Is Algeria safe to visit? I’m going to go into this all in my guide!
Sitting in the heart of North Africa – and the continent’s largest country – Algeria remains relatively undiscovered by tourist crowds outside of Africa and the Middle East.
The country’s been through ups and downs, including a brutal fight with the French for independence, a civil war lasting from 1989 to 1999 and anxiety about repercussions during the Arab Spring (although these were largely avoided).
But nowadays, it’s a mainly safe, inviting country that’s getting easier and easier to travel to!
I spent ten days in this North African country in September 2023, and I’ve compiled my thoughts about Algeria travel safety in this post!
Is Algeria safe?
When I was with my partner or with our tour group, Algeria felt completely safe to travel around.
The only caveat is that I spent a few days in Algeria as a solo female, and while I wouldn’t say I felt unsafe at any time, there were a couple of incidents that made me feel uncomfortable.
I’ll go into solo female traveller safety a little more later in the post!
Other than that, as an experienced traveller I felt totally fine walking around as a couple or group, the traffic was a lot less hectic than in places like Cairo or Bangkok, nobody on my trip got sick from the food and all the locals I chatted to stressed how safe it was.
And people were, on the whole, exceptionally friendly and welcoming.
Arriving in Algeria
I actually arrived in Algeria by boat, which was a fantastic way to enter the country!
The boat departed Marseille and was run by the French company Corsica Linea (they also operate ferries to Tunisia).
I had my own cabin on the boat (which I paid an extra 100 euros for) and found it an enjoyable and safe way to enter North Africa.
99% of the other passengers on the boat were Algerian, so it gave me a great introduction to the country.
Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, one man who spoke English made sure he found me at immigration to see if I needed any help and I practiced my French with a lady whom I met in the cafe.
Crossing the border
The Algerian visa isn’t the easiest to obtain, but the fact that it had all been pre-authorised meant that crossing the border was relatively hassle-free.
The local English-speaking man whom I’d met on the boat helped me out with translating the arrivals form (which is only in French and Arabic) and stuck around in case I needed any help with the immigration official, which was very kind of him.
The immigration officer didn’t need too much information – just the full address of where I was staying that night, which I duly provided.
Other than that, he stamped me in and welcomed me to Algiera!
At customs, my bags were scanned but not searched – they can be funny about things like binoculars (someone on my tour had hers confiscated) and specific camera lenses. If you have anything confiscated, it’ll be kept at your place of entry and you can pick it up when leaving.
Obviously, this could cause issues if you’re entering and exiting at different points, like I was – so if that’s the case, don’t take anything that could be confiscated!
Port (or airport) to the hotel
I’d recommend arranging a port/ airport pick-up when you first arrive in Algeria.
I do this for most places that don’t have an easy public transport network, simply because having someone waiting for me (preferably with a card with my name on it!) is a hassle-free way of entering the country!
I’m going to be recommending Fancy Yellow Algeria a few times in this article for a good reason – they were fantastic.
If you don’t have a pick-up arranged already, I’d recommend getting in contact with them at [email protected] and they should be able to help you out.
Omar and Islam both speak fluent English and are really helpful.
Another thing I’d recommend is having data when you first arrive in Algeria. I didn’t and had to ask two separate people to hotspot so I could contact my driver!
(They were waiting in the right place but I didn’t know where the exit of the port was).
If you don’t have an international data plan that covers Algeria, you can download an e-SIM with Airalo.
They are more expensive than local SIMs, but you can just buy a GB of data to get you started so you have signal as soon as you arrive.
My experience in Algeria as a solo female traveller
As I wanted to take the boat to Algeria and my partner was on a trip to Tunisia before meeting me there, I spent a few days in Algeria as a solo female.
I’m going to write a full blog post about my few days as a solo female traveller in Algeria – but generally, while it didn’t feel dangerous I did feel a little uncomfortable at times.
For starters, I’ll mention that as a solo woman in a country I knew little about, my danger sensors were up. Therefore, I may have interpreted some situations as “dangerous” when they weren’t.
The first day when I was walking around, a few men said some things to me that I didn’t understand (they were either talking in Arabic or French beyond my comprehension!). This could have been “Welcome to Algeria” or something equally friendly, but I wasn’t keen on starting conversations with random men on the street so I always walked speedily past them.
It must also be mentioned that no random women started talking to me!
On one occasion, a man followed me for about 100 metres, talking to me. I kept walking away and he eventually stopped.
On a couple of other occasions, men said things while hanging out their car window, and then stopped their cars. I’m not sure if they were waiting for me to walk past, or it could have been coincidental – on both occasions, I turned around and walked in the other direction!
I also experienced a moderate amount of catcalling in the centre of Algiers.
I must stress that this all took place only while walking on the streets.
In every cafe, and restaurant, on the boat from Marseille to Algiers (which I took as a solo female traveller) and in the hotel, all men I spoke to were kind, helpful and respectful.
So, is Algeria safe for solo female travellers?
Because I only stuck to busy areas in the daytime, I did feel safe when in Algeria as a solo woman traveller.
BUT I wouldn’t have gone out at night time and after experiencing the man following me for 100 metres I avoided quiet areas.
Some other precautions I took while in Algeria alone were:
- I totally covered my arms and legs.
- On one walk I wore a headscarf, which stopped me from standing out a little.
- I organised a day trip with a reputable travel agency (Fancy Yellow).
- I stayed in a large, secure hotel.
Overall, I’d say that you could travel solo as a female in Algeria if you are an experienced traveller, but I’d recommend booking local guides and carefully vetting hotels.
Algeria as a couple/ group
When I walked around Algeria with my partner or with the tour group, I felt completely safe and at ease.
We did attract a little attention, but it was much more “friendly” attention than the vibes I got from some men when I walked around alone (which is sad that it is that way, but unfortunately at the moment it is).
People would welcome us to Algeria, ask where we were from and check if we needed any help.
As a group, we stood out even more, and it was clear we had local guides.
Terrorism risk in Algeria
Sadly, North Africa and the Middle East have reputations for being “dangerous” places due to a perceived risk of terror.
While there is a slight risk of terror in Algeria, there is pretty much anywhere in the world these days.
In fact, even the Gov.UK website says “indiscriminate attacks are not common”.
There were a couple of explosions in non-touristy areas in 2021 that killed eight civilians in total.
Apart from these, all attacks in recent years have been military-focused and the victims have been soldiers.
To me, the statistics seemed to be on about the same level as those for many places in Western Europe.
Is the desert in Algeria safe?
Venture to the desert, and you’ll probably need a police escort.
This can sound a little intimidating, but it’s more to make sure that you don’t wander off into any areas that you’re not supposed to be in.
The desert is largely very safe – the only areas that Gov.UK recommends you don’t go to are border regions.
Scams in Algeria
I didn’t find Algeria to be particularly “scammy”; other places I’ve visited like Egypt, Vietnam and Mexico had much more elaborate scams!
We walked around the Kasbah (old city) of Algiers, where there are lots of market stalls, without feeling pressured at all by the stallholders and it was very rare that we had people approach us offering us goods or services, aside from asking if we wanted a taxi.
The majority of the time we were with our groups, but we also found this when walking around independently.
Driving safety in Algeria
Algiers’s traffic was a lot more chilled out than other places as well!
While it could be a bit hectic at rush hour, horns were more something we occasionally heard rather than a constant rhythm of the city.
Cars usually stopped when crossing the road, and police were often enforcing traffic at busy intersections.
The traffic is going to be a bit of a contrast if you’re coming from a rural location, but compared to many other cities in the region, it was really quite chilled out!
Are taxis safe in Algiers?
I read reports before visiting about not hailing taxis on the street due to high prices. Instead, there’s a taxi app, Yassir, which works like Uber and was highly recommended.
Food and drink safety in Algeria
I’m vegetarian, so avoided the meat in Algeria (I usually had some variation of vegetables and rice, or we dined at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Algiers, Arabesque, that sold hummus and falafel – highly recommend if you’re in the city!).
I didn’t have any issues with diarrhoea or stomach trouble, except I did feel quite bloated due to the amount of bread I was eating.
As far as I know, nobody on my trip had any real stomach issues.
Don’t drink the tap water, though. Some sources actually point to Algiers’ tap water being okay, but others say not to.
To be on the safe side, I’d recommend avoiding and sticking to either bottled water or using a water filtration system. I’ve used and recommend Water to Go bottles.
Do I need vaccinations for Algeria?
There aren’t any particular vaccinations recommended for travel to Algeria – its Mediterranean/ arid climate means that it doesn’t have any of the tropical diseases you’ll find in countries further south.
I didn’t get bitten by a single mosquito when I was there!
However, you might want to make sure you’re updated on vaccinations like tetanus, typhoid and hep A and B before travelling.
Rabies, while not common, is present in Algeria, so you might want to get rabies jabs too (I’ve personally had mine, but I regularly travel to countries where rabies is present).
So, is Algeria safe?
For me, Algeria felt very safe, apart from the slight amount of unwanted attention I experienced when I was walking around.
Of course, things could always happen anywhere, but I generally felt very relaxed when with my partner or the group.
Plus, it’s definitely doable for experienced solo female travellers, but there’s slightly more to consider!
Feel free to drop me a comment or reach out on Instagram if you have any questions!