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This sprawling North African nation is the largest country by landmass in Africa, with a sparkling Mediterranean coastline giving way to large swaths of the Sahara Desert.

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So, yes, it’s hot in Algeria, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the cultural immersion you’ll find in Algiers, from the winding streets of the historical Casbah to a calming walk along the boulevard on the waterfront. The French architecture here makes it feel almost like Nice or other cities in the south of France, just across the water.

The desert-scapes in Algeria are also stunning, best viewed along the Atakor Plateau in Ahaggar National Park. You should also be sure to visit Constantine, an ancient Roman capital built atop a massive canyon. The country is a fairly accessible look into the Arab world with a heavy dose of French influence — and a less-crowded alternative to other North African destinations.

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