Tunisia Travel Guide

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Tunisia can be described as a micro-cosmos of North Africa, being a relatively small country with just 15 million inhabitants and a land surface of 163, 610 km. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just saying that it’s small compared to other places in Africa, however, visiting Tunisia you’ll be able to enjoy basically everything North Africa has to offer, ranging from the rolling and impressive dunes of the Sahara desert to ancient ruins and sugar cube houses.

The salt lake of Chott el Jerid, Tunisia

Visiting Tunisia is an opportunity to lose yourself in Tunis’s plethora of maze-like alleyways, or to visit Kairouan’s beautiful mosques, or sit in awe on the salt flats which are to be found in Chott El Jerid. You can always take a camel trip into the desert or re-live in real life the movie Gladiator, while taking a trip at El Jem, which is the home of an impressive roman-era amphitheater.

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Tunisia is best known as the favorite traveling destination in the cold months, as there are thousands of tourists which are lured by the country’s sunny golden beaches, which are lining the Mediterranean sea. The coastline is nothing short of impressive and filled with modern tourist resorts which are the perfect spot for travelers seeking for an easy escape.

If you’re the adventurous type, you can go in an expedition and explore the small coastal towns and villages, places which abound in quiet and untouched beaches where fishermen are hauling the day’s “crop” sort to speak.

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However, Tunisia is more than its beautiful lazy beaches, more than a seaside randez vous. The country is among the most moderate in Africa, politically speaking, and you’ll definitely enjoy sipping a glass of mint tea or puffing a scented shisha watching old guys playing domino after the call to prayer has faded.

Or, you can get steamed and scrubbed on a beautiful and old marble slab, just like ancient romans used to do it back in the day, under the domes of a hammam. Souks (flea markets basically) are the perfect opportunity to test your haggling skills, while sipping hot tea as you barter for the lowest price possible. The ancient traditions of the Tunisian way of life are still alive and well here and you’ll feel like traveling back in time, when life was simpler and more pure, without the interference of technology and modern civilization, which can be a benefit or a hazard, depending on how you look at things.

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As I already told you, despite being an Islamic country, the political regime in Tunisia is mild, very moderate actually, benefiting in a big way from modern influences. I mean, beyond its traditions and the ancient medina, Tunisian cities are full of cafes, restaurants and bars, of which many feel very European.

The appeal of visiting Tunisia still endures, even if it took a big hit with the recent Arab springs and tourists are coming back in droves again.

Outside a Moorish cafe, Tunis, Tunisia

By a long shot, El Jem Colosseum, which sits on UNESCO’s World Heritage List is the country’s highlight, from a historical point of view. The Colosseum was built by the Romans in the 3rd century, and it makes for a gargantuan structure which back in the day was capable of harboring up to 35,000 people. Even today it’s still there, alive and kicking, towering over the modern town, being the biggest amphitheater in Africa and a copy of Roma’s Colosseum, being a fine example of the mighty Roman empire which spread to the very center of Tunisia.

Temple of Juno Caelestis, Roman archeological ruins, Dougga, Tunisia

Another place which sits on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in Tunisia is represented by the ruins of Dougga, again, some of the best preserved Roman era ruins in North Africa, dating way back to the 6th century. The ruins of monumental temples and ruins are sitting on a dramatic hilltop location, making for one of Tunisia’s most important and outstanding tourist attractions.

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Another gorgeous and picturesque traveling hot spot in Tunisia is the town of Sidi Bou Said, which boasts its impressive white and blue structures atop the Mediterranean sea, being an easy 1 day trip from the country’s capital, Tunis.

Finally, for Star Wars aficionados, Chott El Jerid is the place where the first movie was made and the place where  the force is still strong.

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