Tunisia - Top Tips

Super Seven


Tunis City Tour


With the capital of Tunis being the most likely entry point into the country, it's worth spending a day to explore the sites on offer. To get a true feel of the hustle & bustle of the city, put the Medina at the top of your list. All within a compact area, you'll have narrow streets lined with historical buildings and street vendors offering everything from food, jewellery, spices, and carpets. Other notable points to check out are Kasbah Square, Bab El Bhar, and Zitouna Mosque.


The National Bardo Museum


This museum resides inside a palace in Tunis and holds the largest collection of mosaics on the planet. The mosaics are super impressive and have so much intricate detail. This is a multi-floor complex with the ground floor holding some non-mosaic exhibits. This place is always ranked in the top two museums on the African continent and I really think it justifies its reputation.


Amphitheatre of El Jem


Within a 2 hour drive of Tunis, you can reach the impressive Amphitheatre of El Jem, which is a UNESCO listed site since 1979. The largest amphitheatre in North Africa, as well as being the fourth largest in the Roman world. I was very impressed with how well preserved the ruins were, as well as the size, which held 30,000 spectators in its prime. It's also possible to explore the area underneath the arena, so you can see the cages where animals and humans were held before the entertainment began.


Sidi Bou Said There's a charming and colourful town called Sidi Bou Said, which overlooks the Mediterranean and is within easy reach to visit for a couple of hours. The area is famed for cobbled streets with blue and white roof tops, as well as being lined with al fresco cafes and local eateries. There's a sandy beach and many beautiful view points across the ocean. It's a popular spot with tourists, but still definitely worth including in your itinerary. You can wander the quiet back streets, which is a car-free zone and very photogenic.


Port El Kantaoui A popular tourist complex located close to city of Sousse is the marina area of Port El Kantaoui. This is an artificial harbour with room for 340 luxury yachts and plenty of water sport activities available. For golf lovers, there's a 36 hole PGA-approved course, with plenty of beachfront accommodation available for visiting tourists. Sadly the who area is a ghost town in recent years due to the 2015 Sousse attacks, where 39 people were killed. You can easily combine a visit to Port El Kantaoui with El Jem.


Carthage The ruins of ancient Carthage was a wealthy city of the Phoenicians located on the sea, but it was destroyed in 146 BC. Taking the age into consideration, it makes the ruins all the more impressive. It's an open-air complex that requires a small entry fee for visitors. I've definitely seen more impressive ruins on the African continent, but worth checking out if you have an interest in history or combining en route to other sights.


North Africa American Cemetery Upon arriving at Tunis-Carthage International Airport, one of your first stops should be the North Africa American Cemetery, which is a short 25 minute drive. Set across 27 acres is the resting place of 2841 dead military, with the headstones set in straight lines across the 9 plots on site. This is a really well maintained cemetery with tree-lined terraces and decorative pools at the intersections. There's also a "Wall of the Missing" which features 3724 names.


Accommodation Advice


I chose Hotel Royal Victoria as my base, which is one of the oldest hotels in Tunis and also the most centrally located directly on the main square. The hotel is family run and the hospitality is of a very high standard. Rooms are decorated in traditional style with majority having a balcony overlooking the central square. WiFi is good and the restaurant offers great local cuisine.


Food Factor


I had time to check out a number of different restaurants in Tunis, but one left it's mark on me more than others, which is El Ali. The restaurant was formed via the transformation of a burned down residential building and has a beautiful outdoor courtyard area. You'll find typical Tunisian dishes that you can tuck into whilst enjoying views of the Medina from the rooftop. Also a popular daytime spot due to the cafe on the upper level. Depending on the time in you have in Tunis, here's a great article from The Culture Trip with some worthwhile dining options.


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