Flights & getting there
The vast majority of visitors arrive in Algeria by air. The country is fairly well serviced by local, European and African carriers.
Airports & Airlines
There are two major international airports in Algeria. Houari Boumediene Airport, 17km southeast of Algiers, is the country's biggest and busiest and is served by numerous international airlines. In 2018 a new terminal is expected to open. Algeria's second international airport is Oran's Es-Sénia Airport, which has flights to more than a dozen different North African and European destinations.
The national carrier, Air Algérie (https://airalgerie.dz), has an extensive domestic and reasonable international network, with flights to destinations throughout North and West Africa, including Casablanca (Morocco), Dakar (Senegal) and Bamako (Mali). It flies several times daily to Paris and a number of other French cities and several times a week to London, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Dubai.
Aigle Azur (www.aigle-azur.com), a French airline, has several daily flights to Algiers from Paris Orly as well as services from five regional cities including Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse. There are two daily Orly–Oran flights and less frequent services to Annaba, Bejaia, Constantine, Djanet, Setif, and Tlemcen.
Tassili Airlines (www.tassiliairlines.aero) is a new, privately run airline with flights to the French cities of Paris, Marseille and Strasbourg.
Departure taxes are included in ticket prices.
Algeria shares land borders with six other countries, but don't get excited by a potential overland adventure – all but the Tunisian border are closed and/or dangerous for overland travel.
The Libyan–Algerian border is closed, and it's considered unsafe to venture within a hundred kilometres of this border.
Mali & Mauritania
Algeria's southwestern borders with Mali and Mauritania are currently closed to all traffic, and it's considered unsafe to venture within a hundred kilometres of the Mauritania border and up to 450km from the Mali border.
The border with Morocco has been closed for years, although there are numerous flights between the two countries.
Travelling south into Niger via Guezzam (Algeria) and Assamakka (Niger) has loads of romantic trans-Saharan cachet, but it is a bureaucratic, time-consuming and dangerous route that is currently closed. Most foreign governments advice against venturing within 100km to 450km of the Niger border.
There are several border-crossing points between Tunisia and Algeria, and these are currently the only way for overlanders to enter or depart Algeria. The more southerly, desert border crossings are generally considered unsafe. North coast crossings are fine and include those from El Kala to Tabarka or inland to Babouch near Ain Draham. Allow a couple of hours to get through formalities and customs on these border crossings. Share taxis run between Annaba and El Kala (the nearest town to the Algerian–Tunisia border on the Algeria side) and the actual border.
It's possible to cross between Tunisia and Algeria by bicycle. All other land borders are closed.
There are daily buses between Annaba in eastern Algeria and Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.
Car & Motorcycle
It's perfectly possible to cross between Tunisia and Algeria by car or motorbike, but make sure all your papers are in good order and you have a carnet. All other land borders are closed.
Although there's technically nothing stopping you hitching a ride to and across the Tunisia–Algeria border, it's unlikely to be easy to find anyone willing to give you a lift due to worries regarding security and smuggling.
If you do hitch, be aware that it is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travellers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk.
Because of visa complications and strict travel restrictions in the desert regions, most people end up signing up to an organised tour. If the thought of an organised tour makes you break out in a cold sweat, don't worry – tours can consist of just you and your guide/driver and most companies allow you to customise your tour and select your own accommodation and pace of travel.
To travel in the Sahara it's obligatory to use the services of a tour company.
The following are all recommended.
Akaoka (www.akaoka.com) French-run and -based agency specialising in 4WD Saharan tours.
Algerie Tours (www.algerie-tours.com) This French tour company offers a wide array of set tours taking in the northern Roman sites, southern desertscapes or a combination of the two.
Bachir Hafach (http://touaregbachir.blogspot.fr) This English-speaking Toureg guide is based in Djanet but can also organise circuits from Tamanrasset.
Expert Algeria (www.expertalgeria.com) A very professional and reliable company that operates throughout the country and specialises in the English-speaking market. It offers tailored tours and uses only the very best specialist guides to the historical sites in the north.
Tim Missaw Tours (http://timmissawtours.e-monsite.com) This long-established company organises desert tours and has its own accommodation.
Waléne Voyages (http://walenevoyages.com) Organises 4WD and camel trekking to Asskrem and the Hoggar.
Train lines run across the north of Algeria to link up with train lines in Morocco and Tunisia. However, crossing into Morocco by train hasn't been possible for many years, and there are currently no cross-border trains running between Tunisia and Algeria, though you can take trains up to the border and change trains again on the other side.
It's possible to arrive in Algeria by ferry from Europe, though it's far from the cheapest option.
Algérie Ferries (http://algerieferries.dz) connects Algiers, Annaba, Bejaia, Oran and Skikda to Marseille (Marseille–Algiers two to three times weekly), and Oran and Alicante (once or twice a week). It also operates occasional boats between Valencia (Spain) and Mostaghanem (near Oran) and Genoa (Italy) and Skikda. Tickets between Algiers and Marseille with Algérie Ferries cost between DA7400 for a seat, upwards to DA20,000 for cabins.
Corsica Linea (www.corsicalinea.com), a French company, operates ferry services between Marseille and Algiers (from DA25,000 for a seat) once a week, considerably more expensive than Algérie Ferries.
The voyage to Marseille takes about 20 hours, and to Alicante 10 hours. Expect long waits on disembarkation if travelling with a car.