiers, Algeria
With its rich history and vibrant culture, Algeria is a unique destination for travellers. It boasts the breathtaking Sahara Desert and the coastal plains, all within a country that is almost twice the size of Texas and France combined.
Algeria is known for being the birth Place of St Augustine of Hippo, Santa Monica (His mother) and also being the Mecca of Revolution.
Indeed, from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, independent Algeria provided significant support to anti-colonial movements and revolutionaries around the world.
The Capital Algiers is an incredible city, full of history. After the revolution, the metropolitan area of Algiers grew rapidly. It’s now one of Africa’s largest cities and considered to be an economic center.
Located along the Mediterranean Sea, The city also offers many scenic beaches – including the Blue Coast – and lush hilly countryside. There are so many reasons why you should visit Algiers.
The food culture is very rich with Berber influence (Couscous is the most popular dish). Also, you can see the French influence with delicious bakery like the Vanilla and Raspberry Millefeuille.
Top things to do in Algiers, Algeria
1) Notre Dame D'Afrique Basilica
Notre Dame d’Afrique is a 19th-century Byzantine-style basilica. The first stone was laid by the bishop of Algiers, Monseigneur Pavy, on October 14, 1855, but construction of the basilica did not begin until February 2, 1858.
The architect Fromageau designed the plan and the Byzantine style. Monsiegneur Lavigerie consecrated the structure fourteen years later, on July 2, 1872. Monsigneur Pavy, who died in 1866, was buried in the basilica’s choir.
Today, it is the only place of Christian worship in Algiers, and it is attended by the faithful, who are mostly members of the diplomatic corps. The basilica is located north of Algiers on a 124-meter-high promontory overlooking the sea.
It is accessible via a cable car named after Bologhine. The Basilica is seen as the twin sister of Marseille’s Notre Dame de la Garde church. Locals nickname the basilica “Madame Africa” or “Lalla Myriem.”
Notre Dame d’Afrique is primarily a shrine dedicated to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Behind the altar, on the abside wall, is a maxim written in French, Arabic, and Berber: “Notre Dame D’Afrique, Priez pour nous et pour les Musulmans.” which can be translated to “Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and the Muslims.”
2) Visit the Casbah
The Casbah in Algiers was established in the 9th century when it served as the citadel for the city of Algiers during the period of the Emirate of Algiers on the ruins of the old roman city Icosium.
The Berbers who founded Algiers adopted many elements of Arabian culture, so The Casbah architecture has many similarities to the style adopted in Arabian cities.
The Casbah in Algiers is a cultural treasure, with narrow alleyways, fountains, old Moorish palaces, mosques, and historic buildings. While the city itself is the star of Algeria’s tourism industry, its jewel—The Casbah—is equally worth visiting. This walled quarter is one of Africa’s oldest cities.
The French occupied it for over 100 years, which had an influence on the architecture and fashion of this area that remains to this day. You can really get a taste of authentic local life by taking a walk through this historic place.
I loved all of Algiers, but The Casbah remains a favorite of mine because the maze-like markets, the bustling stands with delicious Mediterranean food, and bazaars stacked with both handmade and imported goods.
Visit the Casbah, the citadel that houses spectacular monuments like the El Bacha mosque and Souati palace, featuring architecture influenced by both French and Moorish styles. The area immediately around the old city is home to bazaars, small cafes and restaurants, and lively takes on the traditional Arab tanga music.
3) Promenade des Sablettes
The Promenade des Sablettes is a boardwalk along the Eastern shore of Algiers, and is one of the most popular spots in the city. People come here to walk and run (sometimes with headphones) as well as to ride bikes, ice skate, and go roller blading.
There is also a large playground here that draws families with kids searching for excitement. You can rent boats here as well as spend time eating at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront.
The Promenade des Sablettes is a great option for strolling in beautiful Algiers. it is a beautiful sea side walkway that runs along the beach in Algiers. It’s an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, especially if the weather is nice and you’re not doing much at all.
4) Jardin d’Essai du Hamma
Le Jardin d’Essai du Hamma in Algiers is a really amazing public park. It has a lot of great features. First, it’s one of the largest botanical gardens in the northern part of Africa and covers an area of more than 240,000 square meters and more than 8,000 species of flora can be found here.
With its exotic palms, hidden pathways, water features and rolling hills of lush greenery, Jardin d’essai du Hamma represents a gardener’s paradise.
Tourists will find the botanical gardens to be a perfectly peaceful retreat, yet friendly enough to let them interact with some of the hundreds of local species of birds. The park is located on the outskirts of Algiers on the eastern side on El Hamma highway.
Entry Fee: 100 DZD (Algerian Dinars).
5) Maqam Echahid
There’s a lot to see in Algiers, but for me visiting the Maqam Echahid was a “can’t miss”. Built in 1990, this is a monument to the martyrs who lost their lives in the Algerian war for independence from France.
Dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of all struggles for national liberation, it’s a viewpoint from which you can see much of the city. The name refers to the sacred place where the remains of Algerian and foreign martyrs are buried.
6) National Library of Algeria
Did you know that there is a National Library in Algiers? It is one of the most popular tourist attractions for any visitor to the city. Whether you are looking for a new book to read or interested in learning more about Algeria, this national library is a wonderful place to visit while visiting the city of Algiers.
Today, the library has grown to become a prestigious institution and its role continues to be more than just preserving and protecting the written heritage of Algeria.
It engages in developing this heritage in various fields by promoting studies, research and training in archiving, curating, editing, publishing, translating, promoting Arab language books and making them available to readers.
7) Bab El Oued
Bab El Oued is known for being the most populous neighbourhood in Algiers. When you walk through it, the crowds and the youth of its population are the most striking features. At the heart of this neighborhood, don’t miss the Tree Clocks place (Place des trois Horloges in French).
A large avenue called “Colonel Lotfi Avenue” runs parallel to it. There are a variety of shops there, including clothing, electronics, and other items. Everything is for sale and for a bargain.
When you look at the buildings in Bab El Oued, the Haussmannian architecture is everywhere. Those buildings were built by the French during the occupation of the country.
The stores of many colours reminded me of Italy. It can be very crowded during the day, which gives you the sensation of being inside a massive bazaar.
Bab El Oued has always captivated Algiers inhabitants and tourists alike, thanks to the vibrancy of its youth, who strive every day to bring their neighbourhood to life and maintain its popular ethos. Football is very popular in this area.
Due to the existence of two major Algerian teams (Mouloudia Club of Algiers (MCA) and Union Sportive de la Medina d’Alger (USMA)), Fans of both teams can be found in the same family.
The city is sometimes in the colours of the USMA, in red and black, and sometimes in the colours of MCA, in red and green, and sometimes in the colours of both teams when they play different teams.
8) Saint Eugene - Bologhine
Bologhine is a district in the Wilaya of Algiers, and it marks the northern boundary of Algiers’s urban core, with which it is linked by the neighbouring town of Bab El Oued. During the colonisation, It was also known as Saint-Eugène by the people who lived there.
Bologhine is a residential town with no farmland, no industry, and just shops, banks, and government offices along Ziar Abdelkader Avenue. The basilica Notre-Dame d’Afrique, as well as the Christian and Jewish cemeteries, are the most well-known landmarks.
9) Plage le Lido, Algiers
Plage Le Lido is a lovely beach located in the bay of Algiers. I recommend visiting the pier and walking to both ends of it. You will be amazed by the view of the West and East side of the bay of Algiers.
I also recommend walking along the Esplanade du Lido. This location offers an excellent panoramic view that overlooks the bay of Algiers (City Center to the Great Mosque of Algiers). Watching the sunset from Esplanade du Lido is a must-see. It is a good location to relax and hearing the sounds of the mediterranean sea.
Visiting Algiers was a great experience for me. I have enjoyed the city’s warm weather and delicious cuisine. Algeria is a very affordable destination compared to its neighboring countries (Morocco and Tunisia).
If you ever have the chance to visit Algeria one day, I highly recommend staying in Algiers for at least one week. You will have plenty of time to visit the main landmarks.