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About Tunis

Located on the gulf of the Mediterranean Sea, Tunis is the vibrant capital city of Tunisia. As a fairly untouched tourist destination, this cultural mecca of North Africa has many fascinating historical attractions, dating back millennia. The impressive colonial buildings of Ville Nouvelle provide a sharp contrast to the smaller, humble structures of the charming Medina.

Cheap flights to Tunis are now available for a limited time only, so book your flight today and be awed by the historic marvels and vibrant character of this city! Tunis is home to Tunis–Carthage International Airport (TUN), situated 15 minutes from the city centre and is easily accessible by car. TUN serves a multitude of airlines, including EgyptAir, Air France and Turkish Airlines. There are no direct flights available from South Africa, but popular connecting flights are available from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Why visit Tunis

local culture and cuisine

Local Culture and Cuisine

The bustling streets of the Medina are an explosion of colour and culture. Step into a world of rich fabrics, intoxicating perfumes and exotic spices spilling out into the cobbled streets of this enchanting city.

historical attractions

Historical Attractions

Experience the remnants of ancient Carthage strewn across the Bay of Tunis, via a walking tour or lookout point from Byrsa Hill. Other popular attractions include the Olive Tree Mosque and the Spanish port of La Goulette.

architecture

Architecture

Art and design lovers will have a field day exploring the variety of colonial and post-colonial buildings dotted along Avenue Habib Bourguiba. The Sidi Bou Said neighbourhood offers splendid views from the Andalusian-style houses.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Tunisia
Currency Tunisian Dinar (TND)
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.17 TND
Language Arabic (French & Italian are spoken by some locals)
Hub Airport Tunis–Carthage International Airport (TUN)
Airline Tunis Air
Time Zone GMT + 01:00
Travel Adaptor Type C / E

Best time to visit Tunis

Tunis experiences a hot, Mediterranean subtropical climate, resulting in dry, hot summers and cold, rainy winters. A good time to visit is between June and October when the weather is pleasantly warm. If you don’t mind wearing a few extra layers, take advantage of the low season, occurring between November and April for low-season rates and fewer crowds during these cooler months. Tunis showcases many vibrant festivals during the summer – the most popular being the Tunisian Medina Festival, held during the month of Ramadan, showcasing street shows, costume parades, international films and music performances.

Weather & Climate in Tunis

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 7°C 7°C 8°C 10°C 13°C 17°C 20°C 21°C 19°C 15°C 11°C 8°C
High °C 15°C 16°C 18°C 21°C 24°C 29°C 32°C 32°C 30°C 25°C 20°C 16°C
Rainfall (mm) 62 55 43 37 23 11 3 9 32 58 53 62

Overview

Tunis is the ancient city that formed the centre of the Carthaginian Empire. While the historic discoveries and ruins uncovered here are beyond fascinating, Tunis itself has remained largely untouched by tourists. As such, this city is a diamond in the rough, filled with exotic scents, bright colours and a vibrant energy.

Central Tunis is divided into two distinct areas – the old Medina and the new town, Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is the traditional heart of the city, made up of a labyrinth of alleys and passageways. It’s filled with boisterous traders and colourful displays, and the scent of local foods and spices permeates the air. You’ll find wonderful souvenirs here made by local craftsman, including leatherwork, plastic goods, tin and exquisite filigree.

Other landmarks worth checking out include the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul and the Zitouna Mosque. The souks around the mosque are also wonderful to explore, and you’ll find plenty of reasons to drop a few dinar.

Of course you can’t visit Tunis without visiting Carthage, so plan a day in this incredible place early on in your trip. You’ll find an abundance of ancient ruins here, dating back millennia. The views over Tunis and the gulf are spectacular, especially from the Basilica of Saint-Cyprien, and the Carthage Museum and Acropolium.

Compare several airlines, and book your cheap flights to Tunis online at Travelstart!

Visa & Customs

South African Passport holders do need a visa to visit Tunis, or anywhere else in Tunisia. South Africans can get a visa upon arrival in Tunis. Don’t forget to check that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date, ensuring 3 blank pages available for entry stamps.

The South African Embassy to Tunisia is in Tunis. 7 Rue Achtart, Nord-Hilton, Tunis. Phone: + 216 71 798 449 / + 216 71 800 311 / + 216 71 801 918.

Health & Safety

There are no required vaccinations to enter Tunisia. Keep in mind that food hygiene may not be up to standard, so be cautious of street food. Although tap water in larger cities is relatively safe to drink, preferably stick to bottled water. Pack lots of sunscreen and bug spray!

Bear in mind that Tunisia is a Muslim country, and dress code is important, particularly for females. Exposing a lot of skin is acceptable on beaches and within hotel complexes, although it may be frowned upon outside these areas. Alcohol is available in the metropolitan areas, but do not attempt to drink alcohol in the streets as you may be arrested.

It is perfectly safe to walk around the city, though be mindful of pick-pockets and locals trying to steal your cell phone, particularly in the Medina. You may be approached by teenagers at attraction sites, pretending to be tour guides and are likely to hassle you for money. Keep money and valuables securely out of sight. Shopkeepers often try to lure you into their stalls or booths – if you are not interested be polite, but firm and walk away.

Tunis has experienced terrorist attacks in recent years, so remain vigilant of your surroundings and stay abreast of current political affairs in the surrounding regions.

Where to stay?

Often overlooked in favour of touristy beach resorts, the Medina is the heart and soul of Tunis and is really where you want to be staying. This lively, cultural gem of the city is where all the action happens and is not to be missed! It is surrounded by major attractions and visitors will lose themselves amid the ancient buildings, markets, mosques, theatres, museums and parks peppered around the area. You will also be treated to fantastic shopping opportunities, and an assortment of restaurants, pubs and hotels.

Avenue de Londres and Rue Beb Souika host an impressive selection of designer shops, while the best drinking establishments can be found on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, where there are many jazzy bars and nightclubs to dance the night away.

Just east of the Medina you will find Tunis Marine, with many fishermen and boats bobbing along the water. Arrange a boat trip at the Marine or through your hotel to experience the sparkling, sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Ocean.

You can find private apartments for rent, especially during the summer; in contrast, budget accommodation in the centre is likely to be very basic with twin beds (for couples).

It is advisable to organise accommodation prior to your arrival.

Getting Around

Public transport in Tunis consists of light rail and bus, as well as shared taxis known as ‘louages’. These are your most flexible option, but are slightly more expensive than buses, and run frequently, but not according to any specific schedule. The bus routes are less extensive than the louages, but still cover more ground than the trains.

When leaving the airport, expect to be accosted by local men wanting to ‘help you’ by grabbing your luggage. Ignore these tricks and walk to the clearly-marked yellow taxis. Insist on the use of a meter before getting in. Most people in Tunis do not speak English, so if you encounter as ‘assistant’ by the taxi ranks, you can be sure they will charge you for their translation services. Always carry a map with you and make sure you can show the driver the location of where you are staying.

The best way to explore the Medina area is on foot. A good starting point is at Port de France. It is advised to familiarise yourself with the Medina by day, so that if you find yourself slightly lost at night, you can find a good landmark. By 9pm the shops close and you can easily make your way back to Port de France.

Main attractions in Tunis

Carthage

Carthage

Medina District

Medina District

Bardo National Museum

Bardo National Museum

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