Expats moving to Algeria can look forward to living in a fascinating and untouched North African gem. This large country is populated by gorgeous Mediterranean coasts to the north and the Sahara to the south. Due to the Sahara covering most of the country, the population generally sticks to the coastal region, where the weather is more forgiving and land plentiful.
Living in Algeria as an expat
Although Algeria is an African and Arabic country, there is also a distinct French influence, owing to its colonial past. This is especially noticeable in the language and architecture. But while major cities such as Algiers and Oran are pretty liberal on the surface, social and religious conservatism are deeply entrenched, and expats should always show respect for the local customs and traditions.
While not a high-profile expat destination, it does attract those with experience in the oil and gas sectors. Others are drawn to job opportunities in the finance, education and foreign aid sectors.
Security is a significant issue in some parts of Algeria, mainly in the oil-producing regions and the southern Saharan areas. Certain parts of the country are not considered safe to visit, notably the border areas in the south and with Tunisia. Numerous governments advise their nationals against travelling to these areas.
Cost of living in Algeria
Being one of the cheapest countries in the world, expats can look forward to a low cost of living in Algeria. While housing will be the most considerable expense, expats who shop locally should find their everyday expenses relatively cheap. International school fees are high, but expats may be able to work education costs into their benefits. All in all, salaries are generally more than enough for expats to live comfortably in Algeria.
Expat families and children in Algeria
Expats will have access to public healthcare in Algeria, but the public system is largely underfunded. It's essential for them to have comprehensive private health insurance to cover the costs of private medical care, including cover for evacuation to a nearby country with better health provisions.
With an education system based on the French model and classes taught in Arabic and French, expats mainly send their children to international schools, with a fair few to choose from in Algiers and Oran.
Climate in Algeria
As Algeria is so vast, the country's climate differs from region to region. While the northern coastal areas have a warm Mediterranean climate, the central parts of the country are hotter and dryer, with colder winters. The weather in the Saharan region of the country, however, is characterised by extraordinarily high summer temperatures during the day and freezing winter nights.
With its rich, diverse culture and openness to the world, Algeria offers plenty for those considering the move. Its position in Africa and proximity to Europe make it the perfect place for anyone wanting to settle into a simple life in an area they can easily explore.
Population: Nearly 45 million
Capital: Algiers (also the largest city)
Neighbouring countries: Algeria is bordered by Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Morocco to the west, the Western Sahara, Mauritania and Mali to the southwest, and Niger to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea borders the north of Algeria.
Geography: Algeria is the largest country in Africa by land mass and is covered mostly by the Sahara Desert. The Atlas Mountains sit to the north, with the highest point being Mount Tahat. The country enjoys a vast coastline along the Mediterranean Sea.
Political system: Unitary semi-presidential republic
Major languages: Arabic and Berber are the official languages. French is also widely spoken.
Major religion: Sunni Islam
Money: The Dinar (DZD) is the official currency.
Time zone: GMT+1
Electricity: 230v 50hz. Algeria uses the European plug, type C.
International dialling code: +213
Internet domain: .dz
Emergency numbers: 213 for ambulance, 14 for fire, 17 for police.
Transport and driving: Cars in Algeria drive on the right. Taxis are plentiful in main cities, but expats will likely need their own vehicle, especially if travelling to more remote areas.