Editor's note: This is a guest post written by Lucy Hudson.
Offering dramatic desert landscapes, historic cities, warm Mediterranean Sea waters and atmospheric little restaurants in which to spend an evening, Tunisia is a North African sun-drenched beauty spot.
Around seven million visitors arrive in this inviting country each year, mainly to enjoy its boast-worthy beaches, but if you can tear yourself away from the stunning coastline there’s a lot to see and do in fascinating Tunisia.
Small costs, big fun
North African countries such as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia have always provided excellent value for money in terms of accommodation options, restaurants and activities. The low prices for dining out, sightseeing and travel mean you can pack a lot into your holiday at very little cost. The bonus of a Tunisian holiday is the all year round sunshine, with companies like First Choice continuing to fly out through the off-peak season for those seeking winter rays.
The Mediterranean coast
The shimmering waters of the Mediterranean Sea will provide idyllic views as you relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Picturesque, white and golden sands are the norm here and La Marsa, Raf Raf and Tabarka are just three examples. Hammamet is one of the country’s most popular beach towns and it exudes an unspoilt and traditional atmosphere with a distinctly Moorish feel. Don’t be surprised to find vendors offering camel rides at some of the more touristy options; there’s enough room along this coastline to find a secluded stretch of sand if you’re looking to escape the crowds.
The traditional and the cosmopolitan
Tunisia is a perfect mix of the contemporary and the historic, and you’ll find a diverse range of towns and cities once you start exploring. The capital, Tunis, offers traditional and colourful markets set amidst its narrow jumble of ancient streets, and you can easily stumble upon a mosque or historic palace by accident. Head to Port El Kantaoui and you’ll find a chic harbour with modern restaurants serving the freshest of seafood dishes. Hammamet is without doubt one of the prettiest resorts in the country with whitewashed little houses overlooking the immense 10km of beach; the sunsets alone make this trip worthwhile.
Explore the island of Djerba
Just off Tunisia’s south coast lies the idyllic little island of Djerba and an excursion by boat should be on your itinerary. This island gem offers the clearest turquoise waters in which to swim, surf, water-ski or enjoy whatever water sport action floats your boat. The island is similar to the mainland in that it boasts its own ancient medina where you can haggle for goods before dining in the many authentic restaurants. Don’t miss the charming little fishing port area or the ancient synagogue of El-Ghriba in Erriadh, said to contain the oldest Torah in the world.
Uncovering Tunisia’s history
If you want to spend some time exploring ancient Tunisia then this is a country that offers eight UNESCO world heritage sites. The most famous attraction is the incredible ruins of Carthage, which date back to 814 BC. For only a few dinars you can wander through the 10 different archaeological sites and view the remains of the Amphitheatre and the Antonin Baths. The Dougga and Bulla Regia Roman ruins are another excursion well worth taking and the impressive hilltop site includes the Temple of Saturn and the majestic columns of the Capitol. Down at Medina of Sousse, you will find an old commercial and military port that is typical of how traditional towns looked in the first centuries of Islam.
Whether you fancy a trip into the Sahara Desert or a tour around some famous film locations you are spoilt for choice when it comes to activities in Tunisia. You can travel through the enchanting Sahara by jeep or camel before trying out some skiing and go-karting across the dunes. If you’re a movie buff you can visit desert locations made famous in films such as The English Patient and Star Wars; the salt lakes of Chott el Djerid and the Matmata dwellings should not be missed. Nature lovers can take a trip to Ichkeul National Park in the north to explore the huge freshwater lake teeming with pink flamingos, storks and geese.
Tunisia offers something to suit every taste whether you’re a beach lover, a culture vulture or simply want to relax and become immersed in a different way of life. This is a country that will definitely provide some unforgettable travel experiences and memories at pretty much any time of the year.
Image by www.sqfp.info, used under the Creative Commons license.
Lucy Hudson works in digital marketing and likes to share tips on holidays, online shopping and writing, through blogging! She is also a keen swimmer and is learning to be a pro at Pilates.