Capital | Algiers
Area | 2,381,740 sq km
Official language | Arabic
Holidays | Revolution Day, 1 November (1954), Ramadan
Currency | Algerian dinars (DZD)
Time Zone | UTC+1
Best time to visit | March to April or October to November, Sahara temperatures can be ferocious in the summer months.
Connecting with the Culture | Taking in the views over Algiers from the edge of the medina. Exploring the exceptional Roman ruins at Timgad. Drinking the sweetest water of the Sahara, specific to the oases town of El-Golea. Shopping for carpets amid the bustle of the daily market in Ghardaia. Catching a sunrise in the scenic mountains of Assekrem. Enjoying magic moonlit views over the salt late at Timimoun.
Read | `Between Sea and Sahara: An Algerian Journal’, by Eugene Fromentin, Blake Robinson and Valeria Crlando, a mix of travel writing and history; or `Nedjima’ by the Algerian writer Kateb Yacine, an autobiographical account of childhood, love and Algerian history.
Listen | Algeria The Diwan of Biskra, a collection of traditional Algerian rythyms.
Watch | Brigitte Rouan’s Outremer (Overseas), a story of revolution and the social change that disrupts the priviledged life of three sisters in Frenchcolonial Algeria.
Eat | Chickpea fritters, coucous in both savoury and sweet dishes, and lamb tajine spiced with cinnamon.
Drink | Rejuvenating fresh mint tea or robust Turkish coffee.
In a word | Marhaba or salam (hello)
Characteristics | Sand dunes, the Atlas Mountains, Berber people and traditions, magnificent views; searing heat; colorful carpets; mosques, breathtaking scenery, desert nomads, Tuareg swords, the old quarter in Algiers.
Surprises| The museum overflowing with mosaics at Djemila, soft drinks made from the inescapable salty water at In Salah.