A City of Palaces, Mosques, Madrasas & Fountains
Tunis is often overlooked for some its better-known neighbors, but we think this underrated destination is a crowd-pleaser all on its own—especially when it comes to sights like the ancient remnants of Carthage and the Arabian-inspired Medina of Tunis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 8th century.
A highlight of the Medina is its colorful souq, but be warned: You may find yourself in sensory overload here from the hustle and bustle of the market! Fragrant incense and fried foods perfume the air while a blaring soundtrack of raï (traditional folk music) and soccer matches seemingly plays from every stall and shop.
So why not add to the cacaphony by flexing your bartering skills to buy gold jewelry, elaborately embroidered textiles, and exotic spices. Then follow it up exploring some of the 700 other historic monuments and buildings of the Medina, including palaces like the Dar-al-Bey, the Great Mosque, mausoleums, fountains, and madrasas.
To see the city’s French influence and to find a reprieve from the chaos of the souq, head to the ville nouvelle. Centered on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the street is often called the Tunis version of the Champs-Élysses. Both sides are lined with unique shops, cozy cafés serving mint tea in the shade of ficus trees, and sights like the Cathédrale Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, the French embassy, and the art nouveau Municipal Theater.
Ranging from pre-historic artifacts to modern jewelry, the diverse collection of this national museum provides insight into the rich history of ancient North African life. The biggest highlight at Bardo Museum is the huge collection of Roman mosaics, said to be one of the finest in the world.
Head to Carthage, a World Heritage site where ancient monuments including the Antonine baths, water cisterns, a Roman amphitheater, stunning churches, and the Punic ports are waiting to be explored.
Awaken your senses as you wander narrow alleys and busy souqs, amid stunning architecture and opulent tile work in Old Town Tunis. Hunt for treasures, take in daily life, and be sure to visit the rooftop of the Olive Tree Mosque, providing amazing views of the bustling maze of the Medina.
Tunis, Tunisia At a glance