Described as the commercial, industrial, and educational centre of western Algeria, Oran is Algeria’s second largest city and once home of fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent.
1. Getting There
Oran Es Sénia Airport and can also be reached by ferries from Europe; from the ports of Marseilles, Sète, Alicante and Almería.
2. Getting Around
Taxis and buses can be used to get around. Once in the city centre, it is an easy and pleasant walk with plenty of stunning architecture
3. Where to Stay
Royal Hotel Oran is beautiful and Le Meridien Oran Hotel’s monolithic structure dominates the skyline and offers some great views. Hotel le Raja is suited to a modest budget.
4. Eating Out
Restaurant les Gazelles has a view to die for and excellent seafood. La Calypso has delicious pizza, while It Side is an affordable Turkish restaurant.
5. Things to Do
Cathédrale de St Louis. From afar, the building, which sits atop a hill, looks impressive but is actually closed up and derelict. Visit Bey’s Palace and Pasha’s Mosque. For a little history, try the Musée National Ahmed Zabana
Oran is a great place for shopping, offering everything from mall trawling, specialist boutiques, markets and bazaars. Les Arcades is a shopping zone housing food, clothing and souvenir stores, while Mdin Jdidait is a large market where the locals do their shopping. Corniche, or Front de Mer, inspired by Nice’s seafront, is a perfect place for an amble.
7. About Town
The Murdjajo hill is quite a climb but is worth it for the views overlooking the city. As if that wasn’t enough, your real reward for the climb is the beautiful Santa Cruz church, built by the Spanish in the 16th century and, above it, the Santa Cruz Fortress, built by the Marquis de Santa Cruz in 1563.
8. History & Culture
Established by Moors in the year 903 and since has changed hands many times. It has been variously owned by the Spanish, the Turks, the French and the Vichy Government during World War II.
Algerian Arabic and Berber are the native languages with Kabyle being the most spoken Berber language in the country.
10. One Last Thing
Though mostly peaceful, demonstrations taking place, there is an increasing threat of terrorism, but it is generally safe in Algiers and other main cities like Oran.