Tucked away in the eponymous gulf on the northeastern coast of Tunisia, Tunis is a land of contrasts, torn between the modern impulses that stir the "Ville Nouvelle" (new city) and the lasting traditions that are buried deep in the heart of the medina (old city), with its souks and many attractions. If you visit only one museum during your stay in Tunisia, make sure it is the Musée National du Bardo, located in the suburbs of Tunis. A nonchalant stroll along the paths of the Parc du Belvédère provides contemplative souls with a bit of greenery.
The Carthaginian Coast
The Carthaginian coast, which stretches northeast of Tunis, features delightful spots replete with the history of past conquests, and great places to wander and take time out to sip a cup of boiling-hot mint tea while gazing at the immaculate white houses or the blue waves of the sea.
Like a crescent moon, the northeastern region of Tunisia surrounds the city of Tunis, which can be used as a starting point for excursions in every direction. This is actually what many Tunisians do, as they take to the countryside on Sundays. Picnics, swimming, bird-watching and discovering archaeological sites are a few good ways to explore the well-kept secrets of this fascinating area.
Tunisia's northwestern region offers visitors a taste of paradise. With its many cultural and sporting activities, the region's diverse, luxuriant landscape will thrill those who are looking for more than a good tan. On the other hand, those who do wish to combine sunbathing and swimming will delight in the Northwest's long, beautiful and often empty beaches. Furthermore, Tabarka is a first-class seaside resort.
Cape Bon Peninsula
Cape Bon Peninsula stretches out along the northern coast of Tunisia, near the capital. Bathed on all sides by the gulfs of Hammamet and Tunis, the vast majority of the peninsula's towns and villages live in perfect harmony with the sea. Tourism supports most of its residents. Graced with lovely beaches, a medina, good restaurants and numerous hotel complexes, Hammamet is without question Tunisia's tourist capital.
The Sahel, whose name derives from the Arabic word sahil, which means "coast" or "edge," is a land of soft shores basking in the warm rays of the sun. Strolling along the region's fine sandy beaches, where the weather is beautiful year-round, is a sheer pleasure at any time of day. Given its numerous attractive features, it was inevitable that the Sahel would become one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, especially its Sousse-Monastir area.
Not far from the Sahel coast is a triangle formed by the cities of Kairouan, Makthar and Sbeïtla, located right in the heart of a hot and dry backcountry. This is a region that was once the scene of great expeditions, conquests and revolts, where the colossal armies of Julius Caesar, Marius, Uqbah Ibn Nafi (the founder of Kairouan) and Numidian kings once engaged in battle. It is also the birthplace of many Latin traditions, of the Byzantine dream and its myriad fortifications, and of the Muslim invasion.
This seductive part of Tunisia, which has developed at a frenetic pace after having inspired a number of internationally renowned filmmakers, offers strikingly different topographical formations over a distance of less than 150km. Situated a few kilometres from eastern Algeria, it features splendid mountain oases with contrasting landscapes where rocks, gardens, vegetable plots, water and lush palm groves live side by side.
The landscape of this beautiful region features mountains and plains inhabited by Arabs and Berbers who live according to age-old traditions. Gabès, the queen of the plains of Arad, is an oasian point of departure for enchanting destinations with harsher climates. Approximately 40km south of Gabès, the Dahar mountain range extends on a north-south axis past the Libyan border.
The island of Djerba, at the southeastern limits of the country, is a prime Mediterranean destination for those who crave the epitome of luxury, relaxation and pleasure. Like Ulysses and his valiant seafarers in Homer's Odyssey, you will find it very difficult to leave this island of heavenly bliss, nicknamed Djerba "La Douce" (gentle one) because of its climate, which is temperate even in winter. The island's inhabitants are mostly Berbers.