I am going to Tunisia next week, and I wonder if anyone has any advise for traveling there.
I will be flying into Tunis and have hotel reservations there for the first three nights. I’m planning to see the Bardo Museum, Sidi Bou Said, Carthage, and the medina while I am there. After that’s it’s all up in the air. My tentative plan is to go by train to Sousse and find a hotel there near the train station. I’m hoping that I can find a tour that will take me to other areas, such as Matmata, El Jem, and Chott el Jerid.
I only have a total of nine days for my vacation, so any advice on what to see and how to get there will be welcome.
I’ve been to Sousse but I’m not sure I can give you any better info than Google. Um… great market? Loud calls to prayer? Not much to add as long as you are used to being yelled at in every language imaginable and know that, if you want to buy anything, you’ve got to be willing to haggle to at least half the original price. The leather goods, especially bags, are good looking but pretty poor quality. There are some really cute rooftop cafes in the market, but I’ll be damned if I remember where they are. Not sure if you’re a man or a woman but, if you’re a woman alone and don’t look North African, you’ll get some nasty treatment outside of your hotel, so you’ve got to be pretty aggressive.
If it gets warm enough to hit a beach, there are some nice ones, but they let vendors come in to harass tourists.
The one place you really should hit is the ampitheatre in El Jem. Depending on when you go, you could be the only person in the whole place – pretty wild if you’ve ever had to wait in line or elbow your way through a Roman colosseum. You should be able to get a ride out there from Sousse for pretty cheap, possibly with a few other tourists. Again, haggle.
Well… if you’re a Star Wars fan, there are probably a few places to try.
I’m female, but I’m approaching 50 and overweight, so I’m not terribly worried about getting harassed. If it happens, well, I have two kids, so I’m pretty good at ignoring annoying things, too.
Cat Fight, do you have any hotel recommendations for Sousse? For tours, how did you find them, through the hotel or an independent operator?
Hallucinex, I am wanting to see some of the Star Wars sites, that’s one of the things that interested me in going to Tunisia. I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel to Tatouine?
Sorry, can’t recall hotel names – it’s been a while. I arranged through a British trip operator. It was ‘five stars,’ meaning about two in non-Tunisian terms. I will say, the city, at least when I went, was all kinds of odd. Like Coney Island, in a way. There was clearly lots of development at one point, probably in the early '80s, then nothing – which is really reflected in the mish mash of architecture.
If you do go to a very campy, commercial hotel, even if you don’t go on any of their tours try getting to know the agents (mostly British) ‘stationed’ there. After a few drinks, they’ll likely tell you what’s actually worth seeing and how to go about it.
Isn’t Tunisia the condition where Tuna tastes like colors?