Forget Morocco - Why you should visit Tunisia instead
We’ve noticed, as I am sure you have, that with time certain destinations become ‘overrun’. Destinations like Bali, Mexico, and Morocco have been visited by almost every traveler out there and are a bit over-visited by the travel bloggers of the world. Quick research into traveling Morocco brings up millions of search results (477.000.000 to be exact) with posts from travelers around the world sharing their insider secrets to a successful Moroccan vacation.
This begs the question, are we traveling just because someone else went somewhere and it looks cool? Or are we traveling to discover the world for ourselves? Next time you are planning your holiday, we urge you to discover new parts of the world and to choose a destination based on your travel interests. That’s why today, we’ve decided to share a unique North African travel destination with you, Tunisia.
But first, a quick geography lesson. Tunisia is a country in North Africa, sandwiched between Algeria and Libya, right on the coast. Tunisia has a rich history to share that often gets forgotten due to the magnitude of its neighboring countries. From the Tunisian ruins of Carthage to the stories of Islam that changed the country forever, and now into modern times.
A quick search of Tunisia will quickly show you a history full of change. From the first peoples to step foot in Tunisia to today, this North African country has been under the rule of the Romans, the Greeks, the French, the Ottoman, North African Dynasties and more. While it’s a fascinating history, we’re now going to move into Tunisia today, and why you should be visiting it over some of North Africa’s more popular destinations.
As a result of this unique history, while you are traveling in Tunisia you’ll find yourself experiencing a wide range of culinary surprises. Thanks to Carthage (the extremely powerful port of Tunisia back in the 16th century), in Tunis you can now find local Tunisian dishes such as Brik and Tunisian Salad, but you can also find a range of Mediterranean and French dishes as well.
Getting to Tunisia
There are a few options for making your way into Tunisia. The first is by boat. Ferries and Cruise ships arrive and depart from 'La Goulette' the main port. Flights to Tunisia are operated by the local airline which is Tunis Air (tunisair.com). They run regular flights from most major European cities. You’ll quickly find that getting to Tunisia is not hard or expensive.
Did we mention that most travelers can visit Tunisia for up to 90 days without a Visa? This makes it even easier for visits than many other surrounding countries.
Budgeting in Tunisia
The local currency in Tunisia is the Tunisian Dinar which stands at 0.33 USD per 1 Dinar. An easy daily budget you can follow in Tunisia is around 60 Dinar per day ($20USD). This budget would include food (6DT), accommodation in a budget hotel (20DT) and shared taxis (2DT) as transportation. Of course if you want a fancier hotel or private taxis, the price is going to go up. This is just a baseline.
It’s extremely important to know that in Tunisia it’s acceptable to barter only for handicrafts and souvenirs in the Souqs. Other than that, the price listed is the price you pay. When it comes to bartering, you’ll have a lot more fun if you learn to take it easy, banter with the sellers and always be polite. It also helps to know a few key phrases in French and Arabic.
If you’re looking for an affordable travel destination in North Africa this year, then Tunisia should be on the top of your list.
Cities worth visiting in Tunisia
From Carthage to the Medina and Bardo Museum, you won’t be bored exploring the streets of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. You can easily find cheap flights into Tunisia from almost anywhere in Europe and Africa, making it an extremely easy city to start your Tunisian journey in. From our research, we would recommend spending a few days in Tunis before heading off to explore other parts of the country. Tunis has a lot to offer and you don’t want to miss it by moving on too quickly.
Djerba is a small island off the coast of Tunisia. Here you’ll find everything you need for a relaxing holiday including white sandy beaches, the warm Mediterranean waters and an array of shops containing beautiful handmade souvenirs. We recommend spending a relaxing couple of days in Djerba, it’s perfect if you are coming to Tunisia for a shorter holiday. You can visit Tunis, jet over to Djerba for some luxury and then head back to Tunis easily for you flight out. You won’t regret it!
Sousse is Tunisia’s 3rd largest city and it’s also where the 2015 terrorist attacks happened. While there is fear around traveling to Sousse and Tunisia in general, there’s still much be seen. There are 3 major draws to Sousse. The long sandy Boujaffar Beach, the Unesco-protected Aghlabid-era Medina and the small Sousse Archaeological Museum. All of these sites are loved and visited by locals as well as tourists.
If you are truly looking to explore southern Tunisia then Tozeur is a wonderful place to base yourself. From Tozeur, you can easily visit the mesmerizing Chott El Jerid which is Tunisia’s largest salt lake. You can also visit all of the mountains oasis to the North. Tozeur is also a GREAT place to visit if you’ve ever seen the Star Wars movies. Tunisia is actually where a lot of the movies were filmed so you can see lots of sights from the famous saga there.
The Jerid is the most important agricultural point in Tunisia. It’s located on the tiny strip of land between the countries two salt lakes. If you’re a fan of dates, this is the place you want to be in October, when the date harvest begins. The unique landscape surround the Jerid is almost moonlike, the gypsum crystals that form in small pools alongside the road will make you want to pull the car over and spend the whole day exploring and taking pictures.
Here at Unbound, we hope that this post has inspired you to travel off the beaten path and explore a lesser known destination like Tunisia. This beautiful country has so much to offer by way of stunning, white sand beaches, colorful souqs, rich history, and extremely friendly people. Oh, and did we mention Star Wars?!
Have we inspired you to add Tunisia to your bucket list? If so, let us know in the comments. And make sure that you are following us on Instagram to see in-depth stories and even more photos of Tunisia!
And if you’re a traveler who runs group trips in Tunisia, send us an email! We’d love to have a chat about this unique country and feature you here!
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