Ancient ruins in Tipaza on Algerian Mediterranean coast give witness to past glories of the Roman Empire. One day trip from Algiers to Tipaza will make you discover a history of “the city of Gods“, as called by the philosopher Albert Camus.
One day trip from Algiers to Tipaza
The hotels will try to sell you one day trip from Algiers to Tipaza. Algeria is not an expensive country. However, be aware that you will pay 10 times more than if you just go by yourself. It’s easy to take a bus from Algiers to Tipaza directly. Why not having a bit of adventure and skip the taxi?
Safety in Algeria can be a very misleading topic. Knowledge about the country is little, and tourists are often afraid to come due to what they’ve heard. Belive me, it’s possible to travel in Algeria without organised tour! In the end of this article, I will tell you how to get from Algiers to Tipaza and you will see how easy it is. Now let’s see the marvellous complex of Tipaza ruins and fall in love with this city of Gods!
Roman heritage in Algeria – Tipaza
Ancient ruins in Tipaza offer the opportunity to discover history of civilisations as well as the close relationship between the North Africa and the Roman Empire. Tipaza is on the UNESCO heritage list together with other ancient Roman cities in Algeria like Timgad or Djemila. As ruins in Tipaza are close to Algiers, they are the most popular to visit by tourists. You can meet some foreigners there as well as plenty of locals having a bath in the sea near ruins.
Set on three small hills the ruins of the ancient Roman city overlook the Mediterranean Sea. On the archeological site you will see theatre, amphitheatre, basilicas, villas and forums, avenues, baths and fountains. It’s a nice walk discovering the ruins with a great view on the sea.
Ticket costs 100da, which is ~$0.50. In front of the entrance there are plenty of souvenirs stands.
Tipaza & Camus
Albert Camus loved Algeria and mentions in his writing Roman ruins in Tipaza, as well as his time in Oran. Close to the cliffs stands a headstone with the quotations from one of the books of Camus Nuptials. It says: “Here, I understand this thing they call glory: the right to love without measure.”
Camus says “Tipaza is inhabited by the gods;” And that the gods speak in the sun, in the silver armor of the sea, in the raw blue sky, the flowers covered the ruins. Ancient ruins in Tipaza were conquered by Phoenicians, Romans, Ottomans… Nonetheless, the sun still shines from the raw blue sky over the ruins, and it’s easy to believe the gods still live here.
Royal Mausoleum of Mauritania – the Kbor er Roumia
The most interesting monument from the ancient ruins is not in the Tipaza archeological site. The Kbor er Roumia or the great Royal Mausoleum of Mauritania is 18 km from Tipaza in the little village Sidi Rachid.
The Kbor er Roumia houses the tomb of Juba, the Berber King and Cleopatra Selene II. This impressive tomb from 3 BC truly reminds the piramids in Egipt. No wonder why, princess Cleopatra was daughter of the Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman Mark Antony. Mausoleum is also called The Tomb of a Christian woman.
When I read that Ottomans were trying to destroy the tomb with artillery and French Navy used it as a target practise, I am actually surprised it’s still standing. Unfortunately, as most of the monuments in Algeria, the tomb was a victim of vandalism. Even quite recently kids could still jump on and climb to the top to throw down the stones. Royal Mausoleum of Mauritania lost 8 m. in height and 60 Ionic columns around. UNESCO protects the mausoleum only since 2002. You wonder what is inside? The door is closed and people say that no body was ever found here…
I loved the view from behind the tomb. This peaceful place has a little stand with Algerian tea and tiny table in the shade of the tree. The ticket to the mausoleum costs 100da which is around $0.50. In front of the gate there is a little souvenirs stand.
How to get from Algiers to Tipaza?
Tipaza is 70 km from Algiers which takes 1-1,5 hours by car or bus. To get there you can try hitch-hiking or take a bus from Tafourah bus station in Algiers for 80-100da. From the bus terminal in Tipaza take a local bus to the ancient ruins (Tipaza Ruines Romanes – in French). It should take another 15 min and cost ~25da.
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to The Tomb of the Christian Woman. Therefore, you can take a taxi from Tipaza (~600da) or better Yassir – mobile app – Algerian equivalent to Uber.
One day trip from Algiers to Tipaza is a must-see, when you have just a few days in Algeria. I bet you will love it. I was surprised how many ancient ruins are in Algeria. Some of them in really great condition. The most impressive were these in Timgad, close to Constantine. Interested in seeing ancient Roman-period ruins in Timgad?
Happy travels around Algeria!