Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Natural disasters and climate
- Additional information
We advise Irish citizens in Algeria to exercise a high degree of caution.
We advise against non-essential travel to desert and border regions in the South and East of the country. A high degree of caution should be taken in other areas, including the coastal cities. Refer to the Safety and Security section for more detailed information.
The best help is often close at hand; try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
There is no Irish Embassy in Algeria, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Irish Embassy in Switzerland (Berne) if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.
Emergency Service Numbers in Algeria
17 for the police, or 021 – 73 53 50 from a mobile
14 for the fire brigade, or 021 – 71 14 14 from a mobile
021 – 23 63 81 or 021 – 71 14 14 for an ambulance
Reliability and response time of emergency services vary. Emergency operators may or may not speak French and normally do not speak English.
In the event of a medical emergency you can call an ambulance, but you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and security
Safety and security
- Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
- Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency
The political situation in Algeria is reasonably stable but we advise you to avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.
Keep yourself informed of events by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
The threat from terrorism in Algeria is high, especially outside Algiers and the main cities. Suicide bomb attacks have been carried out in major population centres, including Algiers, in recent years. These attacks have caused death and serious injuries and foreigners have often been targeted.
Avoid all travel to areas within 450km of the Mali and Niger borders with the exception of Tindouf town and Tamanrasset city; to areas within 100km of the Mauritania border; and to areas within 100km of the Tunisian and Libyan borders south of the town of Souk Ahras.
Avoid all but essential travel to Tamanrasset city, Amenas, Tindouf town, the provinces of Boumerdès, Bouira, and Tizi Ouzou east of Algiers (the area known as the Kabylie).
Great care should be taken in the remaining areas of the Provinces of Adrar, Tamanrasset and Illizi which are not covered above and the provinces of Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bejaia and Skikda east of Algiers.
Crime remains relatively low in Algeria but you should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
Petty theft and home burglary happen frequently in Algeria, and muggings are on the rise, especially after dark in the cities. More serious crimes have been reported in which armed men posing as police officers have entered homes and robbed the occupants at gunpoint.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Algeria, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Switzerland (Berne) if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Algeria, you should be extremely careful. Overland travel between major cities should be avoided, particularly at night.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
- Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
- Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
Algeria does produce some wine and beer, which is served in some bars, hotels, restaurants and night clubs in the bigger cities. However, alcohol isn’t served everywhere and it isn’t served anywhere during Ramadan.
When travelling in Algeria, take care not to offend local culture or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals. Be conscious of your dress and behaviour if you intend to visit places of worship.
During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time. Guide books, local hoteliers and tour guides can be good sources of information for how to behave and dress respectfully.
In Algeria the weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Female travellers can face particular issues around security and dealing with the religious and cultural beliefs of the countries they visit (especially if they’re travelling alone). We advise you to do some research before you travel, so you know what to expect from the country you’re visiting.
Some quick tips include:
- Always take basic personal safety precautions, such as not walking alone at night or in quiet areas.
- Don’t leave your food or drink unattended.
- Keep details of your travel plans and where you’re staying to yourself.
Homosexuality is illegal in Algeria. Sexual acts between people of the same sex are punishable by imprisonment and homophobic attacks can take place. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.
Don’t attempt to take photos of any government building or security installation. This includes police and police checkpoints
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters and climate
Algeria has a Mediterranean climate along the coast, with mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. The Sahara desert experiences extremely high summer temperatures, though it’s a bit cooler between November and April. Although daytime temperatures rarely fall below 25°C, desert nights can be cold even in the height of summer.
Despite the lack of rain in the Sahara, other parts of Algeria are susceptible to severe flood damage.
Northern Algeria is within an earthquake zone. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake. In May 2003, a severe earthquake struck the Algiers area and over 2,200 people were killed and more than 10,000 were injured.
Although you’re not required to carry your passport at all times, you should have it with you on longer journeys. You will need it if you’re travelling internally by air.
In general keep your passport somewhere safe and carry a copy with you at all times.
ATM machines are not as widespread as in Europe and credit card use is mostly confined to hotels and some businesses in the larger cities. Algerian Dinars should be obtained from bureaux de change at the international airports and larger hotels or from banks in the main cities. Street money vendors should be avoided. Algerian Dinars cannot be exported.