Map Tunisia
Tunisia  Tunis  Hammamet  Carthage  Sidi Bou Said  Book your excursions

Tunisia

Surface and population – Tunisia has a surface covering 164 000 km2 and a population of ca. 10 million inhabitants.

Time zone – GMT +1

Official languages – Official language is Arabic, but French is widely spoken. At larger holiday resorts other languages like English, German etc are also spoken.

Currency – Tunisian Dinar (TND). (1 TND = 5.25SEK = 0,57 EUR = 0,4 GBP ) Typical banknotes are 50,20,10,5 Dinars. The Dinar is divided into 1000 Millemes. Prices are typically marked in Dinars and Millemes, with a decimal point like: 5.600 or 24.000 or 0.360 sometimes with TND as a label like TND85.500.

VISA and MasterCard are normally accepted at larger hotels and shops. Most ATM’s also accept these cards.

It is prohibited to bring dinars in and out of Tunisia, so you have to change your money locally (for example on arrival at the Airport). Make sure to keep your exchange receipt. You will need it if you want to convert back any unused Dinars at the end of your holidays.

Electricity – 220 V (European plug)

Vaccinations – No specific

Drinking water – the tap water is possible to drink, but we would recommend bottled water.

Source: wikitravel.org

Tunis and its environments

Tunis is the capital of Tunisia. Its history dates back to the early days of Carthage. It was destroyed 146 B.C and it was rebuilt by the the Romans. The importance of the city was insignificant until the Arabs arrived in the 7th century. The most significant work undertaken was the Great Mosque in A.D. 732 and from then on the city served as imperial capital and was a major centre of science, culture and religion in North Africa. During the 19th century the population had become too numerous to remain inside the city walls and the French drained some of the nearby marshland to extend the city. This part of the city features wide avenues and some distinctly European architecture.

Tunis has a compact city centre which makes it easy to explore by foot. The lively medina “old city centre” is a must to visit and features some Islamic architecture dating back a thousand years. It has a myriad of different shops with traditional Tunisian handicraft as well as some new “tourist featured items”. The Bardo Museum is one of the world’s biggest archeological museums and it contains the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics. Avenue Habib Bourguiba is the spinal of the “European style area” which was built during the French period during the 19th century. Here you can find European-style cafés and restaurants.

From Hammamet you can either hire a car, go by “louage=taxi” or take the train. The train travel takes approximately 1,5 hours and costs 8 TND for a First Class ticket. Most of the trains depart in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Hammamet

Hammamet lies on the coast, between Tunis and Sousse, and has some of the best beaches in Tunisia. From being a little fishing village it has developed to an Arabic small city and holiday resort for the whole family. It was in the 1920s that the place was put on the map when a Romanian millionaire built a villa here. The beach resort Hammamet reaches along the coastline from the hotels north of the original village to the newer part called Yasmine Hammamet, approximately 10 km to the south. The area north of the village is called Hammamet Nord. To the south lies first the part called Hammamet Plage and some kilometers away is Hammamet Sud or Yasmine Hammamet. These three areas are connected by beaches and there is a shuttle service in form of a small tourist train that goes back and forth. The city Hammamet is bigger than you might think at the first glance, but the most interesting and central parts are not bigger than that you can walk from one side to the other in about 15 minutes. The obvious city centre is the medina. This is also where the two main streets Avenue Bourgiba and Avenue de la Republique meet.

Hammamet is built around an old fort “Kasbah” beside the sea and that is inside the walls of this fort that you find the medina. In the medina you can find all sorts of souvenirs like rugs, leather products, oriental mirrors, traditional (and less traditional) pottery. etc.

The city’s traditional houses are white and blue with painted doors and decorated with traditional Tunisian mosaic. At the medina’s main gate Bab-el-Bahar you have a beautiful view over the bay with colourful fishing boats laying side by side on the beach.

The night life is mainly restricted to two streets in south Hammamet and only during the warm summer months. The atmosphere in Hammamet is peacefull and calm. You can find cosy restaurants serving arabic food with inspiration from the French cuisine.

For those interested in history and Roman remains excursions to Sidi Bou Said, Tunis or Carthago could be a good idea.

Carthage

”Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”- “For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed”. With this phrase it is said that the Roman senator Cato the Elder ended every speech of his between the second and third Punic Wars. Even though Cato didn’t live until he could experience the destruction of Carthage himself, that is what really happened. This powerful Punic city-state which housed the most beautiful and the richest sea port of ancient times, lasting for centuries was destroyed by the Romans in 146 B.C. It was destroyed because this capital had a tendency of surviving any hardship caused by the Romans. And as Carthage was Rome's greatest contender for regional control and power, Rome felt that it could not rest until 3 years of destruction, concluded by 17 days of conflagration, had wiped Carthage out.

For a little bit more than 100 years Carthage was nothing but ruins and rubble. The Romans made Utica their capital. Then in 44 BCE, a Roman city was established where the Punic one had been.

The reconstruction was highly successful, and Carthage would rise to becoming the third largest and most important city around the Mediterranean Sea. Estimates show that between 200,000 and 700,000 lived here. So as the story goes, when Rome was crushed in the 5th century CE, Carthage thrived and prospered.

Scattered ruins are what remains today, but are definitively worth a visit. The area consists of the Carthage Museum which stands on the Byrsa Hill where you also find the Cathedral of St. Louis. This cathedral looks like a cathedral from the front, but if you look from the back it’s more looking like a mosque. The Carthage area also includes remains of an Amphitheatre, the Antonine Baths and the Roman Villas.

Sidi Bou Said

Built on top of high cliffs and with a fantastic view over Gulf the Tunis you find the little village of Sidi Bou Said. It is named after a 13th century Sufi holy man who settled down there after his pilgrimage to Mecca. This village is absolutely worth a visit even though it is often crammed with tourists, because of its beautiful white and blue colour scheme for its houses and magnificent view. Why not drink some delicious mint tea and smoke some waterpipe at Café Sidi Chabaane whilst enjoying the view.

How to book your excursions

The Sindbad hotel will be able to help you with booking a guided tour or renting a car. Renting a chauffeured car costs from 100 TND/2 pax to 30 TND/pax for 5+. This allows you to travel at your own pace and enjoy what’s of most interest to you.

A funny travel account of Tunisia can be found at this link: http://lexicorient.com/tunisia/index.htm