Tunis is not to Miss!

Easy going, perfectly exotic and authentic, Tunis is a fabulous destination for a holiday break. It is within close proximity to European cities and the weather is lovely year-round, making it one of my preferred locations to visit from the Cloud!

Tunis - Mosque Tile Work

Arch’ you in love with the tilework?

Tunis is the capital and largest city of Tunisia on the North African cost. Similarly to Beirut, the city has seafaring Phoenician roots and today is an open-minded Maghrebi capital while still maintaining style and charm. The official language is Arabic, however most locals speak excellent French and some English as well. Tunis has gained a strong cultural heritage from its turbulent past. Starting with the original Berber people, then the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Mamluks, Ottomans and onward to its eventual independence from France, the country’s history as a crossroads of cultures can be observed through the many museums and ancient ruins.

Here’s a Pro-Tip: The currency used is the Tunisian Dinar and there are about five Dinars to the UK Pound.

The international airport is Tunis – Carthage International Airport (TUN) which sits 6km (4mi) outside of the city centre. Metered taxi or ride-share are the best ways to make your way to the city centre. Should you take the bus, the main station is the Tunis Marine Bus Station which is nearby the bustling Avenue Habib Bourguiba. Exploring the city is easy by metred taxi, ride-share, train or tram.

Here’s another Pro-Tip: For longer distances, louanges are local vans that can take you where the trains do not reach.

While in Tunis, be sure not to miss these local attractions:

Medina –The old Medina of Tunis was built in 698 A.D. and contains many different palaces, monuments, fountains and mosques from around the 12th century. The clean, narrow streets are lined with artisans’ souks adorned in their colourful creations. The pull to become lost in exotic sensations is enchanting!

Zaytuna Mosque – Also known as ‘mosque of the olive’, Zaytuna Mosque is the core of Tunis, literally and figuratively. Sitting in the centre of the Old Medina, it displays an excellent example of beautiful religious architecture. Although the prayer hall is closed to non-Muslims, guests are welcome to explore the vast courtyard and rooftop for brilliant tile work and views of the city. The columns in the nearby courtyard were moved from Roman Carthage in 648AD to adorn this beautiful mosque and university!

Bardo National Museum – Situated within what was once a 13th century palace, this museum is home to the world’s most marvellous and largest collection of mosaics, all excavated from the ancient sites of Tunisia. The well-preserved masterpieces make for an unforgettable experience.

Tunis - Medina

Follow your senses through the Medina!

Carthage Archaeological Site – Just outside of the city (easily reached by suburban train from Tunis Marine station), 2000-year-old sandstone walls loosely map out what was once the centre of an incredibly powerful Phoenician city, as mentioned in The Odyssey by Homer, and the only city of its time to challenge Rome. According to Virgil’s Aeneid, survivors from the city of Troy made their way through Carthage before reaching the Italian coast and founding Rome. Jaw-dropping views of Carthage and other local archaeological sites can be enjoyed from the top of Byrsa Hill.

The medieval fortress in Monastir, Tunisia.

You don’t need a time machine to time travel!

Here’s a Pro-Tip: From the top of Byrsa Hill, keep an eye out for the ancient circular structure on the coastline, the Punic Port, that was once used to house trireme battleships!

Sidi Bou Said – This is a picturesque costal neighbourhood known for its charming white and blue architecture. It is a great place to visit for the day to enjoy the beach, do some shopping or even stay a night or two at Villa Blue.

Tunisian cuisine is a heavenly fusion of many different flavours which reflect the country’s long history. French and African flavours are particularly prevalent, with the staple ingredient of couscous making a regular appearance in dishes. Additionally, the local tuna is some of the best in the world! Spice levels can be high, especially when extra spicy harissa is used, so watch out! There are plenty of delectable restaurants and cafes to enjoy the local favourited egg-filled brik pastry and mint tea with pine nuts throughout the city. Here are my top choices of places to dine:

  • Café Culturel El Ali – El Ali is not only a café/restaurant, but also a cultural experience. Serving up delicious Tunisian food, there is also weekly live music from local artists and lovely views of the Zaytouna Mosque. This café is truly a one-of-a-kind place to enjoy an ice cold citronade.
  • Dar El Jeld – Located in a beautiful 18th century mansion with radiant yellow doors, and an impressive courtyard. The cuisine served includes exquisite traditional Tunisian recipes.
  • Fondouk El Attarine – Situated in a restored caravanserai in the Old Medina, this classic Tunisian restaurant is loved by tourists and locals alike.
Couscous

The quickest way to my heart is through my belly!

At first, Tunis nightlife may seem a bit sparse. Especially since alcohol is not as prevalent in Tunis as it is in other areas of North Africa. Look a little closer and you will discover that there are still many great places to go on any given evening for some shisha, dancing and a drink or two! Here is where you can find me after dark in Tunis:

  • Le Boeuf sur le Toit – Trendy all the way from the crowd to the dance floor, this lively bar offers live music and a breezy outdoor garden to catch some fresh air between DJ and band sets.
  • Bar Jamaica – A small bar with big views from the 10th floor of the popular El-Hana Hotel. The electric blue lighting brings a fun and inviting vibe.
  • Blanko Kitesurf Club – While not exactly in Tunis, this beach bar is located Cote de Carthage. Enjoy lounging on a pristine beach, admiring the sunset and sipping a cool cocktail!

In such a gorgeous area, there are many lovely places to stay. Here are some of the best:

  • Hotel Carthage Thalasso – Elegant and airy rooms, this hotel is located just outside Tunis in the community of Gammarth. It features an incredibly relaxing spa and indoor salt water pool
  • Dar El Medina – Centrally located in the medina, this family owned boutique hotel offers a peaceful place for retreat after a day of exploration.
Tunis - North African Coast

Picturesque sunset? You bet!

  • Four Seasons Hotel Tunis – Located just outside of the city on the Gulf of Tunis, this luxury stay is in close proximity to all of the best sights and has indoor and outdoor pools, a beautiful spa and Mediterranean focused restaurants. It is one of the best value Four Seasons in the world!

The kind-hearted citizens and diverse landscape combined with the rich history of Tunis make for an adventurous experience every time!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: The Medina, Zaytuna Mosque, Carthage (https://www.discovertunisia.com/en/)

Where to eat: Café Culturel El Ali, Dar El Jeld, Fondouk El Attarine (https://www.dareljeld.com/en/, http://www.fondoukelattarine.com/)

Where to party: Le Boeuf sur le Toit, Bar Jamaica, Blanko Kitesurf Club

Where to stay: Hotel Carthage Thalasso, Dar El Medina, Four Seasons Hotel Tunis (http://www.carthagethalassoresort.com/, http://www.darelmedina.com/en/, https://www.fourseasons.com/tunis/)

What to buy: Explore the Medina

Finding my bliss in Tunis!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: The Medina, Zaytuna Mosque, Carthage (https://www.discovertunisia.com/en/)

Where to eat: Café Culturel El Ali, Dar El Jeld, Fondouk El Attarine (https://www.dareljeld.com/en/, http://www.fondoukelattarine.com/)

Where to party: Le Boeuf sur le Toit, Bar Jamaica, Blanko Kitesurf Club

Where to stay: Hotel Carthage Thalasso, Dar El Medina, Four Seasons Hotel Tunis (http://www.carthagethalassoresort.com/, http://www.darelmedina.com/en/, https://www.fourseasons.com/tunis/)

What to buy: Explore the Medina

Finding my bliss in Tunis!

4 Comments to “Tunis is not to Miss!”

  1. I’ve never actually read anything about Tunisia so this is super interesting for me! Love discovering new places!

    0
    Lannie travels at 2:37 pm
    1. I love a good virtual travel! Thanks for sharing, Lannie! Tunis is a very beautiful place!

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 5:48 am
  2. Looking forward to seeing what your app is all about when it launches. These short informative blog posts are great! So I’m anticipating a very useful travel app

    0
    Steven Jepson at 1:17 pm
    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Steven! The app is going to be a game changer and I am sure you will love it 🙂 Coming soon!

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 5:43 am

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