In the land cloaked in swirling desert sand of the Sahara, Algiers has the highest cost of living in North Africa. You can't just pop down to the pub for a drink here due to its Islamic bent, in fact it is rather hard to find any alcohol at all in the city. The capital and largest city of Algeria, it sits on the west side of the bay of the Mediterranean Sea and is sometimes known as "Alger la Blanche" (aka Algiers the White) because of its sparkling white buildings that appear to be rising out of the sea. The new and modern part of the city is on the seashore, whilst the ancient city crowned with a citadel, straddles a steep hill behind it. The city is an economic, commercial and financial hub that bustles and bristles and can be quite confronting.
This is the place to gorge yourself on couscous whilst your eyes feast on the architectural wonders surrounding you. Settled over 1,000 years ago with a bursting population of over 3 million, it is not for the feint hearted to explore, despite the locals being friendly. The city is cloaked in its history with wide boulevards, French buildings and a seafront promenade. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Casbah is where you can literally soak up its history through your pores and there are so many monuments you will get confused. Make sure you check out the "three clocks" in Bab El Qued (aka the River's Gate) area and meander along the Che-Guevara Boulevard to gawk at elegant buildings. The upmarket stores and dining establishments are in the heart of the capital, where you can sip coffee and watch the passing parade.
Check your government's travel sites in relation to warnings about traveling to Algiers and always negotiate the price of a trip when taking a taxi before you put your foot in the door.
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