Getting there & away
Long-distance communal taxis, which have six places in three rows and are marked ‘Inter-Wilaya’, leave when they are full, from the Rampe Magenta, which slopes down from near place Port Said to the train station. Taxis leave for destinations across the northern half of the country including Biskra (DA800, six hours), Bou Saada (DA500, four hours), Oran (DA900, six to seven hours), Constantine (DA900, six to seven hours) and Annaba (DA1100, 10 hours).
The Algiers gare routière (021 497151/54; av de l’ALN), unlike most in the country, still functions properly, with information desk, café, shops and departures board. It is several kilometres from the centre, along the road to the airport. From the centre, 200m south of place Audin, catch the bus headed to Tafoura. A taxi from there or the Grande Poste should cost DA250 to DA300.
There are departures to all corners of the country, including Annaba (DA700, nine hours), Oran (day/night DA540/710, seven hours), Biskra (DA470, eight hours) and Ouargla (DA900, 12 hours). To get to Tamarasset and the deep south you need to change at Adrar (DA1500, 12 hours).
Given the number of road incidents in Algeria as a result of dangerous driving and also false roadblocks – one of the favourite techniques of kidnappers – you need to know what you are doing before you rent a car. With some agencies you also need to be over 30. However, it is possible to drive yourself, and several agencies would be delighted to have your business. As well as international agencies, the following local agencies rent cars, from DA3300 per day for a basic car.
Love Tour (021 509262; Houari Boumediène Airport) It also has a desk at the ONAT office on 2 rue Didouche Mourad.
Rapide Car (021 509512/506112; www.rapidecar.com; Houari Boumediène Airport) It also has an agency at the Hôtel el-Aurassi.
The Algerian national rail company, SNTF (021 711510) runs services out of two train stations in the capital. Gare Centrale (021 647380/81; rue d’Angkor), beside the gare maritime, has services along the eastern line to Bejaia, Constantine and Annaba (1st/2nd class DA1330/945, seven to 10 hours). Trains from the Gare de l’Agha (021 636525; off rue Hassiba ben Bouali) run four times a day along the western line to Oran (five to six hours), from where there is a daily service to Tlemcen (2½ hours). Since the closure of the Algerian–Moroccan border, the international express has been stopped.
Algérie Ferries (021 635388/641864; 6 blvd Khemisti) Also known as the Entreprise Nationale de Transports Maritimes de Voyageurs (ENTMV), Algérie Ferries sails from Algiers to Marseille (19 hours) and Alicante (12 hours).
The newly expanded Houari Boumediène Airport (021 506000; www.algiersairport.free.fr) is 19km from the centre and has separate domestic and international terminals.
Air Algérie (021 742428; www.airalgerie.dz; 1 place Maurice Audin) flies to more than 20 destinations within the country. Fares are reasonable and service, although often a little delayed, is reasonably efficient. Return fares are usually twice the price of a one-way ticket, which makes open-jaw tours possible. One way to Tamanrasset, the southernmost airport and furthest from Algiers, costs from DA14,000.