Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tunisia, fascinating country at the Mediterranean Sea

Sidi Bou Said
Tunisia is one of Africa’s easiest destinations, a place where tourists almost outnumber the locals in high summer, and flock here for the golden sandy beaches, non-stop sunshine, and exoticism on tap. It’s a country where sand dunes peak like brushstrokes near Douz in the Sahara desert; the beautiful sun-bleached round houses of Jerba & Houmt Souq hide a multitude of ethnic groups, and the parched southern landscapes near Tozeur are contrasted with the sparkling water of the Mediterranean sea that frames Tunisia’s northern and eastern shores. The quiet beaches of the northern coast are a secret from package tourists sizzling on the heaving sandy stretches of Hammamet and Monastir. Star Wars film sets are crammed with tourist groups. The country’s capital, Tunis, is a gritty yet lively urban centre, where the walls of the medina get clogged by day visitors and shopkeepers keen to make a buck.

Tunisia also has some fascinating places to stay: a luxury, air-conditioned camp site in the middle of the desert, a revamped, stylish rural dwelling on Jerba island, or old merchants’ inns with kaleidoscopic tiles and sunny courtyards. Though package tourism has brought jobs and relative prosperity to parts of the country, much of traditional local culture still grates uncomfortably against modern influences, so tread lightly and enjoy this diverse, fascinating country.

Some places of interest:

Bardo Museum

The Bardo museum is situated in the beautiful Ottoman palace in Tunis, and offers both itself and the exhibits to be admired. A tour around the museum is a tour through Tunisian history, though dominated by Punic, Roman and Christian periods. The collection of Roman mosaics in the Bardo museum is considered to be one of the best in the world.

Sidi Bou Said

Whitewashed cliff top village, enchantingly pretty and with dreamy coastal views. Sidi Bou said is one of those tourist traps that retains its charm no matter how many tourists walk the streets. Sidi Bou Said is really just the one main road, going up the hill, ending in many fantastically situated cafés overlooking the Gulf of Tunis and the marina of Sidi Bou Said.

Tunis Medina

Mazelike old city, centred on its great mosque, with a tangle of lanes and glittering souks.
Sidi Ali el-Mekki

Perhaps Tunisia’s loveliest beach – secluded, fronting deliciously turquoise waters, and close to caves housing a saint’s tomb.


Balmy, busy resort, basking by day and sizzling by night.
If you are interested in visiting this lovely country, go to www.medestino.com for your hotel booking.

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