In the West these days, we rarely if ever spare a thought for North Africa's largest and second-most populous country, but Algeria is an underrated gem, from the history and culture of capital city Algiers to ecotourism to ancient Roman ruins to amazing ecotourism. The world was much more aware of it during the middle decades of the 20th century, though, thanks to the works of Paul Bowles and French Nobel-prize-winning writer Albert Camus (born in Algeria), as well as its brutal war of independence against France. But Algeria largely missed the tourism boom of the late 20th century thanks to the violence of an Islamist insurgency, and only today is it finally starting to come into its own as a tourist destination.

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