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Visiting Tunisia? Here Are The Must-Have Experiences That You Should Not Miss


| 10 mins read

The northernmost African country, Tunisia, is a historical land that witnessed the power play of the Amazigh, the Phoenicians and the Romans. These events have graced the country with a site dating back to 238 AD (El Jem), ancient palaces, historical mosques, and traditions that are unique to the land. In this blog, we have covered eight experiences that will convince you why you should choose Tunisia as your next destination. Along with the obvious recommendation of ruins and Berber villages, learn about unforgettable beaches and delectable cuisine, which is a delightful fusion of North African and Mediterranean flavours. 

Explore the Ruins of Carthage

A must-visit for historical buffs, Carthage was once the heart of the ancient Carthaginian Empire, and today, this UNESCO World Heritage site stands as a testament to the powerful rivalry with Rome. By taking a guided day trip from Tunis to Carthage, you will be captivated by the lost stories of valour and power while imagining what it all must have looked like then! Although there are many sites to explore here, if you are on a limited time, you must check out the Carthage National Museum to learn better about the city's past, capture the panoramic views of the city and its surroundings from the Byrsa Hill, and see one of the largest bath complexes in Africa (Baths of Antoninus), the Roman Theatre (which is still used for concerts!) and Tophet (an ancient ritual site dedicated to the Phoenician deities of Tanit and Baal). 

Ruins of Carthage

Did you know? There is a quite interesting story of how Carthage was established. As per legend, when Queen Dido (the founder of Carthage) arrived to acquire the land from a local ruler, she struck a deal to take all the land that an oxhide could cover! Smartly, she cut an oxhide into such thin strips that could cover an entire hill, where the ruins of Carthage still stand. 

Discover the Sahara Desert Starting from Tamerza

Located on the edge of Tunisia's grand Sahara Desert, Tamerza is an oasis town that was abandoned after the 1970s when it was continuously flooded for 22 days (approx.). Today, the town has become an attractive tourist place where you can immerse in the waters of the Tamerza Canyon against the backdrop of mountains and lush palm groves and see the ruins of the old town. Moreover, the town is the gateway to the Great Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world. After enjoying an early morning visit to Tamerza, begin with a guided trek through the desert, where you can see the desert corners being lit up by the golden hues of the sun. Moreover, you can also choose from a plethora of possible activities in the Sahara Desert, like dune bashing in a 4x4 safari vehicle, camel safari (that can add an authentic touch to your trip to Tunisia), and overnight camping in a star-filled sky amidst the serene silence of the desert night. 

Oasis in the Great Sahara Desert

Did you know? The Sahara Desert is continuously expanding. As per sources, it is estimated that the desert has grown about 10% over the past century due to a combination of natural cycles and climate change. 

Wander Through the Medina of Tunis

Imagine walking on a labyrinth of narrow streets covered with old homes and historic buildings, locals sitting on the corners, selling traditional products, and a local friend by your side, letting you in on the stories that make Tunis- Tunis! That's what the picture will look like on your visit to the Medina of Tunis. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Medina is the heart of authentic Tunisia, where the rhythms of centuries past and present meet. 

Although there is a lot to explore here, there are a few places you must check out, like the Zitouna Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Tunis (non-Muslims have limited access; you can see the surrounding courtyard, which also displays the architectural finesse) and the Dar Ben Abdallah Museum, a beautiful place that will introduce you to the traditional ways of Tunisian people. Interestingly, no matter which souk (market) you visit, you will be captivated by the range of local products, be it food, jewellery and textiles. Some of the most popular ones are Souk el Attarine (the perfume market), Souk des Tapis (the carpet market) and the Souk des Chechias (the iconic red Tunisian hats market). 

Tunis Souk

Did you know? As per UNESCO, there are around 700 monuments in the Medina, including mosques, palaces, madrasas and fountains, making it one of the most historically rich places in Tunisia. 

Relax on the Beaches of Djerba

Often referred to as the "island of dreams", Djerba is a haven for beach lovers in southern Tunisia. If you plan to make your Tunisian trip a mix of exploration and relaxation, you must add Djerba. The city boasts crystal clear waters, clean beaches, and a quiet retreat compared to other cities' hustle and bustle. Amongst its many beaches, check out the soft sandy shores of Sidi Mahres and Seguia Beach, where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing and a range of water sports. Moreover, beyond the beaches, explore the traditional villages located on the island, visit the El Ghriba Synagogue (one of the oldest synagogues in the world) to learn about the island's diverse heritage and the Djerbahood open-air museum, a hidden gem. In 2014, around 150 artists from worldwide countries gathered to decorate the streets of Erriadh village in Djerba and created 250 mural paintings (approx.), transforming the village into a vibrant canvas. 

Djerba Beach

Did you know? There is a myth that Djerba was the island of the Lotus-Eaters. It's said that when Odysseus, a legendary Greek king, along with his people, came to the region, they were fed lotus fruits, which made them forget their desire to return home! 

Join a Halfa Workshop in Hergla

A small coastal town in Tunisia, Hergla is known for its traditional white houses adorned with blue windows, a characteristic of Tunisian-styled houses. So, if you want to add a unique element to your trip, attending a Halfa workshop in Hergla is a great way. Halfa is basically a type of grass native to North Africa. Because it was near the sea, Halfa was easily accessible to the locals, so making Tunisian craft out of it not only became a means of living but also gradually became the identity of the town. 

Witnessing the making of things made out of Halfa will introduce you to the local ways like none other. Many guided experiences are available, which take you through the entire process, from harvesting and preparing the grass to the intricate art of weaving, allowing an immersion into the simple craft by hand! If you want, there are also options to weave alongside artisans that will allow you to learn the craft first-hand and get inspired. 


Explore the Berber Villages in the Atlas Mountains

Another important experience that you must not miss is learning about the life of the Berber people, an indigenous tribe in the Maghreb region of Africa. With a local guide by your side, start by exploring the Atlas Mountains, which will also provide perfect photogenic spots and breathtaking views. Moreover, many tour companies offer adventure opportunities, like rock climbing and mountaineering, adding an element of adventure to your trip. As you wander around the region, you will be greeted by local settlements, of which Chenini and Douiret are quite popular amongst the tourists due to being rock-carved, showcasing a harmonious connection between humans and nature. Additionally, visit the local markets to observe the daily routines of the Berber people, who are known for their hospitality. 

Chenini Berber Village

Did you know? The activities of the Berbers, like agricultural practices and festivals, are based on the phases of the moon. It is because they are said to have a unique astronomical connection with celestial bodies, and so most of their events, be it daily life or special occasions, are decided on the basis of the lunar calendar. 

Enjoy a Food Tour in Sousse

Favoured by its location along the Mediterranean, Sousse is one of Tunisia's best choices for food lovers, where the cuisine has influences of the Berber elements and Andalusian spices, paired with Ottoman extravagance and French artistry. What makes Tunisian cuisine unique is the use of olive oil and spices like harissa. So, when in Tunisia, a food tour in Sousse will allow you to learn about the city's history from a different perspective. A few dishes that you must taste are seafood couscous (a local variant of Tunisia's national dish), Lablabi (a chickpea-based dish), the delicious dessert of Baklava, and Mloukhiya (a stew made with green leafy vegetables), amongst others. 


Did you know? A must-try in Sousse is Chorba Frik, a dish with a sweet historical story. Popular belief says that Chorba Frik is a traditional soup that can lift the spirits of weary travellers. Made of grains, herbs and lamb, even today, it is a comforting dish for both locals and travellers alike. 

Visit the Amphitheatre of El Jem

Nestled in the heart of Tunisia in the Mehdia Governorate, the Amphitheatre of El Jem is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in the world. Buit in the 3rd century AD, it is truly a fantastic site of ancient stones whispering tales of the era of 'gladiators' that can accommodate up to 35,000 spectators! On your visit, explore the secret chambers made to hold gladiators and animals, walk through the vast corridors while your guide regales you with courageous fights of the past, climb up the tiers to soak in a panoramic view of the area around, and most importantly, the onsite museum will further provide historical context and expose you to a collection of artifacts and mosaics, which were unearthed from the area around. A trip to El Jem is the best way to learn about Roman times in Tunisia and the influence they had on architecture and living. 

Amphitheatre of El Jem

Did you know? For the fans of the Oscar-winning film- Gladiator, you would be glad to know that the Amphitheatre of El Jem was used as a filming location for that film. This brought fame to this ancient marvel and drew everyone's attention to its preservation. Today, the amphitheatre is the venue of the annual El Jem International Symphony Festival, an international music festival that started in 1985. 

From the historical stones in Carthage narrating the stories of the Bygone era to the clear beaches of Djerba, the country is a land of relaxation and cultural depth. Moreover, especially for those planning to turn to the pages of African history, the country will not disappoint you. So pack your bags today and get ready to explore one of the famous countries of the African continent, Tunisia.