An oasis in the middle of the Algerian desert, Bou Saada is surrounded by date groves and bears the nickname “the city of happiness”. There is a wealth of natural and cultural treasures worth seeking out, along with delectable Algerian food and unique souvenirs.
Things to do
Bou Saada has long been an important trading post where jewellery, carpets and Bousaadi knives were sold. In the old medina inside the city walls you can still buy locally-made textiles and metalwork. The old French town to the south of the city was built during colonial times and is where most of the shops and restaurants can be found. Try the traditional Bou Saadi stew called “Sviti”, which is cooked in a tall dish and flavoured with garlic, coriander and chilli.
If you want to get a feel for the history of the place, don’t miss the Nasreddine Dinet Museum in the former home of the French orientalist painter, where you can admire his art and his extensive library. Observe wildlife at Chott el Hodna, a shallow saline lake in the desert, which is a habitat for a variety of unique fish and bird species and the endangered Cuvier’s gazelle.
Algiers is the nearest city to Bou Saada, with a drive taking just under four hours. There are buses and shared taxis available throughout Bou Saada, but it’s also possible to walk to the main points of interest.