Backpacking in Tunisia

in Tunisia

Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, is often overlooked by backpackers visiting some more popular destinations in the region. It has gone through some major changes in terms of politics in the past year, and if anything, this should be encouraging to travelers. Tunisia is one of the best places to backpack in the Middle East, as it is a country filled with an interesting history and scenic views of the Mediterranean.

With international flights running from London to Tunis a few times a day, as well as from other European hubs, Tunisia is only a few hours away from Europe. For a relatively small country, it may be surprising to find out that Tunisia has several international airports, as well as smaller airports that service low cost charter flights from Europe.

Accommodations

The Ariha Hotel in Tunis is located in a residential part of the city, close to the city center. The 7 level hotel is quite modern and offers amenities to ensure your comfort during your stay there. There is air conditioning throughout the hotel, two elevators for those with a lot of luggage, and even an underground parking garage. There is also a bar and restaurant on the premises as well as free wi fi in the hotel. Room prices begin at about $42 USD per night and run upward from there.

Getting Around

tunisia busesGetting around Tunisia is relatively easy. The country’s highways resemble those of the United States, making the roads easy to navigate between cities. If you are not an experienced driver it is recommended that you take public transport or taxis. Be sure to agree on a price before you ride in a taxi, and try to study the typical fares before you get to Tunisia. Trains are the best way to travel from one Tunisian city to another. Buying a blue card costs 20 dinars (about $13 USD) for a week and allows you to travel throughout the country by train.

tunis at nightMatmata and Carthage

Matmata, located in the south of the country, is worth mentioning because it is the small village infamous for being Luke Skywalker’s home (Tatooine) in the Star Wars movies. The village is also known for its cave dwellings and unique architecture.

Carthage is arguably Tunisia’s most famous historical site. Carthage was a Pheonician and Punic city dating back to the 6th century BC. Hannibal was the most famous general of Carthage, and led several battles against the Romans. The Romans eventually destroyed the entire city and rebuilt it decades later. There are few ruins left here, but what is left of Carthage is worth seeing.

Sousse

Sousse is a historical city situated in northern Tunisia. It’s old city, or medina, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and exciting to walk through. You can perfect your haggling skills here and do some affordable shopping. All of the main sights of Sousse are contained within the medina, including the Great Mosque. The Great Mosque was built around 850 AD and though it is visually simple, the fact that it has been there for so long is intriguing.

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