Lying on the northern coast of Africa, Tunisia is a gloriously sunny year-round destination with a rich mixture of vibrant beach resorts along its Mediterranean coastline, bustling cities stuffed with fabulous centuries-old architecture, and a tremendous interior of often startling differences – Saharan desert sands, lush green forests and glassy lakes await explorers keen to see a different side to this fascinating country. Here are my top five things to do in Tunisia.
Far From the Madding Crowd
While the tourist hotspots of Sousse, Hammamet and Monastir have beaches packed with holidaymakers vying for sun loungers and space, the beautiful Cap Serrat is an unspoilt treat. Untouched by the scrabbling fingers of modern tourism, this is one of Tunisia’s best yet least developed beaches and a must for those seeking natural beauty. Tucked on the country’s northern coast around two hours from the capital, Tunis, the Cap is a glorious sweep of golden sand with the warm waters of the Med lapping at its shoreline. There are no hotels or nightclubs here, and two very simple – but very welcoming – restaurants nestled amongst the pines which pepper the surrounding sand dunes. Local families come here to relax and swim in the crystal clear water; pack a gourmet picnic and do the same.
Image Source: By DrFO.Jr.Tn via Wikimedia Commons
Tunisia boasts amazing cuisine, including favourites such as chickpea and garlic lablabi stew, tagines and spicy merguez sausages, and its towns and cities contain a vast choice of eateries, many of which should be on anyone’s must-visit list. In the grand medina in Tunis, try Dar El Jeld – housed in an old mansion, replete with traditional décor, it offers delicious twists on traditional Tunisian dishes; meanwhile Le Baroque brings elegance and frequently sumptuous international cuisine to the capital.
Up, Up and Away
Forget camels, quad bikes or even tramping through the sand on foot – head to the southwestern town of Tozeur and take a hot air balloon ride over the Sahara. Specially organised trips take you up and over the dunes, giving you a peaceful, breath-taking view of the desert. Incredibly romantic, and ever popular with those on honeymoon.
Image Source: By Harry Pherson via Flickr
Along with France, Tunisia is one of the world’s thalassotherapy destinations, utilising the fantastic healing and beneficial properties of the Med’s sea waters during exquisite health and wellbeing treatments. Both the Medina Solaria Thalasso and Alhambra Thalasso resorts in Hammamet offer luxurious surroundings and spa decadence in equal measure, with superb facilities including all inclusive stays and private beaches.
Head for the fine blond sand of Djerba’s lovely beaches. Located off the coast in the Gulf of Gabes in Tunisia’s southeast, the island of Djerba is a real contrast to the hustle and bustle of the mainland, with thousands of palm trees dotting the interior and its towns a terrific mix of ultra-modern hotels and traditional white-domed homes. Cruise to the island’s Ras R’mel peninsula and see the flamingos, or trot through the surf at sundown with the Royal Carriage Club Riding School – the only horse riding school on Djerba.
Image Source: By Phil_Heck via Flickr
Top Image Source: By Citizen59 via Wikimedia Commons