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Algeria Guide

Driving

Africa's largest country has been able to retain an air of mystique while still maintaining its status as a popular tourist destination. Home to vast desert land, the country boasts a Mediterranean coastline dotted with popular tourist resorts and bustling cities including Algiers. By car is a great way to explore the urban areas in this North African nation.

Driving Tips for Algeria

The road network is best developed in the north of the country where new highways have replaced old roads. The N1 connects most cities in the north and has adequate signposts. Visitors travelling elsewhere, especially in rural areas, are advised to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Driving licences: short-term, it is possible to drive here using a UK licence.

Which side does Algeria drive on: the right.

Speed limits:
Motorways: 74mph (120kph)
Rural areas: 55mph (90kph)
Urban areas: 31mph (50kph)

Alcohol limits: 0.01 per cent compared to Britain's 0.08 per cent limit.

Driving age: 17 years; 25 years to rent a vehicle.

Seatbelts: laws concerning seatbelts and child seats are unclear but such restraints are well advised given the country’s high traffic accident rate. Children under 10 years of age aren't allowed to sit in the front of the vehicle.

Mobile phones and GPS: driving while using a mobile phone is prohibited, even with a hands-free kit. GPS isn't prohibited but English speakers may find recognising Algerian locations by GPS difficult.

Cost of fuel in Algeria: petrol is often one-tenth of the price that it is in the UK.

Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payments are accepted at the majority of petrol stations in the north of the country and near to big cities. Car hire companies often require credit card payment. British card holders should inform their card issuer prior to using their card in North Africa.

Insurance: included with car rental is third-party insurance but arranging excess insurance is suggested.

Traffic and parking: driving in the centre of Algiers can be tricky due to the lack of parking and heavy traffic. Heavy fines await drivers that park illegally.

Transport

Trains
Trains run to Algeria from Tunisia and are supplied by SNTF, the country's main rail company. Travel from other North African countries is limited. The same firm supplies rail travel around the country; the main routes are from Algiers to Oran (fare: around £8), Annaba and Constantine (fare: around £9).

Taxis
Taxis around cities are moderately priced when compared to the UK, at around £0.25 per kilometre travelled. Taxis between cities or across large distances either cost the same or are more expensive than flying. Most taxis don't come with a meter, meaning prices per kilometre must be agreed prior to travel.

Buses
Bus services are abundant to Algiers and between cities in the north. Due to the size of the country, travelling by bus can be time consuming.

Ferries
It is possible to travel by boat to Algiers from overseas cities such as Marseille and Nice (France), Palermo (Italy) and Alicante (Spain). The services are mostly supplied by SNCM and Algerie Ferries.

Airports
While there are direct flights into Algiers’s Houari Boumediene Airport from the UK, it is often cheaper to fly via Paris, Madrid or Barcelona. Domestic flights between major Algerian cities such as Oran and Annaba are popular but travellers should expect virtually no facilities at airports outside of the capital. The airport at Algiers is situated 12 miles from the city centre, with taxis costing around £4.70 and buses just £0.20.

Explore

Exploring Algeria

The majority of visitors to Algeria begin their time in the country in its cultural centre and capital, Algiers. While beach life can be enjoyed here, most visitors come to see the Monument of the Martyrs and the Casba, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Historians will enjoy a visit to the coastal site of Hippo Regius, an ancient Numidian city which is close to the modern city of Annaba. It is located where the River Ubus meets the sea, near the border with Tunisia. Hippo Regius is regarded as one of Christianity's early centres and is loved for its preserved baths. Batna, more than 3,000 feet up in the Aurès Mountains is often frequented for its Roman ruins.

Visitors with an interest in architecture enjoy El-Oued, some 400 miles to the southeast of the capital. The city provides access to Grand Erg Oriental, the second largest dune fields in the Sahara. Also noted for its architecture is the World Heritage-listed M'Zab Valley, in the northern Sahara.

Although not as popular as Algiers, Annaba is still enjoyed by tourists. Here, the main talking points are the late 19th century Church of Saint Augustine and the iconic central square in the downtown area.

Weather

Algeria's climate varies depending on location. In the north, a mild and Mediterranean climate is enjoyed, and temperatures can hit 30°C. In the Tell Atlas mountain region along the coast, summer averages of 21 to 24°C are commonplace. In the winter, however, readings of 10 to 12°C should be expected, although the climate remains humid. Rainfall is common in coastal parts of the country and is at its strongest from September to December.

All cities in Algeria

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