Located on the northwestern coast of Algeria, Oran is one of the most fascinating cities in North Africa, thanks to its impressive monuments, top-notch hotels and restaurants, and a thriving cultural scene.
On Ferryhopper, you will find useful information on must-see places, beaches, local delicacies, and ferries from/to Oran. Take a look at our travel tips and start planning an unforgettable vacation in Algeria.
Colorful alley starring the Hassan Pasha Mosque in Oran
Vacation in Oran
Oran (Wahran) is the second largest city in Algeria after Algiers. Charming and buzzing, it is also known as Oran el Bahia, which means “the radiant”, thus making it one of the must-visits when planning a trip to Algeria.
The city is divided into 2 parts, one of which is the Spanish-style historic city center and the other part is modern since it was built by the French in the 19th century. It is home to several important landmarks, notable French architecture, as well as interesting shops, and restaurants.
In addition to its numerous attractions, Oran is also famous for its splendid ocean views featuring some of the most amazing beaches that are perfect for a summer vacation or a romantic getaway. Besides couples, Oran is a destination that can be enjoyed by families as well, who will find the city’s rich heritage and culture fascinating.
The stunning Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Boulevard Hammou Boutlelis, Oran
How to get to Oran?
When it comes to travelling to Oran, your 2 main options are by ferry or plane.
Traveling by ferry is easy and convenient and it gets you in the mood for your holidays in Oran as you sail along the Mediterranean Sea. There are direct ferry connections to Oran from Spain. This is also an ideal way of transferring your car to Algeria by ferry. For more information about schedules and tickets, you can take a look at the ferry routes to Oran.
And if you wish to fly, Oran is also well-connected via Ahmed Ben Bella airport (formally Es-Sénia Airport). This is a small airport that, nevertheless, receives international flights. It is located 15 km from the city.
What to do in Oran
Take a leisurely stroll along the Front de Mer or seafront boulevard, for the greatest experience of the city and its Mediterranean-north African vibes. This 2 km palm tree-lined walkway, which runs in the heart of the city center, offers a great panoramic view of Oran, its port and sea. From here, you can also admire the iconic Santa Cruz fort and Santa Cruz Chapel perched on the mountains in the distance. Make sure to grab some ice cream from one of the many ice cream parlors located along the boulevard.
Soon after arriving in Oran you will discover that markets are a huge part of Algerian culture. We, therefore, recommend you to hang around the stalls of Bastille market or Médina Jdida market if you’re after a memorable experience and some of the freshest fruit and vegetables. PS: keep an eye out for a dish called karentika. It’s simple, cheap and very tasty.
Another focal point of Oran is Place du 1er Novembre, also known as Place d’Armes. The square is easy to find and is famous for its landmarks that include Hotel de Ville (Oran’s city hall) and its impressive Lion statues, as well as the Opera house.
In addition, do not miss an afternoon walk around Sidi El Houari, the famous old quarter of the city. The area’s landmarks and old Spanish houses dating back to the 16th century will leave you bedazzled. Highlights of this area include the Bey Palace, the Turkish Bath, the Spanish Gate, and Pasha mosque. Make sure to also visit the gorgeous Boulevard Soummam to view some impressive architecture.
For a relaxing moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Ibn Badis promenade. From here you can enjoy a beautiful view of the harbor and old town of Oran.
Impressive view of Bey’s Palace in Sidi El Houari, Oran
Beaches in Oran
Thanks to its distinguished location on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the city of Oran is home to a number of beaches with stunning views and a charming atmosphere. Here are the top beaches in and around Oran:
- Madagh: the main beach of Oran. It is famous for its scenic landscapes and forests. It is surrounded by small mountains and its soft golden sand is distinguished by its cleanliness. It is a favorite destination of families with children, since the water is shallow and there are no high waves. Sun loungers and umbrellas are also available for rent.
- Les Andalouses: located just outside Oran, this beautiful beach is a popular destination offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding landscape. In addition to swimming, you’ll also be able to practice various water sports here.
- El Boukâa: a popular beach in the seaside resort area of Ain el-Turck, 15 km outside of Oran city center. Close to the beach you will find a number of high-end resorts and restaurants.
Sightseeing in Oran
Starting from the Roman Empire and moving on to the Spaniards, the Ottomans, and at last the French, it’s very impressive to think how many nations left their mark here. This has blessed the city with some of the most beautiful architecture in Algeria. Oran’s several historical buildings and ancient mosques give great character and charm to the city. Here are some of the most famous attractions in Oran:
- The Fort of Santa Cruz, an old Spanish fort which now serves as a museum
- The Santa Cruz Chapel, located right below the fort, it offers an incredibly impressive view
- The Abdellah Ben Salem Mosque (also known as Oran Great Mosque), it is one of the oldest and most impressive churches in Algeria, and a magnificent example of Islamic architecture
- The Hassan Pasha Mosque
- The Cathedral of Sacre Coeur, a must-visit for an architecture geek
- The Regional Theater of Oran, a cultural center where you can enjoy theater, music and dance performances
- Bey’s Palace, a historic palace in Oran, Algeria dating back to the Ottoman era
- Oran's city hall called Dar el-Bahia, a beautiful restored French era home dating back to the 19th century
- The Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur (now Oran’s public library), a fine sample of Byzantine architecture
- The Ahmed Zabana National Museum, showcasing the history and culture of Oran
Breathtaking view towards the Fort of Santa Cruz and its Chapel
Nightlife in Oran
Oran has a vibrant and one-of-a-kind nightlife. In fact, the city has always been the capital of Algeria's parties and music. You will find plenty of nightclubs, bars and cabarets open all night long in La Corniche, which runs from the city's Front de Mer to the neighboring cities of Aïn El Turk, Bou Sfer and El Ançor.
Even though the poshest nightclubs and lounges are found inside luxury hotels, you don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy them.
Tip: make sure to visit Cintra Bar Restaurant, the city’s oldest bar-restaurant which has attracted several well-known artists, historical figures and writers.
Food in Oran
Algerian cuisine is one of North Africa’s hidden gems. With a great mix of Berber, Andalusian, Arab, and Ottoman cuisines, Oran’s colorful variety of dishes and flavorful spices will open your palette to a world of previously unknown flavors.
During your stay in Oran, make sure to try out the most famous local specialties:
- couscous (served with a stew of meat and various vegetables)
- karentika (a chickpea pie topped with cumin)
- maaqouda (potato cakes)
- chakhchoukha (torn-up flatbread topped with hot stew and spices)
- tajine zitoune (meat or fish, vegetables and a white sauce)
- rechta (Algerian noodles served with chicken and vegetables, a white sauce and cinnamon)
- qalb el louz (baked semolina almond dessert)
- tamina (semolina, honey and butter dessert)
- makrout (fried semolina dipped in honey)
- mouna (orange scented brioche)
Tip: for the best street food, venture to Marché Bastille or Médina Jdida market in the historic quarter of Oran. This is a unique cultural experience that you should definitely not miss!
Qalb-el-louz, a delicious traditional Algerian dessert
Tips for your holidays in Oran
Here are some tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Oran:
- We advise you to bring plenty of cash with you if you want to save a little bit on everything you buy inside the country. The best place to exchange currency is at the ‘Marche de la Bastille‘. Keep in mind that the official currency for Algeria is the Algerian Dinar (DZD).
- During your stay in Oran, make sure to listen to the lively Algerian folk Rai music, which has its origins in the city. Rai and its diverse forms are everywhere.
- For a relaxing day trip, head to Ain el-Turck, a beautiful resort town about 20 km west of Oran. It’s known for its nice beaches, stunning sea views and delicious seafood.
- Bird watchers should not miss out the opportunity to visit the Sebkha of Oran. This saltwater lake sits northwest of Oran and is listed as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area by Birdlife International.
Useful information about Oran
The city has everything you may need for a perfect vacation. What about accommodation options in Oran? The best areas to stay in Oran are around Boulevard de la Soummam in the city or Front de mer and Les Andalouses if you prefer to be closer to the beaches of Oran.
Regarding medical services in Oran, there are a number of hospitals as well as medical centers located in and around the city center.
The best time to visit Oran, Algeria is from March to May or from September to November, since temperatures are more mild and there are lower humidity levels.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Oran
Here are some useful contacts for your holidays in Oran:
- Oran Port Authority: +21341332441
- University hospital in Oran: +21341412238
- Oran Ahmed Ben Bella Airport: +21341591077
- Algeria police: 1548
Transportation in Oran
Oran’s city center and Old Kasbah is easy to explore on foot or by bicycle. Alternatively, there are several transportation options available, such as taxis, buses and trains.
Taxis are the most convenient mode of transportation and they are not that expensive. Oran’s tram system that spreads through the city is also reliable. It has 32 stations and a single ticket costs 40 DZA, which you can purchase from vendors at shops.
The city tram in front of the Abdellah Ben Salem Mosque in Oran
Ports in Oran
The port of Oran (also known as Port of Wahran) is located in the West Mediterranean in Algeria. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is considered one of the most important ports in the country.
It’s a busy port less than 2 km from the city center. You can easily access it either by public transport or car. In fact, the Gare Oran Marine train station is just a few meters away from the protected cruise terminal. Being so close to the city center, you will have access to several facilities and services.
Oran ferry: schedules and tickets
At the moment, the port of Oran serves ferry routes from Almería in Spain. The companies operating this ferry crossing are Naviera Armas and Trasmediterranea.
There are normally up to 2 weekly ferry crossings from Almería to Oran all year round. Ferries arrive at the port of Oran and the trip duration is approximately 10 hr. Ferry ticket prices from Almería to Oran start at around €128.
Tip: if you want to know more about ferries from Spain to North Africa, check out our dedicated article!
Beautiful view of Oran’s port and coastline
Book your ferry tickets to Oran online
On Ferryhopper, you can book your ferry tickets online from Almería to Oran easily and quickly. Find all the information you need about ferry schedules from/to the port of Oran, check our Map of ferries for available ferry crossings, compare ferry companies, and book tickets with no hidden fees!