If you’re looking for a spectacular travel destination that’s barely been touched by tourism, Algeria is the place to go. Part Africa and part Europe, its vastness (it’s the second largest country in Africa) means that even at its most compelling sights, there aren't many crowds. Whether you’re exploring Roman ruins, shopping the souk in Algiers, or eyeing the incredible landscapes of the Sahara, you’ll find few other tourists—and plenty of curious, friendly, and welcoming Algerians.
Algiers, the capital, is packed with Ottoman palaces and ancient minarets, modernist buildings and shaded cafes. It’s a place where you can spend a few days wandering through the medina and drinking coffee or feasting on grilled lamb and strolling along the seafront. Its whitewashed colonial buildings are stunning, its wide boulevards date back to the French occupation, and its flower-filled streets lead down to the bright blue Bay of Algiers.
If you’re the kind of person who spreads your towel as far from other beachgoers as possible, then Algeria’s beaches are for you. Deserted, gorgeous, and immense, these are the beaches people dream about when they’re working at the office. Be sure to take plenty of photos.
Outside Algiers, mountains, deserts, and coasts are all waiting to be explored. The Sahara alone is a reason to visit Algeria, with its enormous sand dunes, canyons, and stone forests and its remarkable collection of prehistoric cave art. Many travel companies run tours that last a week or more.
Check out Timgad, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was buried under a meter of sand for hundreds of years. The sand helped preserve a Roman military colony, a grid of streets populated with a triumphal arch, a theater, baths, a library, and more. It’s not hard to imagine the streets thronging with Roman soldiers, although today the site feels completely isolated and almost ghostly.