Republic. Gained independence from France in 1962.
Head of state:
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika since 1999.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.
Algeria is a beguiling blend of cultures spanning a vast chunk of land - taking in everything from whitewashed fishing ports, verdant hillsides and olive groves to the unmatched dramatic landscapes of the Sahara Desert and the Hoggar Mountains.
With more than four-fifths of its territory covered by the Sahara, the desert is Algeria's most striking feature and its biggest draw to travellers. But the north of the country, colonised by the Phoenicians and the Romans and covered with fascinating ruined cities is green and fertile, and the imposing capital Algiers (‘the White City’) has a fascinating Medina to explore and offers and interesting perspective on modern Algerian life.
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Last updated: 6 November 2013
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to areas within:
450km of the Mali and Niger borders, with the exception of Tindouf town and Tamanrasset city
100km of the Mauritania border
100km of the Libya and Tunisia borders south of the town of Souk Ahras
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
the provinces of Boumerdès, Bouira and Tizi Ouzou east of Algiers
• If you’re travelling to In Amenas or Tamanrasset city, you should do so by air.
• You should take great care in the remaining areas of the provinces of Adrar, Tamanrasset and Illizi which are not specifically covered above, and the provinces of Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bejaia and Skikda east of Algiers, due to the ongoing threat from terrorism.
• There is a high threat from terrorism, including an increased threat of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali. A serious terrorist attack took place on 16 January 2013 at a gas installation near the town of In Amenas near the Algerian border with Libya. Terrorists have been involved in kidnaps in Algeria and the wider Sahel region, and further kidnaps are likely.
• It is generally safe to move around Algiers and the other main cities, but you should avoid areas that you don’t know, especially after dark.
• There are frequent demonstrations. Most are peaceful, but some have involved clashes between police and demonstrators.
• Avoid travel by road at night outside the major cities.
• The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
• Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.