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Tunisia isn't much to look at on a map. This unassuming wedge of land at Africa's northern tip lies between the much larger countries of Libya and Algeria. To the south, the hostile expanse of the Sahara Desert spreads endlessly, all but guaranteeing death for ill-clad travelers who attempt to cross it. Its northern and eastern shores drop off into the blue oblivion of the Mediterranean Sea.
Of course, a cursory glance at the map doesn't do North Africa's most culturally vibrant nation justice. First-time visitors can't help but be swept up in the chaotic bazaars of Tunis, the eerie wail of the dawn call to prayer and the exotic smells of Bedouin fires. Seasoned travelers delight in the novel culinary experiments of Tunisian chefs, the ever-unfolding diversity of Carthage's Roman ruins and the majestic water views offered by the towering Atlas Mountains. Discover the magic at the heart of the Maghreb.
The City of Carthage: This expansive, well-preserved ruin is all that remains of one of the ancient world's most powerful cities. At its zenith in the 2nd century B.C., Carthage was the only Western power capable of challenging Rome's hegemony. With visions of armored elephants and towering aqueducts dancing in their heads, visitors to this stately old city relive the glory days of Hannibal's empire. Just outside the historic core, artifacts and structures from the city's Roman period evoke the coliseums, roadways and terraces of Rome itself.
The Main Souk in Tunis: Every Tunisian town of significance has at least one open-air "souk" or marketplace. Known as bazaars in certain other countries, these trading centers continue to underpin Tunisia's retail economy and connect locals with virtually anything they need. At the main souk in Tunis, visitors can find vibrant Berber clothing, authentic tile artwork, live animals and fresh produce. With a sturdy canvas roof to keep out the hot sun and aromatic wood smoke from hundreds of cook stoves, Tunis's main souk showcases sights, sounds and tastes that can't be found anywhere else. Find a vendor who sells traditional couscous and Berber-style lamb stew, an aromatic concoction that's served in a simple bowl.
The Great Mosque of Kairouan: The historic cores of most Tunisian towns are bounded by thick clay or brick walls known as medinas. Kairouan's medina is dominated by the so-called Great Mosque, a towering artifact from the year 670. With a perimeter of over 400 meters, the Great Mosque is among the largest Islamic structures in the Maghreb. Admire its ornate stonework and majestic minaret before stepping inside to revel in its geometric tilework and sweeping columns. It's just possible to imagine how its daily prayer calls once echoed across medieval Kairouan.
Natural Splendor: Tunisia packs tremendous natural beauty into its small frame. Venture south to the otherworldly landscape of Tatouine, a vast, sandy desert plain that stood in for Luke Skywalker's home planet in the first Star Wars film. Trek north along the lush, humid coastline and sample fresh dates, baklava and harissa-flavored stews along the way. In the north, work off your meals with a hike through the rugged Atlas Mountains, an increasingly popular destination for eco-tourists. At nearly 2,000 meters, Jebel ech Chambi harbors a lush pine forest and offers stunning views of the city of Kasserine.
Best Time To Visit:
Tunisia doesn't draw massive crowds of tourists like Egypt or Israel, so weather is likely to be the primary determinant of your travel schedule. While the Mediterranean moderates the climate of coastal Tunisia, the country's interior experiences jarring extremes of temperature. During the winter, the dry, windswept highlands of the Atlas Mountains routinely see freezing temperatures. Snow and ice storms occasionally menace travelers to this region as well. By contrast, summer highs can surpass 50 degrees in the the vast, empty expanse of the Sahara desert. Whereas visitors to the mountains would do well to schedule trips between May and October, coastal locations are most inviting from March through May and October through November.
An unforgettable experience awaits in Africa's northernmost country. To learn more about Tunisia's promise or to receive a bespoke quote from an experienced destination expert, please complete the callback request form at your earliest convenience.