Top 5 Must Do's in Algiers

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With its rich heritage of Arabic and colonial influences, Algiers really is an exceptional travel destination. Here is a comprehensive list of Algiers Must Dos.

1. Makam El Shahid

This is perhaps one of the most visibly stunning monuments in the country. It was built to commemorate the martyrs of the Algerian revolution against French colonial domination. This was a bloody and horrific struggle that was immortalized in the classic movie The Battle of Algiers . Wherever you are in the city, you can see this extraordinary monument for it is over 100 meters high. Nearby, you can enjoy the Muchahid or Fighters' Museum which will further educate you about the history of the struggle.

2. The Casbah

This is the traditional part of town that is labyrinthine in its design and, in the days of colonialism, was the quarter where the natives lived apart from the French. Although this is a depressed part of town, it is on the list of Algiers must-dos because you can see traditional artisans plying their trade, museums, beautiful architecture and water fountains dating back hundreds of years. Be wary about coming here after 4 p.m. as locals will tell you that it can get dangerous. The Casbah is rightly on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.

3. The Black Market

Another on the list of Algiers must-dos, the black market is where you'll get a far better exchange rate on your currency than in a bank. There are also all kinds of interesting goods for sale here. It is advised that you come here only with a local, in case you get ripped off or exploited in some way... which is a possibility.

4. Notre Dame D'Afrique

This Roman Catholic basilica is located atop a hill in northern Algiers and isn't easy to find because there are no signs relating to it. You will have to ask for directions but it'll be worth it if you do because the structure is beautiful and replete with a statue of a black Virgin Mary within it, which is worth the trek alone. The inscriptions are written in French, Berber and Arabic.

5. National Museum of Bardo

To get a taste of the ancient history of the region, a visit to the National Museum of Bardo should rank high on your Algiers must-dos. Here you'll find jewelry, costumes, tools, leather work and weapons originating from antiquity and housed in a gorgeous Moorish-style house. You'll be educated about ethnography and prehistorical archeology.

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