Tunis

Historic gateway

Majestically situated on its very own gulf on the southern shores of the Med, you’re as likely to come to this bustling North African metropolis for the nearby beach resorts as for the splendour of ancient Carthage. You’ll find both at hand, not to mention a historic medina with all the trappings of a traditional bazaar. Go – and immerse yourself in it.

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Shopping

In Tunis, glittering arts and crafts, including metalwork, jewellery, textiles, perfume and leatherwork, are showcased in the medina (old walled city). The medina is a tangle of narrow streets lined by hole-in-the-wall shops, with whole streets devoted to particular products. Another glorious place to wander is the colourful Central Market (3 rue Charles De Gaulle), which dates from the 19th century and sells fresh fruit and veg, meat, fish, spices and more; it’s a great place to buy dates. To check out goods and prices before heading to the souks, go to Socit de Commercialisation des Produits de l'Artisanat (SOCOPA; Avenue Habib Bourguiba).

Food & Drink

Tunisia has a long coastline, edged by the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, so naturally the seafood in Tunis is fresh and good. Its years as a French colony have left a legacy of excellent coffee, French-style bread and patisseries. In the medina, you can dine in a beautiful mansion at Dar el Jeld (5 rue Dar El Jeld), on traditional dishes such as couscous l’agneau (couscous with lamb). But there are also plenty more simple restaurants, such as Chez Nous (5 rue de Marseille), where you can eat Tunisian classic dishes such as salade mechouiya (roasted vegetable salad).

Events

Jazz Carthage
April
With a great array of international stars, this music festival sees bands, soloists and singers from all over the world play gigs at Tunis’ Carthage venues, which include concert halls and an amphitheatre, a short distance from the city centre.

Festival International de Carthage
July-August
This monumental and well-established arts festival takes place in the amphitheatres and performance spaces of Carthage, and features major Tunisian and international singers and musicians.

Festival de la Mdina
July-August
Traditionally held during Ramadan, this celebration of music and arts includes Arabic and Sufi music, folklore, religious chants, rock, mambo, salsa, hip hop and flamenco, with concerts taking place at Tunis’ colonial-era Municipal Theatre.

Festival de la Kharja
July/August
Members of Zaouias (religious brotherhoods) dance and sing in a colourful street procession in the picturesque suburb of Sidi Bou Said. The celebration pays homage to the village patron – the Sufi Sidi Bou Sad.

Carthage Film Festival
November, every two years (even years)
This prestigious festival attracts international names, but mostly concentrates on African and Asian film. Every other year, the festival takes place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Hotels

Tunis has some gracious art deco hotels as well as grand modern edifices. A lovely five-star art nouveau choice in the diplomatic and business district is Htel La Maison Blanche (45 avenue Mohamed V), while Htel Majestic (36 avenue de Paris), a short walk from the medina, is art deco in style, with contemporary interiors. Dar el Medina (64 rue Sidi Ben Arous) is a lovely boutique hotel in a traditional house in the medina. The picturesque seaside suburb of Sidi Bou Said is also recommended, with gorgeous boutique hotels in traditional mansions including Dar Said (Rue Toumi) and Dar Fatma (1 rue Sidi Bou Taraa).

Essentials

  • Language

    Arabic, French

  • Currency

    Tunisian Dinar

  • Time zone

    GMT+1

  • Flight time

    3 hours 20

  • Holiday type

    Summer sun, City break

Weather

  • 01/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    32C max 22C min
  • 02/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    34C max 23C min
  • 03/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    37C max 25C min
  • 04/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    37C max 24C min
  • 05/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    36C max 25C min
  • 06/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    36C max 23C min
  • 07/08/2014 -

    Sunny skies

    33C max 22C min
  • Jan
    16°C max 8°C min
  • Feb
    17°C max 8°C min
  • Mar
    17°C max 9°C min
  • Apr
    22°C max 11°C min
  • May
    25°C max 13°C min
  • Jun
    25°C max 17°C min
  • Jul
    20°C max 20°C min
  • Aug
    34°C max 22°C min
  • Sep
    30°C max 19°C min
  • Oct
    26°C max 16°C min
  • Nov
    21°C max 12°C min
  • Dec
    17°C max 8°C min