Destination Guide: Algiers
Palace museums, handicrafts and prayer calls
Explore Algiers’ warren of alleys in the old kasbah before shopping for Algerian crafts, feasting on bowls of fragrant couscous and taking in the city’s impressive museums and lush gardens.
Fresh local fish and traditional flavours. To enjoy a spit-roast lamb méchoui and couscous, book a table at the out-of-town Auberge du Moulin, Algiers’ top restaurant. For a relaxed dinner of grilled Algerian sardines, the city’s famous fish restaurants are found on the Rampe de la Pécherie, below the kasbah.
Absorb art and archaeology, or wander shady gardens. To discover Algerian culture, start the day with a guided walk around the steep kasbah quarter, a UNESCO world heritage site with its Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. Then view the ethnographic exhibits in Algiers’ sumptuous Bardo Palace Museum. Seek blissful midday shade in the rambling Jardin d’Essai botanical gardens, before devoting some time to the diverse collection of European and Algerian paintings in the Fine Arts Museum.
Browse at ease and pick up a bargain. Algiers’ best shopping streets are tucked around the University area – Rue Larbi Ben M’hidi, Rue Didouche Mourad and Boulevard Mohamed V. Fair, fixed prices are the norm for beautifully worked silver jewellery, Algerian rugs in brilliant, geometric designs, leather, pottery and wood carvings.
Find a hotel terrace bar with a view or explore local haunts. Wealthy Algerians and diplomats frequent the Dey Bar of the historic El Djazaïr Hotel. The Hilton’s Kantara club hosts live Algerian raï music, best enjoyed along with an ice-cold, locally brewed Tango beer. For something a little more casual, head towards the university and sample Algerian tea and shisha pipes in old-style cafés to the sound of the muezzin’s last prayer call.