Have you ever found yourself going down the rabbit hole in search of the next big destination hoping you discover it before everyone else?

We’ve all wanted to find the next hidden gem because, let’s face it, sometimes the most commonly visited places can be the biggest duds in our travels.

The Eiffel Tower is just a tower, Times Square is just bright lights with chain restaurants, and LA’s famous ‘Hollywood’ sign isn’t worth the citation for getting the best selfie possible.

One Mediterranean country completely off the radar for most has been the antithesis of popularity as only recently have they opened their arms to becoming a tourist destination.

Traveling to North Africa, you probably think of Morocco, or maybe even Tunisia.

But 2024 is the year to set your sights on Algeria, a formerly closed-off nation teeming with potential and now welcoming 2.2 million international tourists.

Relaxed Visa Policy…Sort Of

Trajan's Arch of Timgad in Algeria

Americans with Algeria on their bucket list rightfully have Africa’s largest country by landmass properly listed – it’s a phenomenal place to visit with welcoming locals and historical roots dating back to Roman times.

The problem is that the country has not exactly laid down a ‘Welcome’ mat for Western travelers. That is until last year when a new loophole was presented.

You see, most travelers arriving in Algeria will start their journey in the beautiful capital city of Algiers, but this costs an additional $160 for a visa with a strenuous process to obtain, often serving as a deterrent.

The good news is that connecting flights from Spain and France are so cheap that you’ll forget all about the extra cash you have to fork over.

Basilica Notre Dame aAfrique in Algeria

This policy still applies even as the country has seen an influx of international tourists, but this could be in large part due to a separate relaxed visa policy.

Travelers also have the option to obtain a visa on arrival by visiting the even lesser-known region of Djanet, which is easily accessible to the world-renowned Sahara Desert.

Or should we say the former site of Atlantis? Okay, okay…that’s a different conversation for a different day.

Unlike Algeria’s standard visa requirement, obtaining a visa on arrival is easy peasy with just these 2 requirements:

  • Book a tour with a licensed Algerian operator
  • Arrive directly at Djanet

An Unexpected Beach Destination

Blue waters of Skikda, Algeria

Algeria’s bustling streets and fascinating architecture surely leave tourists with their jaws on the floor, but where the country has seen a rise in tourism is its stunning coastline and underrated beaches.

Algiers, which is a waterfront city, is best served for urban explorers while going outside the city limits is where Algeria’s beaches give tourists Mediterranean vibes rivaling other notable vacation spots.

Although, given the similar cultures, the best comparison may be with neighboring Tunisia, such as the scenic coast city of La Marsa.

Algeria may not be known for high-rise beach resorts and swim-up bars, but life in the Med is no different here, other than some easily spottable cultural norms.

Camel rides on beach in Algeria

Still offering stunning blue waters and a laid-back atmosphere, Algeria is slowly but surely making a name for itself away from the Sahara Desert and inviting tourists to kick back on their beautiful beaches for a different type of sandy vacay.

Sprinkled along the coast are a variety of beach towns, with Skikda, Tipiza, and Jijel among the most popular.

Even as off-path as Algeria may seem, travelers do have the option to stay at a beachside hotel with a familiar name. The 5-star Sheraton Club des Pins Resort outside Algiers is a steal of a deal for under $175 per night.

Tourists Are Safe Here

Crowded market in Algiers, Algeria

In some travelers’ minds, the words “Africa” and “safe” don’t always go hand in hand, but in this case, tourists are widely considered safe as long as they obtain a visa and respect their culture.

The U.S. State Department last issued a travel advisory for Algeria on July 13, 2023, designating the country as Level 2, aligning with mega-popular destinations the Dominican Republic and many regions of Mexico.

It’s advised for Americans to avoid remote areas of the Sahara Desert and southern borders, which should be easy as the top destinations are on the northern side of Algeria.

There are concerns for terrorism and kidnapping, but these incidents most often take place off-the-grid of where travelers would be visiting.

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