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If you’re the type of traveler who likes to blaze trails and explore new places before they start to trend, there are plenty of spots to consider. During a time when travel bucket lists tend to be heavily influenced by social media, we think it’s worth it to prioritize places that haven’t yet managed a trending hashtag. If you’re looking to plan a trip to one of these off-the-beaten-path locations, we think you should definitely consider Algeria. Here’s why.

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It’s budget friendly

Everybody loves a good budget-friendly trip, especially with the surge of basic economy class additions (which admittedly have their pros and cons), as well as the wider availability of low-cost airfare. But just because it’s cheap to get there doesn’t mean it’ll be cheap once you hit the ground (we’re looking at you, Iceland). In Algeria, it costs about .84USD to buy 100 Algerian Dinar at the official exchange rate, and you can do even better with the “black market” exchange rate. The Dinar goes pretty far. It costs about $1.25–$2 for a pint and $4–$6.50 for a three-course, mid-range meal. You can easily find a $45 hotel room and get by on a $75 per day budget, making the country a very economical option.

Even hiring a guide won’t set you back too much. We hired Omar from Fancy Algeria to teach us about what we were seeing. Transportation (including all flights within the country), hotels and his guiding services for almost two weeks, cost only around $1,300 each. We don’t know of many other places where it’s possible to get a full guided tour for that price. Of course, your price may vary depending on what you want to see, your accommodation standards, and the number of people in your group.

See Roman ruins without visiting Rome

There is a town in northern Algeria called Timgad, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Timgad was founded in about AD 100 as a Roman-Berber city and some of the pillars, structures and foundations still stand today. Timgad is often described as the “Pompeii of Africa,” which is pretty cool considering how Algeria is often considered culturally far from Italy. In reality, Algeria is historically and geographically close to southern Europe and its Roman roots run deep. There are a number of other well-preserved Roman sites in Algeria, as well, so make sure you have enough time to visit Djemila and Tipasa too.

Algeria boasts loads of interesting cultures

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Not only does Algeria have Roman and Berber heritage, the majority of the population today is Arab. This isn’t surprising due to its location in North Africa, but trace Algeria’s history and you’ll see the country has been continually shaped by a variety of different cultures. For example, the collective of Ghardaïa contains five different towns: Gardaïa, Melika, Beni Isguen, Bou Noura and El-Atteuf. These five towns may be hard to distinguish for outsiders, but they were shaped by distinctly different cultural signatures. This UNESCO desert collective is located on the M’Zab river valley and was originally settled by a culture of non-Arabic Muslims, a culture that still exists in the Sahara today and is probably not like anything you’ve ever imagined.

Get a glimpse of the Sahara

Speaking of the Sahara, Ghardaïa is a good place to get a good look at what Sahara living is like. However, there are several towns that are ideal for a desert visit, including Taghit. Taghit is located near the Moroccan border and it’s a small commune surrounded by great desert sand dunes. The settlement in Taghit is made possible by an underground water table Oued Zousfana, which provides water to this small oasis of just over 6,000 people. It’s definitely worth a stop if you’d like to explore Algeria’s small desert towns and get a glimpse of a big Sahara sand dune!

See a ton of UNESCO sites

Besides Timgad and Gardaïa, Algeria plays host to an impressive array of UNESCO World Heritage sites. There are seven official UNESCO sites in Algeria, including six cultural and one mixed site. The mixed site, Tassili n’Ajjer, is located in southern Algeria and contains more than 15,000 prehistoric drawings, making it a site of major archaeological importance. In central Algeria, M’Zab Valley qualifies as its own UNESCO site and, as mentioned before, contains the Ghardaïa collective. The other five sites dot Algeria’s northern coast and they include the ruins at Timgad, the mountainous Muslim ruins of Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad, Roman ruins at Djémila, the coastal Islamic city Kasbah of Algiers and the multicultural Mediterranean ruins of Tipasa. A great deal of human history is documented throughout Algeria, and every bit of it is worth exploring.

Have we convinced you to visit Algeria, or have you already been? Tell us about your Algeria adventures in the comments below!

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Caroline Lupini
Caroline's passion for travel isn't limited to hopping from country to country, but goes beyond the plane and into her everyday life. She's mastered the points and miles arena which has enabled her to travel far and wide, to 70+ countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and many more. From writing for some of the most highly acclaimed travel blogs and news sites, to speaking at travel shows, Caroline's love of exploring the world has led her to wanting to help others get out there to experience it too. To find out more, visit Caroline on Instagram (@caroline.lupini) and on her site (carolinelupini.com).

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