Note of warning: Tunisia
underwent a revolution in 2011, and is still in a period of political
transition. A new constitution was agreed in January 2014 and a new
government appointed. While foreigners are not normally a target of action,
and beach resorts are generally considered safe, it is advisable to check
travel advice before booking.
Tunisia is a Muslim Arab country situated on the North African Mediterranean
coast. It borders on Algeria to the west and Libya to the south and east.
Tunisia was the site of Carthage, a state conquered by the Roman Empire,
which withdrew in the 5th century. It was conquered by Arab Muslims in the
7th century, and later became part of the Ottoman Empire.
In the 19th century it remained officially Ottoman but increasingly
independent. It was made a French protectorate in 1881. It achieved
independence in 1956, and has had two presidents since.
Tunisians have been welcoming tourists in their millions for decades and the
country boasts an impressive infrastructure with modern hotels, restaurants,
tourist centres and of course international airports. Its golden, sandy
beaches offer recreation of all kinds from swimming, sailing, windsurfing
and fun water sports, to simply lazing in the Mediterranean sun. Tunisia is
an exotic country full of contrasts. A trip into the Sahara will surprise
and delight you. The standard of hotel comfort even in the desert is
Free use of photos for private purposes.
When to go
Tunisia has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters.
The most popular time to visit is between mid-March and mid-May, although if
you want to take a trip into the Sahara Desert you need to go in late
autumn, because it’s too hot among the sand dunes in summer.
There are a number of Mediterranean resorts to choose from in Tunisia, and
most of them have a range of accommodation. The main coastal resort areas
are Tunis and around, Peninsula, Hammamet and Cap Bon, and Djerba.
What to do
Tunisia has plenty to offer the holiday maker apart from beach holidays with
all the usual water sports opportunities. Golf is popular, and there are
courses in most areas. There are numerous archaeological sites which can be
visited, seven of them with UNESCO World Heritage Site status, one of the
most important being the great Phoenician city of Carthage.
A number of films have been shot in Tunisia, including Star Wars, The
English Patient, The Life of Brian, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Little
Prince, and their tourist industry is making a feature of visits to some of
the locations. Local culture includes visiting markets and medinas, and
shopping for Tunisian arts and crafts. Camel rides and excursions to desert
oases are on offer, and there are a number of museums, some linked to
archaeological sites. One type of holiday you might not expect is hiking and
bird watching in Ichkeul National Park, a World Heritage-listed park set
around a chain of shallow freshwater lakes and Jebel Ichkeul mountain.
Where to stay
Hammamet is one of the largest resorts, and 5-star hotels
include the Laico and the Medina Solario and Thalasso. In the 4-star
category there is the Iberostar Averroes and, for adults only, the Sentido
Aziza Beach Golf and Spa resort. In Djerba there is the
5-star Hasdrubal Prestige Hotel and the 4-star Seabel Rym Beach. In the city
of Tunis itself the Concorde Les Berges du Lac is a quiet 5-star hotel with
a lake view, and a good 4-star alternative is Hotel Paris, a brand new hotel
with a modern-style interior.