This Tunisia travel guide will give you all the needed information for planning your next big adventurous travel, including with the first hand practical tips, which we gathered from our travel around this surprisingly beautiful north African country.
Travel guide for Tunisia
How to reach Tunisia?
The answer on how to reach Tunisia might sound easy, but guess what, flying to Tunisia is not your only option. If you enjoy overland traveling, you can also reach Tunisia by a ferry from Italy, what is perfect for everyone traveling by a car, motorbike or RV.
If you are based in Europe you can either fly with a regular airline to Tunis or a charter flight to more holidays oriented towns like Hammamet, Djerba etc.
The most convenient route to reach Tunisia and its Tunis port is embarking on a ferry in Italy. There are two ports, perfect for that – Civitavecchia and Genova. The price varies greatly from the season, the port and a ferry company.
We have embarked the ferry in Civitavecchia and paid 500 EUR for a return ticket, including 2 adults, one child, one 4WD car (Toyota LC 100) and outside private cabin with a window.
How to travel around?
We have traveled to Tunisia by our own car, so we of course did explore Tunisia on our own, what sure was a great way to also visit remote areas. Having a 4WD was an extra bonus, as we could also drove into the Sahara desert.
If you are flying into Tunisia, but still enjoying to be on your own, you can also rent a car. You cannot rent a 4WD car without a driver, but a personal car will do if you stick on the main roads. You can check out prices for different types of rented car at www.economycarrentals.com. (Whenever we need to rent a car, we book it there and so far we were always happy with their service).
Tunisia can also be done backpacking and your best transport option is the bus. Buses drive all around the country. There is even a railway, but it does not cover the whole country.
We used Overlander from Garmin, because lots of driving was off-road. That way we just uploaded tracks on it and we were good to go. We did not use any classical map.
You can also buy a SIM card and use it for google maps navigation.
Best ourist attractions and things to do
People who visit Tunisia for holidays, have no idea how rich this country is with all its tourist attractions. Tunisia tourist attractions are so diverse and there are so many, we would need a month for exploration of them all. But nevertheless, even we had only 2 weeks in Tunisia, we managed to see many – you can find our list of the best 16 Tunisia tourist attractions here.
Food and what to try
If you enjoy couscous, you came to the right place. Couscous can be found everywhere and is normally served with vegetables, meat or seafood. We are not big fans of couscous though, so we were also happy to see that pasta (spaghetti), fries and rice are available too. To grab a quick bite, there are sandwich and shawarma sellers almost everywhere around the big cities. Once the most popular street food was brik (fried dough, filled with egg, tuna, potato), but unfortunately you can find it now just as an appetizer in local restaurants. Tunisia has a lot of coast, so be prepared to endulge yourself in delicious sea food too. We also liked Tunisian salad (similar to the Greek one, but missing olives and cheese). Local markets are also rich with vegetables and fruit.
The coastal side of Tunisia (Djerba, Monastir, Hammamet) are known for holidays, so you will find plenty of hotels and resorts there. If you will be traveling around Tunisia, away from the resorts, you will mostly be able to stay in simple local hotels. There are also some camping grounds available, which are pretty nice too. You can check the hotel accommodation options on booking.com.
We did a lot of wilderness camping in Tunisia and had no bad experiences. But of course, we always try to find a remote place to stay.
Many people were a bit concered when we told them, we are traveling overland to Tunisia. Sure, there were problems and some terrorist attacks as well, but they were also in Europe, USA, Asia… The reality is that Tunisia is now great for traveling and we felt very safe there. We just avoided the mountains near the Algerian boarder, due to some terroristic cells found there, but everything else was peaceful and smooth. We encountered few police / army controls when we were driving along the Algerian boarder, but we passed them without any difficulties.
People in Tunisia were very friendly, but comparing them to some other Arab countries like Morocco and Egypt, not pushy at all. Walking around local markets and medinas was a pleasure and not stressful at all.
We traveled to Tunisia with not yet a 3-year-old son. Even though we were not hygiene obsessed, no one had any digestion problems. Ren, our son, was running careless around and explore the area where we stopped – from villages, cities, local markets, beach, desert.
The cities are mostly not spotless and the streets are sometimes full of garbage – especially plastic. Some remote local beaches also contain plastic bags and bottles, but not so much because of the locals, but because of all of us using plastic. Lots of plastic on the beach is brought from the sea.
The hotel beaches look beautiful, as they are being cleaned each morning, before tourists are even awake.
Nevertheless, we would still recommend you a good travel health insurance, as you never know what the road brings.
We traveled to Tunisia with almost no cash, because we just did not want to deal with changing the money in banks and waiting in lines. Don’t forget your passport if you will exchange the money in the bank.
We withdraw the money from ATMs and used debit cards like Maestro and Mastercard. We used credit card for paying the gas on larger gas stations, but not everywhere, as it was sometimes cheaper to pay in cash due to the commission they were taking if having a credit/debit card.
Data transmission and internet
If you will be staying in better hotels, you will have free access to WI-FI, but because we needed to be online from the road and when wilderness camping, we got our self a local SIM card. A pre-paid card with 25GB transmission data will cost us 35,70TN, what is about 12 EUR. All you need to get the SIM is a passport.
If you are looking for a cheap travel destination, you will be happy to find out that Tunisia is still underrated by tourists and because of that also cheap. But of course, everything depends from your travel style and what all will you afford during your travel. You can get a modest and simple room in local hotel for 25-30 EUR per night (2 adults, 1 child), including breakfast. We paid around 10 EUR per night for camping and around 3-5 EUR for a main dish in local restaurants. Buying groceries is cheap and so is the gas – 0,50 EUR/liter for diesel.
The only thing, which is a bit expensive is alcohol, which is also harder to find outside of the hotel resorts – after all Tunisia is a Muslim country.
How to communicate
The main and official language in Tunisia is Arab, but before its independence, Tunisia was under France, so almost everyone speaks fluent French too. If you will be staying in more touristy areas, you can also go by with English and maybe even some German. But if nothing else, use a smile and your hands and you will be fine too.
Best time to visit
Most people travel to Tunisia from September until May, as summers are extremely hot. Summer months are still good if you will be there for holidays and based in a hotel / resort, but otherwise it is way too hot to be visiting the desert and some other sights.
If you are visiting Tunisia because of traveling, the best time is autumn, as the sea is still warm enough for swimming, the day temperatures are around 30°C and you will have no winds in the desert. You can travel to Tunisia also for New Year or winter months, when the daily temperatures are around 20°C, what is still nice for exploration.
Tunisia with kids
It might seem that Tunisia with kids is more appropriate for holidays than traveling, but hold that thought. Our son enjoyed there like crazy – combination of another world, amazing and vast desert (big sandy playground) and sandy beaches was perfect. We believe that every country (so far we are avoiding just areas with malaria) is suitable for kids, if you know how to take time for introduction of the new place, new things. Small kids are extremely curious and in our opinion countries with different culture are even more appealing to kids than the world they know and live in. So if you are thinking of traveling to Tunisia with kids, go for it and just ignore everyone with doubts and their negative opinions.
Traveling to Tunisia, with or without a car, will serve you with bunch of new things, unusual sights, tastes and smells, which will inspire you and will not hit your wallet hard. Travel to Tunisia before everyone else discover this hidden north African gem.
If you can’t find some information about the country in this Tunisia travel guide, let us know – we will be happy to help with giving you more detailed information.
These Tunisia travel guide was written after our overland travel to Tunisia – check the adventerous video here.