Is it Safe to Travel to Algeria? (The Full Guide for Tourists)

Constantine Bridge

As travel enthusiasts, we understand the value of exploring lesser-known destinations and uncovering hidden gems. Algeria is one of those unseen travel destinations. However, most people will never see it due to fears and safety concerns. In this article, we’ll address that question on many people’s minds: is it safe to visit Algeria? Here’s our full guide on Algeria’s risks, and how to plan your trip safely.

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Note: This article is intended to inform travelers about safety in Algeria. We do not guarantee the safety of any travel, and all travelers should exercise caution and use their own judgment when making travel decisions.

When night falls in downtown Algieris, is it safe to travel?

Safety in Algeria

Even though that most travel to Algeria is safe, there are still risks you should consider before your adventure. Compared to any of the ‘top tourist destinations’, Algeria has more safety risks. Here are the facts and dangers you should know.

The Bad News: Crime and Terrorism

First and foremost, Algeria does not have the best nor worst record of crime. Statista’s Crime Index grades Algeria a 53.82 on safety, which is not exactly a good score (but not necessarily terrible either). Travelers need to be more cautious there, especially in unlit and non-touristy areas.

The most likely trouble you’d encounter is petty crime or scams. False money exchanges are a common scam in cities. Do not exchange money from unofficial dealers, even if they offer a better rate. Keep an eye on your valuables and don’t go anywhere without your tour guide!

two algeria police motorcycles
An Algerian roadside checkpoint to cut down on smuggling

For most travelers, the most significant concern to consider about Algeria are threats of terrorism and kidnapping. Unforeseeable incidents like these happen more in Algeria than in other destination countries. Algeria has had a complex history of war and violence, most notably in the 90s. Although terror has declined significantly since then, there remains a small (but still real) risk of violence.

According to the US State Department, ISIS and AQIM Terrorist groups are still active along Algeria’s Southern border near Tamanrasset.

For this reason, many countries (including the USA, Canada, and UK) advise increased caution when traveling to Algeria. Before you purchase a tour, check your home country’s advisories on travel to Algeria. Take safety seriously while you travel, especially if you feel you come from an ethnic or religious background that may be a higher risk.

Most countries advise against all travel to the Southern Border areas of Algeria.

Does all this mean you will be in great danger if you visit Algeria? Probably not. Most Algeria tours go very smoothly. Still, you should consider what a higher risk like this might mean for you. Travel always involves risks. Insurance can help mitigate a portion of expenses incurred if things go wrong, it won’t eliminate all risk, and likely won’t entirely reimburse every expense. Make sure to do your homework when choosing which travel insurance is right for you. We recommend reading our Guide on Travel Insurance for Visitors to North Africa for some of our recommendations. You can also consider third-party recommendations such as the SafetyWing Nomad Insurance Review.

The Good News: There is a Way!

If you’re considering traveling to Algeria, it’s no doubt important to take safety seriously. However, that doesn’t mean Algeria is off-limits to tourists! In fact, the majority of the country is safe to visit—and just waiting to be explored. There is a way to go to Algeria and be safe!

Over the past decade, the Algerian government has made significant progress in combatting crime and opening the country to tourism. This includes increased tourism industry oversight, required security escorts, and anti-terrorism forces. As a result, traveling to Algeria is comparably safe to other countries.

Algeria escorts lead ghardaia guide
Algerian police officers escort a tour group in Ghardaia

To most ensure your safety, it’s best to travel with a reputable tourism company. Experienced companies work in close communication with local authorities to arrange security escorts where appropriate. Plus, they are familiar with the safest and (most exciting) routes to take!

Of course, we’d hope you’d travel with us (Mosaic North Africa). We believe we have the best experience and on-the-ground knowledge in building adventures. And we do not plan any tours into locations that pose increased risk or discomfort to our clients. View our Algeria Tours here.

Keep reading to below Travel Safety Tips to learn more about staying safe practically as you travel in Algeria.

The above information was updated in April 2023. For the most up-to-date news on whether it is safe to visit Algeria, you should visit the Travel Advisory Pages of the following countries:

How to Travel Safe to Algeria

We hope the above sections have given you an idea of what dangers and safety look like in Algeria. Next, this section is intended to show you what travel looks like in practice. What are the best Travel Safety Tips in Algeria? What are the people like there? Where are the best places to visit?

Safety Tips for Travel to Algeria

From our years of experience living in and traveling North Africa, we’ve learned a thing or two about travel. Here are 9 quick tips on how to travel safely in Algeria.

  1. Know that traveling to Algeria is not for everyone. For various reasons, some groups may experience more discomfort or risk than others. Consider these questions:
  • Do you come from a background that puts you at higher risk? If you come from certain religious backgrounds, are LGBTQ, or are Moroccan, you may want to be more cautious about traveling to conservative areas.
  • What locations does your itinerary visit? Is your itinerary going to the Deep South? Are you comfortable with that? How has your agency prepared that leg of the tour?
  • Do you have a local guide who speaks the local language and knows the region? A good, local guide is a traveling essential anywhere you go. Having one can ensure you will be more comfortable and
  1. Stay informed. Keep up to date with the latest travel advisories and security alerts from your home country’s embassy.
  2. Never go out alone. If it doesn’t sound obvious enough, follow your itinerary and don’t leave your guide.  
  3. Travel with a reputable tourism company. We said it before, and we’ll say it again. You’ll be most comfortable if you are in good hands!
  4. Be cautious in crowded areas. Most petty crimes occur in crowded areas. So, keep your belongings close and avoid carrying large sums of money.
  5. Order travel insurance. All travel involves risk, but travel insurance can ensure you will be taken care of if anything were to go wrong.
  6. Avoid political demonstrations. Political demonstrations can be deemed illegal and turn violent.
  7. Be respectful of local customs and traditions. Algeria is a predominantly Muslim country, and it’s important to respect local customs and dress modestly.
  8. Stay in touch. Give someone at home your itinerary and stay in touch.
naomi algeria famlly tour oct 2022 - kids running on sahara dune
In some cases, you can bring your whole family to Algeria!

Algerian Friendliness and Hospitality

When the rubber meets the road, another key factor we’d like to mention is the friendliness of the local people towards foreigners. All this talk about security can give an incorrect impression that the people of Algeria are rude or violent. Even an amazing tour itinerary can be overshadowed by cultural coldness and rude service. However, this is not the case with Algerians.

The overwhelming feedback from our clients is positive. Tourists usually meet a warm welcome from the Algerian people. Locals feel honored that you came to visit and learn about their homeland. Some will even welcome foreigners into their homes for an authentic meal (if this ever happens to you and you have the flexibility, go!)

This isn’t to suggest that everybody is friendly—there are always a few rude individuals who see foreigners as arrogant and greedy. Sometimes your behavior can be perceived as disrespectful. This includes being disruptive or noisy or taking pictures of people without permission.

two desert guides in the Sunset
These Algerian desert guides are quite friendly!

On the other hand, there are a few things you can do to show respect to the community. For example, taking a learning attitude to ask questions about their history and culture goes a long way in honoring their home. Or, try learning the local language: Algerian Arabic. Any linguistic attempts are often met with delight!

Safe Destinations to Visit in Algeria

So, have you decided to visit Algeria yet? It is beautiful, peaceful, and just waiting to be explored. Here are a few of our favorite destinations in Algeria, all keeping in mind your question: is it safe to travel to Algeria?

The Big Cities, Algiers, Oran, and Constantine, are absolute must-sees whether you love culture or history. Dating back thousands of years, these cities have rich histories and beautiful Kasbahs. Plus, they are mixing pots of the dozens of people groups of Algeria

A French-looking street in Algiers, Algeria

Heads Up: By law, you will be joined by security escorts in most locations outside the major cities. This does not mean that a tour group is in immediate danger, but rather it is a precautionary measure that keeps travelers at ease. It’s a common practice across North Africa and helps to ensure your safety while traveling.

Algeria’s Roman Ruins are all over the place. By far, Algeria’s Roman sites are the most overlooked in the Mediterranean. Learn more by reading our article on the 7 most popular runs in Algeria.

Ghardaia is another great spot to visit. Located further North of the Sahara, Ghardaia’s ancient villages will give you a good feel for the sand without going all the way deep. Additionally, it is home to some of the most unique communities in the world: the Mozabites.

Travel to the Sahara Desert

This article cannot go without mentioning Algeria’s Great Sahara Desert. With rumors of terrorist groups and cayotes in the canyons, adding this leg to your tour can be nerve-racking. However, you can be free of anxiety, because in most cases, it is safe to travel to the deep South of Algeria.

From our experience, the guides that lead tours into the Sahara are nothing like the renegade cowboys of Western TV shows. Today’s tours are well-thought-out and led by experienced local guides. Our tough, local Tuareg guides know the desert as their home. They know the routes, the weather, and the wildlife.

If it is safe to travel to the Algeria Sahara, then you can have peace of mind watching the sunset
If it is safe to travel to the Algeria Sahara, then you can have peace of mind watching the sunset

Additionally, the strong military presence in Tassili N’ajjer National Park (Algeria’s protected Sahara) eases many concerns about being too far from any authority or help. We work in cooperation with local authorities to ensure our clients are taken care of.

We’ve built our Southern tours to be as smooth as possible for you. As our guides drive you from location to location, your cooking and camping will be arranged. More likely, instead of worrying about some unknown threat, you will be too distracted by the incredible beauty of the Sahara. You’ll be getting up-close ancient cave drawings by day and camping under the stars by night.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Algeria is a country worth visiting despite the risks. While the country does face challenges like crime and terrorism, there are ways to mitigate these risks and enjoy a safe trip. With the help of a reputable tourism company, security escorts, and careful planning, travelers can enjoy the beauty of Algeria without fear.

We hope our guide has been informative and helpful in your travel planning process. We have a team of travel experts who would love to assist you in making your dream adventure happen. Don’t wait too long, contact us today!

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