The Sahara desert and the beautiful coastline combine harmoniously and the cities add a dose of excitement to your explorations. Although an Arabian country, Tunisia is by no means a restricted place to visit and is considered quite laid back in comparison to some of its counter parts but if you wish to learn about the fascinating religion then it’s easy to do. Tunisia is full of surprises so discover everything on offer with a hire car.
Tunisia Tourist Board: The official website for the Tunisian National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Tunisia.
Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Tunisia from the FCO.
Things to see and do
- Bask on the white sands of the beaches which line the northern coast. Raf Raf and Sidi Ali El Mekki offer the perfect blend of sea, sand and sun.
- Visit the country’s former capital, Carthage which is now in the outskirts of Tunis, and unearth its history with explorations of the old ruins. The museum here is worthy of a visit and will give you further insight into the city’s past.
- Experience the Sahara Desert in style and embark on a camel ride across the hot sands.
- Journey to the beautiful island of Djerba and shelter under the shade of the palm trees which fringe the beaches.
- The Zitouna Mosque is the largest mosque in the whole of Tunisia and dates to the 9th century. Non-Muslims are only permitted to enter the courtyard, not the mosque itself and modest dress is required but it’s still most certainly worthy of a visit.
- Awe at the well preserved El Djem Colosseum which is almost as large as the one in Rome, dating back to the 3rd century AD. It is undoubtedly one of Africa’s best examples of Roman remains.
- Get lost in the medinas of the larger towns and cities such as Tunis and Sousse and buy local crafts and souvenirs from the endless selection on offer.
- Wake up before sunrise and travel to see the salt flats at Chott El Jerid in all their glory, just as the sun creeps over the horizon. It’s a magical sight! These salt flats are the largest in the Sahara covering 7,000km² and were used as sets in the Star Wars films.
- Hop on a horse and cart and journey into the desert to track down an oasis like the one in Tozeur. Views of coconut palms and banana trees will fly past as the horses gallop through.
- Nature lovers should make Lake Ichkeul a priority on their must see list – the waters are a haven for birds such as flamingos and storks, whilst the surrounding marshes are great for spotting water buffalo and porcupines.
- Head to Monastir to try out its many fantastic championship golf courses such as Palm Links, El Kantaoui and the Flamingo Golf Course.
- Treat yourself with a visit to a hammam; Turkish baths which are found all over Tunisia.
Festivals and events
- Milad al-Nabi is a festival to celebrate the birth of Muhammad, the final Prophet of Islam. Parades storm the streets and feasts are popular too. (February)
- Roll up and relax to the soothing tones of jazz at the International Festival of Jazz which is held in June in Tunis. (June)
- Ramadan which lasts for 30 days is considered one of the most important periods during the Islamic calendar. It vastly focuses on fasting and so it is worth noting that some businesses and restaurants may operate reduced hours during this time. (July)
- Held every year since 1964 the International Festival of Carthage is an important event in the annual calendar. Head to the amphitheatre to enjoy both drama and music. (July – August)
- Lasting for four weeks, the International Festival of Bizerta is held in the town of the same name and explores the tradition and heritage of the city making it a good bet for those keen on culture with performances, traditional food and exhibitions to enjoy. (August)
- Carthage Film Festival features some of the best examples of film from this part of the world and could be appealing for anyone interested in the film industry. (October)
- Head to Tozeur during November to experience the unforgettable Oasis Festival. You will enjoy colourful dance acts performed on horseback and an insight into ancient traditions. (November)
- The International Festival of the Sahara is also held towards the end of the year where the quiet town of Douz is swamped with visitors for a huge celebration of Saharan arts and culture. (November)