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Algeria travel guide

About Algeria

For the intrepid traveller, adventure awaits in Algeria. A beguiling blend of cultures, landscapes and traditions, this vast chunk of land contains everything from tranquil fishing ports and bustling cities to the unmatched drama of the Sahara Desert and Hoggar Mountains.

As the largest country in Africa, Algeria’s terrain is hugely varied yet underexplored: few visitors travel beyond the country’s Mediterranean port cities (namely Oran and the capital, Algiers), which lie amidst fertile land and the scattered vestiges of Phoenician and Roman colonies.

Sometimes called ‘Algiers the White,’ the capital’s bustling showpiece is its UNESCO-listed Casbah. This whitewashed medina encompasses both crumbling ruins and newly-renovated spaces and is well worth a visit despite its shady reputation (taking a guide is recommended).

The ancient port city of Oran has a decidedly European vibe: French colonial influences are evident in everything from the soaring Sacré-Cœur Cathedral (now a library) to the richly ornamented Palais de la Culture. The city has long been a popular trading post and remains one of the busiest ports in North Africa.

The Sahara Desert is Algeria’s defining feature and one of its biggest drawing cards. It covers more than four-fifths of the country and is the source of myriad myths and legends. Nomadic Berbers still live here, eking out traditional lives in difficult conditions.

The security situation makes independent travel difficult in the Sahara, but under the guidance of reputable tour operators, travellers can visit attractions like the oasis towns of Ghardia and Timimoun, or venture deep into the heart of the desert to view the prehistoric rock art in the Hoggar Mountains and Tassili N’Ajjer National Park. 

The desert is also home to the world’s most remote film festival. FiSahara takes place annually in the Wilaya of Dakhla, a Western Sahara refugee camp, to highlight the plight of the Sahrawi people.

War and tumultuous politics have deterred many from visiting Algeria – rerouting them towards Morocco instead – but if you’re looking for a North African destination with a difference, this country has much to offer.

Key facts


2,381,741 sq km (919,595 sq miles).


40,375,954 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

16.6 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune since 2019.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Nadir Larbaoui since 2023.

Travel Advice

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Algeria border areas

FCDO advises against all travel to within 30km of Algeria’s borders with:

  • Libya
  • Mauritania
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Tunisia – in the provinces of Illizi and Ouargla and in the Chaambi mountains area

Rest of the Algeria-Tunisia border

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 30km of the rest of Algeria’s border with Tunisia.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

FCDO provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in Algeria set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Algerian Consulate in the UK. 

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Algeria. 

Passport validity requirements  

To enter Algeria, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive. 

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen. 

If your passport is lost or stolen in Algeria 

If your passport is lost or stolen during your stay, the Algerian authorities will ask for a police report when you leave the country. 

Visa requirements 

You must have a visa to visit Algeria. 

Check your visa details, including validity dates, before you travel. If you overstay, it is likely Algerian immigration police will detain you at the airport on departure. You may face criminal prosecution and up to 3 months in prison. 

If you want to extend your stay in Algeria, apply at the town hall (‘la wilaya’) nearest to you. 

Applying for a visa 

Before you travel, apply for a visa through the Algerian Consulate in the UK.  

You may be able to get a tourist visa on arrival at some airports in Algeria if the majority of your travel is in the south of the country. You should have a confirmed reservation with an approved local travel agency. Contact the Algerian Consulate in the UK for more information and for details of approved travel agencies. 

Vaccine requirements 

To enter Algeria, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had:   

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Algeria guide

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into and out of Algeria. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. 

You can get a prison sentence for smuggling antiquities in Algeria. If you buy souvenirs, get proof of authenticity for anything that looks old or antique. Otherwise, the Algerian authorities may detain you on departure at the airport and confiscate the souvenirs. 

Travelling with children 

In Algeria, a child is:  

  • someone under the age of 19 years and one day  

  • considered to be an Algerian citizen if their father is Algerian and he is named on the birth certificate  

If an Algerian citizen or a British-Algerian dual national child travels with one parent, the parent (whether mother or father) must prove their parental link through a ‘Livret de famille’ (original or certified copy).  

Algerian children travelling alone must have a letter (‘Autorisation Parentale’) from their parent or guardian giving them permission to leave the country. Children not from Algeria travelling alone need to show proof of permanent residence in the country they are travelling to. 

You can read a non-official translation of some sections from the Algerian Family Code. For further information, check the website of the Algerian Ministry of Interior or contact the Algerian Consulate in London

Child custody and forced marriage 

Algerian family law is different from UK law. If you’re a dual British-Algerian national, take particular care if child custody or forced marriage is likely to become an issue during your stay. 

If you have concerns, get legal advice before you travel to Algeria or agree to family members travelling to Algeria. 


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.      

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad

Terrorism in Algeria 

Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Algeria.  

Terrorist attacks have often focused on the Algerian state, but attacks could be indiscriminate and target foreigners. There is also a risk that lone actors target foreigners. You should remain vigilant at all times and follow specific advice and direction of the local security authorities. 

The threat from terrorism is higher in some parts of the country, including: 

  • the southern border, where the kidnap risk is concentrated 
  • the Libyan and Tunisian borders 
  • rural, and in particular mountainous, areas in the north and between Tunisia and Algiers 
  • the Sahara 

The Algerian authorities continue to conduct effective counter-terrorism operations to disrupt terrorist activity but there’s a continuing threat of further terrorist attacks.  

The main terrorist threat is from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other regional Islamist groups including Al Murabitun and Daesh affiliates. There’s also a threat from individuals inspired by Daesh. These groups have been active across the country and pose a threat throughout Algeria, including in Algiers and other major cities. 

Recent significant attacks include: 

  • in 2021, a solider killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Tlemcen Province 
  • in 2021, 2 soldiers killed by an IED in Ain Defla Province 
  • in 2021, 2 soldiers killed in Tipasa Province 
  • in 2020, an Algerian soldier killed in an ambush in Ain Defla, north-west Algeria – AQIM is reported to have claimed responsibility 
  • in 2020, an Algerian soldier killed in a suicide attack in Timeaouine, close to the Malian border – Daesh is reported to have claimed responsibility 
  • in 2019, 2 alleged IS members killed by the Algerian army in the southern Tamanrasset region – Daesh reported this same incident as an attack killing 8 Algerian security force members 

Indiscriminate attacks are not common, but in 2021 IED explosions seriously injured 3 civilians in Tebessa and Batna. Also in 2021, a roadside bomb killed 5 Algerian citizens in Telidjane, Tebessa Province, on the border with Tunisia. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for placement of the landmines but denied they were targeting civilians. 

Terrorist kidnap 

There is a threat of kidnapping by groups operating in North Africa, particularly from Libya, Mauritania and groups originating in the Sahel. This includes AQIM and Daesh-affiliated groups, who may travel across the region’s porous border. There is a heightened risk of kidnap in border and remote desert areas of North Africa, particularly in the southern and eastern border areas (bordering Mali and Libya respectively). Terrorist groups have kidnapped foreigners, government officials and civilians in the region for financial gain and for political leverage.  

British nationals are seen as legitimate targets, including tourists, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and business travellers. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release.  

The long-standing policy of the British government is to not make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

Political situation  

Demonstrations and other forms of protest are subject to various restrictions. You should take precautions for your personal safety by avoiding political gatherings and demonstrations. Follow instructions given by local security authorities. 

Algeria-Morocco border 

The land border between Algeria and Morocco is closed. Do not attempt to cross it. 


Protecting yourself and your belongings 

There is a risk of pickpocketing, robbery and petty theft in the larger cities in Algeria.  

You can take precautions such as: 

  • avoiding areas that you do not know, especially after dark in the suburbs  
  • not carrying large amounts of money or valuables 
  • not accepting lifts from people you do not know – use a taxi service recommended by your hotel 

Maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in the UK and take care when walking or travelling alone. 

If you plan to tour the Casbah area of Algiers, use a good local guide and make sure your hosts or hotel know your plans.  

You should check the latest guidance of local authorities before moving around the country. 

Security escorts 

The Algerian authorities devote considerable resources to the safety of foreign visitors. There’s a clear security presence, which can feel intrusive. If you travel outside major cities, the authorities may want to know your plans. They may assign police or gendarmes to protect you. 

Laws and cultural differences  

Personal ID 

You do not have to carry your passport at all times, but take it with you on longer journeys. You must have your passport if you travel inside Algeria by air. Keep copies of your passport’s photo page and your visa or entry stamp in a separate place. 


Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year and country. During this time, do not:  

  • eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public in the daytime, including in your car  
  • play loud music or dance  
  • swear in public  

Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.  

You should also:  

  • check opening hours of shops and restaurants  
  • be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from Islamic guests, for example with screens  
  • be aware that most restaurants do not serve alcohol  
  • follow local dress codes – clothing that does not meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time  
  • be aware that fasting can cause tiredness, particularly during the later afternoon and early evening 
  • be patient and show tolerance 

Alcohol laws  

It is illegal to be under the influence of alcohol in a public place. 

Illegal drugs and prison sentences 

It is illegal to possess, use or traffic controlled drugs. If you’re convicted, you may get a prison sentence. 

Mobile phone coverage 

Mobile phone coverage can be patchy or unavailable in more remote areas, particularly in the south of Algeria. Some online maps may not be accurate in remote areas. 

Using cameras in secure areas 

It is illegal to take photos of government buildings or security installations, including police checkpoints.  

LGBT+ travellers 

Sexual acts between people of the same sex are illegal in Algeria. 

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers

Transport risks  

Road travel  

If you are planning to drive in Algeria, see information on driving abroad

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Algeria for up to 3 months after you first arrive. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.  

The Algerian authorities may ask to see an IDP. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.   

If you are planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel. 

Road conditions and safety 

Algeria has a very high road traffic accident rate and driving can be erratic.  

There is very little lane discipline and often confusion about the right of way, especially at roundabouts. Take particular care when crossing roads on foot, even where there is a signal allowing you to do so. 

Be cautious driving on minor roads, particularly at night outside towns. Roads and vehicles may not have lighting. 

In Algeria roads can have: 

  • sand drifts – slow down as you approach these 
  • large potholes, which can appear quickly, particularly after heavy rain 
  • large speed bumps 

At military or police checkpoints, approach slowly, do not cross boundaries without permission and be prepared to show photo ID if asked. 

Check the availability of petrol stations before travelling long distances in remote areas. 


If you are taking a taxi, ask your hotel to phone a reputable firm and do not allow unknown passengers to join you. Ask the driver to collect you for the return journey as taxis are not widely available, particularly after dark. 

Rail travel 

Rail travel is generally safe, although safety standards tend to be lower than those in the UK. There is a risk of petty crime on trains. 

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards


Summer wildfires caused significant damage and numerous deaths in towns east of Algiers in 2023, 2022 and 2021. Similar fires could flare up without warning, especially during periods of extreme weather. Follow local advice and avoid travelling to areas where fires may break out. 


Parts of Algeria are prone to severe and dangerous flood damage. There have been instances where people have been killed, houses submerged and cars swept away.  


Earthquakes are a risk in the northern part of Algeria, including Algiers.  

In May 2003, a severe earthquake struck the Algiers area. There were over 2,200 dead and more than 10,000 injured. Smaller earthquakes happen regularly. In July 2014, an earthquake killed 6 people and injured 420. 

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 

  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation 

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant. 

Emergency medical number 

Call 16 or 1021 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccine recommendations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip:  

See what health risks you’ll face in Algeria.  

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Algeria. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

Healthcare in Algeria 

Facilities at private clinics are usually better than government hospitals. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. 

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Algeria

Travel and mental health 

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. 

Emergency services in Algeria  

Ambulance: 1021 

Fire: 14 

Police: 17 or 1548 

Contact your travel provider and insurer 

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do. 

Refunds and changes to travel 

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. 

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including: 

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider 
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim 

Support from FCDO 

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. 

You can also contact FCDO online

Help abroad in an emergency 

If you’re in Algeria and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Algiers.  

FCDO in London 

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad. 

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours) 

Find out about call charges 

Risk information for British companies  

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Algeria on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks. 

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