Safety in Algeria – all you need to know before going to Algeria part 2 44


Talking about safety in Algeria, I have to admit that the knowledge about this country abroad is very little, often outdated. If you Google safety in Algeria, you may find only information about terrorism, kidnaping, discrimination of women and overall, that better not to go there. In this article I will try to clarify which aspects you should be concern about, before traveling to Algeria.Solo travel to Algeria. Girl traveling alone in Algeria. Safety in Algeria.

Terrorism in Algeria

How can people be not scared to come to Algeria if the last media news most of the them had about this country, is the terrorism in 90′. Back than Algerian terrorist groups have been trying to overthrow the Algerian government. Algeria was into a serious civil war. Of course, media didn’t say that it finished a long time ago.

Terrorism in Algeria does exist. However, the terrorist groups concentrate on borders with Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger. These are absolutely no-go zones in Algeria. Terrorist activities are also in some remote areas of the south of the country, in the Sahara Desert.

Kidnapping in Algeria does exist too and can happen in these dangerous zones. Terrorist attacks have focussed on the Algerian state, but attacks can include foreigners.

Should this scare you? Of course, not. Remember that Algeria is a huge country, the biggest in Africa. These areas are far from all touristic attractions, and the Sahara Desert is huge. Borders with these countries aren’t open anyway, so why would you go there? While visiting Algeria you will be very far from those zones and there is no way you will ever get there. A similar situation, with misleading informations about safety people have about Iran, due to the lack of information. Traveling in Iran is safe as long as you don’t go near the border with Pakistan or Afghanistan, where terrorist group may appear.

Washing powder algeria isis safety in algeria terrorism. Terrorism in Algeria.

Washing powder in Algeria with an original name…

Where not to go in Algeria

Kasbah algiers narrow streets staircase. Old woman in traditional costiume of Algeria.First of all, the borders area with Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, which are the most dangerous. Secondly, some remote or mountains areas, far from cities, may be dangerous. Going to the Sahara is safe, as long as you know where to go. Tourists should rather follow the touristic path and visit places which are prepared for visitors.

Traveling on the North of Algeria is safe. I would advice skipping the night trains or buses, just in case. My friends got attacked in the night train in Algeria, when they were coming from Tunisia. Some group attacked them with a knife and wanted all money. The 3 boys spoke Arabic (they were from Tunisia) and managed to call for help. Police took a very good care of them and dealt with the bandits.

Where to go in Algeria?

Apart from above, you can go pretty much everywhere in Algeria. The border with Morocco is closed, you cannot cross by land. The area near to the border is safe. I went there to visit the historical city of Tlemcen. The North-west part of Algeria, close to the border with Morocco is very beautiful and worth visiting. The border with Tunisia is safe in the North, but may be dangerous on the south, close to the border with Libya.

Lastly, there may be some areas in the cities or regions which are considered not safe. As in many countries in the world, Algeria also has districts which have bad reputation. One of them is historical place in Algiers – The Kasbah. The old city has bad reputation as it was an area of the terrorist group back in 90′. Nowadays, this place is safe to visit by tourists, groups as well as individuals. However, do not go there at night. Narrow streets of the Kasbah of Algiers may be dangerous.

Safety in Algeria in general

Safety in Algeria is not an issue. The issue is lack of the current knowledge about it. Paris is the most visited by tourists city in the world. I bet everyone heard about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris or how dangerous it can be in some districts of the city or outskirts. And people still go there a lot! I wouldn’t say, traveling in Algeria is more dangerous than Paris. In Algeria – there are some dangerous areas, where you don’t go, but terrorist attacks finished a long time ago.

Police and gendarmerie forces are all around, they have zero tolerance when it comes to violence. What’s more, they take extra care of tourists and all foreigners, especially “Westerners”. Tourists are not even allowed to go to areas which are not protected.

How to stay safe in Algeria?

I didn’t feel in danger when traveling in Algeria. It’s one of those countries about which media talk only when some disaster happens. From my experience and knowledge, Algeria is relatively safe country for tourists.

In general, I can give advice to take safety precautions as you would take in many other countries. Try to stay on the track, don’t go to remote places you have no idea about. Don’t walk alone at night, especially in a dark and spooky places or neighbourhood you don’t know. Try to keep close your an eye on your belongings as pickpocketing is a common issue in Algeria.

Above all these general rules for staying safe in Algeria, I remind you that it’s a Muslim country. Try to respect the culture and beliefs.Black and white cat sleeping on street Algiers Algeria. How to stay safe in Algeria.

Girls traveling in Algeria

Here comes the topic of catcalling. If you have ever been to Egypt or Morocco, you know that North African nations are famous for catcalling. Except Tunisia, where catcalling was forbidden by law, as tourism became the main industry. Government understood that catcalling is something annoying and sometimes even scaring tourists. Tunisians can now spend one year in prison for catcalling.

In contrary, Algerians don’t realise that, and they are masters in catcalling. This depicts all women, not only tourists. One Algerian girl said, she gets even 20 comments per day while walking on the streets of Algiers. And she is one of those covering the hair, shoulders and legs. So what do they comment? Clothes, glasses, shoes, whatever visible. Just imagine how much catcalling the tourist can get!

This all changes when you walk with a man! Seriously! While even for a moment I walked alone I had the impression that suddenly all the men eyes are on me. And here the comments were starting…

When I posted on my Facebook complains about catcalling in Algeria, I had a feedback from Algerian men immediately. They asked what is my problem to complain, if while catcalling they are telling me only good things: that I am beautiful or sexy. Pfff…… Here comes again, the culture difference which so enormous, that it’s impossible to understand and convince.

Algerians! Don’t you guys understand it’s annoying and exhausting and makes difficult to have as positive experience in the country, as I could have? If you don’t understand, than good luck in picking up Algerian girls. Because in my opinion catcalling makes “Western” girls disgust rather than admired. Concusions?

I don’t recommend girls to travel alone in Algeria

Unfortunately, I have to say that I don’t recommend girls to travel alone in Algeria. I am not saying it’s impossible, I went there alone too. But I admit that I was all the time hanging out with locals. What I am trying to say is that, if you decide to go alone to Algeria, do it only if you have friends there, so you are sure you won’t have to move a lot by yourself. Again I repeat, I am not saying it’s impossible to do or to have a positive experience. But you will be chased by catcalling and put in a risk of unpleasant situations, if you travel alone.

Stunning view from the fort Oran Santa Cruz spanish fortification polish girl with yellow hat.

Fort Santa Cruz. Oran.

Is it dangerous for a woman in Algeria?

 Traditional clothes of the women in Sahara. Algeria.

Traditional clothes of the women in Sahara. Algeria.

I was in Algeria for few weeks and did not encounter any dangerous situation. Therefore, from my experience or what I have heard from the others, I cannot say Algeria is a dangerous country for women. I think the risk of being raped or attacked appears everywhere in the world, and I don’t have information if it’s significantly bigger in Algeria than in other places or not. If you have this kind of informations, please share in a comment.

Nonetheless, harassment in Algeria is something you can experience as a tourist, as seeing a “western girl” is not common. Especially, knowing how girls in the “Western culture” are shown in the video clips, MTV and damn American movies.

I got chased by one guy when I went to the public toilet on the bus station. This part of the station was completely empty, and I was even afraid he would come to the toilet after me. He wanted my phone number and kept following me. An Italian girl, traveling in Algeria at the same time as me, went out without her boyfriend only once, during the whole trip. Here is what happened. It was during the day, the man sticked to her in the metro. He was talking to her, making pictures of her face and kept following.

Algeria is a strict Muslim country. Most of the women in the country are covered with a veil. Therefore, seeing the “Western” girl will surely grab attention of men.

Women in Algeria should never walk alone when it’s dark. This might be understood as a provocation. I saw a women walking alone in the center of Algiers in the evening. She had shorts and top showing the shoulders. I didn’t find it weird as in my country, Poland, when the temperature is 30 degrees plus, we also wear tops and shorts and we don’t mind walking like that alone at night. What was weird, though, was that she was answering the catcalling. My friend explained, that she is a prostitute…

Dress code in Algeria

A girl twirling in Algerian botanical garden Algiers big old trees.

Botanical garden in Algiers.

Despite Algeria is quite conservative Muslim country, there are no government rules about the dress code. Unlike in Saudi Arabia or Iran where every woman has to cover hair and shoulders, no matter if she is a visitor or not. In Algeria, the dress code can be imposed by social rules, though. However, this does not depict tourists which can wear whatever they want. Every girl has to cover head and shoulders only in the religious places.

When I was in Algeria, I was trying to wear modest clothes as I have been told that it’s better for me. Even though it was the hottest part of the year, all my skirts or pants were long and I had t-shirts covering my shoulders. I recommend modest clothes just to pay less attention on the street.

It also depends in which part of Algeria you are. Oran is considered the most liberal city in the whole country and you can see that on the streets too. Because of the night life and liberal views, Oran is called the Paris of Algeria. Girls wear shorter skirts, as I noticed, and it’s generally accepted by society. However, I witnessed one was called a bitch on the street, wearing a knee long skirt. Another case, one Algerian girl (which was the only one wearing neckline blouses I have seen in the whole country) said that even though she lives in the so-called “most liberal city in Algeria” she heard many times these offensive comments. Going south of Algeria, it will be just more and more conservative.

The final conclusion would be: prepare clothes wisely, while packing to Algeria. Algerians will tell you that you can wear whatever you like. Because it’s true! However, you can witness unpleasant situations when you encounter someone who will not like your outfit. When traveling we have to respect other cultures, so I recommend to wear modest clothes and it’ll be fine. It’s more about your own comfort rather then a serious matter of safety in Algeria.

The dress code on the beaches in Algeria is liberal. Some girls wear bikini, some long pants and t-shirt, some are fully covered.

Crossing the street in Algeria

Kids playing football Kasbah Algiers, Algieria; destroyed neighbourhood dangeroud neighbourhood Algiers.

Street kids in Kasbah, Algiers.

Talking about safety in Algeria, the biggest worry you may have in the country can be crossing the streets. It may be a challenge, as the traffic is crazy. It wasn’t as bad as India, but still, if you are not used to, you better be very careful. One way to cross the street when you are scared is to close your eyes and just go! I am joking, guys. But I was doing that in Iran, while crossing with a local couch surfer. I just couldn’t stand seeing cars coming straight towards me, and stopping in the very last moment.

Now seriously, the first way to cross is easy – wait for the gap between cars or look for the traffic lights. In Algeria, that will not happen often and most of the times you will just have to cross in between the passing cars. The way to do it, is to make the eye contact with the driver and rise your hand like you would express “stop” and than cross the street. Try it out!

Showing affection in public

As Algeria is a Muslim country, expressive affection on the streets may not be socially accepted by some people. You can hold a hand of your partner, you can also hug in public, but kissing will grab a lot of attention. You won’t go to jail for being too expressive, as you might in Iran or countries of the Persian Gulf. In Algeria it’s not forbidden by law, but the more south you go, the more risk that you will get chased with swords appears. An Italian couple was admonished when they just hugged. The man found it disrespectful for Algerian culture.

Homosexuality is illegal in Algeria, and convictions can result in prison sentences for Algerians. However, if you don’t want to pay too much attention or hear insults, just in case, better don’t even hold hands.

All you need to know before going to Algeria

This article, about safety in Algeria is a second part of the survival guide on All you need to know before going to Algeria. Please, share your experiences from Algeria. Let’s make people see that this is not a terrorism filled nation and traveling in Algeria is possible without bigger risk then in most of the world.

Here, I would like to use one of my favorite travel quotes by Aldous Huxley: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” You must go and see Algeria with your own eyes to believe.Street market fruits vegetables old man in Algeira Algiers.

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44 thoughts on “Safety in Algeria – all you need to know before going to Algeria part 2

  • Sarah Wilson

    Really interesting post. I have never actually considered Algeria before. Having read your post though, I probably wouldn’t travel alone as I experienced a lot of hassle/catcalling etc when I travelled by myself in other parts of North Africa. But I love exploring places many wouldn’t consider, so I’m adding this to my list. Thank you

  • Ambica

    I don’t know a thing about Algeria. But your article is so articulate. Now, I actually feel like planning a trip to the country. You have made everyone aware as a tourist about the things they should do and not do.

  • amar singh

    There are some top tips here to travel to a beautiful destination which is avoided due to the political issues. I would love to travel and have avoided it due to the dangers and stories on the net and with kids even makes it more difficult. Guess you rightly said travel to safe areas and not wonder off. Clothing another top tip and interact with locals in an appropriate manner All these things make me think twice now.

  • Amy Chung

    What an informative post. North Africa is high on my ilst but as a family traveller with a yunr daughter in tow, I am just waiting for her to be a bit older before we venture to that part of the world. Very cool that Tunisia has made catcalling illegal! Must have been such a rampant problem that it took the government to step in!

    • Time Travel Bee Post author

      Well, it’s not a problem for locals, it’ a part of the culture, but it’s a problem for tourists, as they are getting scared. Tourism is a main industry in TUnisia therefore, the government banned catcalling, in Algeria there is no tourism, so nobody cares 😉

      • Kati

        Thank you for you for your article on Algeria (my country of origin). I hope you enjoyed most of your time while touring there and I’m sorry to hear about your catcalling experience which can be understandably frustrating. I just wanted to clarify that this issue of catcalling is not pleasant to local women either. They don’t accept it (at least most of them, me included) and they don’t like it at all. While living in the capital city Algiers for a few years, I experienced this issue myself, but I have to say you barely experience this (very rarely) if you go to Bejaia for example( Kabylie, the part of Algeria where I come from). And if you happen to be in some other parts of the country, Algiers for example, I advise women to walk around with someone (esp if it’s a male companion) which would reduce this issue dramatically.
        Welcome to Algeria anytime

  • Jen

    You’re entirely right that Algeria still has a bad reputation, even if they shouldn’t. It seems like, given the right locations, it’d be a fairly safe place to go, though some clear precautions would have to be made. I guess it all comes down to knowing and being prepared.

  • Soumya Gayatri

    This was a very informative post and quite an interesting read. I had no idea that there were no strict dress codes there, quite encouraging. My husband was in Algiers a decade ago for work and he managed to visit some ancient sites. After reading through your post, I would not consider doing it on my own though I really wish I could see Tlemcem in my life. Visa is also an issue for Indians which makes going there all the more difficult.

  • Abhinav Singh

    Very well written blog. The general perception is that Algeria is not safe. This has changed for me at least when I read your blog.You just have to be alert like you will be in any other country. The bit on catcalling was a bit unsettling though. The locals have accepted it as a part of the culture, but it can be so intimidating to the tourists, especially solo woman travelers!

  • Adrenaline

    Well, we don’t take heed on travel advisories unless the country is officially at war. Any country, city, town, etc. is as safe—or as dangerous—as everywhere. Hell, our country has been unfairly labeled as a haven for terrorists, but local and foreign tourists enjoy here. The locals thrive here. I think it’s “safety” is a relative term, and you can always increase your chance of safety if you use common sense and follow safety protocols.

  • Manjulika Pramod

    This is quite a detailed post about Algeria and it solves so many mysteries about it. Glad to know that it is safe for travellers in groups.
    Honestly, I had heard the same that it is unsafe. One has to be cautious in such places but why ignore them just because they have some strict rules and local problems to deal with. I think the bad reputation will die only when more and more travelers will venture out there and write about it. Great beginning!

  • Clarice Lao

    I totally agree where you are coming from. This is the same situation in my country, the Philippines — most sites would say that it is not a safe place to travel but it is just a few towns affected — the rest of the country is safe. After all, we are composed of over 7000 islands.

    Nice to know these real information in Algeria. It is indeed a beautiful country that is worth the visit. Thank you for all the tips.

  • Allison Judkins

    You really went into detail in this post. One of the best I’ve seen as far as a safety post goes. I never know this about Algeria and I appreciate your honestly in still saying don’t go there alone but if you do these are the precautions to take. You didn’t shy me away from visiting but rather guided me on how exactly to visit. I felt it was very unbiased which I respect.

  • Arti

    Great tips and insights about the safety situation in Algeria! Kudos to you for busting so many myths about the place; sometimes not everything that is circulated in the media is true and stereotyping only tarnishes the beauty that can be otherwise discovered in a place. I wish the locals / government hear about the ‘catcalling’ and I really hope this particular trend of the society changes with time – otherwise Algeria sounds like a pretty safe place to visit.

  • Daniel

    Algeria is one of those countries that have a bad reputation even though they don’t deserve it. You seem to be having a great time there and it looks like Algeria has a lot to offer. However, I guess it all comes down to doing your research before you go and being prepared.

  • Anonymous

    What a relief to read that it’s safe to visit Algeria.
    Like many other people I was under the impression that it was very dangerous to travel there.
    I intend visiting the country and look forward to it.
    Thank you for your article.
    Regards
    Linda

  • Maxonium

    Hi. I read recently, is that true?
    Algeria is located in Africa. Algeria is considered to be a developing nation. The developmental stage of a nation is determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to, economic prosperity, life expectancy, income equality, and quality of life.

  • João Macate

    Hi,
    After reading this lost I feel a way more relaxed now.

    I have to go to Algeria anyway. But somehow the safety is/was an issue, as I’ve been reading, hearing of Algeria, black people are most likely to be victims of most sorts of attacks. It sounded disgusting, especially for an African country too.

    Now I’m a bit finer than before, and I trust after contacting a tourism agency, with their guidance I’ll have no (or at least less) reasons to be scared.

    Thanks and best regards!

  • Nadezdha

    A lot of westerners think that a country and its residents are conservative because the predominant religion is Islam. Then they go to an Asian country that is mostly Buddhist, Hindu or even agnostic, and shocked that locals think that PDA or showing thighs, shoulders and bare backs are considered rude and even punishable by law. A lot of countries are conservative. Nothing to do with one particular religion. It’s the people’s reaction to your western culture that is different from country to country. Some just snicker & say western women are easy behind their backs, some catcall. I’m not saying it’s right or one way is better than the other, but trust me, it’s nothing to do with Islam in particular. I live in Southeast Asia, & I see western tourists get arrested for things like flashing when they thought no one’s looking in places like Cambodia or Bali, & they’re shocked because they thought it’s tolerated because it’s not a Muslim destination.
    Also, I don’t think local women tolerate the catcalling. No one does. They probably soldier on because in their experience making a fuss in public will just worsen the whole thing.

    • Ghada

      First of all thank you soo much for your article and you honest information and your great feedback and the your nobel goal of clarifying safety in algeria as an algerian woman that makes me happy to see tourists interesting about my country second i want to clarify something about the catcalling here as i said i’m an algerian woman and i know how things are going there the catcalling is not acceptebale for us algerian women nor men (i mean real respected and normal men ) we hate it sooo bad and we want to make illegal even men i mean real educated and well raised men hate it and want to make it illegal and those males who say it’s ok they saying it because they’re not respectfull and not well raised and classy they’re just jerk and lying about the trourist you can’t just judge about it from a one person who is sexist and see himself that he has the right to do so and assume that women like it we hate it and we hate catcallers and we want to punish them and they know that but they lie about themselves as an exuse and for the dress code is free there’s no law to testrict it actually it’s restricted by society due to many reasons and they put the blame on islam “it might be weird but i’m telling you the truth that no one want to admire” it’s true that islam requires conservative clothes for women but it’s not obligated if you want to wear what want you want you can the choice is yours it’s a matter between you and GOD and no person is allowed to cotroll you over any relegious activity so unfortunately hear in my country they use relegion and islam as a way to cotrole eachother cause even in islam catcalling is a sin and you’re not allowed to bother a woman even by just looking no matter what she’s wearing but they do it why ? And in the other hand they tell women you have to cover your self soo … yeah you see .it’s sexism ,it has nothing to do with relegion or culture or women or even men and btw there are some laws that punishing calcallers but women offently not aware of them and they got scared if they suit the catcallers so they just remain silet but not everybody me for example i don’t so i hope i clarified some myths here and there’s no hard feeling i’m just explaining that’s all and much love for you ❤