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Great escape

A treasure on the Mediterranean

“Virtually nobody comes to Algeria,” says Rob Crossan in The Daily Telegraph. But they should. A trip to its capital, Algiers, might be “the most enthralling Mediterranean city break there is”. The food rivals Beirut’s, the sunshine equals Malaga’s and the hospitality is warm enough to “melt the hearts of hardened misanthropes”. And for nervous travellers, apart from some very limited border areas, the Foreign Office deems Algeria “completely safe to visit”. It feels a world away from dreary London, yet the flight time from Heathrow is “a barely believable two hours and 40 minutes”.

Algiers is so richly endowed with history that the “new” mosque by the harbour was built in 1660. “Romans, Berbers, Arabs, Ottomans, Moors, as well as the French, have all left their mark.” The famous Kasbah, declared a World Heritage Site in 1991, dates to when the city was a Carthaginian trading post in the 4th century BC. When the French arrived in 1830, they built botanical gardens, Notre-Dame imitation churches and the Beaux Arts museum, which still displays works by Gauguin, Renoir and Monet.

BA flights start at £189 return. Don’t forget your visa.