Algeria is a beautiful North African country with a Mediterranean coastline, the Sahara desert, ancient cities, and stunning mountain ranges. While there really is no “bad” time to visit Algeria, there are a few times of year that are less ideal for tourists. Here is an overview of the worst times to visit Algeria and why you may want to avoid these periods.
Summer (June to August)
Summer is probably the worst time for most tourists to visit Algeria. June through August is extremely hot, with average highs of 104°F (40°C) or more across much of the country. In the Sahara Desert, temperatures routinely soar above 120°F (49°C).
The heat can make sightseeing uncomfortable or even dangerous, especially in the desert regions where the climate is very dry. Sunstroke and dehydration are real risks. Many tourist sites offer reduced hours or even close entirely during the midday heat of summer.
Summer is also Algeria’s peak season for tourism, which means popular destinations get very crowded and hotel rates are inflated. You’ll contend with long lines, packed attractions, and difficulty getting reservations.
The beaches can be enticing during summer, but they too become crowded and the hot temperatures are not ideal for lounging on the sand. For a beach vacation, spring or fall offer warmer sea temperatures and fewer crowds.
Ramadan (Dates Vary)
Ramadan is the holy month of fasting, prayer, and reflection in the Islamic calendar. As an Islamic country, Algeria observes Ramadan each year. The dates vary annually depending on the lunar calendar, but generally fall somewhere between April and August.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex from dawn to sunset. It is a time of increased religious observance. Many restaurants and cafes may be closed during the daytime. Some tourist sites operate on reduced hours.
Nighttime comes alive with lively street markets and celebrations to break the fast at sundown. But as a tourist, you may feel you are intruding on a solemn religious tradition. Locals are likely to be more focused on spiritual matters than entertaining visitors. Ramadan is a fascinating time to experience Algeria’s Islamic heritage, but may not be ideal for a relaxed vacation.
November to March (Rainy Season)
Algeria’s rainy season lasts from November through March. The northern coastline sees the most rain during this period, while inland mountainous regions can experience heavy snowfall and winter storms. Southern desert areas see little rainfall but do have cooler temperatures in winter.
Wet weather can put a damper on outdoor sightseeing. Rainy periods can last a week or more, especially in the north. Even when it’s not actively raining, the ground may still be muddy or fields flooded. Mountain roads can be treacherous in snow or ice.
As a positive, winter sees fewer tourists, so attractions are less crowded. But some hotels, restaurants, and tour operators close down for the season, giving you fewer options. If you do visit in winter, come prepared with appropriate clothing and umbrellas. Focus your itinerary on indoor attractions in the major cities.
Algerian public holidays are a double-edged sword for travelers. On these days, government offices, banks, and some businesses will be closed. Public transit schedules get reduced and traffic is often snarled.
However, holidays are lively times when locals take to the streets to celebrate. These can be some of the most festive and cultural enriching times to visit. You’ll just need flexibility as many tourist sites alter their hours as well.
Major Algerian public holidays to be aware of:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan, varies)
- Independence Day (July 5)
- Eid al-Adha (varies)
- Muharram/Islamic New Year (varies)
- Birth of the Prophet (varies)
Avoid travel on the first day of these holidays when disruptions are greatest. But staying a few days into a holiday can give you a taste of the celebrations.
While Algeria offers fabulous sites, scenery, history and culture year-round, visiting during the heat of summer or the thick of the rainy season poses challenges. Braving the crowds and inflated prices of peak tourist season in June through August will test your patience.
For the best experience, plan your travels during the temperate spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) months. The weather is warm and sunny, but not too hot for active sightseeing. With cooler temperatures, winter (December to February) can also be pleasant for city visits, just pack umbrellas and warm clothes for the occasional rainy day. Whenever you choose to visit, just avoid Algerian public holidays for smoother travels.