Tunis, the capital of Tunisia is an interesting destination which offers a cultural, culinary and festive richness.
Let’s start with the heart of the city: The Medina. You can discover the narrow streets of the Medina of Tunis and its treasures. Do not be discouraged by the incessant solicitations of sellers. The streets of the Medina, especially at the beginning, are full of tourist shops offering a wide choice of handicrafts.
It is impossible to visit the Medina without seeing the Zitouna Mosque (Jemaa al Zaytouna: Mosque of the Olive Tree). It is the largest and oldest mosque in Tunis. It is a place of worship with a strong tourist attraction. The mosque also has an educational past. Indeed, until the end of the 1950s, it housed the country’s Islamic university.
In the Medina, you will also find some restaurants offering one of the best traditional cuisine in the city:
- El Ali
- Fondouk El Attarine
- Dar El Jeld
Some of these restaurants are also guest houses with exceptional charm.
To reach the gates of the Medina, you must have gone through the main avenue of Tunis: Avenue Habib Bourguiba. This is the Champs Elysées of Tunis. The avenue, as the Tunisians usually call it, concentrates several cafes with terraces.
At its end closest to the gates of the Medina, you will find the magnificent Tunis theater with its café which has kept an authentic decor from the period of the French occupation.
Almost opposite the theater is the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and Sainte-Olive Cathedral.
Between the theater and the cathedral, you will see the statue of Ibn Khaldoun, a famous precursor of sociology and a native of Tunis.
On the other side of the avenue is the clock tower
After the clock tower, is the Tunis suburban train station named TGM : Tunis-Goulette-Marsa
From this station, the train allows you to discover the treasures of the northern suburbs of Tunis
First stop: La Goulette (Halk El Oued):
Located 10 km from the city center of Tunis, there is the seaport to and from which there are ferry connections with Europe.
Halk El Oued is literally translated Throat of the Oued, in Italian gola means Throat. The name of La Goulette comes from this translation. Indeed the city welcomed a large number of Italians from the 17th century. The Italian imprint is still visible today with an architectural style sometimes preserved, or even names of districts such as: Sicilia.
Admire the Goulette Fort (Karraka) which was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century. It was used as a defense fortress before serving as a penitentiary (Karraka means prison in colloquial Arabic language in Tunisia). Today the fort is no longer used and is unfortunately poorly maintained.
You can continue on foot towards the corniche and discover the café terraces facing the sea
La Goulette is the favorite address of Tunisians to eat grilled fish, bricks with egg. Roosevelt Avenue is where most of the fish restaurants are concentrated.
Second Stop: Carthage
The ancient Punic then Roman city gave way to a chic suburb of the capital. Nevertheless, it is still possible to visit the vestiges of the greatness of Carthage :
- Carthage Ruins
- Punic port
Third Stop: The village of Sidi Bou Saïd.
Often compared with Santorini, Sidi Bou Said is a picturesque village located on top of a hill with a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Start by going up and discovering the small painting galleries as well as the tourist shops to arrive at the level of the El Alia café (The café on the heights).
The terrace of the cafe is not very big but if you find a place there, the view is magnificent.
Next to this café, taste the Banbalouni (sugar donuts). It is a must in Sidi Bou Said. If you prefer salty to sweet, opt for the fricassee from the same vendor.
Continue straight to the famous café of Sidi Chabaane (Café des délices : Café of delights) the café and the belvedere next to it offer the best view of the village port and the Mediterranean.
The Café des Délices has taken advantage of its reputation and has been charging very high prices for a few years
If a shisha accompanied by green tea tempts you, we recommend the Dar Dellagi café located down the hill. The view is less interesting but the place is great.
Fourth stop: La Marsa
Historically, it is the most chic suburb of Tunis with its corniche, its villas and the magnificent Kobbet Lahwa (The dome of the air).
If you are a fan of night parties, La Marsa and its neighbor Gammarth concentrate most of the bars, lounges and trendy nightclubs.
You can also discover the district of the banks of the lake of Tunis (berges du lac). It is a lively place with café terraces offering a view of the lake. It is an ideal place to have breakfast or for a tea at the end of the day.