Tunisia, a North African gem, sits at the crossroads of history and culture, boasting a diverse landscape that ranges from Mediterranean coastlines to the golden Sahara Desert. Its strategic location on the Mediterranean Sea has made it a favorite destination for travelers seeking a blend of history, authenticity, and natural beauty. It’s one of the most beautiful tourist countries for history lovers and nature seekers.
As locals turned into tourism professionals, we want all travelers to explore this hidden gem in Africa in an authentic and sustainable way. Picking 15 places you should visit is not an easy task, but the WildyNess team made sure to combine some popular tourist destinations with some off the beaten track ones to give every traveler their next favorite city.
1. Sidi Bou Said
Perched on high cliffs, Sidi Bou Said overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is located just 20 minutes from downtown Tunis. Accessible via public transportation, including trains and collective taxis, this mesmerizing town is a great destination for travelers seeking picturesque Mediterranean vibes.
Known for its whitewashed buildings adorned with blue accents, both tourists and locals alike fall under the spell of this blue and white haven. In Sidi Bou Said, visitors of tunisia can experience a blend of culture, history, and art without sacrificing modern comforts, and even a touch of luxury. Here, you'll find art galleries, charming cafés, and boutique shops.
As you wander through the cobbled streets, you'll encounter jasmine-covered walls and colorful doors that make for perfect photo opportunities, leading you to Café des Délices, where you can savor traditional mint tea.
Be sure to explore the Ennejma Ezzahra Palace, a cultural center that celebrates Arab music. Don't miss the chance to stroll along the small port and discover hidden spots by the sea.
2. Kairouan Medina
Nestled in central Tunisia, about 150 kilometers south of Tunis, Kairouan is a city that offers a profound glimpse into Tunisia's rich heritage. It’s one of the must-see cities in Tunisia for history buffs and those interested in the Islamic civilization.
Kairouan's medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its ancient mosques, bustling markets (souks), and exceptional craftsmanship. Within the labyrinthine alleyways of the old medina, you'll encounter local artisans expertly crafting intricate carpets, preserving centuries-old traditions.
The crown jewel of Kairouan is undoubtedly the Great Mosque of Kairouan, a majestic structure with origins dating back to the 9th century. With its soaring minaret, Islamic architecture and serene courtyards, the mosque emanates an aura of tranquility and spirituality. While exploring the Medina, be sure to seek out local bakeries to sample the city's specialty, makroudh, a sweet pastry made to perfection over generations, and Kafteji Kaiouan, fried veggies with eggs.
The old Medina of Kairouan has also left its mark in cinematic history as a filming location for the iconic Indiana Jones series. As you wander through the ancient streets and lively markets, you can immerse yourself in the allure of adventure, making Kairouan a destination where the past and imagination coalesce seamlessly.
Located in the northeastern coast of Tunisia, the enchanting town of Hammamet bewilders travelers with its irresistible blend of natural beauty, cultural vibrancy, and artistic allure. Hammamet is conveniently located just approximately 60 kilometers south of the country's capital, Tunis, making it an accessible and enticing destination for both locals and tourists.
As a true treasure trove of attractions, this bustling city boasts stunning beaches, a lively arts scene, and a captivating old medina. Its pristine coastline, fringed with golden sands and crystal-clear waters, invites visitors of Tunisia to relax and unwind amidst serene surroundings.
The main highlight of this coastal city is undoubtedly its serene beachfront. Whether you seek swimming, paddling or leisurely beach walks, beaches here offers an idyllic setting for your seaside sojourn.
For a taste of local culture and craftsmanship, explore the Hammamet Medina. Wander through its charming streets, where you'll find an array of arts and crafts shops, showcasing intricate handmade goods, from ceramics to textiles. This is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs and immerse yourself in Tunisia's artisanal traditions.
One of Hammamet's cultural gems is the International Cultural Center, also known under the name Dar Sebestian and renowned for its live performances and music festivals. Here, you can witness captivating shows that showcase Tunisia's rich artistic heritage, adding a touch of creativity and inspiration to your visit.
4. The Amphitheater of El Djem
Located in the northeastern part of Tunisia, El Djem, a small town in northeastern Tunisia, cradles a remarkable treasure of antiquity that transports visitors back in time. It is home to one of the world's best-preserved Roman ancient archaeological sites, an iconic marvel that stands proudly as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This colossal amphitheater, reminiscent of Rome's renowned Colosseum, is a testament to the grandeur of ancient Roman engineering and entertainment.
El Djem's amphitheater is a monumental structure, boasting seating for a staggering 35,000 spectators. Its towering stone walls and labyrinthine corridors evoke a sense of awe and wonder, and it's not difficult to imagine the cheers of the crowd and the adrenaline-charged atmosphere of gladiatorial combat that once filled the arena.
El Djem's Roman amphitheater is not only a magnificent architectural wonder, but also a portal to the past, offering a vivid glimpse into the grandeur and spectacle of ancient Roman entertainment. It's a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone captivated by the enduring legacy of antiquity.
5. The Amphitheater at Dougga
Tucked away in the picturesque hills of northwestern Tunisia, Dougga is a hidden gem that unveils a captivating tapestry of history and architectural marvels. At its heart lies a remarkably well-preserved theater, one of the most ancient archaeological sites, a testament to the city's grandeur in antiquity. Have you ever dreamed of traveling back in time to a town where no one lives, yet history stretches back hundreds of years? Welcome to Dougga.
Situated near the town of Téboursouk in northwestern Tunisia, its strategic location not only grants natural beauty but also provides a vantage point for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Dougga stands as a treasure trove of archaeological wonders, with a focus on its impeccably preserved theater, echoing the city's historical significance. Exploring the site, visitors of Tunisia can also delve into ancient temples and admire intricate mosaics, showcasing the era's artistic mastery.
As you wander through the enchanting ruins of Dougga, you embark on a captivating journey through time. The well-preserved theater takes center stage, offering not only a glimpse into the city's cultural and architectural heritage but also enchanting acoustics that once resonated with the voices of performers and spectators.
Beyond its historical significance, Dougga's allure is amplified by its breathtaking natural setting. While exploring the city and its monuments, you'll be treated to scenic vistas that amplify the sense of wonder and enchantment imparted by this ancient site. Dougga serves as a bridge connecting the past and the present, delivering an immersive experience into the legacy of this remarkable region.
A true hidden gem less known by tourist, Testour unveils a captivating tapestry of history and architectural marvels. Originally built by the Moriscos on the serene banks of the Mejerda river, Testour boasts a unique blend of cultural attractions, historical monuments, and breathtaking natural scenery.
For history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, Testour offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in one of Tunisia's most prominent Andalusian cultures and heritages. This charming town's history is as rich as its surroundings are tranquil.
Stroll through the enchanting streets of Testour to discover Moorish architecture, a fusion of Spanish and Mudéjar influences. Begin your journey at the Great Mosque of Testour, known for its unique clock whose hands turn counter-clockwise and numbers are placed in reverse, reflecting the town's fascinating past.
Wander the neighborhoods of the Old Town, where architectural diversity showcases a history of religious coexistence in North Africa. A cultural highlight in Testour is the house of Tunisian icon Habiba Msika, a pivotal figure in Tunisian music and art.
After exploring Testour's history, savor a traditional meal that complements the city's unique culture. Known for artisanal cheese and delightful promenades, you can indulge in top-notch cheese varieties and savor lesser-known dishes like msamen, "mhamsa bidha," Sfenz (pancakes), and Marka Hloua (sweet stew) to tantalize your taste buds.
To complete your Testour experience, visit the largest dam in Tunisia, Sidi Salem, a remarkable feat of engineering that also provides breathtaking natural vistas. Hike along paved tracks, with each season adding its own unique charm to the landscape. Spring brings vibrant greenery mixed with the golden hues of chamomile and daisies. While Testour inherently offers tranquility, a visit to this natural wonder amplifies the sense of peace and relaxation that defines this charming town.
7. Serj Moutain
Nestled in the serene landscapes of Siliana, Jebel Serj emerges as an unspoiled natural gem, inviting explorers to uncover its captivating allure. Located in the heart of Siliana, Jebel Serj enjoys a strategic position within Tunisia. Its accessibility and proximity to the region's natural beauty make it a prime destination for those seeking an immersive encounter with the country's ecological diversity.
This rugged mountain range stands as a testament to nature's grandeur, offering a unique eco-tourism experience that takes you on a journey through mesmerizing landscapes.
Jebel Serj, or "Serj Mountain," derives its name from its distinctive saddle-like shape, characterized by a gap between its peaks. As you venture into this natural wonder, you'll be greeted by the awe-inspiring vistas of Tunisia's countryside, featuring rolling hills and verdant valleys. The mountain's unique topography and diverse flora provide a rich tapestry for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
Jebel Serj beckons adventurers, hikers, and speleologists alike, drawn by the promise of exploring Ain Dhahab, Tunisia's longest cave system. This underground world presents an otherworldly journey deep into the earth's mysteries, offering caving enthusiasts a thrilling opportunity to delve into the subterranean wonders of the region.
The mountain's rugged terrain provides hikers and trekkers with a range of captivating trails, each offering its own unique blend of scenic views and natural wonders. Whether you're scaling its heights, delving into its depths, or exploring its landscapes, Jebel Serj ensures an unforgettable encounter with nature's splendor.
8. Ain Drahem
Ain Drahem, nestled in Tunisia's northwest region, is cocooned by lush green hills, expansive forests, and captivating mountainous terrain. Situated near the Algerian border, Ain Drahem boasts an array of hiking and trekking trails suitable for all levels of experience.
Explorers can immerse themselves in the dense forests, ascend the rugged mountains, and uncover hidden waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints. Its scenic beauty envelops the area in a tranquil and rejuvenating atmosphere, rendering it the quintessential destination for nature enthusiasts.
Ain Drahem has earned its reputation as an outdoor enthusiast's paradise owing to its breathtaking landscapes, temperate climate, and diverse natural wonders. The town offers a plethora of outdoor activities, ranging from invigorating hikes and exhilarating mountain biking adventures to serene birdwatching escapades and enriching cultural explorations.
With its diverse ecosystem, Ain Drahem welcomes those in pursuit of adventure, adrenaline rushes, and a profound connection with the natural world.
Ain Drahem's architectural landscape reflects its history, blending Tunisian and French colonial influences. Notable features include colonial villas, ornate balconies, and red-tiled roofs, combining European and Tunisian aesthetics. The town's layout follows a European grid pattern with wide streets.
Local artisans in Ain Drahem craft unique items from olive wood and pottery, representing the region's cultural identity. Olive wood's durability and distinct grain patterns make it a preferred material for decorative and functional pieces. Pottery craftsmanship, using traditional techniques, results in vibrant ceramic creations inspired by nature, geometric shapes, and cultural symbols.
9. Cap Bon Area: Haouaria, Kelibia & Korba
The Cap Bon Peninsula boasts picturesque beaches in Haouaria, an ancient fortress in Kelibia, and olive groves in Korba. Taste the region's famous seafood dishes.
In Haouaria, you'll discover the breathtaking Haouaria Beach, perfect for swimming in the crystal-clear Mediterranean waters and basking in the sun's warmth. For those seeking adventure, the Ghar El Kebir Cave awaits exploration with its underground chambers and fascinating stalactites. Don't forget to visit the local fishing port to witness the bustling activities of fishermen and savor fresh seafood.
In Korba, the Korba Beach offers a serene setting for swimming and water sports, where you can enjoy the calm waters of the Mediterranean. The town's big mosque El Jemaa is a provides a glimpse into the hafside era.
In Klebia, tranquility reigns on Klebia Beach, where you can unwind, swim, and stroll along the picturesque coastline. For adventure seekers, engaging in water sports like snorkeling, paddleboarding, and jet skiing in the clear waters is a must. Boat tours are also available to explore sea caves and grottoes, adding a touch of excitement to your coastal experience.
These towns along Tunisia's northeastern coast offer a diverse range of experiences, from relaxation on beautiful beaches to adventurous cave exploration and water sports, ensuring there's something for every traveler to enjoy.
Located just a short distance from both Sousse and Tunis, you'll discover the picturesque fishing village of Hergla. This charming and traditional village, perched atop a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, offers a distinct ambiance, combining its quaint authenticity with breathtaking views of the turquoise waters and the neighboring coastal landscapes.
The village's whitewashed houses, meandering streets, and the warm hospitality of its residents create an idyllic Mediterranean experience come to life.
With its vibrant flavors and diverse palette, the local cuisine in Hergla promises to tantalize all your senses, ensuring a fully satisfying culinary journey.
If you're seeking a genuine hidden gem in Tunisia, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of major cities and savor a tranquil retreat, Hergla is the place to be.
Sousse, a coastal city in Tunisia, offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and stunning attractions. Sousse beckons with its blend of history, culture, and captivating sights, making it a memorable destination for travelers seeking to explore Tunisia's rich heritage.
Begin your journey in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Medina of Sousse. Wander through narrow alleys, witness artisans crafting traditional goods, and savor local street food. Engage with friendly locals and embrace Tunisian hospitality.
Explore the Ribat, part of a historic coastal defense network. Climb the watchtower for sweeping views of the old medina. It's a remarkable testament to Tunisia's heritage.
Discover Tunisia's rich history at the Sousse Archaeological Museum, housed in the 18th-century Dar Essid mansion. The exhibits include Roman mosaics, statues, and Islamic artifacts, providing a journey through time.
Explore the centuries-old Zaouia Zakkak, steeped in Sufi history and spirituality. Learn about Sufism's significance in Tunisian culture and the teachings of Sidi Ali Zakkak.
You cannot visit this costal city without enjoying coffee with the seaside charm of the Mediterranean coast at Port El Kantaoui's cafés. Overlook the harbor, watch boats, and experience the vibrant marina atmosphere. Options like Hard Rock Cafe Port El Kantaoui and Café Boulevard offer diverse choices.
Immerse yourself in Tunisian culture and craftsmanship at the bustling Souk District in Sousse. Friendly local vendors offer unique souvenirs. Don't forget to practice your bargaining skills.
Explore the Great Mosque of Sousse, with its fortress-like appearance and rich history dating back to 851 CE. Admire its unique architecture and, while non-Muslims may not enter the prayer hall, take a peek inside to appreciate its historical significance.
12. Tozeur (passing by chott el djerid)
Tozeur, in southwestern Tunisia, welcomes you with palm trees and desert oases. Explore the charming Old Town, known for its distinctive brickwork.
Start your journey in Tozeur's ancient medina. The winding streets are lined with traditional shops where you can find handmade crafts, textiles, and intricate jewelry. The medina's architecture is a testament to the region's rich history, with its distinctive brickwork and stunning mosaics.
Then, explore the breathtaking oasis of Tozeur. Picture lush date palm trees, sparkling water channels, and a tranquil atmosphere. Stroll through this green paradise, and don't forget to try the delicious local dates - they're famous here!
No visit to Tozeur is complete without a desert adventure! Consider a guided tour into the Sahara Desert, where you can experience the vast, rolling sand dunes and the mesmerizing silence of the desert. You might even have the chance to spend a night in a traditional desert camp, complete with starry skies and local cuisine.
In the Sahara, you will explore Ong Jemel, a breathtaking desert landscape just outside the town, usually through a camel ride. Known as the "neck of the camel" due to its distinctive shape, Ong Jemel offers stunning panoramic views of the desert. Be sure to catch the sunset here - it's a mesmerizing experience.
For Star Wars fans, Tozeur is a must-visit destination. Several scenes from the iconic Star Wars series were shot in the surrounding desert. You can visit locations like Matmata, where Luke Skywalker's home was filmed, and experience the magic of Tatooine in real life.
Tozeur is a place where history, culture, and natural beauty come together to create a truly memorable experience. Whether you're exploring the oasis, venturing into the Sahara, or discovering the medina's treasures, Tozeur is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories of your Tunisian adventure.
13. Chenini & Douiret
No visit to North Africa is complete without visiting Amazigh villages. In the southern part of Tunisia and around 20 km from Tataouine lie one of the most enchanting ones: Chenini & Douiret. They genuinely offer an authentic experience with their troglodyte homes, old mosques and ancient hilltop fortresses.
Ranging from the troglodytic houses, the castle at the top of the hill to the mosque of the seven sleepers and the remaining traces of a river, the region encompasses the entire history of the region telling many stories and legends.
The best way to explore this region for active people is to go for a hike between Chennini and Douiret. The hike takes approximately 3 hours and can be done autonomously following the GPS.
As one of the oldest mosques in Tunisia and the region, The Mosque of the Seven Sleepers, a white mosque that comes to contrast the yellowish landscape, traces back a history of thousands of years begone. It’s one of the landmarks you cannot miss in Chennini. The peculiarity of this place lies in how it was build to have its opening gets the day sun without missing sunrise or sunset.
Surrounded by huge tombs of some righteous saints, You will have a glimpse of the blend of religious traditions that indigenous people conceived when they converted to Islam.
In Douiret, you will have the chance to see the oldest and largest olive tree in Tunisia, Zeytouna Akarit . The owners have also verified that this Shamalali olive tree is over 900 years old. Standing at a towering height of more than 5 meters, it boasts a circumference of 135 meters and covers an area of 1100 square meters.
Both towns have an unbeatable charm that will transport you back in time and give you the opportunity to unwind and relax in this hectic world.
14. Matmata Cave City
The hardest part of conceiving an itinerary to discover Tunisia in an authentic way is that you have to pick a few Amazigh villages to visit. Every village, known as ksar or ksour, has its own unique features and stands for a bite of history.
130 km before Tatouine, Matmata is located through the ksour route in the valley of Dahar mountain. Preserving the part of history that is now to be forgotten in a world worshiping technology and speed, Matmata serves as a connecting dot between all the nearby towns, be it in the eastern coast or the desert. Famous for its unique underground dwellings, it offers an incredible and immersive experience for those who want to explore the indigenous culture and lifestyle.
While its inhabitants are slowly moving out to nearby towns, there are a few ones who are adamant about staying there despite the decline in tourist numbers and the scorching heat of the summer days. Some of them are still speaking the Amazigh language and live in the houses, known as “troglodyte”. These houses are engraved in the form of a pit and dug up to form caves.
The total of houses preserved is about 1,200. Some of them serve as hotels and guesthouses, with the most famous one is Hotel Sidi Driss, a Star Wars filming location. As we believe that everyone is keen on ticking off staying at a Star Wars site from their bucket list, a stay in there is made for books.
15. Island of Djerba
Recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Djerba is just unmissable. It boasts a millennia-spanning history and still-living traditions.
Located off the mediterranean coast and having its own airport, Djerba is known for its unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. The island has a long and storied history, with a heritage that includes Phoenician, Roman, and Arab influences. The island is dotted with historic sites, including ancient ruins, mosques, and synagogues.
Deemed as one of the oldest synagogues in the world and a major pilgrimage site for Jews, The Synagogue of El Ghriba stands for everything Djerba connotes and denotes for locals and tourists alike.
With its white building, called “Houch”, and its vibrant architecture, the city preserved the main distinctive features of building a civilization on an island with all its unpredictable weather and unique ecosystem.
From Gallela pottery and the Dejrbahood open-air museum to the Djerbian Blouza, also known as a dress, and the Djerbian Mdhalla, also known as a hat, you'll encounter cultural symbols and landmarks everywhere that pique your curiosity, enticing you to explore further the island's distinctiveness and its people.
It goes without saying that Djerba offers beautiful Mediterranean beaches with crystal-clear waters. It’s the perfect destination for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts. If you are into diving or surfing, make sure to book some learning sessions before landing in the country, as they are usually fully booked. You can also enjoy some great sea views while paddling or kayaking.
Visit Tunisia in an Authentic Way to Leave an Indelible Mark on Locals and Indigenous People
Tunisia's authenticity shines through these cities, each offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the Mediterranean shores to the Sahara's golden dunes, Tunisia beckons travelers to discover its hidden gems and timeless charm.
Now that Tunisia is witnessing a spurge in tourist number, it’s your tour to enjoy a beautiful country rich of history and nature while making a positive impact on locals and indigenous people.