Skikda: what to see and what to do

SKIKDA is a city located in Algeria, in the eastern part of the coast, not far from Annaba, in the homonymous bay, between the Cap de Fer and Cap Bougaroun. It is far 338 kilometers from the capital, Algiers. It is a very important port from a commercial and industrial point of view, with good rail and road connection to inland cities such as Constantine, which is only 60 km away.

skikdaPhoto CC-BY-SA 2.0 by Reda Kerbouche

In recent years the city is focusing a lot on international tourism as so far it was more concentrated on the capital Algiers or the other coastal cities such as Oran and Annaba. But the Algerians have always appreciated Skikda as a fantastic choice for their own local holidays. Not surprisingly since the beaches of Skikda have nothing to envy to other Algerian beaches and deserve to be  known more also by foreign tourists, especially if you are tired of spending your holidays always in the same places, with  crowded beaches where you have to be careful not to step on other bodies.

The ones lucky enough to arrive in Skikda, perhaps by boat, will not be disappointed: in fact if you are one of those, you will be able to stay in modern hotels, even luxurious, many of which have their own private beach; you will be eating tasty dishes in restaurants all scattered around in town, offering typical, local food but also international dishes and of course, the French cuisine that is always present in Northern Africa.

The culinary references to France are actually a lot, but it is perfectly normal given the history of the city, starting from the very name: it was known as Philippeville. In fact, until the independence of Algeria, the French left many traces of their heritage, such as some works of the famous architect Le Corbusier (one of them is the Town Hall). The monumental port took long years to become what today can be considered one of the most important Algerian ports, both for trade and industry and for fishing. The marina is increasingly used by ships and ferries from various nations.

The city is modern and can offer all you need to tourists who want to spend a relaxing beach holiday, with nice town walking dedicated to shopping, not to mention a good dinner of Algerian couscous in many typical restaurants. Of course it is not the same kind of tourism you can taste in other Algerian cities with many ancient monuments to visit, because unfortunately the Roman ancient city which gave its origin to Skikda is almost completely gone. There are only some preserved Roman ruins to be found in various buildings such as the town hall.

However, what you can do is to stay for one or more days here, and explore the nature which will change completely just visiting the surrounding area. After visiting the city you can go and admire the entire region that offers  completely different landscapes ranging from the coast, with forests and large areas dedicated to the cultivation of cereals, citrus fruits and vines and breeding of sheep and goats. Or you can go for example to Constantine which is located on a rocky plateau, surrounded by the Uadi Rhumel gorges, and presented to the traveller who arrives with an unforgettable view.

Returning to Skikda and to its sea, there are many beaches, such as Paradis Plage, Le Château Vert, la Plage Casino, the Lido or La Plage Marquette. You can easily visit the island Srigina as it is only 3 kilometers away. Taking a boat ride, you will love the atmosphere here, including a 1906 lighthouse and the Phare Rouge – enjoy gazing at all the islands that are located in the bay. Even if they have a name, some of the isles are so small that in fact they look like simple rocks that rise from the water. Moving away a little from the town is the village of Stora, with its beautiful beach and the lighthouse.

Walking in the city, the most striking area is that of Arcades; nearby there are numerous bars and restaurants; instead in the “bakers” area (pastry shops), which are mostly also tearooms, you can find sweet and fabulous cakes. It is very pleasant to sip tea savoring one of the many desserts offered by the menu and coming both from the Algerian tradition and the French one. The meeting point of the inhabitants is The Place, a large square which lies opposite the town hall; here young and old folks meet to chat and walk.

On the coast there are some very interesting parks and nature reserves, although a little distant from Skikda. In the direction of Tunisia, shortly after Annaba, almost 103 km far from Skikda, there is the El Kala Reserve. Instead, in the direction of Algiers, near the town of Jijel, there are Submarines Paths of El Aouana, which represents a quite unique experiment in its kind. A little further, at 180 km from Skikda, it is the town of Taza with its Coastal National Park.

skikda_algeriaPhoto CC-BY-SA Oussama.bouakba

The city of Skikda, whether you are visiting the coast or the inland areas, offer a wonderful discovery to make and provides an experience throughout the region that you will certainly want to repeat!

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