Tunisia Travel Guide
Once a hot destination for Europeans seeking guaranteed sunshine at any time of year, recent geopolitical events have called the safety of Tunisia into question. While terrorist attacks on the beaches in Sousse and at the Bardo National Museum were horrifying to read about, security has been heightened in a bid to win back the trust of the global travel community.
The guides, hotels, restaurants and ordinary people of this country will likely greet you warmly during your stay in Tunisia. So long as you remain aware of your surroundings and listen to the advice of locals, it is unlikely you will have anything but a great time visiting this culturally diverse North African country.
Currency: Tunisian Dinars
Languages: Arabic, French
What To Do
Learn about Tunisia’s rich past by spending time exploring the Bardo National Museum. Housed in the 15th-century palace originally home to members of the Hafsid dynasty, it showcases the rich archeological treasures found in Tunisia.
In its exhibits, you will find the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world, pages of the Blue Koran (a millennia-old blue parchment containing verses written in gold Arabic script), pieces from an ancient Greek shipwreck, and a variety of artifacts from the golden age of the Carthaginian civilization.
Despite recent gruesome events, security is very high, so don’t miss out on seeing some of the world’s most priceless treasures.
There are plenty of ruins strewn across Tunisia, but if you only have time for one set, take a day trip out to the El Jem Amphitheatre. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the well-preserved state of the largest Roman Colosseum in North Africa, this massive stadium was once able to hold 35,000 spectators.
It served the local population well after the Roman Empire fell as well, as it was used as a fort, for grain storage, dwellings, shops, and in the modern era, as a backdrop for films like The Gladiator and Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.
Love street art? Be sure to check out Djerbahood. Located on the island of the same name (Djerba) in the Mediterranean Sea, this street art installation came about in 2014 after a village invited graffiti artists from around the world to create art on its bare walls.
The results were nothing short of brilliant, as creatives from over 30 countries crafted thought-provoking and illuminating pieces. While it is a bit of a mission to get here from the north, the time investment will be not be wasted by those who have a genuine interest in this artistic discipline.
Traditionally, Tunisia has been known for its splendid Mediterranean beaches. Sousse is one of the best destinations if you are looking to relax by the sea, as you will find a variety of attractions to tide you over when you aren’t busy working on your tan.
The Great Mosque (dress appropriately for your visit) is the perfect place to start, as it has been around since 850 AD, and within the medina, you’ll find a variety of souks where you can practice your haggling skills.
If you are looking for the most popular beach in Tunisia, though, you’ll find it in Hammamet. The atmosphere here is on point, as an age-old city ordinance which states that buildings mustn’t be taller than a cypress tree has ensured the development of a relaxed vibe.
Just don’t come here for the culture, as all attractions found within the city limits of Sousse are conspicuously absent in Hammamet. There are a number of luxurious gardens found across town, however, so any walks you go on will be pleasant despite the lack of historic attractions.
What to Eat
Looking for something light at lunch while traveling in Tunisia? If you want to have something local, try ordering some Lablabi. A chickpea soup seasoned with garlic and cumin, it often comes with additional ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, capers, tuna, and even cow trotters. Served with bread, it is a dish every traveler should try once while they are in Tunisia.
There are some dishes that attain region-wide appeal, earning them love from citizens of multiple countries in a specific area. In North Africa, Couscous is that dish, as these tiny pearls of semolina have a versatility which makes them easy to prepare.
In Tunisia, their Couscous is distinguished from their neighbours by its spiciness and is served with virtually every meal. Be on the lookout for Fish Couscous, as it is regarded as the best variant of what is the national dish of this country.
Seeking out a sweet ending to your day in Tunisia? Look for some Makroudh at a local bakery. A treat made from semolina flour, it envelops dates and almonds in a sweet pastry you will be indulging in on multiple occasions after you try it for the first time.