Tunisia is the showpiece of the north facing Mediterranean coast. It is a petite nation tightly sandwiched between two brawny regional brutes. All that one hopes for in north Africa is found in abundance in Tunisia, and all that one fears is absent.
If a postcard were to arrive at your door from Sidi Bou Saïd, at a glance you would guess that it was from a Grecian Isle, and if another arrived from Bulla Regia you would assume in passing that it had been sent from a ruined metropolis somewhere in Italy. And it does not end there. From alpine vistas to the desert Erg, it seems almost improbable that one little nation could have so much charm. And yet at the same time as this is true, Tunisia is also religiously tolerant, gender liberal, wealthy and politically stable. Bathed in the pure light and colour of the Mediterranean sunshine, and tilted eastward towards Sicily and the Greek islands, Tunisia is the charmed child of an enchanted family.
Travel To & Within Tunisia
Why Travel To Tunisia
Apart from the fact that such an extraordinary cultural and natural diversity exists in one small country, Tunisia is safe, laid-back, and although not hassle free – that would probably be claiming too much – it is almost without the kind of poverty driven assaults on space and liberty that westerners so often experience in Africa. If you choose to wander through the souks and street markets of Tunis then expect a certain number of jovial entreaties to just look, no buy, but this is a far cry from the maddeningly persistent hussle common on the streets of Casablanca, Cairo, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Tunis Sidi Bou Saïd Bulla Regia Dougga Ain Draham El Kek Sousse Kairouan Mahdia Jerba Tataouine
Expect superb regional food and ancient traditions of local wine. Absorb the sun-drenched Mediterranean ambience as you tap your feet to local music. Enjoy intriguing local architecture alongside a ubiquity of archaeological sites. Seek out hiking and biking trails, or long and languid walks along picture postcard beaches. And then, on your second day…..
Tunisia has the greatest pull of all North African destinations with the possible exception of Egypt, and this for the inescapable fact that Egypt has a monopoly on Nilotic history. Beyond that fact Tunisia is better. You could not make a safer choice, and uniquely on the global tourist map, making that choice to visit the country in common with several million other tourists does not seem to detract from the overall experience. The whole business of tourism is managed with style and restraint, and if Tunisia is the Disneyland of North African travel, it is no less a worthwhile destination for that fact.
When To Visit Tunisia
Since there is no one reason to visit a country like Tunisia, there are specific times suited to specific interests.
Climatically Tunisia shares the same basic highs and lows of her Maghreb neighbours. Excruciatingly hot summers, particularly in the desert regions, and mild and engaging winters. This, broadly speaking, would suggest that visiting Tunisia is best contemplated between November and April, and should be avoided between June and October. The spring months between mid-March and mid May are the very best, with the annual flush of wildflowers in the countryside most colourful. This also works well if your interest is in avoiding the mass descent of the summer European package tour market, which, no matter how positive a spin you put on it, is a hot and sweaty jumble that, for the discerning traveller, is worthwhile avoiding.
Winter is the best time to visit the desert south, and is moreover the music festival season which is increasingly becoming a feature of the tourist calendar in Tunisia.
Tunisia lies along the axis of Moslem countries, and no matter how theoretical, a threat of terrorism against western tourists and interests exists. This is an inescapable fact, and one that the authorities in Tunisia are acutely aware of, and remain extremely vigilant against. So far no serious incidences have been reported.
It is possible in the region abutting Algeria that kidnappings and potential unrest could occur, and as a rule trips in that region would be best undertaken with a tour operator or in the company of someone who knows the terrain and the local risks. These risks, however, are small.
Violent crime is almost unheard of in Tunisia, although it is not wholly absent. The North African talent for pick-pocketing and clever little ruses and scams is alive and well, however, and therefore the usual rules of caution and common sense should apply at all times.
On the roads expect French standards of courtesy, which are not high, but neither are they aggressive. The road network is of a reasonable to good standard, and on the whole the threat of road accidents is not as acute in Tunisia as it is in Morocco.