I just returned from my 10 days in Tunisia trip and I can wholeheartedly say this country exceeded my expectations. And they were high!
Spectacular Roman ruins, incredible vibrant medinas, long sandy beaches, charming towns and so much more – Tunisia has it all! And I was really glad I could include all the highlights in my Tunisia itinerary.
What surprised me the most when visiting Tunisia was how few tourists were around, especially independent ones. After the terrorist attacks in 2015, Tunisia tourism really nosedived and it’s only slowly rebuilding.
Even when there are more and more people who decide to visit Tunisia, they mostly opt for the resort holidays, not often venturing further into the country. As a result, you don’t need to prepare yourself for crowds in the most popular attractions in Tunisia, if you are lucky you might even have some really exceptional sights just for yourself!
The most common question I got when visiting Tunisia was if I felt safe there, especially traveling solo. I really did. There was maybe one annoying situation during my 10 days in Tunisia so it’s nothing really. Wherever I went I felt welcomed, locals were friendly and hospitable and I didn’t feel uneasy for a second.
Of course, like everywhere else, you need to follow common sense and check the safety warnings issued by your Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but in general, I can assure you there is nothing really to worry about when visiting Tunisia.
If you decide to visit Tunisia (I can’t recommend it enough) below you can find my Tunisia itinerary that will help you plan your own trip. I spent 10 days in Tunisia (although I wouldn’t really count days 1 and 10 as these were spent on getting there and departing) and that was the optimal time to see all the best places to visit in Tunisia.
But of course, the more time you have, the better – not only you can see even more amazing attractions in Tunisia but you can also spend some time enjoying the relaxing time at the beach.
Here are the website and services I used (and can recommend) when planning a trip to Tunisia:
- Accommodation: I booked all the hotels where I stayed on Booking.com
- For tours I used Viator.com
- To save money on exchange rates I’ve been using Revolut pre-paid card for years. Order your bank card here.
- Get insured for your trip to Tunisia with SafetyWing
How to get around Tunisia
During my trip to Tunisia, I used a combination of different modes of transportation: suburban train, fast train, louages (a local version of minibus), domestic flights, taxis, and Bolt. You will find details of what I took where in the detailed itinerary below. I also went for two tours as it was almost impossible to get to a few places by public transport.
For long-distance trains in Tunisia check the official website of Tunisia railways here. (However, you need to buy the tickets at the train station, they are not available online).
For domestic flights (I used them between Tunis and Djerba) check the website of the local airline Tunisair Express here.
Best places to visit in Tunisia
I think I’ve managed to see all the absolutely best places to visit in Tunisia during my trip and you will find them covered in my itinerary below:
- Tunis – the capital of the country, with beautiful, UNESCO-listed medina and interesting architecture from the French colonial period
- Carthage – impressive ruins of the Phoenician city from the 6th century BCE and the biggest trade metropolis of the antique world, another UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Sidi Bou Said – a charming town on the coast just outside of Tunis, famous for its traditional white-blue houses and winding lanes
- 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 Jam – 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
- Djerba – the island is popular as a holiday destination for its long and sandy beaches, but you can also find there some alternative sites such as the town with over 200 murals or numerous abandoned hotels
- Ksar Ghilane – an Oasis on the edge of the Sahara desert
- Chenini – an old Berber village built into the mountains, partly abandoned
- Tataouine – the city is known mostly thanks to the Star Wars movies, you will find in and around the place numerous inspiration and filming locations for the great films
If you have more time, there are other places that are worth considering when planning a trip to Tunisia. Some of them are numerous seaside towns perfect for relaxing holidays (Hammamet, Nabeul, or Monastir), Chott el Djerid (the vast salt lake), Sbeitla (another ancient town), Matmata (the Berber village and the Star Wars filming location), or Tozeur and nearby mountain oasis villages.
And finally, here is my Tunisia itinerary. Hopefully, it will be a good example and inspiration when planning your trip to Tunisia!
Day 1: arriving to Tunis
I was flying from Poland to Tunis via Paris and arrived late in the afternoon. Since it was winter time (December 31st, exactly) when I got from the airport to the center and eventually to my hotel it was already dark outside, I was super tired after the journey and I just decided to stay inside.
If I had some extra time (or if it wasn’t getting dark so early) I would spend the time getting to know the central part of Tunis.
Where I stayed in Tunis: Golf Royal Hotel
Day 2: day trip from Tunis to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said
Carthage and Sidi Bou Said are probably the easiest day trip you can take from Tunis. Both seaside towns are located next to each other, on the local train line, and served by frequent trains departing from Tunis Marine station, located right in the center. You need to buy the ticket in the ticket office before entering the platform, the cost is less than 1 TND.
The first station is Carthage, there are actually a few stops in the town but the closest one to the main Roman ruins – Antonine Baths – is Carthage Hannibal. I, however, left the train a stop before and walked around 1 km along the sea to the main Carthage attractions.
There is so much to see in Carthage that you can easily spend the whole day only exploring the ancient remnants in this town. My highlights were Antonine Baths and Roman Villas.
Once you are done with visiting Carthage (which can take you a few hours, depending on how many sights you want to see and how in-depth you want to explore them), catch the train to Sidi Bou Said which is the next town. From the train station, it’s around 10 minute’s walk to the most beautiful and picturesque part of the town, with white-blue houses, charming corners, and numerous souvenir shops.
The best thing to do here is simply wandering around and enjoy the quaint atmosphere of the place. Don’t stick only to the main street, go to the back lanes too as there are hardly any people there and you can fall for the place even more.
When you feel like you’ve seen enough and are ready to go back to the capital, catch the train to Tunis from the same stations you arrived at.
It was Sunday (and New Year’s Day) when I visited Carthage and Sidi Bou Said, the weather was warm and sunny and while Carthage was blissfully empty, Sidi Bou Said was packed. There were moments when it was almost impossible to go through on the main street (that’s why the backstreets were so good!). When planning your day trip from Tunis to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said consider the day of the week as my guess is weekends can get really busy in Sidi Bou Said.
If you don’t feel comfortable enough taking the train and wandering around on your own, there are some highly-rated tours (like this one) you can get from Tunis to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said.
Day 3: Day trip to Bulla Regia, Dougga, and Testour
Tunisia has some exceptional Roman remnants and you can visit some of the best ones on a day trip from Tunis. Unfortunately, it’s not really possible to get there by public transport (or it’s time-consuming and still you would need to find a taxi at some point) so I’ve decided to join the tour and save the hassle.
I chose this one for Bulla Regia, Dougga, and Testour and it was a really good one. In each place, we had enough time to wander around, explore the sites and learn more about them. And all the places were incredible and so well worth visiting! Dougga might be the most amazing Roman ruins site I’ve ever visited, it was mind-blowing really!
Day 4: Tunis – El Jam – Sousse
I took the early morning train (departing from Tunis at 6:15) to El Jam. The journey took almost 4 hours so around 10 a.m. I was already at my destination, ready to see the spectacular Colosseum, located less than 10 minutes walk from the train station.
Since the Colosseum is in fact the only attraction in El Jam, after thoroughly exploring the place and checking every possible corner of it I caught the train back to Sousse at noon, arriving at the second-largest city in Tunisia a bit over the hour later. I spent the rest of the day hanging out at the seaside and enjoying the relaxing and laid-back vibe of the place.
Where I stayed in Sousse: Hôtel Résidence Monia
Day 5: Kairouan
Being based in Sousse, I went for a day trip to Kairouan which is located only one hour away and well-connected with the seaside city by louages – minivans that can fit up to 10 passengers and depart whenever they are full (which usually takes just a few minutes on popular routes, such as Sousse – Kairouan).
The louages station in Sousse is located a few kilometers outside of the center so you need to take a taxi to get there. Fortunately, Bolt works in Sousse and it was very easy to find a ride. In both directions, I paid around 5 TND for the taxi.
At the louages station, someone will point you right away in the direction of the correct car – even if everything is really well organized, it still can be overwhelming but locals are very friendly and happy to help. Once you get a ticket (it was 6,200 TND when I went) you are pointed to the right car to take your sit and you are good to go.
In Kairouan, the louages station is located some 15 minutes walk from the edge of the medina.
When I returned to Sousse it was still bright outside so I went to the seaside again to spend the rest of the day there.
Day 6: Sousse – Tunis
I started the day by exploring Sousse medina and oh my, what an incredible place it was!
Too bad one of the museums I wanted to visit – Museum Dar Essid – was closed, I was really looking forward to seeing it. But at least I could go to the Archaeological Museum and it was incredible, especially all the Roman mosaics from the beginning of the BC times
After having a delicious lunch in the restaurant at the edge of medina (Restaurant du Peuple) I took the 4 p.m. train back to Tunis and arrived in the capital 2,5 hours later, ready to rest for the day.
Where I stayed in Tunis: Golf Royal Hotel
Day 7: Tunis – Djerba
I could have gone from Sousse to Djerba, either by louages or by train+bus but that would take most of the day really since it’s almost 400 km and I still wanted to see a bit of Djerba so the time was crucial for me. That’s why after heavy considering I’ve decided to take the early morning flight from Tunis to Djerba and arrived on the island shortly after 8 in the morning.
The main reason why I decided to go to Djerba was to actually go for a tour to Tatouine and Chenini and these were departing only from the island. But the more I started reading about the island, the more fascinating I found it, and one full day I had there was enough to see my highlights there only. I would gladly have stayed there a bit longer and if actually had more extra days in my Tunisia itinerary, I probably would have spent them in Djerba.
Directly from the airport, I took a taxi to Djerbahood and quickly fell in love with the place and all the street art around.
After a few hours of exploring this artistic community, I took the taxi to the hotel and after checking in I went to explore the area a bit.
I found on Google Maps that there are a few abandoned hotels nearby and obviously that’s where I went. I’ve been to three of them and even if they were not the best-abandoned hotels Djerba has to offer, they were still cool enough to get a feel of the place. There was no one around but I somehow felt more self-conscious than ever so I didn’t explore the abandoned places as thoroughly as I could but still I enjoyed it.
The rest of my day was spent walking down the beach and eventually reading a book by the pool. Too bad that was the only day with poor weather I had in Tunisia (at least it wasn’t raining), otherwise I could have made it even more out of it!
Where I stayed in Djerba: ZENON Hotel Djerba
Day 8: Djerba – Sahara – Chenini – Tataouine – Djerba
The reason why I went to Djerba was to go for the Chenini and Tataouine tour. But since there were only a few tourists around the tour I booked was combined with the other one, to the oasis in the Sahara desert. This couldn’t have turned out any better. I was able to see even more places and I enjoyed the desert so much!
It wasn’t my first time in Sahara (visited Morocco before) but I tried going on quads for the first time in my life and it was so much fun! I might not have spent as much time as planned in Chenini and Tataouine but still saw both places. Again, I could have visited those two without a tour but it’s time-consuming by public transport so the tour was a great choice really!
The tour I booked: Tataouine Cheneni 1 day visit
Day 9: Djerba – Tunis
I took the 8:45 a.m. flight back to Tunis and was in the center of the capital already at 10:30. After leaving my backpack in the hotel I went to explore Tunis medina.
You can easily spend the whole day there, wandering the narrow winding lanes, checking local shops or historical houses, and simply enjoying the vibe of the place. Too bad it was Sunday as many places I wanted to see were closed but I still liked the medina so much! I spent way too much time in Panorama Cafe, sipping a (not-so-good) coffee and admiring the stunning panorama of the medina and beyond.
Normally I would plan on visiting Bardo Museum on that day too but during my visit, it’s been temporarily closed (according to Google reviews it’s not so temporary) so I simply focused on the medina and spent hours there.
Where I stayed in Tunis: Golf Royal Hotel
Day 10: departing from Tunis
My flight back home was leaving at 10:50 a.m. so I didn’t really have time to do anything on that day. But if I had a few extra hours I would either go to the Bardo Museum (if it’s open) or take the train to La Goulette – the seaside town known for its port and seafood.
Final thoughts on visiting Tunisia
My Tunisia itinerary might have been packed but I managed to see all the highlights in the 10 days I had in the country. At the same time, I didn’t feel very rushed and even managed to relax a bit on the beach every now and then. I honestly don’t think I could have planned this itinerary any better.
As you can see, Tunisia really has a lot to offer and the attractions are so diverse everyone should find something interesting there. If you consider a trip to Tunisia don’t think too long, just go there! I bet you will be as surprised and satisfied with your trip as I was.
Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.
You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Tunisia
Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Tunisia here.
I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.
Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.
For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:
- Sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Bloglovin to get updates about the new posts
- Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
- I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Tunisia too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!
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Katsuhiko06/02/2023 at 10:09
I was waiting for this post. Thank you!
kami06/02/2023 at 16:21
I’m glad to hear that. Hope you found it useful!