Our one-week Tunisia itinerary and Tunisia travel tips

As an exciting and vibrant destination, Tunisia has been well-loved for its unique culture that blends the contemporary with the traditional. Located on the Mediterranean Sea in Northern Africa, Tunisia is a land of great beauty and contrast. With ancient ruins, golden beaches, and bustling cities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during a one-week stay. This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of where to visit and what to do in Tunisia during a limited time frame as well as useful tips for travelers to make your journey even more enjoyable. Here are our one-week itinerary in Tunisia and our best Tunisia travel tips!

Chenini, Tunisia

Why visit Tunisia?

If you are looking for a unique and inspiring destination to visit, then Tunisia is definitely the place for you. This Mediterranean North African country is full of historical sites and stunning landscapes that will provide endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation. With its mix of culture, natural beauty, and rich history, Tunisia offers something for everyone.

Tunisia’s warm climate makes it an ideal destination throughout the year – from sun-filled days on the beach to exploring ancient ruins in the city. The capital Tunis is a great place to start your journey; this bustling metropolis is also home to incredible Islamic architecture. For those interested in nature, there are plenty of parks and reserves such as Cape Bon National Park where you can hike amidst olive groves and take in amazing views of the Mediterranean sea. If you’re looking for more adventure than just sightseeing, then head inland and explore some of the caves such as Matmata Cave or even venture out into the Sahara Desert on a jeep safari!

No visit to Tunisia would be complete without a trip along its northern coast where you can find charming mediaeval towns like Hammamet or Sousse surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches perfect for swimming, snorkelling or just soaking up some sun! And don’t forget about all the delicious local food that awaits – from traditional tagines (stew with vegetables) to brik (deep-fried pastry filled with tuna), you won’t go hungry here!

Tunisia - El Jem amphitheaterer

Tunisian hospitality

Tunisia is a nation renowned for its hospitality. From the moment a visitor arrives, they will be welcomed with open arms by the locals. The culture of Tunisian hospitality is rooted in their traditional values and beliefs in generosity, respect, and honouring guests. This can be seen through their custom of offering tea or coffee to visitors, as well as providing items such as dates, olives, and fruits in abundance. It is not uncommon for those visiting to receive invites to meals at local residences and to take part in social gatherings.

Tunisians also take great pride in showing off their local attractions; they will arrange guided tours of historical sites, provide insight into the culture, and even invite tourists to join them on excursions outside of the city limits. As a result of this incredible hospitality, travelers often find themselves feeling at home in Tunisia’s warm embrace. Let’s find out how we experienced the embrace of Tunisia on our one-week trip.

Fire at a desert camp, Tunisia

One-week itinerary in Tunisia

Tunisia is a beautiful country filled with captivating culture, history, and natural beauty. From the bustling towns of Sfax and Tunis to the secluded Tataouine desert, there are countless sights and activities that make for an unforgettable vacation. Here’s an itinerary for a week-long trip in Tunisia that is pretty much our own itinerary in the country!

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Day 1 – Sfax

Start your journey in Sfax, the second largest city in Tunisia. This vibrant port city has been historically important since the Phoenician era and its old town of Medina still retains much of its mediaeval charms. Explore the old lanes lined with palm trees or take a peaceful stroll along the ridged beaches. Don’t forget to try some of the local seafood dishes or visit one of the many outdoor markets where you can buy spices, fabrics, and souvenirs. Walking around the souk in the morning, watching it wake up was the highlight of our visit to Sfax.

Stay in Sfax: Ibis Sfax

Sfax Souk, Tunisia

Day 2 – Djerba Island

Travel over to Djerba Island, located just off the southern coast of Tunisia. This small island is home to some picturesque beaches and winding roads plus plenty of exotic wildlife. Take a day tour around Djerba to explore its charming coastal villages or relax on some of its famous stretches of sand such as Sidi Mahrez beach or Cheikh Yahya (if you’re looking for a more secluded experience). In addition to swimming and sunbathing, there are also golf courses, spas, and restaurants for you to enjoy and explore. We recommend visiting Djerbahood, El Ghriba synagogue, Houmt Souk, and Amghar Mosque and Djerba Ajim for the Star Wars fans.

Stay on Djerba Island: Sentido Djerba Beach

Day 3 – Tataouine to Sahara desert 

Go on a tour through Tataouine – the gateway between North Africa and Sub-Saharan regions – where ancient Berber architecture has remained untouched since time immemorial. While here, be sure not to miss out on Ksar Ghilane – an oasis located between two dunes where you can go swimming before venturing further into desert landscapes littered with rock formations known as ‘troglodytes’. You can choose to stay at a desert camp – as we did – and enjoy the hospitality of the locals by the fire in the evening and some amazing sunrises amogst the dunes!

Tunisia - sunrise in Sahara desert

Day 4 – Matmata

Head south further into southern Tunisia towards Matmata – an ancient village built inside primitive troglodyte dwellings surrounded by rocky hillsides with lush vegetation sprouting from them. The villagers continue living according to their ancestral traditions so make sure not to miss out on any local cultural events! We visited such a house and were welcomed by tea, honey, and many smiles! Also nearby is El Jem – a large amphitheatre which could originally seat up to 35000 people making it one of the most preserved Roman ruins across Africa. Definitely worth a visit, and the sunset from the amphitheatre is just unforgettable!

Tunisia - Matmata troglodyte underground house
Tunisia - El Jem amphitheaterer

Day 5 – Monastir

Make your way back north towards Monastir – once home to ancient Carthaginian settlers who used this site as their central port harbouring ships from far off lands like Libya and Egypt during ancient times! Today Monastir is home to several Mediterranean resorts boasting tranquil beaches perfect for relaxing after a busy day exploring all that this area has to offer! Make sure to check out Ribat fortress!

Stay in Monastir: Marina Cap Monastir

Ribat, Monastir, Tunisia

Day 6 – Carthage

Spend your sixth day visiting Carthage – once home to Queen Dido who founded this legendary city before it eventually grew into one of the most powerful empires in human history! Today Carthage lies partly in ruins with several archaeological sites scattered around giving visitors spectacular views across this unique region near the capital Tunis! After exploring these historical sites, spend some time strolling along waterfront promenades where locals come together under shady palm trees before stopping at any one of the many cafes serving traditional Tunisian delicacies!

ruins of Carthage, Tunisia

Day 7 – Sidi Bou Said and Tunis

Complete your trip by spending your last day exploring Sidi Bou Said – a beautiful hilltop village overlooking stunning azure waters full of sail boats bobbing around against colorful sunsets! Wander along alleys shaded by bougainvillaea blooms or take a relaxing break at any of the local cafes offering aromatic teas accompanied by light snacks before heading back towards Tunis. In Tunis, explore the capital nightlife or get lost in the winding streets of the souk – we felt like in a real-life escape room.

Stay in Tunis: Golf Royal Hotel

Tunis Souk, Tunisia

Travel tips – what do we need to know to visit Tunisia

Tunisia is one of the gems of North Africa, and it offers a unique experience for travelers. Renting a car and driving in Tunisia can be an exciting and cost effective way to explore the country and we couldn’t be more happy with the flexibility and freedom to explore it gave us, however, there are some important tips to consider before venturing out on the roads of Tunisia.

General Safety Tips

The best way to ensure your safety while driving in Tunisia is to familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and regulations. Additionally, always lock your vehicle when it’s not in use, don’t leave any valuables inside the car, and pay extra attention around major cities as they tend to have higher crime rates. Finally, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage before setting out on your road trip.

Road Trip Tips

When planning your road trip through Tunisia be sure to plan out rest stops along your route so that you won’t encounter fatigue from long stretches of driving without proper breaks. Make sure you check the condition of the roads ahead of time as certain areas are known for having poor quality roads or slow traffic due to construction projects. Also, we recommend checking the locations of gas stations and planning refilling your tank ahead. Bring some Tunisian dinars for the toll taxes.

Tunisia - quad bike tour in the desert

What To Eat In Tunisia 

Tunisian cuisine has been influenced by its Arab neighbours over the years but also takes influence from Italy and France as well. While travelling through Tunisia be sure to sample some of their delicious dishes such as couscous, shakshuka (eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce), mechouia (grilled vegetables and peppers with olive oil), harissa (chilli paste served with nearly every dish), brik (meat pies) and kaak warka (a type of pastry flavoured with rosewater).

Tours To Book

If you’d like to get an even better understanding of Tunisian culture then why not book one of the many tours that are available? Some popular tour options include visiting historical sites like Carthage or Dougga which offer fascinating insight into Roman history; or go on a desert safari where you can ride camels across sand dunes and enjoy sunset barbeques under star-filled skies; or take a cooking class which will teach you about traditional Tunisian recipes so that you can recreate some amazing meals at home!

Our favourite tour we can highly recommend is the tour to the desert, Matmata and Tataouine. If you’re based in Djerba, this is the best tour to explore further afield, or find an alternative below. 

Currency

The currency in Tunisia is the Tunisian Dinar (TND). The dinar has been in use since 1960 and is divided into 1000 millimes. It is distributed in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 millimes, as well as ½ dinar. The notes are 5, 10, 20 and 50 dinars. In addition to its local circulation, currencies of other countries such as euros and US dollars can be used for some transactions in Tunisia. The exchange rate of one dinar to one euro was about 3.2 when we visited, and around 3 dinars for 1 US dollar. The Tunis-Carthage airport doesn’t accept the local currency, so make sure you spend all your dinars before you pass the security check when you leave the country.

Tent in a desert camp, Tunisia

General Cleanliness

Prepare to see not so many clean places. Unfortunately, although cleanliness is deeply valued in Tunisian culture, there are so many public and open spaces that are full of trash. We didn’t enjoy seeing the sides of the roads littered, or jumping around hundreds of pieces of garbage while walking around Tunis Medina after dark.

No matter what kind of traveller you are – adventurer, historian or foodie – Tunisia has something for everyone! Whether you choose to rent a car or embark on an organised tour we hope these tips will help make your visit truly memorable!

Tunisia - salt flat lake near Tataouine

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