Reviewed on 26 May 2022
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At first glance the thin wedge of Tunisia looks too slender to hold your attention, compared to the bulk of Africa that lurks beneath it. Yet, a hotel in Tunisia offers glorious beaches, fascinating history and diverse natural beauty that would put to shame countries much larger. The Mediterranean coast is scented with jasmine and cooled by gentle sea breezes: it offers visitors plenty of fun in the sun. The capital, Tunis, is at once a modern Arab city and a reminder of its Ottoman and colonial past. Elsewhere there are lakes covered by flamingos, verdant forests to explore in the north and the dream-like dunes of the Sahara to the south. Mount that camel, jump in a 4WD or fire up that quad bike and get out there and explore it!
Tunis - Book a hotel in this cosmopolitan capital of three parts. The new city is all colonial buildings organised around a highly ordered street plan, with boulevards lined with cedar trees, cafes and patisseries. The 8th century Arabic medina, however, is a labyrinthine tangle of narrow streets crammed with artisans’ workshops and swarming souqs. In the outskirts lie the impressive ruins of Carthage and the stunning collection of Roman mosaics that is housed in the Bardo’s Ottoman palace.
Sousse – Stay in a hotel in the lively university city of Sousse and get stunning beaches, and access to the historical sights and cultural delights of central Tunisia. These include the evocative Phoenician city of Monastir where the ruins of a magnificent fortress lie, the sparkling harbour of Mehdia, the incredible Roman colosseum at El-Jem and the unique architecture that is a product of the Berber, Arab, Jewish and African cultures living on the island of Jerba.
The Region of Ksour – The troglodyte architecture and desert settings of this region will be immediately familiar to any Star Wars fans. George Lucas set many scenes from the first Star Wars films in these locations and their unique look and feel would still be mysteriously evocative even if he hadn’t!
The Sahara Desert and the Grand Erg Oriental – Take a camel safari or rev up a 4WD to explore the mystical dunes that rise and fall in contoured rhythms over the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert. The adventure starts here!
The stunning beaches have the look and feel of the Mediterranean about them until, that is, you glance at the medina that is never too far away. There are Roman ruins to explore, including fantastic mosaics in Tunis, the world's third-largest colosseum at El-Jem and sweeping views that can be enjoyed from the Roman city of Dougga’a capitol, theatre and other fine monuments. The unique whitewashed buildings on the island of Jerba are the product of the blend of Berber, African, Jewish and Arab cultures here but the prettiest village has to be the clifftop that houses Sidi Bou Saïd, a view beloved of artists such as Paul Klee and many, many visitors.Whether you choose to trek by foot, on a camel safari or on a jeep safari into the endless dunes of the Grand Erg Oriental, visiting here is a must for anyone wanting to channel their inner Berber. Sci-Fi fans meanwhile should head for the caves, parched landscape and curious buildings of the Ksour region that inspired George Lucas when shooting Star Wars. Nothing is more fun, or more certain, than losing yourself in a medina only to find yourself haggling like a pro with a carpet seller. For tranquil, romantic walks head for Tozeur, a lovely oasis town in the heart of some stunning scenery.