Tunisia is on the north coast of Africa with 800 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline. It has all kinds of beaches that are perfect for lounging in the sun or shade and watching the gentle waves. There is high action, white knuckle water sports as well as activities for the whole family. Visitors can enjoy secluded coves as well as the Isle of Djerba with 10,000 palm trees and tropical lagoons.
Tunisia in History
Agricultural societies reached Tunisia from the Fertile Crescent and the Nile Valley about 4,000 BC. These are the ancestors of the modern Berber tribes. Carthage, developed 3000 years ago by the Phoenicians, was a thriving city and a rival to Syracuse and Rome. Today, it is a suburb of Tunis.
When Hannibal invaded Italy, Carthage was a serious threat to Rome, but Hannibal was defeated in the Battle of Zama, Carthage declined and was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. Tunisia was such a valuable location on the Mediterranean that later Carthage became the fourth most important city in the Roman Empire until the Muslim conquest in 698 AD. Today, the 3,000 year old ruins including a well preserved Roman Neapolis are a fascinating tourist destination.
Hammamet is a resort town that began as a playground for the rich and famous with luxury hotels and restaurants. Today, it is accessible to everyone and especially welcomes families looking for a wide variety of activities. There are many budget accommodations on the sea front.
The historic town centre has a 15th century mosque and medina that is worth seeing, but the main attraction is the beaches and water sports. The resorts offer activities especially for children, swimming pools and live family entertainment. Visitors can get lessons for sailing, scuba diving and wind surfing.
In the covered souk, there are local crafts and carpets for sale as well as spices and nuts. Chickens range freely throughout the market and haggling is expected by the vendors. This is a chance for visitors to enjoy a scene that has not changed in over 500 years. Luke Skywalker’s home planet is still there, and at El Djem, there is a coliseum waiting for the next gladiators.
Carthage Land is a theme park that offers the thrill of adventure. The 20 breath-taking rides are just the beginning. There are adventures to discover the Mediterranean or follow Hannibal while riding an elephant. In a covered area, there is one of the largest soft playgrounds in the world, and there are lots of fun things for even the youngest explorers.
Sousse dates from the ninth century and today is dominated by the Great Mosque and a huge monument of Ribat. With a beautiful, golden sand beach, it also has all the modern conveniences for holiday travellers.
There are museums with exhibits that fascinate children and adults including a head of Medusa. The Bardo Museum has the largest collection of mosaics in the world, and offers mosaic making lessons. The ancient ruins include forts and catacombs.
From Sousse, visitors can take a jeep, camel or pony into the Sahara and visit the Roman amphitheatre at El Djem.
If playing golf is essential for any holiday, visitors to Tunisia are in luck. Ten kilometres south of Sousse is Port El Kantaoui, which is a tourist complex with a 36-hole PGA approved championship course.
According to legend, Djerba is the land of the Lotus-eaters where Odysseus was stranded. Today, far from becoming indolent, visitors enjoy beautiful beaches with exciting water sports and camel rides. The northeast coast has the luxury hotels and vibrant nightlife. For a quieter stay look for the beaches between Aghir and El Kantara. Inland there is the souk or market in the courtyards of traditional Moorish buildings. Within winding lanes and arcades, there are antique shops, ceramics, spices and jewellery that can be bought for a fair price after much haggling.
Starting from the fourth century BC, there are over 400 archaeological sites on the island including a cathedral from 525 AD. There is also an ancient Jewish community with a synagogue that is more than 2,000 years old, and a Maltese Catholic community.
Djerba has beach resorts for every budget, casinos that are famous for providing romantic getaways.
Tunisia is emerging as an excellent choice for a beach holiday destination that also includes a great variety of ancient culture. It maintains a separation of religion and state, so that visitors from all over the world feel welcome and comfortable. It focuses on the attractions that will continue to bring tourists to the lovely country.