Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

Trip Notes: 3 Nights in Tunisia

Trip Notes: 3 Nights in Tunisia

Old May 15, 19, 1:03 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 1,694
Trip Notes: 3 Nights in Tunisia

We spent 3 nights in Tunisia, using Tunis as our base. We visited Tunis, ancient Carthage, the blue-and-white Mediterranean town of Sidi Bou Said, the Roman coliseum at El Jem, the holy Islamic city of Kairouan, and the port city of Sousse. For such a short trip, we had a good variety of interesting experiences. And we found Tunisia to be a relatively pleasant country with a low-ish hassle factor. What follows are some trip notes with practical information for those planning a trip to Tunisia, rather than a diary-style trip report.

OUR BASIC ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in TUN at 3 pm (delayed to 6:30 pm); evening walk around colonial Tunis; overnight in Tunis

Day 2: Day trip to Kairouan, El Jem, and Sousse with driver; overnight in Tunis

Day 3: Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, Bardo Museum and Tunis medina; overnight in Tunis

Day 4: Leisurely morning; flight from TUN at 2 pm

CHOOSING WHAT TO SEE IN TUNISIA

We paired Tunisia with Algeria, and thought that Algeria looked generally more compelling (more exotic, fewer tourists, bigger country, etc.). A lot of what Tunisia offered (all-inclusive beach resorts, Star Wars sites, made-for-tourist desert experiences) didn’t really interest us. So, we thought we could experience a good sampling of Tunisia in a relatively short trip and opted for a 3 night trip based in Tunis.

Djerba is the main place we would have liked to have seen, particularly for the 2500 year old Jewish community. The Roman ruins of Dougga would have also been very appealing, but we were already going to Djemila and Timgad in Algeria and didn’t want to OD on Roman ruins.

TUNIS SITES

The major tourist highlights in and around Tunis are: the medina; the new / colonial area of Tunis; the Bardo museum; Carthage; and Sidi Bou Said. This can all be comfortably covered in one long day, but might be more leisurely over 1.5 to 2 days. Below are some details.

- Tunis Medina. We’ve seen a lot of souqs/medinas/bazaars in the Islamic world, and the Tunis medina was just okay and didn’t feel incredibly authentic or interesting. Most of the shops on the main drags peddle junk catered to tourists. Getting deeper into the medina, we liked the neat architecture and a tried out a few good sweets shops that were popular with the locals. The main mosque inside the medina (Al-Zaytuna) is very old (columns from Carthage), and definitely worth visiting. Just outside the medina’s Western gate is Kasbah Square, which has several nicely designed government buildings and is well worth a stroll. Most of the shops are apparently closed on Friday afternoon and Sunday.

- Colonial Tunis. Just east of the medina is Ave de France / Ave Habib Bourguiba, which is the heart of the newer, colonial portion of Tunis. It’s a huge tree-lined boulevard, obviously modeled after the Champs-Elysees. We enjoyed walking around this area for people watching, checking out the architecture, and having our dinners. The clock tower and Catholic church are major landmarks on this street. There is also the Grand Synagogue of Tunis, a huge synagogue for the remaining 300 Jews of Tunis. The synagogue is heavily fortified and it took some effort to visit inside; feel free to privately message me for details.

- The Bardo museum. This is a world-class museum with apparently the best collection of Roman mosaics in the world. Some of the mosaics are absolutely enormous in size. Unlike the typical dusty and dated third-world museum, the Bardo is well curated – mosaics logically presented by era, coherent signage in English, air conditioned, good lighting, and even a downloadable iPhone audio guide app. We spent about 2.5-3 hours in the museum. A decent visit probably takes 2 hours; one with a passing interest could do a quick walk-through and see the museum in an hour, and one with a keen interest could easily spend a full day there.

- Carthage. The main reason almost anyone is visiting is for the “Carthage” name. The ruins are in fairly bad shape, and there is not a whole lot to see. Also, what can actually be seen is mainly from the Roman era, as there isn’t anything noteworthy from the Phoenicians / Carthaginian Empire. “Carthage” actually consists of 8 different nearby archaeological sites, all of which are covered by a single admission tickets. The best preserved and most visited site – and the one depicted in the typical stock photo of “Carthage” – is the Roman-era Antonine Baths. We only visited the Antonine Baths, and skipped the rest of the sites because they didn’t seem impressive. The Antonine Baths can be seen in 20-30 minutes and are just okay, but the setting on the Mediterranean is beautiful. Go as early as possible; apparently the site gets flooded with cruise tour groups, especially in the afternoon. We went before 9am and had it almost to ourselves; tour groups were starting to arrive as we departed.

- Sidi Bou Said. A pretty blue-and-white town on the Mediterranean. It’s well paired with a visit to Carthage (they’re a mile apart), and well worth an hour or two to wander around and enjoy the blue doors, alleyways, and sea views. The main drag has shops peddling tourist junk, but it was very quiet and peaceful once we got away from the main drag. Apparently the seafood restaurants are all tourist traps, and we avoided them. The town apparently gets swarmed with tourists in the afternoon, but almost nobody was around when we visited at 10 or 11am.

DAY TRIP TO KAIROUAN, EL JEM & SOUSSE

We had a good day trip to Kairouan, El Jem and Sousse with a private driver. It was a long day, from 8am to 8pm, covering 280 miles of road.

We wanted to pre-arrange a private driver to take us to Kairouan and El Jem, but the prices we received over the Internet seemed exorbitant (~$200+). Our main interest was to see the El Jem amphitheater, and we were almost going to take a painful 3 hour train each way just to see the coliseum. That would have meant missing Kairouan, which was our second interest.

The day before, we decided to ask our Airbnb host if he had any ideas, and he arranged, apparently though an agency, for a private driver to do the trip for a very reasonable price of 280 TD (about $90). The price also included stops at Sousse (which we did) and Port El Kantaoui (which we declined because it seemed boring).

The driver turned out to be great and very professional, and we highly recommend you try to book with him directly. (We don’t know the agency’s name.) His name is Munir, and his number is +216-98-319-961. The number does not work with What’s App. He spoke functional English.

Some notes on the three stops:

- Kairouan. The Great Mosque is one of the oldest and most important mosques in the Islamic world, and is huge and impressive. We took our shoes off and went inside the main prayer hall for a few minutes until we were kicked out; non-Muslims are apparently not allowed inside. We visited one other Islamic site in Kairouan, a small shrine called the Mosque of the Barber. We didn’t enjoy the Mosque of the Barber at all, probably because it is very small and we had the bad luck of arriving at the same time as two buses full of ghastly, misbehaved Chinese tour groups. There are three additional small Islamic sites in Kairouan, which we did not have time to visit. All five sites are on a combined admission ticket. We spent about 20 minutes exploring the Kairouan medina, which seemed by far the most interesting and authentic medina in Tunisia. Kairouan has a lot to offer, and, if we had the time, we could have easily spent more time exploring the medina and visiting the additional Islamic sites.

- El Jem. The amphitheater was perhaps our favorite site in Tunisia. It’s like the Coliseum in Rome, but in much better shape and with almost nobody around. Unlike in Rome, the whole site is accessible, including underground and the upper decks. The small El Jem museum is a 10 minute walk from the amphitheater, and is well worth a visit. It is built as a Roman villa, and has a great collection of mosaics. The museum is included on the same ticket as the amphitheater.

- Sousse. The small Ribat (old fortress) was neat and had great views of the ocean. The Sousse medina is awful, inauthentic and a complete tourist trap. It is plagued with riff-raff European tourists (staying at nearby all-inclusives or on cruises) and the typical third-world scammers and shenanigans that follow them. Sousse is directly on the way back from El Jem and was somewhat of a worthwhile stop just to see the Ribat, but the medina is definitely not worth seeing. In some ways, it might have been better to spend more time at Kairouan and skip Sousse.

GETTING AROUND TUNIS

Taxis are a very cheap way to getting around Tunis, assuming you insist that they use the meter (which they may or may not do voluntarily for tourists). If they won’t use the meter, tell them to buzz off and wait for the next taxi.

The medina and the colonial city (Ave Habib Bourguiba area) are entirely walkable. You’ll need a taxi (or to figure out public transportation) to reach the Bardo museum (which is ~20 minutes away, in a suburb), Carthage / Sidi Bou Said (also ~20 minutes away), and the airport (~15 minutes away). On the meter, none of these destinations should cost more than around 10 TD (~$3) from the center.

The only tricky taxi situation is at the airport, on arrival. The airport taxi mafia at TUN was fairly nasty, and we couldn’t find a taxi that would use the meter. We found a guy who eventually agreed to take us for a flat rate of 15 TD (explicitly including the new 3 TD airport tax and 1 TD / large suitcase surcharges that are set forth in the fare disclosure on the taxi windows). 15 TD was already a great rate for him and he should have been happy. Yet, once we were on the road, he decided to raise the price to 20 TD – the typical bait-and-switch move that third-world cabbies love to pull. We did not say anything due to fear of our safety if we protested, and figured we would deal with it when we safely arrived and had the luggage out of the car. When we arrived, I did not have exact change to give him 15 TD, and I showed him a 20 TD bill and asked him to show me 5 TD. Of course, I knew not to hand him the 20 TD bill. He insisted on 20 TD and argued with me, and I held my ground. Then he gave me a 5 TD coin (without taking my 20 TD bill) and walked away and got in his car and pretended like he was going to drive away. I slipped the 20 TD bill inside his window. Then he got out of the car and started screaming at us, flipped us the bird, and drove off.

FOOD

The food in Tunis was just okay. The cafes / restaurants on main street (Ave Habib Bourguiba) are very European – both in food (crepes, pastries, sandwiches, pizza, etc.) and the leisurely outdoor dining experience with good people watching. Thankfully, these restaurants are authentic in that they’re inexpensive and the clientele is almost all locals. We liked Cafe Champs Elysees, which has a guy stationed outside making fresh crepes (both sweet and savory).

Unfortunately, we were disappointed that it was hard to find good, authentic restaurants serving actual Tunisian food. We saw a few overpriced and empty fancy restaurants that were obvious tourist traps, but didn’t see any real restaurants for locals serving traditional dishes like couscous, shakshouka, etc.

We tried the national beer (Celtia) at a bar just off the main street. There are a few bars around, and they are total sausage fests. To make the wife slightly less out of place, we chose the bar with three degenerate women in it. Every other bar we walked into had zero women. It was amusing people watching and an interesting sociological study. Most of the patrons seemed like degenerates and alcoholics, rather than normal guys out for a good time with their friends.

HOTEL

We stayed at a great 1 BR Airbnb that was about $45/night and a 3 minute walk to the main street. The link is: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/31197353 . We found Airbnb to be a much better value than any of the nearby 3* hotels, which all had mixed TripAdvisor reviews.

Two Italian guys, Enzo and Filippo, run this and a few other nearby Airbnbs. Based on our apartment, and the photos of their other listings, they’re all very well decorated and maintained. We’d definitely recommend any apartment they’re listing. Plus, they were great hosts and even arranged our day trip for a reasonable price.

FLIGHTS (TUNISAIR)

We flew in and out of TUN on Tunis Air – arriving from Constantine, Algeria and departing to Rome. What a complete disaster of an airline. Avoid it like the plague.

Each flight is about one hour. Yet, the first flight was delayed 3.5 hours and the second flight was delayed 6 hours. So, two short hops turned into two entire days wasted. Tunis Air provided no information about these delays, and did not even push the departure time back. The monitors would just list a departure time that had already passed. The airline reps didn’t care one bit, and acted like these delays were no big deal and happen all the time.

Separate from the delays, our original TUN-FCO flight (at 9am) was cancelled for no apparent reason, one week before the flight. We were rebooked on their 2:30 pm flight (which did not actually depart until 8:30pm). Thanks to Tunis Air, we wasted an entire day that could have been spent in Rome.

The flight data indicates that Tunis Air is notorious for long delays. In hindsight, we should have done anything – even if it meant a more expensive fare or a worse schedule/routing – to avoid Tunis Air.

MISCELLANEOUS

- Money: ATMs are everywhere, and it is easy to get TD whenever you need it. Credit cards are not widely accepted; the big grocery store was the only place we went that took credit card.

- Site Admission Fees: Admission fees have gone up from those listed in tour books and on the official government website. Each ticket was 12 TD, except for the Bardo (13 TD). Thankfully, there is no longer a separate 1 TD “camera charge” at any of the sites; thankfully, someone realized the ridiculousness of enforcing that in the smartphone age.

- Visa: Visiting Tunisia is easy, as most major countries (US, EU, etc.) get 90 days visa free.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS OF TUNISIA & THE PEOPLE

Tunisia has long been a big tourist destination for Europeans, but the terrorist attacks several years ago devastated the tourism economy. Other than at a few major sites, we barely saw any other tourists. We even had El Jem and the Bardo museum almost to ourselves. Tourism is apparently starting to slowly come back, so now may be a good time to visit – before things get more crowded and expensive.

We also visited Algeria on this trip, and Tunisia didn’t feel exotic and untouristed like Algeria did. The locals didn’t seem the least bit fascinated with us and seemed totally used – and immune – to tourists. So, while the people in Tunisia were mostly nice enough, we didn’t have much of an opportunity to speak to the locals and really get to know them.

The hassle factor in Tunisia is low-ish. The usual shenanigans, touts, junk peddlers, scammers, etc. are certainly around, but if you’re a savvy and experienced traveler, you’ll be able to easily ignore them.
mad_atta and bebert like this.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 4:34 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Austin, TX -- AA PLT 2.8MM+ (life PLT); IHG PLT Ambassador; UA Gold
Posts: 5,443
I quite like Tunisia.. have been there 3 times now. My first visit was just 1 day in Tunis (Bardo) paired with Algeria as well. Last visit was March 2018 and hired a car. Visited Carthage, stayed in Hammamet and did the Kairouan/El Jem/Sousse loop.
hauteboy is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 5:45 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: MEL
Programs: QFF, AA, LM, EY
Posts: 614
Thanks for your trip report. Very helpful and informative.

Would you suggest a night at Kairouan ?
I'm maybe thinking to overnight it there then do the day trip to El Jem from there ?
Nizar is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 6:00 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 1,694
Originally Posted by Nizar View Post
Thanks for your trip report. Very helpful and informative.

Would you suggest a night at Kairouan ?
I'm maybe thinking to overnight it there then do the day trip to El Jem from there ?
Hmm, I think that would totally depend on how much overall time you have, your overall route (i.e., where you're coming from and going to), and your budget / preferred means of transport (i.e., driver vs. train or louage).

I don't think El Jem as a day trip from Kairouan makes much sense, if you mean an out-and-back trip. Why go back to Kairouan? Also, El Jem is awesome, but it's certainly not a full day's activity if you're on a tight itinerary. Kairouan could surely be made into a full day if you're traveling on a slow itinerary and have the interest. But I'm not sure if it's worth overnighting there. I have no idea what the hotel situation is like in Kairouan, but I'd imagine that you'd have more or better options in somewhere like Sousse where there is much more tourist infrastructure (better range of hotels). Maybe it's better to base yourself in Sousse and do El Jem and Kairouan as a combined day trip from there, or even as two separate day trips if you are traveling slowly.

I'm just brainstorming, and if you post more detail, I could say more...
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 6:22 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: MEL
Programs: QFF, AA, LM, EY
Posts: 614
Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
Hmm, I think that would totally depend on how much overall time you have, your overall route (i.e., where you're coming from and going to), and your budget / preferred means of transport (i.e., driver vs. train or louage).

I don't think El Jem as a day trip from Kairouan makes much sense, if you mean an out-and-back trip. Why go back to Kairouan? Also, El Jem is awesome, but it's certainly not a full day's activity if you're on a tight itinerary. Kairouan could surely be made into a full day if you're traveling on a slow itinerary and have the interest. But I'm not sure if it's worth overnighting there. I have no idea what the hotel situation is like in Kairouan, but I'd imagine that you'd have more or better options in somewhere like Sousse where there is much more tourist infrastructure (better range of hotels). Maybe it's better to base yourself in Sousse and do El Jem and Kairouan as a combined day trip from there, or even as two separate day trips if you are traveling slowly.

I'm just brainstorming, and if you post more detail, I could say more...
Thanks for your quick response.
You mention a few good points.
I just feel like Sousse might be worth skipping in order to spend more time in Kairouan ? As you aluded to in your trip report ?

Overall itinerary I had in mind is Tunis then Kairouan/El-Jem then I really wanted to spend a couple of nights in Tozeur at the new Anantara once it opens there to get a taste of the sahara desert. But not sure about logistics. So maybe 2+1+2 nights or 3+2 nights (no overnight in Kairouan) depending how we go about it.

So was thinking leave early one morning from Tunis, drive to Kairouan, overnight there, then next day morning to El-Jem (~1 hour??) spend a few hours to check out the sites then another drive to Tozeur (~4.5 hours?). Not sure about driving versus train or how good or reliable the train network is. I like car as it means we can stop if we see something interesting and sort of do a custom routing but if nothing is interesting on the way then why not train it if it means we get to our destination faster. And I'm leaning towards using a driver/guide in somewhere like Tunisia.

Also there is an airport in Tozeur, so another option is to day trip it like you so just one day of driving, then can fly to Tozeur (and back) as flight home would be out of TUN.

Would love to get some thoughts,opinions and suggestions. Cheers
Nizar is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 6:58 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 1,694
Originally Posted by Nizar View Post
I just feel like Sousse might be worth skipping in order to spend more time in Kairouan ? As you aluded to in your trip report ?
Yep, certainly. I'm just suggesting Sousse as a good base for better hotel options (if what I suggest is right, that Kairouan hotel options are limited).

Overall itinerary I had in mind is Tunis then Kairouan/El-Jem then I really wanted to spend a couple of nights in Tozeur at the new Anantara once it opens there to get a taste of the sahara desert. But not sure about logistics. So maybe 2+1+2 nights or 3+2 nights (no overnight in Kairouan) depending how we go about it.

So was thinking leave early one morning from Tunis, drive to Kairouan, overnight there, then next day morning to El-Jem (~1 hour??) spend a few hours to check out the sites then another drive to Tozeur (~4.5 hours?). Not sure about driving versus train or how good or reliable the train network is. I like car as it means we can stop if we see something interesting and sort of do a custom routing but if nothing is interesting on the way then why not train it if it means we get to our destination faster. And I'm leaning towards using a driver/guide in somewhere like Tunisia.
If you're staying at the Anantara, I assume you don't mind springing for drivers and guides. If money doesn't matter, I'd definitely opt for a driver the entire way. The train network seemed decent and reliable, but there isn't a high speed rail and the train times seem slower than the driving times! The louage (shared taxi) network is supposedly pretty good, but that's not everyone's cup of tea.

I don't know anything about Tozeur... but it looks like Tunis --> Kairouan --> El Jem --> Tozeur in one day is 8 hours of driving alone, so that's impossible. You'll have to break it up somehow. So that's either staying in Kairouan or El Jem or somewhere else along the way (maybe Sfax, which is the 2nd biggest city, would have good hotel options?).

If you want to spend a lot of time in Kairouan and then do El Jem on the same day, you need to make sure you get to El Jem with enough time for you to see it before it closes. (Check hours; they vary for time of the year).

Also there is an airport in Tozeur, so another option is to day trip it like you so just one day of driving, then can fly to Tozeur (and back) as flight home would be out of TUN.
Definitely not! I see TUN-TOE is 2x/week, which is a logistical nightmare as it is. Plus, it's on Tunis Air, which is a complete disaster as mentioned in my report. Your one hour flight could turn into an entire day wasted, or your flight could even be cancelled.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 7:23 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 57
Thanks for posting this info. Quite useful (like your Algeria post). Just curious, why did you book with Tunis Air originally?

Would you have wanted to spend more time in Tunisia? Was there anything that you wished you could have seen/done if you had more time?
netllama is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 8:45 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 1,694
Originally Posted by netllama View Post
Thanks for posting this info. Quite useful (like your Algeria post). Just curious, why did you book with Tunis Air originally?
Ignorance, combined with the best flight times and prices.

For Constantine to TUN, Tunis Air is the only carrier. It seemed difficult and time consuming to do this by land. I suppose we could have backtracked to Algiers, but it's either Air Algerie or Tunis Air flying ALG-TUN. I can't imagine Air Algerie is much better than Tunis Air, but I could be wrong.

For TUN-FCO, the Tunis Air flight at around 9am was the earliest flight of the day. We were planning on a 1.5 day stopover in Rome, and we wanted to have as much time in Rome as possible on our arrival day. As it turns out, we arrived in Rome at around midnight, wasting the entire day. In hindsight, we should have spent more and taken the Alitalia flight that left at around 11am, but TUN is an awful airport and who knows if that would have been delayed as well.

Would you have wanted to spend more time in Tunisia? Was there anything that you wished you could have seen/done if you had more time?
I addressed this briefly in the report -- text-search for Djerba and Dougga. Those are what we most would have liked to see if we had more time. Sure, it would have been nice to spend more time in Tunisia if time and money were unlimited and homesickness weren't a factor. We enjoyed what we saw and thought we got a good sampling of the country, but we don't feel the urge to rush back anytime soon. That isn't to say we wouldn't go back if the opportunity arose.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old May 16, 19, 11:58 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: PVG, China
Programs: Platinum Ambassador, SPG Gold, Krisflyer, Accor A-Card Platinum, Hilton Honours Gold, QF Bronze
Posts: 2,353
Thanks for posting lots of useful info.
camsean is offline  
Old Jun 9, 19, 9:34 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
Programs: AA Ex Plat; Bonvoy Titanium Lifetime Elite;Hyatt Globalist; HHonors Diamond; United Silver
Posts: 6,013
A belated thank you for this very informative trip report! And the answers to the followup questions, also very helpful for what I was thinking.

We like to take things more slowly, and was originallyh thinking of the following:

4-5 nights in Tunis with one day for the Bardo, one for the other local sights, (Medina/Colonial area), 1 for Carthage and Sidi Bou Said, one for a day trip to Dougga. Right now, thinking of 5 nights, 4 days (late arrival into Tunis from Paris, early departure from Tunis to next stop).

Then I was thinking of 3 nights in Sousse, one for a day trip to El Jem, and another for a day trip to Karouian, and fitting in Sousse on day of arrival.

Is three nights in Sousse too much? El Jem is one of the reasons for the trip, but we could combine it with Karouian if you think Sousse will not be an enjoyable place (assuing nice hotel).

After reading your report, I looked at Djerba and it was appealing. Did you find an efficient way of getting there - seems like a very long drive from Sousse, and the domestic flights are on Air Tunis. Any international flights that leave Djerba? (ETA: I see some on airlines unfamiliar to me - Nouvelair Tunisie, Transavia, TUI fly Belgium - any of these better than Air Tunis?).

If I do Djerba, I'd look for 4 nights Tunis, 2 nights Sousse, and 3-4 nights Djerba. Transportation ease is an issue, perhaps flying back to Tunis the day before mu international departure is safest (thinking of Air France to Paris).

Any thoughts on time spent in Sousse and Tunis, and transportation to/from Djerba is most appreciated.

Last edited by beachfan; Jun 9, 19 at 9:45 am
beachfan is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:50 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX
Programs: AA PLT / 2MM
Posts: 1,694
Originally Posted by beachfan View Post
A belated thank you for this very informative trip report! And the answers to the followup questions, also very helpful for what I was thinking.

We like to take things more slowly, and was originallyh thinking of the following:

4-5 nights in Tunis with one day for the Bardo, one for the other local sights, (Medina/Colonial area), 1 for Carthage and Sidi Bou Said, one for a day trip to Dougga. Right now, thinking of 5 nights, 4 days (late arrival into Tunis from Paris, early departure from Tunis to next stop).

Then I was thinking of 3 nights in Sousse, one for a day trip to El Jem, and another for a day trip to Karouian, and fitting in Sousse on day of arrival.

Is three nights in Sousse too much? El Jem is one of the reasons for the trip, but we could combine it with Karouian if you think Sousse will not be an enjoyable place (assuing nice hotel).
If you like to take things slowly and have the time, I suppose this is a sensible allocation. We'd be really antsy on such a slow trip, but different strokes... I'm a little confused though -- why would you want to combine El Jem and Kairouan, but not combine the Bardo with the medina and colonial area? You could definitely combine both of them and not feel rushed.

If you're mainly using Sousse as a base to see El Jem and Kairouan and staying at a nice hotel, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Rather than spend the remainder of the arrival day in Sousse, you could also consider checking out Monastir. The ribat (old fortress) is apparently bigger than that of Sousse, and the mausoleum to the former president looks kind of cool.

After reading your report, I looked at Djerba and it was appealing. Did you find an efficient way of getting there - seems like a very long drive from Sousse, and the domestic flights are on Air Tunis. Any international flights that leave Djerba? (ETA: I see some on airlines unfamiliar to me - Nouvelair Tunisie, Transavia, TUI fly Belgium - any of these better than Air Tunis?).
Djerba could efficiently be visited with a private driver, if you are willing to spend the money. The quotes we got for private guides/drivers who had good recommendations seemed excessively high, though. Plus, a driver will probably want to charge you double for a one-way trip from Sousse to Djerba on the theory that he'll have to return empty handed. The roads in Tunisia are good, and if you can afford it, a private driver is probably your best bet.

I have no idea if Tunis Air's domestic flights are more efficient than their international flights, but I suspect that they're equally a disaster. You could waste an entire day at the airport for a half-hour flight. I absolutely wouldn't do it.

There are definitely int'l flights from Djerba (DJE) to various points in Europe. You could definitely fly from DJE to somewhere in Europe and then head back to the US from there. I'd avoid any Tunisian carrier -- Nouvelair is one of them. I read they're * worse * than Tunis Air, but I have no experience. Don't know anything about those other two carriers you mention, but a European LCC is probably adequate and much preferable to a Tunisian carrier. I'd go through the airlines on here and see what works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djerba...tional_Airport

You could always fly back from DJE to TUN, but that requires taking Tunis Air. Might as well just leave from DJE.

Hope that helps. Let me know if I can help more...
LAX_Esq is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread