‘Algeria’s Roman Heritage’

This item appears on page 31 of the January 2011 issue.

Out of 33 trips in 14 years, one of the best-conducted and -managed small-group tours I’ve taken was “Algeria’s Roman Heritage” with Patrick Syder Travel (Zenobia House, 23 Bowmans Close, Steyning, West Sussex, BN44 3SR, U.K.; phone/fax +44 [0] 1903 879737).

The fabulous 10-day trip, April 24-May 3, 2010, cost £1,795 (about $2,710) (single supplement, £300), including two internal flights. We traveled in a roomy, air-conditioned bus. Several of our meals could almost be classified as gourmet.

Algeria was the crown jewel of the former French Empire and developed accordingly, but tourist infrastructure is nearly nonexistent. In spite of this, Algeria is packed full of some of the best Roman ruins to be observed anywhere, and parts of the north are green and fertile, not desert as many assume.

Beginning in Algiers, the tour covered much of the north and east of the country, including sites such as Tipsa, Anaba, Hippo, Batna, the oasis town of Biska and the ruins of Djemila, which rival those of Leptis Magna.

This variety of historical and archaeological sites, combined with stunning scenery and colonial architecture, made my visit to Algeria one of the most notable trips I’ve taken.

The tour company owner, Patrick Syder, accompanied the trip, and there was an outstanding local guide as well. A highlight was a private reception at the British Embassy.


Oceanside, CA