Reasons to Visit
Kairouan is one of the holiest cities in Islam and the Great Mosque in the town's medina is a place of beauty and tranquility. Turkish influence can also be seen in the family homes of the Tunis medina and in the intricate palace buildings of the Bardo Museum.
The villages in southern Tunisia are home to some ingenious local architecture. The village of Matmata features troglodyte dwellings, where rooms are several metres below ground level, whilst the ksours such as at Tataouine were used for storage, as defensive positions and for habitation.
The Carthaginian and Roman ruins in Tunisia often play second fiddle to the superb beaches, which is a great shame. The grand amphitheatre of El Jem and other impressive sites such as Kerkouane, Bulla Regia, Sbeitla and Dougga really are remarkable attractions, fully deserving of a place on your itinerary.
To many visitors from Europe, Tunisia's countryside is surprisingly green, and its Roman sites are an absolute delight in the spring months when the wildflowers are in bloom. The freshwater lakes and salt-flats are stopping-off points for migratory birds and offer excellent opportunities for birdwatching.
In the deep south west of the country are the edges of the Sahara Desert, a landscape of dunes, camels and stark mountains and canyons. The desert requires an investment of time and effort to explore, but will reward you with solitude and stunning scenery.
The medinas of Tunisia are the walled hearts of the towns, where the oldest souqs, mosques, streets and traditional houses are to be found. Their whitewashed walls and ornate doors and windows offer perfect opportunities for the keen photographer, while the shady streets and covered souqs give respite from the North African sun.
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North Africa & the Middle East
Our Tunisia specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know Tunisia inside out.
The best way in to Tunisia is by direct flights to Tunis with British Airways from London Gatwick, or Tunis Air from Heathrow.
Flights depart to Tunisia most days of the week.
As it is only three hours away from the UK, Tunisia lends itself both to fuller itineraries taking in the whole country and shorter programmes of around a week which can concentrate more specifically on areas such as the Roman sites of the north.
Tunisia has a similar land mass to the UK (of which much is the Saharan desert), and driving around the country is often a much more sensible option than taking domestic flights, particularly where there are interesting stops en route.
You can travel either with a driver only or with a driver and a local guide during your stay in Tunisia, depending on whether you would prefer to explore the sites alone or require more detail from a knowledgeable guide
Arabic is the main language, but French is the dominant language in the media, commercial enterprise, and government departments, and you will find that Tunisians are comfortable in both languages - so much so that they often speak a hybrid of the two amongst one another! English is a third language in Tunisia, but many people will speak at least some.
Tunisian cooking is a blend of European, Oriental and desert dweller's culinary traditions. Unlike other North African cuisine, Tunisian food is spicy hot. Harissa, a chilli paste with garlic and herbs, is liberally added to most Tunisian cooking, and is offered as an accompaniment to bread. As a general rule of thumb, the further south one ventures in Tunisia, the spicier the harissa. Couscous is the national dish of Tunisia and can be prepared in a dozen different ways. It is cooked in a special kind of double boiler called a couscousiere. Meat and vegetables are boiled in the lower half.
The unit of currency is the Tunisian Dinar. The TD is a soft currency, which means that the exchange rates are fixed by the government, it cannot be traded on the currency markets and it is also illegal to import or export it. Do remember that once into the departures section of the airport, transactions are carried out predominantly in Euros and that if you have any Tunisian Dinars left over, they will not be of any use.
A 10 percent tip is the norm at restaurants. In addition your drivers and guides will expect tips.
'Salammbo', by Flaubert. A fanciful take on the Punic War from the writer famed for his racy style. 'Katy in Tunisia', by Katy Hounsell-Robert. A modern travelogue through the familiar eyes of an Englishwoman.
'Malouf' is the most typically Tunisian music style, a band comprising a violin, oud (lute), derbouka (drum) and singer.
'Star Wars' the most famous of many films to be set in the bizarre and desolate desert landscapes of Tunisia.
Brik are small pastry parcels containing tuna and egg.
Tunisian wine is quite palatable; Chateau Mornag, Magon and Muscat Sec de Kelibia are all decent.
Roman ruins, desert, coastline, Carthage.
Olive oil, olivewood items, spices and orange blossom water.
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Further reading:Tours in TunisiaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonLibyaMoroccoOmanSyria
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