Before your flight to Tunisia, channel your inner-Jedi, grab your favorite droid and pack your Light Saber – you’ll need it when you get to Matmata, the town that served as the set for Star Wars. Hans Solo might not pilot the flight to Tunisia, but the journey to this African country will certainly be memorable.
Tunisia may be tiny, but it’s packed full of things to do. From hot springs to the Star Wars set and moonlit landscapes you have to see to believe, Tunisia is space-age country surviving in desert lands. Its location on the Mediterranean, and within the boundaries of the Sahara desert, makes this country appealing to any traveler booking Tunisia flights. Take a walk through Tunisia’s narrow streets and sample authentic African jewelry, antiques and spices.
The museums in Tunisia are not to be missed – filled with Roman mosaics and ancient artifacts, Tunisia packs a lot of history into one country. Whether you’re booking flights to Tunisia for a vacation in one of the luxurious resorts on the coast or you plan to dry out in the Sahara, let the force be with you as you travel Tunisia.
Tunisia is extremely hot in the summer, with temperatures reaching at least 95 F in the southern region. It’s much more tolerable in the winter, when temperatures hover in the upper 60s. You can find snow in the mountains and heat in the desert, which often goes years without seeing rain.
If you’re booking flights to Tunisia in the summer, be sure to plan daytime excursions before noon or early in the evening to avoid the insufferable afternoon heat – unless of course, you’re headed to the beach.
Peak Season: As a general rule in North Africa, when the temperature rises, so does the number of people. Most students book cheap flights to Tunisia when South African schools break for the summer in July and August. Vacationers crowd museums and markets, and coastal towns brim with street festivals and bustling cafes, where locals sip tea and smoke chicha.
Off-peak Season: While the span between October and March brings heavy rainfall and damp, chilly air, it’s also the best time to find cheap flights to Tunisia, especially if you’re looking to experience the solemnity of Ramadan in October. January and February are the lowest traffic months, and hotels and accommodations are certain to cut rates.
Once your flight to Tunisia arrives, you’ll be aching to see all the country has to offer. Tunis Air offers domestic Tunisia flights from Tunis to Djerba, Tozeur, and Sfax.
On land, trains, taxis and buses operates all over the country. The tram consists of an electric network that runs on a single rail, and an above ground metro that is easily navigated. The commuter rail system moves locals to suburban areas like La Marsa, La Goulette, Carthage, and Sidi Bou Said. Pickpockets and other petty crime are known to occur on public transit, so keep your belongings close and travel in numbers. Louage taxis – considered by some as the safest method of transport – are shared vehicles that trek to fixed destination. They leave only at full capacity, so arrive early to ensure you get a seat. Reasonably priced, taxis are easy to find, and regularly available. A number of bus companies run nationwide, as well.
If you’re looking for more independent Tunisia travel, reserve a rental car to experience the roads first-hand. Major car rental companies like Budget, Avis, Hertz, and Europcar are safe, but more expensive options. From Tunis, there are a number of side trips you can take by car. Monastir takes three hours, Sfax takes four hours, Djerba takes seven hours, and Tozeur takes six hours. Drivers are known to be fast and aggressive, so drive defensively and stay alert.
The following chart gives approximate journey times from Tunis (in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in Tunisia.
Food: Your travel to Tunisia isn’t complete without experiencing the regional fare. Make sure to wander into a local café or restaurant in Tunis to taste the local specialties like couscous, brik a l’oeuf, fricassee, and chorba hout (fish soup). For dessert, be sure to ask for traditional Tunisian cookies, characterized by their almond -infused ingredients. Carthage: Founded by the Pheonicians, and known for its lush vegetation Carthage is a city filled with intriguing past and promising future. For history buffs booking flights to Tunisia, the views of the Gulf and Punic Ports are not to be missed. Stroll by Byrsa Hill, and take a dip in the Antonine Baths, which are raved about for their size, beauty, and waterfront location. The TGM light rail will take you through most of the city and straight to L’Acropolium (Cathedral of Saint Louis) where the French built the National Museum in the 1890’s.
History: Tunisia’s largest archeological site – The Roman ruins of Dougga – are located in the north. The Capitol, the city’s principal temple, is dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, and buildings ranging from arches to cisterns are visible in the ruins. The theater has been restored and you can watch concerts and plays every August. The El Djem amphitheater in central Tunisia is the third largest in the world (after Rome and Verona). El Djem is the site of gladiator fights and chariot races. It’s open to the public and tourists can visit the cells where the fighters and wild animals “prepared” for battle.
Golf: While Tunisia’s culture and history is at your finger tips, sometimes you just can’t resist hitting the green. If you’re packing the clubs on your flight to Tunisia, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the six breathtaking golf courses that supply stunning scenery and a challenging contest. Carthage, Hammamet, Hammamet-Jasmine, Monastir, and Tabarka golf courses are open year-round, and remain relatively undiscovered. While some are set on lakes and others are surrounded by eucalyptus, pine, and palm trees, each course provides unprecedented views. Most internationally renown, El Kantaoui sits alongside a beach and is surrounded by flourishing olive groves.
Souks: In Tunis, the Medina (the original Arab city, dates from the 12th century), is a UNESCO-listed site. Once you’re under the white canvas tents, don’t let the vendors tell you that these items are at their final cost: They expect you to bring your finest bargaining talents to the table and haggle like a pro. Located in the old section of the city, souks sell everything from vibrantly colored carpets to handmade bird cages to one-of-a-kind jewelry. To get the best price, don’t act eager and have a sense of humor. For those seeking jewelry, look for items that have authentic material like glass beads, silver pieces, coins, and coral, but expect to pay a little more for the latter. If shopping here hasn’t already been added to your Tunisia travel itinerary, it should be.
Nightlife: Nightlife can seem hit or miss in most Tunisian cities, but for those in quest of a bar crawl, it’s best to stay in or near hotels. Although mostly dominated by men, women booking flights to Tunisia shouldn’t be discouraged – just make sure to travel in numbers. Many beach hotels have nightclubs where local bands play on stage, and the Port El Kantaoui boasts a waterfront casino for anyone in search of slots.
(prices quoted are from London)