11 MUST-SEE AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN TUNISIA

The Amphiteater of El Jem

From the winding streets of the Tunis Medina to the dunes of the Sahara Desert, discover the amazing places to visit in Tunisia. The country fascinated me with its rich history, natural wonders, and vibrant blend of Mediterranean and Arab cultures.

What you need to know before going to Tunisia?

Djerba Island beach
Djerba Island beach

Where is Tunisia

Tunisia is a small country located in North Africa. It is bordered by Algeria, Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia is strategically positioned as a gateway between Africa and Europe. Its geographical location has played a vital role in its rich history. Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and French have left their mark on this unique country.

How to Get to Tunisia

The best way to get to Tunisia is by plane. Tunisia’s main airport is the capital’s Tunis Carthage International Airport. It is well connected with many European cities. The airports of Monastir, Enfidha, and Djerba serve mainly charter flights.

The town of As-Sabikah near the oasis Chebika
As-Sabikah town near the oasis Chebika

Best Time to Visit

The best time to explore all the places to visit in Tunisia is during the spring (April to June) or fall (September to November), when the weather is pleasant, and temperatures are moderate. The summer months (July and August) can be extremely hot, especially in the interior of the country, while the winter months (December to February) can be mild but with occasional rain.

If you plan a beach holiday the best time to visit is between May and October when the weather is warm and sunny.

For exploring the Sahara Desert, the cooler months of October to April are preferable to avoid the intense summer heat.

Meanwhile, the spring and fall seasons are ideal for cultural tours and sightseeing, as temperatures are moderate and the landscapes are lush and colorful.

Map and Camera in Beni Zelten village, Tunisia
Map and Camera in Beni Zelten village, Tunisia

Currency

The official currency of Tunisia is the Tunisian Dinar (TND), subdivided into 1000(!) milims. Currency exchange services are available at the airports, major hotels, and numerous currency exchange offices throughout the country. It’s essential to be aware that it’s illegal to bring in or take out Tunisian Dinars from the country, so make sure to exchange only what you think you will spend.

Djerba, Guellala Museum
Djerba, Guellala Museum

Safety

Like many other countries, the safety situation in Tunisia can fluctuate depending on various factors. In recent years, Tunisia has made significant efforts to enhance security, especially in tourist areas. As a result, the popular tourist destinations in Tunisia, such as Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, and the coastal resorts, are generally safe. However, no matter where you are going to, stay updated with travel advisories, and exercise regular safety precautions.

Is Tunisia worth visiting

Guellala, pottery craft shop
Guellala, pottery craft shop

Tunisia is definitely worth visiting for many. It is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the ancient ruins of Carthage and medina of Tunis.

The architecture, cuisine and traditions of the country are a charming mixture of Arab, Berber, and Mediterranean influences. The beaches of Djerba are among the best places to visit in Tunisia and a perfect destination if you are looking for a relaxing holiday. On the other hand, the Sahara Desert is a photographer’s dream with its diverse landscapes raging from vast dunes to lush green oases. And if you are a Star Wars fan, you can’t miss the saga’s filming sets and locations.

Dune of Sabbia Dura
Sabbia Dura dune

Take your camera and get ready to take your most inspiring photos.

11 Top places to visit in Tunisia

 Sidi Bou Said is my number one among the places to visit in Tunisia

Sidi Bou Said is a picturesque town located on the coast of Tunisia, near the capital city of Tunis. The town is one of the best places visit in Tunisia. It is well-known for its distinctive blue and white architecture, stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, and rich history and culture. Here are some reasons why you should visit Sidi Bou Said:

Charming Architecture

Sidi Bou Said typical architecture
Sidi Bou Said typical architecture

The town is famous for its Andalusian architecture, with white-washed buildings adorned with blue doors and wrought iron windows. The unique and charming aesthetic of the town makes it a popular spot for photography and exploration.

Breathtaking Views

Situated on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, Sidi Bou Said offers stunning panoramic views of the sea. There are numerous cafes and terraces where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Sidi Bou Said is on a cliff
Sidi Bou Said is on a cliff

Rich History and Culture

The town has a rich history, influenced by various civilizations including the Phoenicians, Romans, and Arabs. Don’t miss the Dar El Annabi Museum, which is a traditional Tunisian house that has been turned into a museum.

Artistic Feel

Sidi Bou Said artistic vibe
Sidi Bou Said artistic vibe

Sidi Bou Said has long been a source of inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians. The town’s beauty and tranquility have attracted many creative minds over the years. You can buy there traditional Tunisian handicrafts, such as pottery, textiles, and metalwork. Sidi Bou Said will provide you with a great opportunity to purchase unique souvenirs to take home and to support local artisans at the same time.

Sidi Bou Said is located just a short tram or car ride away from Tunis and the ancient ruins of Carthage, making it easy to combine a visit to these attractions.

Compared to the hustle and bustle of Tunis, Sidi Bou Said offers a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for unwinding.

Photo tip: Get lost in the winding streets of Sidi Bou Said and you will encounter numerous photo opportunities.

Medina of Tunis

The Medina of Tunis is the historical heart of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a rich mixture of history, architecture, culture, and art.

Tunis medina
Tunis medina

The Medina dates back to the 7th century and has seen Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman, and French influences. The area is filled with palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas, fountains, and, of course, shops. Wandering through the Medina will give you an intimate look at Tunisian life – from artisans practicing age-old crafts to bustling souks selling spices, textiles, and handicrafts.

The Medina of Tunis is a real treasure if you are looking for authentic crafts, souvenirs, jewelry, and traditional items.

Traveler’s tip: Mild temperatures in spring (March to May) make it a pleasant time to explore without the heat of the summer months, and there are fewer tourists compared to the peak season. Autumn (September to November) is a lovely time to visit too as the temperatures are moderate, and pleasant for a walk. Avoid Summer. The months of June to August can be intensely hot, which might be uncomfortable for those unaccustomed to such heat.

Tunis medina shop
Tunis medina shop

The Bardo National Museum

The Bardo National Museum, located in Tunis, is absolute must-see of the places to visit in Tunisia if you are interested in history, archaeology, and art. The Museum houses one of the most important collections of Roman mosaics in the world. These intricate mosaics, which have been exceptionally preserved, depict daily life, mythology, and various other themes from the ancient world. Besides mosaics, the museum contains a wide range of artifacts from the Punic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic periods.

Both the Bardo Museum and the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Turkey claim to be the largest and the most important mosaic museum in the world. I could not take sides in this argument. I found both museums to be wonderful and unmissable.

During my last visit, at the end of 2022, the Bardo Museum was temporarily closed. At the time of writing this article, the Bardo Museum seems to be open to the public. However, opening times and days might be affected by events, maintenance, or external factors like global health concerns.

Tip: Before planning a visit, it’s always a good idea to check the Museum’s Official Website.  You will find there the most up-to-date information on hours of operation, any special events, or potential closures.

Ancient City of Carthage – archaeology lovers must-see of all the places to visit in Tunisia

Carthage
Carthage

Carthage, located on the Mediterranean coast, was a significant ancient city-state that played a central role in numerous historical events. The Punic ports of Carthage were vital to its maritime power and commercial strength, enabling the city to establish and maintain a dominant position in the region for centuries. These ports served as the hub for trade, naval expeditions, and interactions with various cultures around the Mediterranean.

Carthage was a major power in the ancient Mediterranean, rivaling Rome for dominance. The Punic Wars fought between Carthage and Rome, were pivotal in shaping the course of Western history. The site contains remnants of the Carthaginians’ advanced architectural prowess, including homes, public buildings, and sacred spaces.

Carthage, the view from the hill
Carthage, the view from the hill

Situated on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean, the panorama from Carthage is simply breathtaking.

No matter whether you are a history enthusiast, or a traveler seeking a unique cultural experience, you can’t miss the Ancient City of Carthage.

El Jem (or El Djem) of all the places to visit in Tunisia should be in every history buff’s list

The Amphitheater of El Jem, located in eastern Tunisia, is one of the most renowned and impressive archaeological sites in North Africa.

El Jem Amphitheater

El Jem Amphitheater (also known as the El Jem Colosseum) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the third-largest Roman amphitheater in the world and is one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture outside of Italy. It once could hold 35,000 spectators.

The amphitheater’s massive structure, consisting of huge stones without mortar, is a testament to Roman engineering. Its walls stand at a towering height, and its elliptical shape is grand and imposing.

El Jem Archaeological Museum
El Jem Archaeological Museum

 A short distance from the amphitheater is the El Jem Archaeological Museum. It houses a rich collection of Roman mosaics and artifacts discovered in the area. The mosaics give insights into daily life, mythology, and the diverse artistry of the time.

Photo tip: Given its rich history and well-preserved ruins, El Jem is a haven for photography enthusiasts. Capture the grandeur of the amphitheater, especially during sunrise or sunset when the light casts a golden hue on the stones.

Great Mosque of Kairouan

Kairouan Mosque
Kairouan Mosque

The Great Mosque of Kairouan, also known as the Mosque of Uqba, is one of the most important and impressive Islamic monuments in North Africa and is worth visiting for so many reasons. Founded by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi in 670 AD, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world. It has stood witness to the evolution of Islamic architecture over the centuries. Some architectural elements of the mosque, such as its vast colonnaded prayer hall and horseshoe arches, were pioneering in their times and inspired subsequent mosque designs in the region.

The columns of Kairouan Mosque
The columns of Kairouan Mosque

The mosque showcases the finest examples of Aghlabid architecture with its massive pillars, grand courtyard, and intricate decorations. Its minaret is considered one of the purest examples of architectural simplicity and beauty in Islamic culture.

Kairouan Mosque interior
Kairouan Mosque interior

Kairouan itself is a beautiful city, considered the fourth holiest city in Islam, after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The mosque plays a significant role in this regard, symbolizing the spread of Islam in North Africa. The historic city of Kairouan, with the Great Mosque at its heart, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its outstanding universal value.

Kairouan, the mosque
Kairouan, the mosque

Photo tip: If you’d like to capture the view from the above picture, here is how to do it. There is a carpet shop (at the picture below) beside the mosque. They will gladly let you go to their rooftop terrace for a stunning view. Even if you are not into buying carpets, they sell some cosmetics on the first floor, so you may consider buying a cosmetic item as a small thank you gesture.

A carpet shop near the Kairouan mosque
The carpet shop near the Kairouan mosque

Sahara Desert

Sahara desert
Sahara desert

The Sahara Desert in Tunisia is a captivating and unique destination that will offer you the chance to experience one of the world’s most iconic landscapes. Here’s why the Sahara Desert in Tunisia is worth visiting and some of the activities you can indulge in:

Admire the landscape and take the most stunning photos. The desert offers unparalleled photo opportunities, from the vast dunes to a salt flat. The vast expanses of golden sand dunes are an awe-inspiring sight, and Chott el Jerid is the largest salt flat in the Sahara, offering shimmering mirages and otherworldly views.

Photo tip: You will have the best photo opportunities at sunrise and sunset when the play of light creates a mesmerizing effect. Plan your time well as Tunisia is near the equator and the sun goes up and down very fast and you will have no more than a few minutes to take the perfect shot.

Visit the indigenous Berber people, known for their rich culture, history, and hospitality. You can learn about their way of life, traditional music, and cuisine. They will most probably give a you treat with their specific home-made bread and honey.

Tamezret Berber village
Tamezret Berber village

Ride a camel across the dunes and get a traditional desert experience or navigate the dunes with a quad bike for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.

Douz
Douz

Pay a visit to Anakin Skywalker. The Sahara in Tunisia has been the backdrop for several iconic movies, including parts of the “Star Wars” series. You can visit some of these filming locations.

Mos Espa, Star Wars filming set
Mos Espa, Star Wars filming set

Visit the Douz International Sahara Festival. The festival takes place every year at the end of December and showcases traditional Bedouin culture, camel racing, and more.

See what an oasis looks like. The Sahara is dotted with oases like Tozeur and Chebika, which offer a stark contrast to the surrounding desert. These oases are lush, and filled with date palms havens that provide a unique experience. Buy some dates from a street vendor along the way.

street vendors selling dates
Street vendors selling dates

Tips from my own experience: Before you embark on your journey to the Sahara Desert in Tunisia, remember to:

  • Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
  • Wear appropriate clothing like light, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.
  • Bring essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, and a good pair of shoes.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions.
  • Always use local guides when exploring to ensure safety.

Chott el Djerid

Chott el Djerid is a large salt lake in southern Tunisia. It’s one of North Africa’s most distinctive natural landmarks. On the surface, Chott el Djerid seems like a vast expanse of salt and nothingness. That’s what gives it its charm.

Depending on the time of day and the season, the lake changes in color. It can go from shimmering whites and blues to fiery reds and oranges. A photographer’s paradise!

Chott el Djerid
Chott el Djerid

One of the lake’s most famous features is its mirages. The heat causes light to bend, producing illusions of distant lakes, trees, or even buildings. It’s a surreal experience to witness these optical phenomena. Depending on the season, flamingos can be seen in some parts of the lake.

The region around Chott el Djerid has been inhabited for thousands of years. It has played an essential role in ancient trade routes. Visit the surrounding areas for deeper insights into Tunisian Berber culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know their customs and the unique architecture of the desert towns.

If you, like me, are a fan of the Star Wars series, a trip to Chott el Djerid is a pilgrimage. It was used as a filming location for several scenes, most notably those of Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine.

Tip: The best time to visit Chott el Djerid is during the cooler months of the year, typically between October and April. The temperatures during this period are more bearable than the scorching heat of the summer months. Also, the chances of witnessing mirages are higher in the cooler months. Remember, though, that the lake can become inaccessible after heavy rains, so it’s essential to check local conditions before planning your trip.

Matmata

The small Berber town of Matmata in southern Tunisia is famous for its unique underground troglodyte structures.

Matmata
Matmata

The troglodyte houses are its main attraction. They are carved out of the soft rock. The underground homes were constructed to protect their inhabitants from the scorching heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. When you stand on the surface, it appears as if there’s nothing there, but upon getting closer, you’ll discover courtyards and rooms dug deep into the earth.

A troglodyte house
A troglodyte house

For the Star Wars saga fans, Matmata is a must-visit. One of the troglodyte homes was used as the exterior for Luke Skywalker’s home on the planet Tatooine.

Inside a troglodyte house
Inside a troglodyte house

The Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa. In Matmata, you’ll have the opportunity to experience their traditional way of life, learn about their customs, and taste their cuisine.

The surrounding region is characterized by its moon-like landscapes, with craters, rock formations, and vast stretches of desert. The unique topography is a photographer’s dream.

Beni Zelten village
Beni Zelten village

If you’re planning a visit, consider hiring a local guide. They can provide you with insights into the history, culture, and traditions of Matmata. A local guide will make your visit more enriching and informative. There’s a lot to learn about the local people, their ingenious architectural solutions, and their adaptations to a harsh environment.

A troglodyte woman
A troglodyte woman

Mos Espa, among all the places to visit in Tunisia, is a must-see for Star Wars fans

Mos Espa, in the Star Wars universe, is a spaceport located on the desert planet of Tatooine. While Mos Espa doesn’t actually exist in reality, several sets from the Star Wars movies were constructed in the desert regions of Tunisia.

Mos Espa, Star Wars filming location
Mos Espa, Star Wars filming location

For Star Wars enthusiasts, visiting the set of Mos Espa is like stepping directly into the movies.

Some of the original Star Wars sets in Tunisia have been preserved relatively intact and will allow you to walk through and explore them.

 Beyond just the sets, the surrounding desert landscape is breathtaking. The Sahara desert offers endless sand dunes. They create a serene environment and out-of-this-world feeling.

While the sets feel remote, they’re accessible with guided tours. The tours usually combine a visit to Mos Espa with an extreme buggy driving through the dunes. Though not everyone in the group I was traveling with appreciated it, I really liked it. It was a great fun!

Mos Espa
Mos Espa

Photo tip: The combination of the sets and the stunning desert backdrop provides fantastic opportunities for photography. Try to go there early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the best lighting conditions.

Island of Djerba, of all the places to visit in Tunisia, is beach lovers’ paradise

Djerba Island, located off the southeastern coast of Tunisia in North Africa, is a gem that offers a mix of beautiful beaches, rich history, and unique culture. Here’s why Djerba is worth visiting along with some recommendations on what to see and do:

Go for a beach holiday

A resort at Djerba Island
A resort at Djerba Island

Djerba boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. The soft white sands and crystal-clear waters are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. The beaches of Djerba offer a range of water sports including jet-skiing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.

You can even ride a camel or a horse on the beach. That was the only thing I didn’t like at Djerba. No one seems to clean the animals’ excrements, so pay attention to where you step when going to the water.

Shop at Houmt Souk

Houmt Souk
Houmt Souk

This is the main town and commercial center of Djerba. Stroll through its markets. Shop for local crafts, pottery, jewelry, or textiles. The small town also has a picturesque marina and several historical sites.

Visit one of the oldest Synagogues in the world

Djerba, El Ghriba Synagogue
Djerba, El Ghriba Synagogue

El Ghriba Synagogue is an important pilgrimage site for Jews. Its architecture and history make it a must-visit for everyone no matter the religion.

Explore a crocodile farm

The crocodile farm is in Djerba Explore Park. There you will find also the Lalla Hadria Museum, which showcases Tunisian art and history and a traditional Tunisian village.

Admire the street art of Djerbahood

Djerbahood
Djerbahood

The small village of Erriadh is an open-air museum. International artists have transformed every surface suitable for painting, into a work of art. The sleepy village has become a vibrant street art scene. Among all the beautiful places to visit on Djerba Island, this is my favorite.

Climb the Borj El K’bir Fortress

Djerba Island, Borj El K'bir Fortress
Djerba Island, Borj El K’bir Fortress

This historic fortress offers panoramic views of the coast and the marina. The fortress has a rich history and had played a significant role in defending the island from invaders.

Learn how the pottery is made

Guellala, pottery making
Guellala, pottery making

The town of Guellala is famous for its pottery. No matter where in Tunisia you see ceramics for sale, they most probably have come from Guellala. Watch artisans at work and buy some unique ceramic pieces as souvenirs.

In conclusion, Tunisia is not just a destination, it’s an experience. Its rich variety of cultures, traditions, and landscapes make it one of the top places to visit in the world. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventurer, or just someone looking to relax on pristine beaches, you will find amazing places to visit in Tunisia.

So, pack your bags and get ready to be enchanted by this North African marvel.

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6 thoughts on “11 MUST-SEE AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN TUNISIA”

  1. The landscape is spectacular. I can see why Star Wars filmed there. The architecture and styles remind me a lot of Morocco. Tunisia looks quirt worth a visit.

  2. Ooooh what a great post! Tunisia looks amazing. I was just listening to a podcast about the history of Carthage so I would love to see that area… and I have never seen anything like a troglodyte house. Very cool! (or well, hot!)

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