Tunisia might be tiny, but with its rich cultural history and diverse natural beauty—not to mention it’s also the birthplace of the Arab Spring—Tunisia has so much to offer.
When it comes to beautiful white sandy beaches, few countries along the Mediterranean come close to Tunisia. But the North African country is so much more than just a beach destination. It’s filled with archaeological wonders (perfect for history-buffs) and the Southern Sahara offers endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure.
So why is Tunisia still a second choice for travellers visiting the region? We round up eight reasons why Tunisia shouldn’t be overlooked.
Tunis is home to a world-heritage medina
From the 12th and 16th century, Tunis was considered one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the Islamic world; and the medina in Tunis was also one of the first Arab-Muslim towns in North Africa. Take a stroll in the souks, while you discover some of the 700 monuments preserved in the medina, such as the Zitouna Mosque and the Kasbah Mosque.
It’s home to the historic archaeological site of Carthage
Founded in the 9th century B.C by the Phoenicians, Carthage is an incredible UNESCO archaeological site located on the Gulf of Tunis. Having played a major role in antiquity, Carthage engaged in the Punic wars against Rome. Destroyed, Carthage was rebuilt by Romans in 146 AD. The National Museum of Carthage and the 19th century Cathedral of Saint Louis are also not to miss.
Sidi Bou Saïd is Tunisia’s answer to the Amalfi Coast
The peaceful and picturesque white and blue village just outside of Tunis is an all-time favourite. One look at it and you’ll have no problem realising why painters like Paul Klee and writers like Flaubert and Simone de Beauvoir spent time there to get inspired. After strolling around the alleys and artists’ studios, get a mint tea and bambalouni (Tunisia’s local doughnut) on top of the hill.
Youth culture is booming
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Ever since Tunisia’s youth shouted “Dégage” to its former President Ben Ali back in 2011, a new, never-felt-before sense of freedom has emerged in the country. There may be increasing unemployment and corruption, but refuge-seeking youth are finding shelter in newly emerging underground scenes. Don’t miss clubs like Habibi, Club Gingembre and the avant-garde art station B7L9.
Tunisia has beaches like no other
Tunisia is first and foremost all about the beach. But these aren’t any old type of beaches. The country is blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches: think milky white sand and turquoise water. Looking for a sophisticated beach resort? Head to Hammamet. If you’re into sleepy towns, Mahdia is what you want. If you’re craving the picture-perfect beach gateway, Djerba should be your pick. And if you’re seeking an off-the-beaten-track beach experience, Cap Serrat is where you need to go.
Djerba is home to one of the last Jewish communities in the MENA region
Not only is Djerba home to idyllic beaches and great local craftsmen—it is also an island where Muslims and Jews still live together in the MENA region. It’s also perfect if you’re looking for a corner of serenity on the Mediterranean.
Dougga is one of Africa’s most impressive Roman sites
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Dougga is one of the most beautiful and impressive Roman sites in Africa. Be sure to visit the restored theatre, which was built in AD 168, the ruins of the Church of Victoria, and most importantly, explore the preserved 10-metre high walls of the Capitol built in AD 166.
The Southern region offers much more than just desert tours
From old Berber villages to mountain oases, the Southern region of Tunisia is much more than just dunes and palm trees. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous or romantic escapade, the mystical town of Tozeur is perfect. This is also where you can visit the cult Star Wars set.