Algeria - Desert and History

Algeria - Desert and History

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 12 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


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.

Algeria is a developing country which still has an image problem, and it receives few tourists, unlike its near neighbour Morocco. Visitors will not find the souks and markets that prevail in Morocco but this said Algeria is a marvellous country to visit with many fascinating sites and places of interest, and genuinely welcoming and hospitable people.

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●○○ | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●●●● | Wildlife ●○○○○

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights

  • 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 with its Andalusian and Ottoman heritage
  • Marvel at the well preserved Roman ruins many of which are in fabulous locations.

Accommodation: Comfortable hotels (see under "Important Information")
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
Transport: Minivan
Countries: Algeria

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.

Tour Guide

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 your hotel. Embark on an afternoon sightseeing tour of the city including  the Martyrs Memorial, the Basilica Notre Dame d'Afrique and a drive through the city centre. Overnight at ST Hotel or similar

Day 2 – Tipasa (47 miles, approx 1 hour in each direction)

Today we head out of the capital to Tipasa, home to an amazing collection of archaeological remains.On the way we visit the ‘Tomb of the Christian’, believed to date back to the 3rd century BC, and belonging to the Numidian people. We continue on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tipasa, a fantastic collection of Roman ruins overlooking the sea, including villas and an ancient amphitheatre. Overnight at ST Hotel or similar, Algiers (BL)

"The Tomb of the Christian"

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 overlooking the plains below, it consists of a circular building topped with a pyramid, and is one of the most interesting sites in Algeria.


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 still contain original mosaics.

Day 3 – Algiers - Constantine (1 hour flight)

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 at Ibis 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 (88 miles, approx 2 hours 15mins in each direction)

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 at Ibis Hotel 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- Tiddis (19 miles, approx 40 mins in each direction)

This morning we will begin to explore Constantine starting with the museum and the Palace of Ahmed Bey. We will then travel north to visit the compact Roman site of Tiddis and later return to Constantine to view the bridges spanning the Rhumel Gorge and the Casbah. Overnight at Ibis Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 6 – Djemila- Setif- Algiers (Total travel 277 miles, approx 5 hours 45 mins)

A full day excursion to the well preserved UNESCO World Heritage site of Djemila and the ancient garrison of Cuicu in their mountain setting. We will see the forum, temples, basilicas, triumphal arches and museum followed by a visit to the archaeological museum with splendid Bacchus mosaics. Later that day we continue to Algiers. Overnight at ST 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 – Algiers- Bechar (2 hours 15 mins flight) Bechar -Taghit (58 miles, approx 1 hour 20 mins)

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 at Saoura Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 – Taghit

We spend the day visiting the rock paintings at "the end of the road" and 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 at Saoura Hotel or similar.(BLD)

Day 9 – Taghit – Tlemcen (342 miles, approx 8 hours 30 mins)

A long day of driving takes us from Taghit to Tlemcen, once an important town, which contains a superb collection of historic buildings and has a distinct French flavour. Overnight at Ibis Hotel 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 (121 miles, approx 2 hours 15 mins)

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 the 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 at Ibis Hotel or similar, Oran (BL)

Day 11 – Oran - Algiers (256 miles, approx 4 hours 30 mins)

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 drive back to Algiers. Overnight at 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)

Please read the information under "Security" in the Notes section.

Arrival and departure transfers
Transport throughout with internal flights as mentioned in the itinerary.
All accommodation
Services of English speaking guide.
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance

Updated 06/08/2018