Algeria Shopping and nightlife
Shopping in Algeria
Algeria’s not as well known as neighbouring Morocco for its shopping credentials but shoppers should find enough to satisfy the urge within the markets and souks of the northern cities. The spread of globalisation has made its mark in the capital Algiers, with shopping centres drawing visitors and locals seeking a ‘Western’ shopping experience. Don’t expect to find the big international brands, but there are plenty of Algerian shops selling everything from jewellery and clothing, to cosmetics and souvenirs.
Possible souvenirs include leatherware, rugs, copper and brassware. Embroidered dresses made locally, known as mejboudi can also make great gifts, although depending where you’re buying, they can be expensive. The country is known for its leather in particular, so shoppers can expect to find excellent bags and shoes for excellent value. Berber carpets are beautifully decorated, but rather than buying them in Algiers, go to Ghardaia where the quality will be better and the prices cheaper. Berber jewellery is also highly desirable but many pieces will be made from coral, which while undoubtedly beautiful, is ethically dubious in its origins. From the Sahara comes finely dyed basketwork and primitive-style pottery.
Bargaining is customary in street markets and smaller shops so make sure you haggle, taking care to remain polite at all times. The rue Didouche Mourad is the best shopping street in Algiers; here you’ll find small independent boutiques lining the historic street. There are two state-run craft centres with fixed prices., one of which is located at Algiers airport.
Sat-Thurs 0900-1200 and 1400-1900. Some shops open on Fridays.
Nightlife in Algeria
Algeria’s nightlife won’t be the main reason you’re coming here, but there should be enough options to keep most visitors happy. The main towns of Algiers and Oran offer reasonable options for entertainment, and many hotels will have their own on-site entertainment, such as nightclubs, catering for revellers after a good time. In Algiers, the scene there are a couple of tourist hangouts – Zeralda, and Sidi Fredj – where clubs cater to party animals who want to let their hair down. Bear in mind that much of Algeria’s nightlife is aimed at men, with women rather less visible in the clubs and bars. Otherwise, try Rue Larbi M’Hidi, a pedestrianised area that’s quite popular with tourists. If you prefer something a little more sedate, some cinemas show foreign films.
Strict laws around sale of alcohol mean that it’s expensive to drink, whilst many traditional bars have closed down due to the negative effect on business of having liquor licences withdrawn.