Algeria is a North African country with a Mediterranean coastline and a Saharan desert interior.
Many empires have left legacies here, such as the ancient Roman ruins in seaside Tipaza. In the capital, Algiers, Ottoman landmarks like circa-1612 Ketchaoua Mosque line the hillside Casbah quarter, with its narrow alleys and stairways. The city’s Neo-Byzantine basilica Notre Dame d’Afrique dates to French colonial rule.
10:00am11:00am : Basilique Notre Dame d'Afrique
Finished in 1872, Basilique Notre Dame d'Afrique sits proudly on a cliff top overlooking the coast and the city. The building's architecture combines Byzantine and Roman influences, including a large main dome and blue and white mosaics running around the top of the main body of the church. The interior includes a rich mix of religious artworks, decorative mosaics, and stained glass windows.
11:30am-1:30pm : Kasbah of Algiers
Stroll true the quaint maze of narrow alleys at Kasbah of Algiers, the city's traditional neighborhood and World Heritage Site predominantly built during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Explore Ottoman-style palaces, Moorish houses, old mosques, and the remains of a citadel, but consider taking a guide to get additional insight into the area's history.
2:00pm-4;00pm : Le Jardin d'Essai du Hamma
Established by the French in 1832, Le Jardin d'Essai du Hamma encompasses 58 hectares (140 acres) and shelters some 1,200 species of plants from across the world. The landscaping elements of the garden are roughly divided into English and French areas, with an emphasis on woods and sprawling parkland in the former, and more flowers and fountains in the latter.
10:00am-11:30pm : Memorial du Martyr
Dedicated to the soldiers killed in the Algerian War of Independence, Memorial du Martyr occupies the grounds of an ancient fort. The memorial opened on the 20th anniversary of Algeria's independence in 1982. Reaching a height of 92 m (302 ft), it represents three palm leaves sheltering an "eternal flame." See three different statues of soldiers at the base of the palm leaves, marking different stages of the war that lasted from 1954 to 1962. Make sure to visit the museum beneath the monument, which tells the dramatic story of the war in graphic detail.
12:00pm2:00pm Musee National du Bardo
Discover Tunisia's long history at Musee National du Bardo, situated in a richly decorated 18th-century mansion. The museum showcases an extensive collection of ancient artifacts, some of which date back to the prehistoric period, such as preserved eggs used as bottles. Don't miss the highlight--the backbone of the Touareg people's queen, Tin Hinan. If you want to take a break, step outside to the well-maintained garden.
2:00pm-3:00pm : Musee des Antiquites/strong>
Discover the collections of antiquities and Islamic artwork at Musee des Antiquites, which showcases pieces from Algeria's long, rich history. Housed in an Oriental-style building, the museum boasts a prized collection of ancient pieces, notable for its variety, as well as an Islamic art pavilion with works dating as far back as the 9th century CE. Pore over statues, inscriptions, mosaics, and other artifacts from the Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic periods.
4:00pm-6:00pm : La Rue Didouche Mourad, Algiers
Walk through the heart of the city along La Rue Didouche Mourad, the main commercial artery with an assortment of cafes, shops, grocery stores, bars, and eateries. This French-designed tree-lined boulevard with Baron Haussmann-style buildings teems with life--you can sit and watch locals pop in and out of an eclectic mix of old and new businesses. Dotted with patisseries, bookshops, bakeries, and shops, this popular and bustling tourist attraction also houses a number of heritage historic sights. Weave in and out through the host of shoppers on the narrow pavement; it's an easy place for window shopping or people-watching.
10:00am-5:30pm : Tassili N'Ajjer National Park
A World Heritage Site in the southeast part of Algeria, Tassili N'Ajjer National Park fascinates with its unusual geology and rock art. Journey through the mountain range around the golden rock formations, where illustrations engraved into the stone date back to the Neolithic era. Various sandstone formations will surround you, forming arches due to erosion in the area. The water's properties and density of the sandstone supports a much richer vegetation than other nearby areas; look for Saharan cypress and myrtle.
10:00am-1:30pm : Algerian Sahara, Illizi
Venture into the vast sand of Algerian Sahara, the largest Saharan desert in the world. Extending some 9 million sq km (3.5 million sq mi), the red sands take up approximate the space of the United States. Prepare for the journey by packing essential clothes, including headscarves and enough water to cool down. Opt to travel around the desert on a camel or a jeep, and enjoy the picturesque views of the varying terrain.
2:00pm-4:00pm : Le Port de Sidi Fredj
Visit Le Port de Sidi Fredj, an old fishing harbor located near the city. Once a landing spot where the French established their beachhead for the Invasion of Algiers in 1830, today the port offers a maritime flair with lots of boats in the harbor. Notice a great number ships of the French Navy were named Sidi Ferruch, the colonial name of the town when it was under French ruling to honor the event. The seaside village consists of lines of Moroccan buildings to explore.
4:30pm-5:30pm : National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers, Algiers
Overlooking the luscious gardens laid out in front of it, National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers houses a variety of works by Algerian and international artists. View paintings, drawings, and sculptures spread out over several floors, including pieces by Renoir, Eugene Delacroix, and Mohammed Racim. The museum building itself merits your attention, containing parts in different Oriental and European styles. You can tour the museum or walk outside in the nearby gardens that face the bay.
10:00am-11:30pm : Ketchaoua Mosque, Algiers
Known for its mix of Byzantine and Moorish architectural styles, Ketchaoua Mosque remains one of the most recognizable sites in the city, as well as a powerful religious spot. Enter along the wide set of stairs, and inside find an interior covered with detailed carvings and inscriptions, marble columns and arcades. Outside, note the two minarets decorated with Moorish plasterwork. Built in 1612 and having undergone a series of renovations since, the building has served as both cathedral and mosque, and today testifies to the rich history of Algiers.
12:00pm-3:00pm : Palais of Rais - Bastion 23
Visit Palais of Rais - Bastion 23, a complex of three Ottoman-era palaces and the last vestige of Algiers' traditional kasbah. Admire the palace's ornate tiled arches, vaulted ceilings with suspended metal lamps, painted railings, and latticed windows, plus views of the city. With its construction started in 1576, the complex bears many well-preserved Ottoman pavilions surrounded by 17th- and 19th-century domed mosques. Once the seat of the French governor, the palace also has many Moorish-style buildings that housed the 19th-century French nobility.
3:30pm-6:30am : Oran
10:00am-1:30pm : La Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur, Oran
Check out one of the remaining French-style buildings, La Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur. The imposing, early 20th-century structure boasts a mix of architectural styles, having both Moorish and colonial details. The entrance has several arches leading to the main doors, while the upper part of the wall features several pictures depicting biblical symbols. Two bell towers flank the facade, which represents the first reinforced concrete construction in French colonial territories. Today, the erstwhile cathedral serves as a public library.
12:00pm-2:00pm : Place du 1er Novembre, Oran
Standing as a reminder of the independence of Algiers, Place du 1er Novembre serves as the central point of the city and probably the most European. See the imposing monument, and then stroll around to take in other buildings surrounding the square, including the town hall and the opera house. Their original architectural style may make you think you're somewhere in the Mediterranean, and not Africa.
4:00pm-5:30pm : Fort Santa Cruz
Fort Santa Cruz stands as one of three forts of the city cut deep into a hill and connected with tunnels to the other two. Built by Spaniards in 1577-1604 on strategically located Pic d’Aidour at 400 m (1,312 ft) above the sea, the fort offers panoramic views of the city and the Mers el Kebir where the British Royal Navy sank a French flotilla in 1940. The site's thick, continuous walls with embattlements stretch over a total of 2.5 km (1.6 mi). The fort also encompasses a large 300,000 l (79,252 gal) water tank that's part of the elaborate rainwater harvesting system.
10:00am-11:30 : La Gare d'Oran
Whether you're waiting for a train or just passing through, make sure you explore La Gare d'Oran--a perfect example of Moorish architecture. The train station lies in a traditional cream-colored building with wooden windows and doors. Inspect the hand-painted blue details on its facade or the intricate carvings made by local craftspeople. A large dome covers the central part of the station, and the clock tower next to it keeps exact time for travelers.
12:00pm-4:00pm : Plage de Madagh 1
4:30pm-6:00pm : La Porte d'Espagne
Located in the district of Sidi El Houari, La Porte d'Espagne remains one of the largest preserved remains of Spanish architecture in Oran. Built in 1589 under Captain General Don Pedro, the large archway bears an engraving of a royal crown shield, where a two-headed eagle represents fragments of arms of Castile, Leon, and Jerusalem.
6:00pm-9:30pm : Algiers