To say that Tunisia has an abundance of diverse history and astounding natural beauty is something of an understatement! With superb Mediterranean beaches, opulent turquoise seas and an established tourism infrastructure, Tunisia is the perfect family-friendly holiday destination. Yes there is so much more to this North African country – with an abundance of Roman remains, traditional souqs, impressive ribats and ancient monuments, the time has come to discover Tunisia!
Start your Adventure in Tunis
The capital city of Tunis is a laidback modern Arab city with pockets of ancient Roman, Ottoman and colonial heritage. Tunis was one of the wealthiest cities during the 12th to 16t century and that culture and opulence can be seen within the palaces, mausoleums and mosques. The Medina of Tunis dates back to 698 AD and is one of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tunisia. The Old Quarter of the Medina offers a fascinating insight into past influences.
Explore Roman Carthage
The UNESCO listed site of Carthage is a must visit! A former Phoenician colony founded in 9BC, Carthage was a powerful empire and dominated world trade. The site was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC who then proceeded to construct their own city on the ruins, thus creating Roman Carthage. Allow plenty of time to explore the site which includes the oldest Roman baths outside of Rome at the Antonin Baths. The Carthaginian Ruins themselves include an amphitheatre and caves as well as an informative museum on site which contains exhibits that have been excavated from Carthage. Explore the magnificent Acropolium, also known as St. Louis Cathedral which was built in 1890. Admire the Presidential Palace from afar.
Discover El Jem
The small town of El Jem is home to one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres on earth. Formerly known as ‘Thysdrus’ during Roman times, El Jem is the second most important town in North Africa (after Carthage). Built in the mid-third century the amphitheatre is today partially in ruins, although at its height it held 35,000 spectators. The monument highlights the opulence of the Imperial Roman rule. Visitors can climb up the remaining sections of seating for a panoramic view over the countryside and sea. It’s worth noting that the El Jem amphitheatre featured in scenes in the blockbuster movie Gladiator. The El Jem Museum has interesting artefacts, mosaics and monuments on display.
Enjoy the resort life of Hammamet
In Northern Tunisia lies the established and family-friendly resort of Hammamet. Founded 5 centuries ago, the key attractions are the modern hotels and amenities, wide expansive beaches and fantastically central location. Don’t miss the historical gems in Hammamet itself, which include the impressive Great Mosque, the authentic kasbah and the mighty fortress walls.
Chill out on Djerba Island
Nestled in the Gulf of Gabes is the island of Djerba which has a distinctly Mediterranean feel. With vast expanses of beautiful sandy beaches, traditional culture and miles upon mile of peaceful countryside, this is a real eco-focussed getaway-from-it all type destination. When you’ve had enough of lounging in the sun, head inland to explore the ancient La Ghriba synagogue within Erriadh village and browse the colorful market in Houmt Souk where you can buy spices, textiles and Tunisian clothing. Head to pretty Guellala village which has produced pottery masterpieces since the ancient Roman times and pay a visit to the excellent Guellala Museum.
Hike and spot birds in the Ichkeul National Park
Get back to nature in the Ichkeul National Park where you can walk the natural habitats of millions of migratory birds. The lake itself is an important site for thousands of different migrating bird species. Ichkeul is the last freshwater lake in North Africa, where previously a lake system stretched across the continent. Birds include pink flamingos, herons, geese, egrets, storks and ducks.
Experience a different side to Monastir
The ancient city of Monastir dates back to Phoenecian times and if often the main entry point into Tunisia. Take time to explore the remaining historical sites including the Mausoleum of Bourguiba. Monastir is also home to an impressive Ribat, aka fortified monastery. The now ruined site sits beside the sea and has appeared in films such as Monty Python’s Life of Brian, posing as Jerusalem. There is also a small, but authentic bazaar remaining in the medina quarter.
The city of Kairouan is the fourth most important Muslim holy city in the world, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Founded in 670 BC, thousands of pilgrims make the journey here each year to the mosques. The rich cultural history has placed deeply religious Kairouan on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Great Mosque, Sidi Oqba Mosque, has impressive marble columns but non-Muslims are not permitted to enter. The Mosque of the Three Gates dates back to the 9th century and has an equally impressive façade.
Make the trip to Dougga
Another key UNESCO site in Tunisia is Dougga, which is also known as Thugga. Nestled in the beautiful Kalled Valley, Dougga is a remote yet stunning Roman city. Spanning 75 hectares, Dougga is a rich archaeological wonder with glimpses into past rule, with the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods all represented.
Combine modern and ancient in Sousse
Also within Northern Tunisia is the popular beach resort of Sousse. Besides a great selection of all-inclusive hotel resorts, clear turquoise seas and clean beaches, the city is also famed for its rich architecture. With its own great Mosque built in 850 AD, fortified Ribat and eerie catacombs, Sousse has plenty going on. Also a UNESCO listed city, Sousse has a good souk, an interesting Mosaic Museum and the Dar Esid Museum, which depicts traditional everyday Tunisian life.