Metropolis of contrasts
Algiers, the capital and the largest city of the country, spreads around a crescent bay. The skyline is dominated by 92 metre high Martyr's Memorial, which celebrates the liberation from colonialism, and the colonial hotel now known as Aurassi.
Algiers is a far more interesting city than its local authorities seem to have realized. Many buildings and quarters have been neglected, but with some appreciation of history, Algiers holds numerous illustrations to the fascinating history of this part of North Africa. Unfortunately with the ongoing renovation projects, you may find several attractions closed these days.
Algiers is very good on musuems, found all around the city, these could very well be combined with interesting walks.
The French city, which is far more predominant here than in any other North African city, is not all in all to well kept. If you can appreciate just the architectural points, many areas are very nice.
The waterfront area, very much part of the French legacy is quite beautiful.
The casbah, or old city, has received a bad reputation, but many recent reports tell that the security situation now is better, but ask ahead first. Unfortunately, this is a place exposing what decades of poor economics can result in. Still, this part of Algiers has been found worthy of a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Martyr's Memorial is about 3 km from city centre. It's a big open square, with the monument in the middle. The whole structure can virtually be seen from wherever you are in Algiers, but most of all, from the sea.
Hotels and alternatives
Sleeping in Algiers is not up to the standards one would expect from a capital like this. Also, Algiers has the most expensive hotel beds in the country.
Most hotels tend to be from Algeria's Socialist past, too few from the colonial era. Concrete blocks without charm is a theme here.
Among the few places that come recommended is the Safir, which belongs to the mid-range category.
Restaurants and alternatives
Algiers may have a smaller section of restaurants than you might expect from the city's size. Still, there are several good options.
Expensive restaurants are not that much more expensive than mid-range. Dar Lahlou is been awarded for the best couscous in the Mediterranean, competing with a handful other places like Brasserie des Facultes, Le Duphin and Auberge du Moulin. The latter may be considered the best restaurants in the whole of Algiers.
Mid-range places are somewhat disappointing, so you may just as well settle for a budget. Fish restaurants are deservedly popular, several are lined up along hte Rampe de la Pecherie. A more general budget restaurant that is recommended is the Yulmaz.
Air flights to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as all airports in Algeria. Ferries to France and Spain. Excellent connections with trains, buses and taxis.
50 km south: Blida
70 km west: Tipasa
100 km west: Cherchell
120 km east: Tizi Ouzou
200 km east: Bejaia
600 km west: Tlemcen
500 km south: M'zab
300 km east: Setif