Tunisia is the northernmost country of the African continent. It is also the smallest of the northern African countries, sandwiched between Morocco and Algeria. Tunisia is renowned as a beach destination for its soft sandy Mediterranean beaches. However, there is more to Tunisia than the beaches — ancient archaeological sites, stunning desert scenery, and magnificent Islamic architecture, to name just a few. Take a trip to Tunisia, one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, and explore what this small nation has to offer. In this blog, we will help you shortlist 12 of the best tourist attractions that Tunisia has to offer.
The small town of Sousse is located on the south central coastline of Tunisia, about 140 km south of Tunis. It is best known for its beautiful white sandy Mediterranean beaches and vibrant nightlife. Some of the best DJs of the world have performed in Sousse in the recent years. Such is the popularity of the beaches and discos of Sousse that another major attraction is often overlooked — the old town or Medina Sousse. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Medina Sousse has a massive fortification and an ancient 9th century mosque which are excellent examples of early Islamic architecture in Maghreb. Take a walk in the narrow streets of this old town to have a feel of its past glory. It is also a haven for shopaholics with plenty of stores selling ceramics, leather, and metal crafts.
Monastir is a small town located on the south central coastline of Tunisia, about 165 km south of Tunis. This ancient city is a very popular beach resort and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Other major attractions of Monastir include the impressive Ribat fortress and the Mausoleum of Bourguiba. The town also has the ancient Great Mosque and the Bourguiba Mosque. If you are more into outdoor activities, then you can try cart racing or scuba diving.
- Chott el Djerid
This expansive seasonal endorheic salt lake is known for its stunning lunar-like landscape. Located in southern Tunisia, it is the largest salt pan of the Sahara Desert, covering a staggering 7000 sq km. The lake bed is absolutely dry in the summer months and you can actually walk or drive over it. It fills up in winter through a small tributary. Due to the parched conditions and the geological formation of the landscape, the lake surface sometimes looks purple, green, or white. This typical landscape of Chott el Djerid has attracted filmmakers and novelists over the centuries. It was a filming location for a Star Wars movie and also featured in the novel Invasion of the Sea by Jules Verne. Take a guided tour of this stunning landscape to witness one of the unique creations of nature.
The beach resort of Hammamet is considered to be the first tourist destination of Tunisia. This small town, between Tunis and Sousse, is famous for its stunning white sand beaches sandwiched between the turquoise waters and the green bed of cypress trees. Although the place has been inhabited since the 1st century, Hammamet was officially founded in the 15th century with the building of the fortification that is still well preserved. An interesting feature of this beach resort is that no building can be built higher than the cypress trees, thus retaining the natural appeal of the beachfront. The laid-back charm and serene ambiance of Hammamet has attracted many famous celebrities over the years, including the iconic Sophia Loren, who has a house by the beach.
Kairouan, also spelled Qayrawan, is one of the most important cities of Tunisia. However, it is not its urban appeal but its impressive ancient Islamic architecture that makes Kairouan popular with visiting tourists. The city was founded in 670 AD and soon became an important center for Quranic learning and Sunni Islamic scholarship. It attracted many scholars from Medina and Mecca. Even to this date, many Muslims consider Kairouan to be one of the most important Islamic cities after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The rising Islamic importance of Kairouan prompted the building of several Islamic monuments and buildings, several of which have been well preserved to this date. Take a walk around the Old Town of Kairouan to see some of these impressive attractions. Heading the list will be the Great Mosque, probably the finest Islamic building in the whole country. The façade of the Mosque of the Three Doors is also a sight to behold.
- Bulla Regia
Bulla Regia is an ancient archaeological site located in northern Tunisia, about 10 km from the town of Jendouba. Stunning ruins from the Roman times are the prime attraction of this site. Although Tunisia has several sites with Roman ruins, the unique architectural features implemented by the Romans to escape the punishing heat make Bulla Regia stand out. Underground villas with ingenuous cooling features fascinate historians and tourists to this day. Take a tour of the site to relive a slice of the ancient Roman life in Tunisia.
- Tunisian Sahara
If you are visiting Tunisia, then there is no way you should miss a chance to visit the Sahara Desert. Head toward the southwest of the country, near the villages of Ghomrassen and Douirat, and you will be standing at the gateway of the largest desert in the world. You can also head to the Grand Erg Central, near the Algerian border where the sand dunes become much more expansive. Take a desert tour or a camel ride to make your visit to the Sahara memorable.
- Sidi Bou Said
This small coastal village, about 20 km east of Tunis, makes it into our list of top 12 attractions for being one of the most scenic beach resorts of Tunisia. The place looks straight out of a painting with its generous population of blue and white houses looking into the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean. You can reach Sidi Bou Said easily by car or train from Tunis for a day trip. The narrow alleyways, souvenir stores, and busy marketplace give the place a unique look.
Sbeitla, or Sufetula, is a city and an important Roman archaeological site in north central Tunisia, about 107 km southwest of Kairouan. It has some magnificent ruins of Roman forum temples that attract tourists from all over Tunisia and beyond. Sbeitla is historically significant as the entry point of the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the mid 7th century. The site has a large collection of Byzantine and Roman ruins that include basilicas, churches, temples, public baths, and fountains. The ancient Roman Forum of Sbeitla is considered to be one of the best preserved in the world. If you are a history buff, then Sbeitla is a must visit attraction in Tunisia.
Djerba is the largest island of North Africa, located just off the south eastern coast of Tunisia. Long strips of white sandy beaches, and an old town with whitewashed houses and plenty of cafes, make Djerba an ideal place to unwind and relax in the tropical sun. If you are looking for attractions away from the beach, then head to Houmt Souk Museum or the scenic Ras Rmei island. Visit the neighboring Guellala village, where they have been making pottery since the ancient Roman times. It is an ideal place to enjoy a romantic sunset. You can also visit the Djillidj port on the northwest of the island where you can watch fishermen catching octopus with traditional clay pots.
- El Djem Amphitheater
The town of El Djem in north eastern Tunisia has made its way into the tourist map for being home to the massive ancient Roman Amphitheater. It was built in the 2nd century AD by Gordian, the acclaimed Emperor of Thysdrus, a city that once thrived at this very site. With a seating capacity of 35,000, it was the third biggest amphitheater built by the Romans, following the one in Rome and the ruined theater of Capua. It is unknown if parts of the amphitheater remained unfinished or was damaged in the following centuries, but records state that it was used for chariot races and gladiator shows. The amphitheater — presently a UNESCO World Heritage Site — stands proudly not only as a symbol of Roman architecture but also of their conquest and strong foothold of North Africa.
- Old Tunis and Ruins of Carthage
The city from which the country derived its name and presently the capital — Tunis — tops our list of attractions of Tunisia. This ancient city is not only considered a gateway to the many wonders of Tunisia: it is an attraction in itself. Tunis is divided into the old city — medina — and the new city — ville nouvelle. Walk around medina to enjoy some of the best Islamic architecture in North Africa. Visit the Bardo Museum, considered to be one of the top museums of North Africa. Take a trip to neighboring Carthage, an ancient Roman city that was the center of Roman rule south of the Mediterranean. This UNESCO World Heritage Site preserves some of the best Roman ruins of Africa.
Originally posted 2017-03-29 06:55:24.