Tunisia

11 Great Things to Do in Tunis, Tunisia

Last Updated on 15/06/2024 by kami

Tunis, the underrated capital of Tunisia, is often the entry point to visit this wonderful country. However, not so many tourists decide to put the city in their Tunisia itinerary, favoring more popular seaside destinations instead. But there are so many great things to do in Tunis (and nearby) that you definitely should give the city a chance. You might be surprised by it; I was!

I spent three days in Tunis and beyond, visiting all the best Tunis attractions as well as going for some great day trips from Tunis. I enjoyed the city so much better than I expected. It was like a less crazy version of Cairo or Moroccan cities – the historical sites were interesting, the medina was vibrant, and the new town was intriguing. Still, no one harassed me during my sightseeing. Tunis was everything I expected and more!

things to do in tunis tunisia

If you plan your trip to Tunisia, be sure to give Tunis a chance, even if for a day only. You can expect a vibrant capital with friendly locals and some cool things to do. I put together this Tunis guide to help you plan your trip! Read on and enjoy visiting Tunis!

Planning a trip to Tunis?

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Airport Transfer: Book the private transfer from Tunis airport to your accommodation in Tunis here.

Insurance: Get insured for your trip to Tunisia with SafetyWing

Car rental: Compare prices and find the best deals on rental cars in Tunisia on Discover Cars.

things to do in tunis tunisia

How to get to Tunis

Most likely, you will get to Tunis by plane. This is still not the most popular destination; hence no low-cost airlines fly to Tunis. Still, there are a few international companies that serve the capital of Tunisia.

I flew with Air France via Paris, but you can also fly directly to Tunis from Rome, Cairo, Casablanca, Doha, Frankfurt, Istanbul, or Dubai. Check the local airline Tunisair too, as it serves many direct flights to European airports.

There are also charter flights from many European destinations; however, they often fly to smaller, tourist-oriented airports in Tunisia.

things to do in tunis tunisia

How to get from Tunis airport to the center

Tunis airport is located only 8km from the city center, but there is no public transport you can use. Apparently, some infrequent buses run between the airport and the center of Tunis, but I’ve never seen them (and in total, I was four times at the Tunis Carthage airport). The best option is to take a taxi. The fair prices I found online are 30 TND in the day and 45 TND at night but of course, everything depends on the negotiation skills and meter use.

Fortunately, in Tunis, you can use Bolt cars and find the ride in the app. That’s what I did in Tunis, and I never paid more than 10 TND (that included my tip) for the ride between the airport and the center, doesn’t matter what time of the day I was going (once I had to be at the airport around 5 in the morning and price for Bolt was 6 TND at that time).

Since the area around the airport can be confusing for finding the car, I suggest going slightly outside to the roundabout and getting the ride there (here is the exact location). It is so much easier and stress-free this way. When I arrived, I couldn’t find my driver at the airport, and eventually, we met at the roundabout; the second time, I went directly there and ordered my ride from that point.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

How to get around Tunis

Most of the Tunis attractions are located in the central part of the city, where you can easily walk. A taxi or Bolt is your best option if you need to get further.

things to do in tunis tunisia

Is Tunis safe?

I felt safe in Tunis, but I know that safety is very individual, so what was normal for me might be uncomfortable for others. Even if Tunis isn’t as crazy as Cairo or Marrakesh, it is still a large and busy city.

Places like medina, with its narrow streets, can get crowded, so pay attention to your belongings. Use all the precautions you would use in any other large city. Locals didn’t harass me; only once or twice someone offered to show me the medina, but after a firm thank you, they didn’t bother me any further.

Since Tunis is the capital, you can encounter some protests (I didn’t). Listen to what locals say and try to avoid problematic areas to stay safe. But generally, there is nothing to worry about as long as you follow simple safety rules and listen to your intuition.

things to do in tunis tunisia

Things to do in Tunis

And now, without further ado, here are the best things to do in Tunis!

Wander around medina

Every respectful Arabic city has a fine medina, and Tunis is no exception. The local medina, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979, was founded in 698 around the Zitouna Mosque. Over centuries it expanded to a large area in the center of Tunis. Today it is home to around seven hundred monuments, including impressive palaces, mosques, and madrasas.

The best way to enter Tunis medina is from Place de la Victoire, a busy square surrounded by numerous cafes, with a beautiful gate – Porte de France – guarding the area. From here, you can immerse yourself in a maze of narrow, winding lanes and see what this part of the city has to offer.

The best way to get to know the area is to wander around with a general sense of direction, but following your intuition – you might be surprised by what kind of wonders you might find: decorated doors, small fountains, charming corners, and so much more. You can easily spend a few solid hours here and still not be bored.

Sure, some places are more touristy than others, but in general, this is a wonderful area to explore, not only to see all the amazing historical sites but also to get a feel of the vibrant atmosphere medinas are known for.

Medina is also the best place for souvenir shopping in Tunis – you will find most shops along Rue Jamaa Ezzitouna, connecting Place de la Victoire with the Zitouna Mosque.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

See Zitouna Mosque

Even if a large part of the Zitouna Mosque is closed to tourists after the 2011 revolution, it’s still worth stopping here and seeing what’s available. Just remember this is a holy place, so you must wear modest clothes to enter the site.

This is the largest and oldest mosque in Tunisia, dating back to the late 7th century, and a place of great historical, cultural, and religious importance. Many of the columns and pillars you can see are ancient and originally from nearby Carthage. The only fairly new addition to the structure is the minaret that was built in 1894.

Zitouna Mosque is also home to the oldest Islamic University in Tunisia and one of the first Islamic universities in general.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Admire the best view of Tunis

Even if the place is very much hidden and not so easy to find, this is also one of the most popular cafes and the best view in Tunis. Cafe Panorama, as that’s the name of the place, is located not far from the Zitouna Mosque, and you can access it through the La Maison d’Orient carpet shop. Once in the shop, head to the rooftop and enjoy the drink with a beautiful panorama of Tunis medina and beyond.

The coffee is so-so here, but no one comes here for the quality of drinks, and that’s fine as the vista compensates for it. I spent two hours there on a sunny day, drinking coffee, reading a book, people-watching, and admiring all the marvelous views around.

The cafe itself is charming, too, with colorful tables, chairs, and tiles, and altogether they make Cafe Panorama one of the best places to visit in Tunis.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Visit Place de la Kasbah

At the edge of the medina, you will find Place de la Kasbah, surrounded by a few government buildings and the city hall, which are all rather interesting, designed in a different style than buildings in the New Town or medina.

What makes the square worth visiting, though, is the National Monument of the Kasbah, located right in the middle. It was completed not too long ago, in 1989, as a symbol of Tunisia’s struggle in the fight for independence. To emphasize the importance of the monument, its picture was put on the back of the Tunisian ID card.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Discover Tunis New Town

The downtown is the most underrated part of Tunis, which offers plenty to do and see. It’s vibrant and bustling with life but in a different way than medina. This is where you will see the colonial influence and heritage; after all, the New Town was created after France took control over the country.

Wandering around and discovering all the gems (especially architecture) was one of my favorite things to do in Tunis. There are many art nouveau and art deco buildings here (apparently around four hundred!). As a fan of both styles, I was like a kid in the candy store in Tunis’s New Town.

Sadly, many of these are in poor shape and need renovation, but you can still admire their fine details and beauty. If there is one thing I wish I had more time for when visiting Tunis, it is exploring the New Town. But I’m still more than happy with what I’ve managed to see there; I just feel like there was so much more if I ventured a bit further.

Some of the best attractions in Tunis New Town include the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul (a neo-Romanesque building dating back to 1882, the largest structure from the French Colonial era), Municipal Theatre, or the Clock Tower – one of the symbols of the city. Conveniently, all of them are located along Avenue Habib Bourguiba, which is a great place to wander around too. You can also sit in one of the many cafes here and observe the busy city life.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Take a picture with the “I love Tunis” sign

This is a bit cheesy, but having a picture with the “I love Tunis” sign can be a great souvenir from your trip to Tunisia. The sign is located at the end of Avenue Habib Bourguiba, next to the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul. Don’t be discouraged by the large number of military guys around; they don’t really bother tourists hanging around.

things to do in tunis tunisia

See the gem of brutalist architecture in Africa

One of the best examples of brutalist architecture in Africa is located right in the center of Tunis. The now-abandoned Hôtel du Lac was designed by the Italian architect Raffaele Contigiani and built in the early 1970s, with over four hundred rooms inside. Its unique and distinctive shape became a symbol of African brutalism, and it even inspired the Sandcrawler vehicle in Star Wars movies (which were filmed in Tunisia, among other locations).

In 2000 the hotel was closed and fell into disrepair. The company that owns it now threatens to demolish the building, which would be a huge loss for the history of architecture. But since it’s still standing, you can admire its grand structure, even from the close-up (however, it is impossible to enter the premises) – it can impress even those who are not fans of brutalism!

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Visit Bardo Museum

The world learned about the Bardo Museum in 2015 when the place was targeted in a terrorist attack. But despite this tragic event, this is a must-visit attraction in Tunis.

This is the largest archaeological museum in the country, founded at the end of the 19th century. What makes it so special is the large and valuable collection of Roman artifacts, especially mosaics, and sculptures – it’s one of the best collections of that kind in the world.

Bardo Museum is located a bit away from the center. The best way to get here is to take a taxi or Bolt.

Before you decide to visit Bardo Museum, check online if the place is open since it’s been going through major renovations for a few years now – the best way to do it is to check the recent reviews on Google (at the time of writing this article it seems that it is again welcoming visitors, I was not so lucky during my trip to Tunisia).

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Explore Carthage

In ancient times, Carthage – founded in the 9th century BC – was one of the most important trading centers in the Mediterranean, flourishing for years until it was destroyed in 146 BC after the Punic wars. Today this is a sleepy town just outside of Tunis, where you still can find numerous remnants of the ancient glory.

The most impressive site in the town is Antonin Baths, the largest Roman baths outside of Rome! But there are so many more ruins around, as well as other attractions, that you can easily spend the whole day exploring Carthage.

Getting here from Tunis is very easy; you need to catch the suburban train from Tunis Marine Station – they depart frequently, and the tickets are super cheap. Carthage has a few stations, but the one closest to Antonin Baths is Carthage-Hannibal.

To visit the ancient sites, you need to buy a ticket for one of them – it allows you to visit them all. If you want to learn more about the place, you will likely find local guides, especially at Antonin Baths. Or you can join the tour from Tunis that will take you to Carthage and explain all about the place, its history, and its importance.

If you decide to go on a tour, here are the recommended ones:

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Fall in love with Sidi Bou Said

A bit further from Carthage, on the same suburban train line, you will find another town worth visiting – Sidi Bou Said. This is one of the most charming places to visit in Tunisia, known for its traditional white-blue houses and winding lanes.

The town is made for wandering around, and with so many picturesque corners is so easy to fall in love with the place. There are also numerous cafes and restaurants where you can sit down and relax and souvenir shops where you can get some nice local things.

Since Sidi Bou Said is a popular destination for a side trip from Tunis, you can expect many fellow visitors here, especially on the weekend. Don’t let it discourage you; simply turn into one of the back streets to avoid the crowds.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Go for day trips

While Carthage and Sidi Bou Said are the most popular day trips from Tunis, you can visit some other great and diverse destinations when based in the capital. They can give you a better overview of the country, its history, and culture. You might be surprised how much Tunisia has to offer.

Here are some of the places you can visit on day trips from Tunis:

  • Bulla Regia – impressive archeological site, known for their Hadrianic-era semi-subterranean housing and numerous mosaics still left in place
  • Dougga – one of the best and most well-preserved Roman ruins I’ve ever seen, a massive site packed with original buildings from ancient times, another UNESCO site
  • Testour – a 16th-century shelter for the Muslim and Jewish refugees from Andalusia who gave a distinctive look to the town
  • El Jem – home to one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, dating back to the 3rd century, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • Sousse – the third largest city in Tunisia, with UNESCO-listed medina and a great Archeological Museum, popular also for its long and sandy beach
  • Kairouan – another UNESCO place, the town is known as a holy city in Islam, with amazing medina and stunning Great Mosque, among other attractions

While you can visit El Jem and Sousse using public transport (both are reachable by train), this may not be the most efficient day. Other places are not possible to visit in one day with public transport. Fortunately, there are tours you can take to see them and make the most of your trip to Tunisia. That’s what I did too.

Here are some of the recommended tours from Tunis:

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Final thoughts on visiting Tunis

Even if there are more interesting or beautiful places to visit in Tunisia, the capital city also offers plenty to do and see, and you shouldn’t skip it during your trip. I enjoyed the place so much more than I expected, and if I’m in the area in the future, I will gladly visit Tunis again.

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

things to do in tunis tunisia

Further reading

I published many articles about Tunisia that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations).


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things to do in tunis tunisia


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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Brenda
    20/01/2024 at 16:13

    Currently planning a trip to Tunis and your post has provided so much inspiration and helpful tips! I can’t wait to visit. Thank you :)

    • Reply
      kami
      08/02/2024 at 08:55

      I’m glad to hear that! Enjoy your trip!

  • Reply
    Eliana
    16/03/2024 at 21:26

    Planning a trip to Tunisia and your insight has been wonderful. Thank you for all the information.

    • Reply
      kami
      27/03/2024 at 12:00

      Thank you for your kind comment, I’m glad to hear you found my articles useful. Have a great trip to Tunisia!

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