Algeria - Desert and History
Algeria - Desert and History
Explore the history and culture of Algeria, with French charm and influences ranging from the Romans and the Turkish, through to the older, indigenous culture of the Berbers. On this tour we visit the desert oasis of Taghit, the urban delights of Oran with its Spanish air and fascinating Constantine with its bridges and medina. The undisputed highlights of this small group tour though, are the Roman remains, Ottoman palaces, stunning desert and beautiful scenery.
Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●○○ | Culture ●●●●● | History ●●●●● | Wildlife ●○○○○
- Discover Algiers and its famous casbah
- Visit the desert oasis of Taghit and uncover a way of life that has changed little in centuries
- Explore Oran and Tlemcen with their Andalusian and Ottoman heritage
Accommodation: Mix of comfortable hotels and traditional guesthouses
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum 12
Start Point: Algiers
End Point: Algiers
Tour Itinerary Notes
While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.
Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.
Day 1 – Algiers
Arrive in Algiers and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Algiers including the Place des Martyrs and the neo-Moorish ‘Grande Poste’ building. Overnight ST Hotel or similar, Algiers
Day 2 – Tipasa
Today we head out of the capital to Tipasa, home to an amazing collection of archaeological remains. We visit the ‘Tomb of the Christian’, believed to date back to the 3rd century BC and belonging to the Numidian people. We also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a fantastic collection of Roman ruins overlooking the sea, including villas and an ancient amphitheatre. Overnight ST Hotel or similar, Algiers (BL)
Seventy kilometres west of Algiers lies Tipasa, a pleasant enough town in its own right, but better known for its collection of ancient ruins. The Roman ruins at Tipasa are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and include many different structures – there are three ancient churches, the remains of an old port, an amphitheatre and villas, some of which contain some splendid mosaics. Further afield near Sidi Rachid lies the ‘Tomb of the Christian’ or Qabr er Rumia, thought to be a tomb for Numidian Berber kings dating back to the 3rd or 4th century BC. It is also rumoured that the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is buried here. Built on a hill it consists of a circular building with a pyramid on top, and is one of the most interesting sites in Algeria.
Day 3 – Algiers - Constantine
We continue to delve deeper into Algiers, including a visit to the world class Bardo Museum, housed in a neo-Moorish villa. We will also explore the unique Casbah, an outstanding example of an historic Maghreb city, and one of the most enigmatic places in Algiers. We will eat lunch in a local house and visit a mosque inside the Casbah. Later in the day we will take a flight to Constantine. Overnight Hotel Ibis or similar (BL)
Located on a steep ravine, high above the Rhumel Gorge, Constantine is the third largest city in Algeria and a well- known centre of learning. Originally a Numidian settlement it was destroyed in 311 BC, before being re-built in 313 BC on the orders of Emperor Constantine, and named after him. The city came under Ottoman rule in 1529 from when it thrived and grew before falling to the French in 1837. Today the bridges are the main attraction, spanning the gorge and offering spectacular views, and they alone are reason enough to visit Constantine
Day 4 – Timgad
Today we head south stopping first at Medracen, the Tomb of the Numidian Kings, before continuing on to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Timgad. Witness the huge library, colonnaded streets, temples, amphitheatre, the arch of Trajan, and the basilica. In addition we will visit the Roman ruins of Lambaesis before returning to Constantine. Overnight Hotel Ibis or similar. (BL)
The Roman town of Timgad was founded in the 1st century AD and prospered until the 7th century, when it was overrun by the Byzantines, before being destroyed by Arab invaders. Among the remains that can still be seen are an amphitheatre, Roman baths, temples, a Byzantine fortress and the Arch of Trajan; Timgad was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.
Day 5 – Constantine
This morning we will begin to explore Constantine starting with the museum and the Palace of Ahmed Bey. We will then travel 30kms north to visit the compact Roman site of Tiddis and later return to Constantine to view the suspension bridge and Casbah. Overnight Hotel Ibis or similar. (BLD)
Day 6 – Djemila
A full day excursion to the well preserved UNESCO World Heritage site of Djemila and the ancient garrison of Cuicul. We will see the forum, temples, basilicas, triumphal arches and museum followed by a visit to Sétif and the archaeological museum with splendid Bacchus mosaics. Later that day we continue to Algiers. Overnight ST Telemly Hotel or similar (BL)
The well preserved Roman ruins of Djemila, meaning “beautiful”, are the remains of the city of Cuicul which was built in the 1st century BC as a garrison, and grew to become an important trading market. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries the city was abandoned, and although it was never reoccupied, it was renamed Djemila by the Muslim inhabitants of the region. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, in respect of its unusual mountain setting, the public baths, fountain, forum, arch of Caracalla, basilica and theatre are among the structures that can still be seen.
Day 7 – Bechar / Taghit
Today we fly south-west to Bechar, and continue onward by road to the oasis town of Taghit, one of the most beautiful in the Algerian Sahara. Depending on our time of arrival we may have time to explore. Overnight El Bordj guesthouse or similar (BLD)
Day 8 – Taghit
We spend the whole day exploring on foot the ksar and the old town, with its mud brick houses and winding streets, dominated by the dunes of the Grand Erg Occidental towering above. Overnight El Bordj guesthouse or similar.(BLD)
Day 9 – Taghit – Tlemcen
A long day of driving takes us from Taghit to Tlemcen, once an important town, which contains a superb collection of historic buildings. Overnight Hotel Residence Pomaria or similar. (BLD)
Surrounded by hills, the town of Tlemcen has an illustrious past and in its heyday was one of the most important cities of North Africa. Today a university city, it was first settled by Romans in the 4th century but rose to prominence in the 11th century under the Almoravid dynasty who held sway over much of the region including Morocco. As with many coastal towns it provided an important conduit for trade between Africa and Europe, with slaves, gold and other goods from south of the Sahara being traded here. It was also home to a large Jewish population, although none remain now. The city contains an imposing fortress known as the Mechouar as well as a collection of ancient mosques and tombs and is a fairly relaxed place to walk around and explore.
Day 10 – Tlemcen – Oran
This morning we explore the important sites of Tlemcen including the Grand Mosque, one of the most important Islamic buildings in North Africa, the ruins of 13th century Mansourah and the tomb of Sidi Boumedienne. This afternoon we drive along the coast to Oran, Algeria’s second city. We spend time exploring the city including the Bey’s Palace and the 18th century Grand Mosque. Overnight Hotel Ibis or similar, Oran (BL)
Day 11 – Oran - Algiers
We continue our exploration of Oran including the colonial era theatre and the picturesque Santa Cruz area with its pretty church and fortress, with great views over the whole of the city. Later we take the bus back to Algiers. Overnight ST Hotel or similar, Algiers (BL)
Day 12 – Departure
Today is at leisure until the time comes to transfer to the airport for your international flight. (B)
Arrival and departure transfers
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Any airport taxes