Algeria is a wonderful place to shop for beautiful souvenirs and gifts at bargain prices. It has many street markets and handicraft shops that sell just about everything imaginable. Some of the local products include leatherwork, rugs, copper and brassware, locally made dresses and jewellery.
Algeria has a thriving handicrafts industry. Part of the charm of the country is the richness of its production. From carpets to ceramics, from leather to lute making, from pottery to glass working to silverwork, the country has a tremendous variety of skills that produce goods which are sold in many other countries as well as to tourists. From the Sahara comes the beautiful finely dyed basketwork and primitive-style pottery.
Never accept the first price of a product stated to you. Bargaining is a way of live and a matter of survival for some in Algeria, it is customary in street markets and in smaller shops. Although there are two state-run craft markets that has fixed rates and does not accept bargaining. The best shopping experience is in Rue Didouche Mourad in Algiers, where street artist play their selections of art throughout the day to entertain the consumers market.
The exchange of currency is rather difficult in Algeria, although it has improved a little over the years. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at most banks and at some luxury hotels. The acceptance of debit and credit cards are very limited and is only accepted in bigger rural areas. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other available services. Take note that most foreigners may have difficulty using ATM cards.
Traveller's cheques are accepted only in top-class (4-star and above) hotels, Government-run craft (souvenir) shops and in certain establishments. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US dollars or euros.
The shopping hours of shops in Algeria are usually from Saturdays to Thursdays from 9am to 12 noon and from 2 pm to 7 pm. However some shops are also open on Fridays.
Note: Because of the very strict adherence of the authorities to these regulations, visitors are strongly advised not to be associated with the black market, which tends to concentrate on the Euro and portable electronics.