Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends the ancient and the modern. Visitors can explore the centuries-old Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and then enjoy a meal at a trendy cafe in the Ville Nouvelle (new city).
Tunis is also home to the Bardo Museum, which houses one of the world’s most impressive collections of Roman mosaics. Outside the city, the ruins of ancient Carthage offer a glimpse into the past of this region that was once the center of a powerful empire.
In addition to its rich history, Tunis offers beautiful beaches and a warm Mediterranean climate. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just relaxing by the sea, Tunis has something to offer every traveler.
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Attractions & Things to do in Tunis
1. Medina of Tunis
The Medina of Tunis is the historical heart of the city, characterized by its narrow winding streets, bustling souks, and historical mosques. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s a treasure trove for history enthusiasts and shoppers alike. You can find anything from traditional Tunisian garments to aromatic spices and handcrafted jewelry.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking through cobbled streets, and don’t forget to bargain when shopping.
Located just a short train ride from Tunis, Carthage was once the center of the ancient Carthaginian civilization. The ruins include Roman villas, baths, and the impressive Antonine Baths. It’s a must-see for history buffs and those interested in ancient civilizations.
Travel Tip: Purchase a multi-site ticket to gain access to several archaeological areas in one go; it’s more economical than buying individual tickets.
3. Bardo Museum
The Bardo Museum is one of the most important museums in the Mediterranean region, housing an extensive collection of Roman mosaics, Islamic art, and other artifacts from Tunisia’s diverse history. The museum itself is housed in a 15th-century Hafsid palace, adding to the sense of history.
Travel Tip: Allocate at least half a day to explore the museum thoroughly, as the collection is vast.
4. Sidi Bou Said
Known for its blue and white architecture, Sidi Bou Said is a cliff-top village offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a great place to sip mint tea, explore art galleries, and relax in a truly picturesque setting.
Travel Tip: Visit during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the tourist crowds and get the best lighting for photos.
5. Zitouna Mosque
The Great Mosque of Zitouna is the oldest in Tunisia and serves as an important religious and historical landmark. Non-Muslim visitors can explore the courtyard and appreciate the intricate architectural details.
Travel Tip: Dress modestly when visiting the mosque, covering arms and legs, to show respect for local customs.
6. Tunis Zoo
The Tunis Zoo is a great destination for families, featuring a variety of animals in a reasonably well-maintained setting. Located in the Belvedere Park, you can combine your zoo visit with a leisurely walk in the park.
Travel Tip: Bring water and snacks, as options within the zoo are limited.
7. Theatre Municipal de Tunis
This is a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture in the heart of Tunis. The Theatre Municipal regularly hosts opera, ballet, and classical music performances, offering a taste of Tunisian culture and arts.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule in advance and try to catch a live performance for a unique experience.
8. Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul
Located on the main avenue in Tunis, this Roman Catholic cathedral stands as a symbol of Tunisia’s diverse religious history. The architectural style is a blend of Moorish and Gothic elements, making it a fascinating stop for those interested in architecture and history.
Travel Tip: Entry is free, but donations for maintenance are appreciated.
9. Belvedere Park
This is the largest park in Tunis, offering beautiful views of the city and the sea. Ideal for walking, jogging, or a simple picnic, it’s a local favorite for both relaxation and recreation.
Travel Tip: If you’re interested in birdwatching, bring a pair of binoculars; the park is home to several species of local and migratory birds.
10. Dar Ben Abdallah Museum
This 18th-century palace turned museum is dedicated to showcasing traditional Tunisian home life. With well-curated exhibits featuring furniture, clothing, and everyday items, it provides a unique look into the country’s cultural heritage.
Travel Tip: Visit in the late afternoon to avoid crowds and to better appreciate the ambient lighting inside the museum.
Unique Activities in Tunis
1. Full-Day Sightseeing Tour with Lunch
Embark on a comprehensive tour that covers the major highlights of Tunis. Experience the vibrant atmosphere, historical monuments, and traditional markets. This tour provides an in-depth look at the city’s rich heritage and includes a delightful lunch.
2. Medina Guided Walking Tour
Dive deep into the heart of Tunis’s Medina with a guided walking tour. Wander through narrow alleys, admire the architecture, and learn about the history and culture of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day Trips from Tunis
Explore Dougga, an ancient Roman city that offers some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Tunisia. Its location atop a hill offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Travel Tip: Wear sturdy shoes for climbing and walking over uneven terrain.
2. Cap Bon Peninsula
The Cap Bon Peninsula is known for its lush landscapes, beautiful beaches, and cliff-top views. A day here can be spent hiking, swimming, or simply enjoying the scenery.
Travel Tip: Don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen, as areas offering shade are limited.
Kairouan is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its Great Mosque and as a center for Islamic scholarship. The city also boasts traditional markets and architecture.
Travel Tip: Travel early to make the most of your day, as it’s about a two-hour drive from Tunis.
Where to stay in Tunis
Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and modernity. The city is home to a myriad of hotels that cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for luxury, a budget-friendly stay, or something tailored to your specific needs, Tunis has a hotel for you. Here’s a curated list of six hotels in Tunis:
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Hotel Carlton (★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located in the heart of Tunis, just 500 metres from the Medina, Hotel Carlton is housed in a 1926 Art Nouveau building.
- Price: €62 per night
- Rating: 8 (Very good)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
El Mouradi Hotel Africa Tunis (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Situated on the famous Avenue Habib Bourguiba, this hotel is a 15-minute drive from Tunis-Carthage Airport.
- Price: €89 per night
- Rating: 7.1 (Good)
3. Budget Hotel
Golf Royal Hotel (★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located in central Tunis, close to Habib Bourguiba Avenue, and a 5-minute walk from the Medina.
- Price: €54 per night
- Rating: 8 (Very good)
4. Hotel for Family
Marigold Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located 14 km from Salammbo Tophet Archaeological Museum, it offers accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, a terrace, and a restaurant.
- Price: €82 per night
- Rating: 8.1 (Very good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Le Corail Suites Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: A 5-minute walk from Tunisia Mall and 450 metres from the Lake of Tunis, offering rooms with free Wi-Fi access.
- Price: €138 per night
- Rating: 8.6 (Fabulous)
6. Hotel for Solo Travellers
Hotel Lac Leman (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Set 8.2 km from Salammbo Tophet Archaeological Museum, it offers accommodation with a shared lounge, private parking, a terrace, and a restaurant.
- Price: €60 per night
- Rating: 6.7 (Review score)
Did you know? Facts about Tunis
- Tunis is the capital and largest city of Tunisia, and the greater metropolitan area, often referred to as “Grand Tunis,” has about 2,700,000 inhabitants.
- The city is situated on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf, behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette, extending along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it.
- The Medina of Tunis, the oldest section of the city, is a World Heritage Site and dates from the period when the region was conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate.
- The city played a military role early on, recognized for its strategic importance due to its proximity to the Strait of Sicily.
- During the Almohad and Hafsid periods, Tunis was one of the richest and grandest cities in the Islamic world, with a population of about 100,000.
- The city was held by Axis forces during World War II from November 1942 to May 1943, and it was their last base in Africa.
- After independence in 1956, Tunis consolidated its role as the capital, and the colonial city transformed rapidly with the creation of new districts in the suburbs.
- The Arab League transferred its headquarters to Tunis in 1979 because of Egypt’s peace with Israel, but it returned to Egypt in 1990.
- The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) also had its headquarters in Tunis from 1982 to 2003.
- The city of Tunis is built on a hill slope down to the lake of Tunis and is located at the crossroads of a narrow strip of land between Lake Tunis and Séjoumi.
FAQ about Tunis
What is the best time to visit Tunis?
The best time to visit Tunis is during the spring (April to June) or fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant.
Is it safe to travel to Tunis?
Tunis is generally considered safe for travelers, but it is always advisable to take standard precautions and stay informed about the current situation.
Do I need a visa to travel to Tunis?
Visa requirements vary by country, so it is recommended to check with the Tunisian embassy or consulate in your country before traveling.
What is the currency in Tunis?
The currency in Tunis is the Tunisian Dinar (TND).
What languages are spoken in Tunis?
The official language of Tunis is Arabic, but French is also widely spoken, and English is understood in tourist areas.
What are the must-visit attractions in Tunis?
Must-visit attractions in Tunis include the Medina of Tunis, the Bardo National Museum, the ancient city of Carthage, and the coastal town of Sidi Bou Said.
What is the traditional food in Tunis?
Traditional food in Tunis includes couscous, brik (a thin pastry filled with tuna, egg, and capers), and harissa (a spicy chili paste).
What is the dress code in Tunis?
While Tunis is a relatively liberal city, it is advisable to dress modestly, especially in religious sites and rural areas. Women should avoid wearing revealing clothes, and men should avoid wearing shorts.