Oran is a major coastal city located in the north-west of Algeria. It is considered the second most important city of Algeria after the capital Algiers, due to its population and commercial, industrial, and cultural importance. It is 432 km (268 mi) west-south-west from Algiers. The total population of the city was 803,329 in 2008,[ while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000 making it the second-largest city in Algeria.
Visit Oran: What are the best things to do and see in what is nicknamed the “Radiant City”?
- 1. Santa Cruz Fort
- 2. Hassan Pasha Mosque
- 3. The Mediterranean City Garden
- 4. The Habibas Islands
- 5. The Zabana National Museum in Oran
- 6. The heart of town
- How to go to Oran?
- Where to stay in Oran?
Oran is an agglomeration of one million inhabitants located in northwestern Algeria, on the edge of the Gulf of Oran. Second city of Algeria after Algiers , its capital, this port metropolis is nestled at the bottom of a bay open to the north and overlooked by the mountain of Aïdour. The one that was founded in the 10th century by the Andalusians went through a succession of Arab-Berber dynasties, then the Spanish occupation before being reconquered and then… becoming the country’s second city under French colonization!
Following the independence acquired by the Algerian nation in the middle of the last century, it nevertheless remains the economic capital of the West of the country and a leading economic center on the scale of all of North Africa. In addition, it does not lack assets to arouse the desire in potential visitors to come and visit Oran and immerse themselves in this city at the confluence of all cultures. Oran is above all a striking contrast: that of an urban and trendy metropolis also displaying an impressive list of monuments, cultural and heritage sites that will be very pleasant to contemplate.
Wondering what to do in Oran during your stay? Here is the answer with our 6 essentials to visit Oran and enjoy your trip without missing a beat!
1. Santa Cruz Fort
The Aïdour is a 430 meter hill overlooking the city of Oran. Over the centuries, it has been of great strategic importance and that is why the fort of Santa Cruz was built there , the scene of violent battles between the Ottomans and the Spaniards! It is possible to walk on the hill, crisscrossed by many paths each offering a unique view of the bay, and to discover the fort accompanied by a guide. One of the major points of interest for those looking for what to do in Oran!
2. Hassan Pasha Mosque
Built at the end of the 18th century by the bey Mohamed El-Kébir, the mosque is a jewel of Islamic architecture, and can be seen from afar thanks to its cone-shaped minaret and covered with earthenware typical of the art Ottoman. Located on the right bank of the Rhi wadi, in the Sidi El-Houari district, visits take place in the morning, except on Fridays, and allow you to discover the astonishing crescent-shaped interior courtyard and the ornate walls. oriental-inspired geometric patterns. A must for anyone who wants to visit Oran while enjoying a cultural stroll.
3. The Mediterranean City Garden
During the summer, go and cool off in the alleys of the Jardin Citadin Méditerranéen , a municipal park frequented by children and couples in love, in the heart of the city: enjoy a skewer of grilled meat with coriander served by the street vendors, or relax on the lawns of the park while enjoying a breathtaking view of the nearby Mediterranean Sea. For the more athletic people who have come to visit Oran, fitness trails are even scattered throughout the park!
4. The Habibas Islands
Located off about thirty kilometers northwest of the city of Oran, the Habibas Islands are home to many plant and animal species, some of which are only found here!
Secret and reserved for connoisseurs, they are not easy to approach: to do this, it will be necessary to negotiate with a fisherman who, for a few dinars, will agree to drop you off there. Classified as a maritime nature reserve, this is a unique excursion allowing you to enjoy a wild and unspoiled nature, just in front of the North African coast. Ideal when you come to visit Oran!
5. The Zabana National Museum in Oran
This astonishing museum offers varied collections, each more fascinating than the other: from the traces of the first prehistoric men present on Algerian territory, to Muslim arts, including the sector reserved for the revolution or that linked to the history of the city, this museum is certainly a place of interest to discover when looking for what to do in Oran. In addition, the site includes one of the most beautiful libraries in the region and allows you to admire the works of contemporary artists.
6. The heart of town
We could not ignore… the streets of Oran: a single watchword, make the most of your stay and go for a walk on the Place du 1er Novembre , the true heart of the historic center of the city, where you You can admire the obelisk built in homage to the Emir Abdelkader, then the buildings built in the purest style of colonial architecture. As soon as you leave the heart of the city, go to the famous seafront, 2 kilometers long, stretching from the Zabana roundabout to the Palais du Bey , where you can enjoy the sea air and a well-deserved stop at the water’s edge.
Where to stay in Oran?
Oran is a large Algerian city that offers several types of accommodation and sectors , each with their own advantages, to choose from according to your profile as a traveler who has come to visit Oran.
For a typical and family accommodation, choose without hesitation the many charming guest houses, in the center and outside the city, run by authentic and warm Algerians. Those with a comfortable budget can also opt for a room in the European district of the city center, near the Place du 1er Novembre, in order to benefit from all Western amenities: you can also find the hotel in your dreams in Oran by searching on this hotel comparator .
And if you prefer a flexible and affordable solution, opt for Airbnb : the platform is progressing in the Maghreb, and will allow you for a few euros to benefit from an apartment that looks like you to feel at home!
From now on, you know how to make the most of the charms of this region with its unique character when you come to visit Oran. But will you be able to choose what to do in Oran and… who will you choose to help you in your Algerian adventure?