Travel Advice and Tips for Tunisia

1. What are the must-see attractions in Tunisia?

Some of the must-see attractions in Tunisia include:

1. The ancient Roman ruins of Carthage, which offer a glimpse into the country’s rich history and heritage.
2. The Medina of Tunis, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its winding streets, traditional architecture, and vibrant markets.
3. The desert landscape of the Sahara, where you can experience camel treks, camping under the stars, and visits to remote Berber villages.
4. The picturesque village of Sidi Bou Said, with its whitewashed buildings, blue doors, and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
5. The ruins of Dougga, a well-preserved Roman city that showcases impressive temples, theaters, and baths.
6. The troglodyte homes of Matmata, made famous by Star Wars and offering a unique glimpse into traditional Berber living.
7. The historic amphitheater of El Djem, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters outside of Rome.
8. The stunning beaches of Djerba, known for their golden sands and crystal-clear waters.

These attractions offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring ancient civilizations to enjoying natural beauty and relaxation by the sea.

2. Is Tunisia safe for tourists to visit?

Yes, Tunisia is generally safe for tourists to visit. The country has made significant improvements in its security measures and efforts to ensure the safety of visitors in recent years. However, like any destination, it is important for tourists to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Tunisia:

1. Stay informed about the current situation in the country by checking travel advisories before your trip.
2. Respect the local customs and traditions, and dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.
3. Be cautious when using public transportation and avoid traveling alone at night.
4. Keep your belongings secure and be vigilant against petty theft and scams.
5. If you encounter any problems or feel unsafe, seek assistance from the local authorities or your embassy.

By following these tips and being aware of your surroundings, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring the beautiful country of Tunisia.

3. What is the best time of year to visit Tunisia?

The best time of year to visit Tunisia is during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During these times, the weather is pleasant with moderate temperatures, making it ideal for exploring the country’s rich history, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, and enjoying outdoor activities.

1. Spring in Tunisia brings blooming flowers, lush landscapes, and the perfect temperature for outdoor adventures.
2. Autumn offers similar weather conditions, with cooler evenings and comfortable daytime temperatures, making it a great time for sightseeing and exploring the diverse cultural attractions in Tunisia.
3. It is important to note that summers in Tunisia can be extremely hot, especially in July and August, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C. If you do decide to visit during the summer months, be sure to stay hydrated, seek shade, and plan your activities around the cooler parts of the day.

Overall, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn provide the best weather conditions for a memorable and enjoyable trip to Tunisia.

4. What are the entry requirements for visiting Tunisia?

To visit Tunisia, travelers need to meet certain entry requirements, which may vary depending on their nationality. Here are some general guidelines:

1. Passport: All visitors to Tunisia must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the country.

2. Visa: Some nationalities require a visa to enter Tunisia. Citizens of certain countries can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport, while others must obtain a visa from a Tunisian embassy or consulate before traveling. It is advisable to check with the Tunisian embassy or consulate in your country to verify the visa requirements for your specific nationality.

3. Yellow Fever Certificate: Travelers coming from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission may need to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate upon arrival in Tunisia.

4. Return Ticket and Sufficient Funds: Immigration officials may ask for proof of a return ticket and sufficient funds to cover your stay in Tunisia.

It is important to check the most up-to-date information on entry requirements before you travel to Tunisia to ensure a smooth entry process and avoid any issues at immigration checkpoints.

5. What is the currency used in Tunisia and where is the best place to exchange money?

The currency used in Tunisia is the Tunisian Dinar (TND). When it comes to exchanging money in Tunisia, there are a few options to consider to ensure you get the best rates:

1. Banks: It is often recommended to exchange money at banks in Tunisia as they tend to offer competitive exchange rates. Most banks have branches in major cities and tourist areas.

2. Currency Exchange Offices: There are numerous currency exchange offices in Tunisia, especially in popular tourist destinations. While these may offer convenience, be cautious as the rates may not be as favorable as those offered by banks.

3. Hotels and Resorts: Some hotels and resorts may have currency exchange services, but these are known to have higher commission fees and less favorable exchange rates compared to banks or official exchange offices.

4. ATMs: Using ATMs in Tunisia is also an option to withdraw cash in the local currency. However, be mindful of any additional fees that your home bank may charge for international withdrawals.

It is advisable to compare rates and fees at different exchange points to ensure you get the most value for your money when exchanging currency in Tunisia. And remember to keep your passport handy as it may be required for currency exchange transactions.

6. What should I pack for a trip to Tunisia?

When packing for a trip to Tunisia, consider the following essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay:

1. Lightweight clothing: Tunisia has a warm climate, especially during the summer months, so pack light and breathable clothing such as cotton shirts, shorts, and dresses.

2. Modest attire: While Tunisia is a relatively liberal Muslim country, it is respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Include scarves or shawls for covering shoulders and knees when necessary.

3. Sun protection: The sun can be intense in Tunisia, so pack items like sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

4. Comfortable shoes: Opt for sturdy, comfortable footwear for exploring the streets and ancient ruins of Tunisia. Sneakers or walking shoes are ideal for long days of sightseeing.

5. Travel adaptor: Tunisia uses European-style plugs, so remember to pack a travel adaptor to charge your electronic devices.

6. Travel documents: Don’t forget your passport, visa (if required), travel insurance details, itinerary, and any other necessary documents for your trip.

By packing these essential items, you’ll be ready to enjoy the beauty and culture of Tunisia without any unnecessary stress.

7. Are there any cultural customs or etiquette I should be aware of in Tunisia?

Yes, there are several cultural customs and etiquette to be aware of when visiting Tunisia:

1. Dress Code: Tunisia is a Muslim-majority country, so it is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. Women should cover their shoulders and knees, and it is advisable to carry a scarf to cover your head if needed.

2. Greetings: When meeting someone in Tunisia, it is customary to offer a handshake, particularly in a formal setting. Men may also exchange cheek kisses with other men, while women often greet each other with cheek kisses. It is important to greet the oldest person in the group first as a sign of respect.

3. Ramadan: If you are visiting Tunisia during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, be aware that many locals will be fasting from sunrise to sunset. It is important to be respectful and refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during fasting hours.

4. Hospitality: Tunisians are known for their warm hospitality, and it is common to be invited into someone’s home for a meal or tea. If you are invited to someone’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift, such as sweets or pastries.

5. Language: Arabic is the official language of Tunisia, but French is widely spoken, especially in urban areas and among the educated population. Learning a few basic Arabic or French phrases can help you communicate with locals and show respect for their culture.

6. Baksheesh: It is common to give a small tip, known as baksheesh, for services such as parking attendants, baggage handlers, and restaurant staff. The amount is typically small, but it is appreciated as a gesture of gratitude.

7. Respect for Religion: Tunisia is a Muslim country, and it is essential to show respect for Islamic customs and traditions. Avoid eating or drinking in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan and be mindful of local customs when visiting mosques or religious sites.

8. What are the best ways to get around Tunisia?

There are several efficient ways to get around Tunisia and explore all that this beautiful country has to offer:

1. Renting a car: Renting a car is one of the most popular ways to travel around Tunisia, giving you the freedom and flexibility to explore the country at your own pace. Make sure to have a valid international driver’s license and be aware of local driving rules and regulations.

2. Public transportation: Tunisia has a reliable public transportation system that includes buses and trains connecting major cities and towns. Buses are a cost-effective option for budget travelers, while trains are a faster and more comfortable mode of transport.

3. Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Tunisia and are a convenient way to get around, especially for shorter distances within cities. Make sure to negotiate the fare before starting your journey or insist on the meter being used.

4. Shared taxis: Shared taxis, known as louages, are a popular mode of transport for traveling between cities and regions in Tunisia. They are a cost-effective option and a great way to experience local culture.

5. Private transfers: For a more comfortable and hassle-free travel experience, you can opt for private transfers or hire a local driver to take you to various attractions and destinations.

Each of these transportation options has its own advantages, so consider your preferences, budget, and travel itinerary to choose the best way to get around Tunisia during your visit.

9. Is it safe to drink the tap water in Tunisia?

In Tunisia, it is generally not recommended for tourists to drink tap water. The water quality standards may not meet those of other countries, and the risk of getting sick from drinking tap water is higher. To stay safe and avoid potential health issues, it is advised to stick to bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth. Here are some tips to remember regarding water safety in Tunisia:

1. Purchase bottled water from reputable stores and check that the seal is intact before opening.
2. Ensure that ice cubes are made from bottled or boiled water when dining out.
3. Avoid consuming salads or fruits that may have been washed in tap water.
4. Consider using water purification tablets or a portable filter if you plan on venturing off the beaten path where access to bottled water may be limited.

By staying vigilant about water safety and taking necessary precautions, you can enjoy a healthy and worry-free trip to Tunisia.

10. What are the popular dishes and drinks to try in Tunisia?

Popular dishes and drinks to try in Tunisia include:

1. Couscous: This traditional Tunisian dish is made of steamed semolina grains typically topped with vegetables, meat, and a flavorful sauce made with a blend of spices.

2. Brik: A popular savory pastry filled with ingredients such as egg, tuna, capers, and parsley, then deep-fried until crispy.

3. Chakchouka: A tasty dish made of stewed tomatoes, peppers, onions, and eggs, often spiced with cumin and paprika.

4. Harissa: A spicy chili paste made from roasted red peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices. It is often served as a condiment with various dishes.

5. Mint tea: Known as “atay b’naana,” this sweet and refreshing drink is a staple in Tunisian hospitality and is often served throughout the day.

6. Boukha: A traditional Tunisian fig-based spirit, often served as an aperitif or as a digestif after meals.

7. Maamoul: A delicious dessert made of filled pastries with dates, nuts, or sweetened semolina, typically enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations in Tunisia.

These are just a few of the many delicious dishes and drinks you should definitely try when visiting Tunisia to experience the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the country.

11. Are there any specific health precautions I should take before visiting Tunisia?

Before visiting Tunisia, there are several health precautions that you should consider to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some specific recommendations:

1. Vaccinations: Make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date before traveling to Tunisia. Additionally, consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and rabies depending on your travel plans and activities.

2. Water and food safety: Stick to bottled or boiled water, and avoid consuming raw or undercooked foods, especially seafood. Be cautious of consuming street food to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

3. Sun protection: Tunisia has a hot and sunny climate, so remember to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from sunburn and heatstroke.

4. Mosquito-borne diseases: Bring insect repellent with DEET, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider using a mosquito net at night to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of diseases like malaria and Zika.

5. Medical insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses in case of illness or injury during your trip to Tunisia.

By taking these health precautions before visiting Tunisia, you can safeguard your well-being and have a more enjoyable and stress-free travel experience.

12. What are some recommended accommodations in Tunisia?

1. La Badira in Hammamet is a luxurious and well-rated hotel known for its beautiful design, excellent service, and stunning sea views. It’s a great option for travelers looking for a high-end experience.

2. Dar HI in Nefta is a unique eco-friendly hotel located near the Sahara desert. It offers a truly immersive experience in Tunisian culture and nature, with beautiful architecture and tranquil surroundings.

3. The Residence Tunis in Gammarth is a top choice for those seeking a luxurious beachfront resort experience. The hotel boasts elegant rooms, a spa, multiple pools, and a private beach for guests to enjoy.

4. El Mouradi Palace in Port El Kantaoui is a popular all-inclusive resort that offers a range of amenities such as multiple swimming pools, a variety of restaurants, and entertainment options for guests of all ages.

5. Dar El Medina in the heart of the Medina of Tunis is perfect for those looking for a more authentic and cultural experience. The traditional guesthouse offers beautifully decorated rooms and a peaceful courtyard in a historic setting.

These are just a few recommended accommodations in Tunisia that cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for luxury, eco-friendly stays, beachfront resorts, or authentic cultural experiences, Tunisia has a range of accommodation options to suit your needs.

13. How can I stay connected to the internet while in Tunisia?

Staying connected to the internet while in Tunisia is relatively easy, as the country has a good infrastructure for telecommunications. Here are several ways to ensure you have internet access during your stay:

1. Sim Cards: Purchase a local Tunisian SIM card from one of the country’s major telecommunications providers such as Tunisie Telecom, Ooredoo, or Orange. You can easily find these SIM cards at airports, convenience stores, and official outlets. Make sure your phone is unlocked before inserting the new SIM card.

2. Mobile Data Plans: Once you have a local SIM card, you can choose a data plan that suits your needs. Tunisian operators offer various data packages at affordable rates, which allow you to use the internet on your phone throughout your stay.

3. Wi-Fi: Most hotels, cafes, restaurants, and public spaces in Tunisia offer free Wi-Fi for customers. You can take advantage of these hotspots to stay connected without using your mobile data.

4. Portable Wi-Fi Devices: Consider renting a portable Wi-Fi device, also known as a pocket Wi-Fi or a Mi-Fi device. These devices provide a secure internet connection and allow you to connect multiple devices simultaneously.

5. Roaming: Check with your home country’s mobile operator about international roaming options. Keep in mind that roaming charges can be expensive, so it’s advisable to use a local SIM card or Wi-Fi whenever possible.

By following these tips, you can stay connected to the internet during your trip to Tunisia, ensuring you can easily communicate, navigate, and access information while exploring the country.

14. Are credit cards widely accepted in Tunisia?

Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in Tunisia, particularly in larger hotels, restaurants, and shops in tourist areas. However, it’s important to note that smaller establishments and businesses in more rural or remote areas may only accept cash. Additionally, some places may prefer cash payments in dinar, the local currency, rather than credit cards. Therefore, it’s advisable to carry some cash with you, especially in smaller towns or when travelling off the beaten path. When using credit cards, be aware of potential foreign transaction fees that your bank may charge. Overall, while credit cards are generally accepted in Tunisia, it’s always a good idea to have a mix of payment methods at your disposal for convenience and flexibility during your travels.

15. Is it customary to tip in Tunisia, and if so, how much?

In Tunisia, tipping is generally expected in various situations, such as in restaurants, cafes, hotels, and for services like taxi rides and tour guides. Here is a rough guideline on how much to tip in different situations:

1. Restaurants: A tip of around 10% of the total bill is customary in restaurants. Some places may include a service charge on the bill, in which case an additional tip is not necessary.
2. Hotels: It is common to tip hotel staff, such as porters and housekeeping, around 1 to 2 Tunisian dinars per service.
3. Taxi rides: Tipping taxi drivers is not mandatory but rounding up the fare or adding a small amount as a tip is appreciated.
4. Tour guides: For guided tours, it is customary to tip the guide around 5 to 10 Tunisian dinars per person, depending on the length and quality of the tour.

Overall, while tipping customs may vary slightly, showing appreciation for good service through tipping is a common practice in Tunisia.

16. What are some common scams to watch out for in Tunisia?

1. One common scam to watch out for in Tunisia is the taxi scam, where drivers may try to overcharge tourists, especially at airports or popular tourist areas. Make sure to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi or use reputable taxi services.

2. Another scam to be aware of is the currency exchange scam, where unauthorized currency exchange vendors may offer very low rates or even give counterfeit money. It’s best to exchange currency at official exchange offices or banks.

3. Be cautious of street vendors or shopkeepers trying to sell you fake or overpriced goods, especially in popular markets like the Medina in Tunis. Always double-check the quality and authenticity of the items before making a purchase.

4. Some individuals might approach tourists pretending to be tour guides or offering to show them around, only to demand payment afterwards. Make sure to book tours or guides through reputable companies to avoid falling victim to this scam.

5. Additionally, be wary of pickpockets in crowded areas, such as markets or public transportation. Keep your belongings secure and be vigilant of your surroundings to prevent theft.

By staying informed and vigilant, travelers can avoid falling prey to these common scams in Tunisia and have a safer and more enjoyable experience during their visit.

17. What are some off-the-beaten-path destinations in Tunisia worth exploring?

1. Chenini Village: Nestled in the Tataouine region of southern Tunisia, Chenini Village is a picturesque Berber settlement perched on a hilltop overlooking stunning desert landscapes. Visitors can explore its ancient stone houses, narrow alleyways, and traditional handicraft shops, offering a glimpse into traditional Tunisian culture.

2. Bulla Regia: Located near the town of Jendouba, Bulla Regia is an archaeological site showcasing well-preserved Roman ruins, including underground Roman villas with intricate mosaics. This lesser-known destination offers a fascinating look into Tunisia’s ancient history without the crowds often found at more popular sites like Carthage.

3. Kerkouane: Situated on the northeastern coast of Tunisia, Kerkouane is a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the remains of an ancient Punic city. Visitors can explore well-preserved ruins of houses, streets, and public buildings, providing insight into the daily life of the Punic civilization.

4. Matmata: Known for its unique troglodyte dwellings, Matmata is a hidden gem in southern Tunisia. Visitors can stay in underground pit homes, visit traditional Berber homes, and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the region. Matmata gained fame as a filming location for the Star Wars movies, adding to its allure for fans of the franchise.

5. Chebika Oasis: Tucked away in the Atlas Mountains near the border with Algeria, Chebika Oasis is a tranquil spot surrounded by lush palm groves and cascading waterfalls. Visitors can hike through the scenic landscapes, relax by natural pools, and escape the hustle and bustle of more touristy areas in Tunisia.

These off-the-beaten-path destinations in Tunisia offer unique cultural experiences, historical insights, and natural beauty for travelers looking to explore beyond the usual tourist hotspots.

18. Are there any specific dress codes to adhere to in Tunisia?

Yes, when visiting Tunisia, it is important to be mindful of the local customs and dress codes. Here are some specific points to consider:

1. Modesty is key: Tunisia is a conservative Muslim country, particularly in more rural and traditional areas. It is important to dress modestly out of respect for the local culture and customs.
2. Covering up: Both men and women should avoid wearing revealing clothing such as shorts, tank tops, and tight-fitting clothing. Women should consider wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers shoulders, cleavage, and knees.
3. Beachwear: While swimwear is acceptable at the beach or poolside, it is not suitable for walking around town or in more public areas. Consider covering up with a sarong or beach cover-up when leaving the beach.
4. Religious sites: When visiting mosques or religious sites, both men and women should dress modestly, with women covering their hair with a scarf.
5. Footwear: In some mosques and traditional homes, it is customary to remove shoes before entering. It is a good idea to wear slip-on shoes or sandals for easy removal.
6. Adapting to the environment: In more modern and touristy areas like coastal cities and resort towns, the dress code may be more relaxed. However, it is still important to dress respectfully when in public places.
7. Overall, it is best to err on the side of caution and dress conservatively while in Tunisia to show respect for the local culture and traditions. By being mindful of the dress code, visitors can have a more enjoyable and culturally sensitive experience in this beautiful North African country.

19. What are some fun and unique activities to do in Tunisia?

1. Visit the ancient city of Carthage: Explore the fascinating ruins of Carthage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the center of the powerful Carthaginian Empire.

2. Camel trekking in the Sahara Desert: Experience the stunning beauty of the Tunisian desert on a camel trekking adventure. Watch the sunset over the sand dunes for an unforgettable experience.

3. Explore the medina of Tunis: Wander through the narrow streets of the medina in the capital city of Tunis, where you can shop for traditional handicrafts, sample local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Tunisia.

4. Relax on the beaches of Djerba: Enjoy the sun, sand, and sea on the beautiful beaches of the island of Djerba. Try water sports like windsurfing or kiteboarding, or simply unwind with a book under the shade of a palm tree.

5. Venture into the underground homes of Matmata: Visit the unique troglodyte dwellings in the village of Matmata, where locals have carved out homes in the rock formations. Explore these fascinating structures and learn about the traditional way of life in rural Tunisia.

6. Discover the charm of Sidi Bou Said: Explore the picturesque blue and white village of Sidi Bou Said, perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Stroll through the cobblestone streets, admire the traditional architecture, and enjoy panoramic views of the coast.

7. Sample local cuisine: Indulge in the delicious flavors of Tunisian cuisine, from spicy harissa to fragrant couscous dishes. Don’t miss trying traditional dishes like brik (a savory pastry) and Tunisian seafood specialties.

8. Attend a traditional music or dance performance: Experience the lively rhythms and expressive movements of traditional Tunisian music and dance at cultural events or local festivals. Immerse yourself in the country’s rich musical heritage and enjoy a memorable evening of entertainment.

9. Visit the Roman amphitheater of El Djem: Marvel at the well-preserved Roman amphitheater in the town of El Djem, which dates back to the 3rd century AD. Explore this impressive archaeological site and imagine the gladiatorial spectacles that once took place within its walls.

10. Go birdwatching in the Ichkeul National Park: Explore the diverse ecosystems of the Ichkeul National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its rich birdlife. Spot flamingos, herons, and other waterfowl in their natural habitat and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of this protected area.

20. How can I maximize my travel budget while in Tunisia?

To maximize your travel budget while in Tunisia, here are some tips to consider:

1. Accommodation: Opt for budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels, guesthouses, or rental apartments instead of luxury hotels. Consider booking in advance to secure the best deals and look for accommodations located slightly away from tourist hotspots for more affordable rates.

2. Transportation: Utilize public transport like buses and shared taxis, known as louages, to get around as they are cost-effective compared to private taxis. Additionally, consider renting a car for longer distances as it can be more economical and provide flexibility.

3. Dining: Explore local markets and street food vendors for authentic and inexpensive meals. Avoid dining in touristy areas where prices tend to be higher and instead opt for local cafes and eateries frequented by residents.

4. Sightseeing: Research free or low-cost activities and attractions such as exploring medinas, visiting mosques, or enjoying the country’s beautiful beaches. Look for combination tickets or city passes that offer discounted access to multiple sites.

5. Bargaining: Practice your negotiation skills when shopping at souks and markets to secure the best prices on goods like handicrafts, textiles, and spices. Remember that haggling is a common practice in Tunisia, so don’t be afraid to negotiate.

6. Water: Stay hydrated by opting for bottled water bought from local shops rather than purchasing drinks from restaurants and cafes, which can add up quickly. Refill reusable water bottles when possible to save on costs.

By following these budget-conscious tips, you can make the most of your travel budget while exploring the vibrant and diverse country of Tunisia.