Tunis, the capital of Tunisia was a city that honestly took me by surprise. It was a cool mix of Arabic, French and African cultures with a diverse population to match it. I expected the city to be quite conservative as it was after all an Islamic country, I expected women to be more conservative with their dressing and was pleasantly surprised to find I could pretty much wear what I wanted. Now having said this, the country is predominantly Muslim with around 98% of the population being Arabs, so Modesty should be considered to respect the culture. Learning the language may also be useful as English is not commonly spoken in smaller cities. Now before you head to this pleasantly surprisingly city; here are a few things you should know.
In Tunis, the accommodation is cheap. I was able to book a hotel room for 5 nights for around £25 per night. Now granted that I did go during off-seasons (in February) during the summer you can still get a good hotel room for around £15-£50 a night in the heart of the city. Hotels are also a lot cheaper in the country so you may want to use booking.com/hotels.com etc. to help you book your first nights there and then have a look around at the different hotels in the city too.
If you’re heading to the Capital Tunis, there’s so much the city can offer.
1. Get lost in the city
Why not start by wandering around the city centre and getting your I love Tunis picture, This monument is located in the heart of the city on Ave Habib Bourguiba, is a nice place to start your sightseeing days here. With cheap and reliable public transports, getting busses or metros are a great way to really immerse yourself into Tunis.
2. Try the food!
Due to Tunis’ culture, their culinary cuisines are amazingly diverse. Fun fact: The country’s national dish is couscous. Though this is the case, Tunis is home to a plethora of great restaurants where you can try some other typical Tunisian foods, including Ojja (egg and tomato sauce), Lablabi (chickpea soup) and mint tea. In Tunis, it is quite common to see international cuisines also being served.
3. Get lost In the Medinas
Each city has their own marketplace or Medinas with Tunis and Sousse’s being UNESCO World Heritage sites. These medinas are not only a reflection of the country’s previous eras but are a great way for tourists to immerse themselves in Tunisian culture.
4. Visit the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul
This is a beautiful cathedral located in the heart of the city. The Bab el Bhar is a monument spectating the Median and European city.
5. See the Zaytuna mosque from a rooftop
This is the oldest and greatest mosque in Tunisia with many Muslim scholars graduating from university over a thousand years ago. You can get to see this beautiful mosque from a distant rooftop for a small price, it’s totally worth it!
6. Relax in quiet oasis’ around the city
Both Belvedere park and Lake Tunis are great places to unwind after an exciting day of sightseeing with tranquil, picturesque landscapes.
7. Get cultured
A little out of the city is Bardo National Museum, is home to one of the largest collections of Roman mosaics.
8. Get a glimpse of Greece
Visit Sidi Bou said, Africa’s own Santorini! This little town overlooks the port with beautifully designed white and blue houses.
9. Explore the Carthage
These ancient ruins are the remnants of a once-powerful city destroyed by the Romans. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see piece of history. Like the Carthage, there are many more breathtaking ruins scattered around Tunis which you can book a tour to be taken to each one.
10. Head to the beach
After a long busy day in the big city, it’s always a great idea to find a place to relax in. With amazing weather all year round, public beaches such as Plage Publique de La Marsa, located in the northeastern part of the city, is a great beach to unwind at.
With so much more to see in this beautiful city, we hope this shortlist would tease you into wanting to explore more of this country. Outside of the capital, some must-see sights are;
Amphitheatre of El Jem. These are the largest colosseums in North Africa dating back to the 3rd century, These magnificent ruins really put the magnitude of the Roman empire into perspective.
Thugga. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the capital of an important state during the Roman reign. With over 17 centuries worth of history in this site’s ruins, this place is an amazing step back into time.
The Punic Town. This town is in the northeastern region of the country. This site though discovered in 1952 dates back to the 3rd century BC! Why not roam this town and discover the history of this ancient Phoenician city.
Please do ask locals where else they love to go and what else the city has to offer as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.