Tunisian Attractions: Top 25

Top 25 tourist attractions in Tunisia showcased in a colorful image.

Достопримечательности Туниса: Топ-25

A mysterious land of warm sun, desert heat and coolness of oases, date palms and spicy jasmine is a magical Tunisia. For many vacationers, this is a country of the purest sandy beaches, a serene holiday in an atmosphere of warmth and peace, but certainly there is something to see in Tunisia and beyond the beach, going on a trip to interesting places such as sacred temples, majestic Carthage, the Colosseum, the sultry Sahara and other memorable sights of Tunisia. The country has a high level of service: hotels in Tunisia meet high international standards, as evidenced by numerous reviews, and guides in Tunisia organize educational excursions in Tunisia, full of vivid impressions.

What to see in Tunisia first of all

An overview of the main attractions with a brief description will be your mini-assistant in planning your upcoming trip. After studying this rating, everyone will find what to see in Tunisia in 1 day and in any other period of time, where to go in Tunisia, depending on their capabilities and preferences.

1. The ancient city of Carthage

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Ruins of the ancient city of Carthage

Today, Carthage is the most famous suburb of Tunis, and once there, you will really have something to see in Tunisia: the ruins of the ancient city still stand on the shores of the Gulf of Tunis, impressing with its grandeur and rich history. Unfortunately, to this day, historical scientists have not been able to find enough information about the origin of Carthage, but large-scale excavations continue in the surrounding areas. So, in the course of excavations under the auspices of UNESCO, the ruins of several ancient cities that once existed on this beautiful seaside land have already been discovered.

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2. Amphitheater in El Jem

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The well-preserved Colosseum in El Jem

The amphitheater is often compared to the Roman Colosseum — the age of this grandiose structure has already been 2 thousand years old, and although today its arena is located well below the level of modern streets of El Jem, its walls still rise above the modern buildings of the city and are visible from afar. Inside the amphitheater, you can raid numerous underground passages, or climb up to the auditorium to imagine what kind of spectacles unfolded in front of the public.

3. The city of Sidi Bou Said

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The blue and white city of Sidi bou Said against the background of the Gulf of Carthage

Beautiful Sidi bou Said is the most beautiful landmark in Tunisia, a town in blue and white tones, standing on a cliff at the foot of which the Mediterranean Sea stretches, the Atlas Mountains and ancient Carthage can be seen in the distance. The town is unusual in that all its buildings are painted white, and windows, fences and grilles are in sky-blue tones. According to the stories of the guides, once a noble French baron bought a house in this quiet picturesque place, it was he who suggested that the residents paint their homes in blue and white colors so that they would glow less under the rays of the bright African sun.

4. National Bardo Museum

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The hall with exhibits at the National Bardo Museum Bernard Gagnon

The Tunisian Bardo Museum is the main museum of antiquity, where unique valuable finds extracted during archaeological excavations throughout the country have been imported for more than a hundred years. The museum’s exposition is a rich collection of Roman mosaics and other artifacts reflecting the history of civilizations in Tunisia, dating back more than 3 thousand years. Now there are more than 3 hundred mosaics, an extensive collection of marble statues, ancient ceramics, tombstones of priests, terracotta statues and much more.

5. The ancient city of Dugga

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The famous Capitol Temple in the ancient Roman city of Dugga

Dugga is one of the first places to see in Tunisia among the ancient ruined cities. Dugga was once a large, prosperous city with more than 25,000 people, and today it is one of the best preserved archaeological sites in North Africa. To this day, many Roman temples, fountains, water reservoirs, as well as theaters, markets, aqueducts, necropolises and mausoleums have preserved their original condition, and even traces of chariots have been preserved in some places on the paved streets.

Official website: https://whc.unesco.org

Watch the magnificent views of Tunisia in this beautiful video!

6. The ancient city of Kerkuan

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The foundation of the necropolis on a rocky hill in Kerkuan

In the north-east of Tunisia, on the Cap Bon peninsula, there is one of the most important sights of Tunisia – the ruins of the ancient city of Kerkouan. Since 1952, excavations have not stopped in these places. The Punic city, founded between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. All that remains of it has been reliably preserved under a thick layer of sand and has reached our days, giving our contemporaries the opportunity to see the ancient structures with their own eyes. The city itself was protected from external attacks by a double wall, and inside there was a well-organized drainage system with many water grooves.

7. The Sahara Desert in Tunisia

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The endless sandy expanses of the Sahara Desert in Tunisia

Sahara is one of the most mysterious and at the same time the most attractive places in Tunisia. The vast territory of the Sahara is deserted, but there are nationalities inhabiting these regions in places of oases. Vegetation and fauna in the desert are extremely scarce, but there is something else in the Sahara that beckons to these parts. This is a kind of beauty and charm, which are endowed with sandy plains, dunes, salt lakes, rare oases and unusual local sunsets. Tours of the Sahara, including camel rides or jeep rides, are most often conducted in the early morning.

8. Matmata Cave City

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Troglodyte dwellings in the cave city of Matmata

For more than a millennium and a half, Berber tribes have been living in man-made chalk caves dug into the slopes of local mountains. These unusual 1-2-storey dwellings are of great interest to visitors, but this way of living in the desert is not a whim, but the only way to protect yourself from the scorching heat of the African sun and from unprecedented temperature changes during the day. So, with a heat of 40-50 degrees inside the caves, a comfortable temperature of 20-23 degrees is maintained.

9. Gellala Village

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Ceramic handicrafts of Djerba Island Citizen59

On the Tunisian island of Djerba, there is another interesting attraction in Tunisia — the village of Gellala, also known as the village of potters. The name itself speaks for itself — this area has been famous for pottery, clay and ceramics since time immemorial. It is here that you can see how beautiful clay jugs, large dishes and small charming spice vessels are born. In total, there are about 450 pottery workshops in the village, which have their own secrets of making durable and high-quality ceramic dishes.

10. The Medina of Tunis

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The Sea Gate is the main entrance to the Medina of Tunis Dennis Jarvis

In the general understanding, Medina is a city surrounded by a protective fortress wall. The Medina of Tunis is distinguished by the fact that the wall here was demolished about 200 years ago as unnecessary, only the gate remained. Other distinctive features of the Tunisian Medina are its rounded shape, not rectangular, as in the classical view, as well as a mixture of styles — Spanish, Arabic, Turkish and Persian, associated with the construction of different quarters at different times. Tourists are also interested in this area with an abundance of traditional oriental bazaars.

11. St. Vincent de Paul Cathedral

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The sandy beige facade of the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul

The Catholic church in the classical style was built in honor of the famous priest Vincent de Paul, who was bought out of Arab slavery. The majestic building, located on Independence Square in Tunis, delights with its exterior decoration and rich interior. The size of the temple is no less surprising — about 80 meters in length and almost 30 meters in height. A number of artists and sculptors worked on the design of the shrine. The special pride of the temple is the organ hall, which houses two powerful instruments ordered at one time from the great organ builder Aristide Cavaille-Kohl.

12. Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba

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Tomb of the first President of independent Tunisia

This is an important Tunisian landmark in the city of Monastir, a very picturesque building that looks like a mosque, decorated with white marble and stone carvings. The body of Tunisian politician, famous builder of independence Habib Bourguiba, rests here. Not only the exterior decoration, but also the interior of the mausoleum deserves attention: for example, the exposition of the museum located here contains some personal belongings of the president – a desk, a chair and clothes. And the sarcophagus, which holds the body of the deceased, is installed in a special room on a pedestal.

13. El Ghriba Synagogue

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Courtyard, rooms for pilgrims in the El Ghriba Synagogue

What to see in Tunisia on Djerba Island? The Tunisian island is famous for its famous landmark – the El Ghriba Synagogue in the settlement of Riyadh. There are many versions of the foundation of the shrine: according to one of them, the priests who escaped from Jerusalem from slavery, took the stone from the Temple of Solomon and laid it in the foundation of the future synagogue. Another legend says that on the hill where the synagogue now stands, a beautiful girl used to live in a hut, and some unknown force did not allow residents to approach her. One night her house caught fire, the girl died. The residents realized that the girl was a saint, and built a synagogue in her honor. And these are not all the legends about the origin of the synagogue, and it is already difficult to figure out where the truth is and where the fiction is.

14. Ukba Mosque

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The imposing walls of the Great Mosque of Kairouan

Sidi Uqba in 670 is one of the few Muslim mosques where supporters of other faiths are allowed inside. Today it is one of the largest shrines in Tunisia, created in the process of continuous construction over several centuries. In general, every leader who was in power brought something of his own to the construction of the mosque. Today, the large space of the mosque includes a large prayer hall, a huge courtyard paved with marble, and a large minaret. The decoration of the mosque and adjacent territories is distinguished by unique decorative techniques, different from the traditional Byzantine technique.

Official website: https://www.patrimoinedetunisie.com.tn

15. Az-Zaitoun Mosque (Olive Mosque)

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The square minaret and patio of the az-Zaytoun Mosque (Olive Mosque) Citizen59

The Olive Mosque, or az-Zaytuna, is the largest mosque in the capital of antiquity. According to legend, an olive tree grew on the site where this Tunisian landmark is now located, under which the very first preacher of the future mosque fulfilled his prayer vow. It is believed that the construction started in 698, and since then the mosque has repeatedly undergone changes. The territory occupied by the mosque is about 5 thousand square meters. A library was also founded in the building in 1450, which is located on the left side of the courtyard. In general, the courtyard is the only place in the mosque that is accessible to people of other faiths.

Official website: https://www.patrimoinedetunisie.com.tn

16. Ribat Fortress in Sousse

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One of the walls of the Ribat Monastery fortress in Sousse

In the medina of Sousse, the Ribat fortress of 859 stands on a hill. It has the shape of a square with a side of 38 meters, and its powerful 4-meter-thick defensive walls rise 12 meters. Ribat has a rather complicated history: initially there was a Byzantine fortress in its place, which was later razed to the ground. Later, in the 9th century, the 77-meter Khalef al-Fat tower was erected here, which, due to its height, began to act as a lighthouse. It was only in 1063 that the fortress itself was built, and its walls were built even later, by 1205. Today, you can visit the archaeological museum in the fortress, which exhibits a large collection of artifacts.

17. Ribat Fortress in Monastir (Ribat Khartem)

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View of the medieval fortress Ribat Khartem Vajta

Monastir also has its own fortress – Ribat Khartem of 767, and it also did not immediately acquire its final form. Initially, it occupied an area of only about 33 sq.m., but over time it grew and strengthened, and by the 19th century its area was already about 4,200 sq.m. Ribat has 3 levels, there are a lot of passages and spiral stairs. At one time, Ribat was a religious center and a place of pilgrimage, and played a defensive role only a few times. Today, inside the fortress, you can visit the museum of Islamic art.

18. Kelibiya Fortress

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Kelibia Fortress at the top of a rocky spur David Stanley

On the top of Cape Bon, about 100 kilometers from Tunis, the fortress of Kelibia, the oldest fortress, founded in the 3rd century BC, rushed up. The Carthaginians were the first to build the fortress. Today it is the largest surviving fortification in the country. At the base of the fortress are large stones laid by the Carthaginians, and the upper part is a masonry of natural stone. In the courtyard you can see the remains of a small mosque and a Byzantine fortress, and at the northern end there is a restored chapel.

19. Phrygia Zoo

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Resting tigers at the Phrygia Zoo

What to see in Tunisia among the natural monuments? For example, the magnificent Phrygia Zoo, located on a large area of 36 hectares between the cities of Sousse and Hammamet. It was founded in 2000 and is executed in the national style – its inhabitants live in large open spaces, not enclosed in cages. But despite the fact that, in fact, animals live here in the wild, their freedom is only partial: visitors can observe predators only from specially designed decking, and communicate with herbivores at arm’s length.

20. Ishkel National Park

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Landscape of the Ishkel National Park

There is a natural nesting place for waterfowl and migratory birds 25 kilometers from Bizerte. Due to its location near densely populated areas of Tunisia, this place needed special protection. This is how the Ishkel National Park was created. Back in the 13th century, hunting on local lakes was prohibited here. Today, the park has a large lake with an area of 50 square kilometers, mountains and limestone hills, on which olive and pistachio trees grow. The hills are home to about 180 species of migratory and permanent birds, including swans, ducks, flamingos and some rarer species.

This concludes the main list of the best attractions, but this is not all that its guests should visit in Tunisia.

Tunisian Attractions: what else to visit in Tunisia

The list of things to visit in Tunisia can be continued indefinitely — its attractions are more than enough for several trips. After the first vivid acquaintance with the country, the time comes for other, no less interesting sights of Tunisia — here are recommendations for visiting them.

21. Atlas Mountains

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Thickets of date palms in the valley of the Atlas Mountains

A huge range of Atlas Mountains stretches along the coast of the African continent.

For many, a trip to the Atlas Mountains is a chance to enjoy their majestic landscapes, take photos, and see unique species of flora and fauna, some of which live only here. Once upon a time, the Atlas bear, the only bear species on the continent, even lived in these mountains, but now it is extinct. The name of the Atlas Mountains comes from Greece, from the name of Atlas, one of the mighty titans. Legend tells that Atlas was sentenced to the punishment of holding the firmament on his shoulders. To do this, Perseus turned Titan into stone – and so, according to legend, the Atlas mountains were formed.

22. Djerba Island

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Beach holidays on the white sand by the sea

The hospitable island of Djerba has everything you need for a relaxing holiday on the Mediterranean coast: it has a magnificent climate that allows you to enjoy the sun and swim most of the year, comfortable hotels, lots of entertainment options, and unique attractions. The island is surrounded by olive groves, and there are also many date farms. The population of Djerba is distinctive — Berbers lived here as well as on the mainland, and the Arab conquerors failed to expel the local tribes. The Berbers of Djerba are now part of the Ibadite religious community.

23. Lake Schott El Jerid

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Beautiful sunrise on the salt lake of Schott el Jerid

In fact, this Tunisian landmark is a salt marsh depression in the Sahara Desert. The lake dries up and fills up again during the year, and in the classical sense it becomes a reservoir only in winter, during the rainy season. In summer, when the air temperature reaches 50 degrees, it dries up, leaving a thick crust of salt on the surface, which is covered with dry sand from above.

An amazing phenomenon in the vicinity of this lake is the “desert roses”, formed from minerals in the soils surrounding the salt marshes. These stone statues really resemble intricate flowers of various shades in shape.

24. Souk El-Juma Market

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Sale of various spices at matthew Hunt market

In addition to a variety of historical attractions, Tunisia is known for its colorful markets. One of these is the Souk el—Juma market, the main focus of which is the trade in locally produced ceramics. Tunisian ceramics are sold here at the most affordable prices, so many guests of the country, once here, certainly strive to purchase some beautiful souvenir for themselves or as a gift – a vase, a dish, a service. In addition to ceramics, you can buy other local paraphernalia here — Berber jewelry, incense, shawls, spices and other useful things.

25. The remains of the scenery for “Star Wars”

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The scenery from the filming of the movie “Star Wars”

Sometime in 1976, Tunisia, with its unusual landscapes, was chosen for filming episodes of the movie “Star Wars”. In total, there are more than 2 dozen places in the country where the famous saga was filmed. The most famous of these places is the town of Matmata, famous for the underground dwellings of the Berbers. In one of these houses, the filming of 4 episodes of the saga took place, where a lot of decorations were erected. In 1995, one of the fans of the famous film restored the abandoned scenery, and now everyone can see with their own eyes the legendary filming location as it was 40 years ago.

Tunisia, fragrant with the aromas of Mediterranean greenery and spicy oriental spices, combines millennial African traditions and the culture of the new Europe. The seaside resorts, amazing natural and man-made attractions of Tunisia will surprise any lover of exotic holidays on the African mainland. Read also about the best sights of Algeria and be inspired for your further journey through the countries of Africa!

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