Often seen as simply a beach destination, Tunisia features a bucketful of unusual tourist attractions and things to try to to for people who venture off the sandy shores. this is often North Africa bound up into one bite-sized package, with vast Sahara dunes, mammoth ancient ruins, and exotic cities that are home to a sprawling tangle of souks. Tunisia was Rome’s breadbasket, and therefore the cultural riches the Romans left behind are quite enough reason to go to . But the history of Arab Empires has also bestowed the country with a number of the region’s most beautiful samples of Islamic architecture.
When you’ve craned your neck at Kairouan’s minarets and played gladiator at El Djem, it’s time to go into the Sahara to sample the raw, empty great thing about the desert. The sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean coastline, fringed by palms and lapped by gentle waves, will still be expecting you once you revisit .
1 El Djem Amphitheater
The walls of the mighty Roman amphitheater of El Djem dwarf the encompassing modern town. This incredibly well preserved Roman relic is Tunisia’s big sightseeing highlight and one among the simplest samples of amphitheater architecture left standing within the world, reminding of Rome’s once-grand grip across North Africa . you’ll still walk the corridors under stage , a bit like the gladiators did. Or, climb up to the highest seating tiers and sit staring across stage , imagining the battles that happened below.
If you’re trying to find the picture-perfect beach escape, then the island of Djerba checks all the proper boxes. The island town of Houmt Souk is that the main point of interest off the beach, with an old town district that’s a muddle of whitewashed houses. Houmt Souk’s shopping is an attraction in itself, with many handicraft vendors for browsing and haggling opportunities off the beach. But it’s those sandy strips of shoreline out of town that’s the island’s hottest highlight. Pristine and trimmed by date palms, the beaches are relaxing, get-away-from-it-all settings where summer daydreams are made.
Once Rome’s major rival, Carthage was the town of the seafaring Phoenicians forever memorialized within the Punic Wars. The atmospheric ruins of this ancient town now sit beside the ocean amid the suburbs of Tunis, a warning that even the best cities are often reduced to rubble. The ruins are extensive but opened up , and if you’ve been lucky enough to go to ancient city sites like Ephesus in Turkey or Volubilis in Morocco, which are well-preserved, Carthage can seem quite underwhelming initially . But these UNESCO World-Heritage-listed remnants are hugely important historically, and any tourist curious about North Africa’s ancient past shouldn’t miss a visit here.
4 The National Bardo Museum
Even non-museum fans can’t fail to be impressed at the huge haul of lovely mosaics exhibited inside the Bardo. this is often one among North Africa’s top museums, and it houses one among the world’s most vital mosaic collections, all curated beautifully. It’s a showcase of the dazzling, intricate artistry of the Roman and Byzantine eras, with pieces cherry-picked from every major archaeological site in Tunisia. If you simply have at some point in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, this museum should be high on your to-do list
5 Sidi Bou Said
impossibly cute, and amazingly photogenic, Sidi Bou Said may be a clifftop village of petite dimensions that appear to possess fallen off an artist’s canvas. Unsurprisingly, artists have feted this tiny hamlet for many years . The whitewashed alleyways, wrought-iron window frames, and colorful blue doors are Tunisian village architecture at their finest, while the Mediterranean backdrop is that the cherry on top. this is often an area to get through a lazy afternoon, simply absorbing the laid-back atmosphere and perhaps indulging during a spot of shopping at one among the various local artisans and handicraft stalls.
6 Grand Erg Oriental
Tunisia’s vast Sahara covers much of the country’s interior, and therefore the most beautiful corner of the desert is that the field of sand dunes referred to as the Grand Erg Oriental. These poetically beautiful dunes are a surreal and lovely landscape of giant waves, shaped by the ever-shifting desert sands. for several visitors, this is often an adventure playground for riding dune buggies and camel treks, but nothing tops the straightforward pleasure of sitting atop one among these mammoth sand mountains and watching the sunset over the Sahara.
7 Bulla Regia
Tunisia has no shortage of Roman ruins, but Bulla Regia near Tabarka is that the country’s most interesting and intriguing site. Here, the Roman inhabitants coped with the tough summer climate by ingeniously building their villas underground, which has left the town houses incredibly well preserved today. For history lovers, this is often a singular opportunity to steer through actual Roman houses, with their walls still intact. It’s a glimpse of the residential lifetime of the traditional world that you simply often don’t see.
With mosques, madrassas, and tombs aplenty, Kairouan has quite its justifiable share of monuments because the fourth most vital city for those of the Muslim faith. The Arabic architecture here is actually inspiring, and therefore the skyline is filled with skinny minarets and hulking domes. But it’s probably the rear alleys of the city’s medina that steal the show. With narrow, maze-like lanes lined with crumbling colorful houses, Kairouan’s old town has a fascinating , lost-in-time atmosphere that’s a real highlight of a visit here.
9 Sousse Medina
Overlooked by the mighty fortifications of the Ribat and Kasbah, the medina in Sousse just begs to be explored. This lovely old town district may be a warren of looping lanes, rimmed by whitewashed houses, and a shopping paradise with a tempting selection of ceramics, leatherwork, and metalwork on display. faraway from the stalls along the bustling souk streets, the quiet and rambling back alleys, dusted in white and blue, are an enthralling place to dive in and sample local life.
10 Chott el Djerid
The moonscape surroundings of the Chott el Djerid are a storybook panorama delivered to life; crammed with shimmering mirages on the horizon and puzzle pieces of blindingly white cracked land underfoot. This sprawling salt pan (most easily reached on each day trip from the desert town of Tozeur) may be a desolate and otherworldly scene that wows all who visit with its stark and brutal beauty. A sightseeing trip here proves that nature produces much weirder landscapes than you’ll ever imagine.
Hammamet is all about the beach. this is often Tunisia’s top sun-and-sea resort; a dreamy place dotted with pristine white buildings set beside a azure sea. The relaxing charms of this town woo all who come to sunbathe on the soft, white sand, with off-the-beach pursuits usually being nothing more strenuous than gentle strolls and a spot of shopping within the restored old town souks. It’s a no-stress quite place that sums up the pleasures of Tunisia in one pretty package.
12 Monastir Ribat
One of Tunisia’s most photographed buildings and a movie star else , the Ribat in Monastir may be a bulky walled and exceptionally well-preserved fort. Looming over the harbor, the Ribat was originally a part of a string of forts that protected the coastline, but today is one among the few still standing. Its defensive purposes may have long ago faded, but this golden-stoned relic is now during a ll|one amongst|one in every of”> one among Tunisia’s most recognizable landmarks (thanks thereto featuring in a few famous movies), and today, tourists scramble up into its bastion tower, instead of soldiers.