Come and explore Tunisia – wedged into the top of North Africa. Marvel at the stunning Mediterranean coastline, hidden beaches and mouthwatering seafood. Dive head first into imperial Rome as you uncover some of the world’s best preserved Roman ruins.
Mingle with fascinating cultures and experience a time frozen way of life as you spend time with locals who still live in caves dug deep into the ground. The vast contrasts of natural wonders is extreme yet incredibly beautiful. From rolling Saharan sand dunes, crumbled Berber villages and lush oases to forested bays, natural hot springs and tangles of medinas, you will lose yourself entirely. Haggle in souks whilst sipping on mint tea, float in the aroma of a scented shisha or get scrubbed and steamed clean on the marble slab of a traditional hammam whilst the call to prayer rings overhead. Embrace age old traditions as they intertwine with the chic modern world.
Welcome to Tunisia! On arrival into Tunis airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Tunis has always been a resilient and forward-looking settlement, one that makes an excellent starting point for any exploration of Tunisia. Now littered with artsy cafes and boutique hotels, the old is entwined with the new making this a buzzing city to explore.
Overnight Dar El Jeld, Medina of Tunis or similar
This morning you will visit the Medina of Tunis. This tangle of history and character is a great introduction to the cities infrastructure decorated with ancient palaces, mosques and Arab style houses. A visit to the notorious Kasbah Square and the Al-Zaytouna mosque will also be made, with a presentation of the surrounding political institutions. Enjoy lunch at Dar El Jeld, an ancient Tunisian Palace which has been restored into one of the best restaurants in the capital. From here, you will visit the National Museum of Bardo, originally a 15-century Hafsid Palace, and today one of the largest museums in North Africa containing one of the finest collections of Mosaics. Transfer to the cliff top town of Sidi Bousaid. The view from this blue and white town is phenomenal as it peers over the Mediterranean. The entire town is simply beautiful and has inspired many artists to take up residence here. Enjoy exploring the picturesque streets. (B,D)
Overnight Dar Said or similar
Today you will visit Dougga, a 65-hectare archaeological Roman site, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The site contained a large number of elaborate mosaic floors – some are in situ but most are housed in the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Most notable of all, however, are the twenty temples found, a truly disproportionate number of temples for the size of the population. At first it was thought that Dougga was a major religious site but it has since been decided that the temples were erected by wealthy residents as tribute for their good fortune. Continue on to visit Bulla Regia, another Roman archaeological site featuring unique domestic roman architecture.
El Kef is your destination for the day and is the most elevated city of Tunisia, standing at 2560 ft above the sea. Tucked away in the Atlas Mountains and the plains of the ‘hauts plateau’, you’ll find Le Kef, a charming little town with a tumultuous past. Natural beauty is not the only thing this region has to offer. The town has held on to countless memories of its vibrant history, including its Ottoman fortress. (B,D)
Overnight Dar Chennoufi or similar
El Kef is known for Roman and Byzantine landmarks and also for its traditional Arabic residential quarters, such as the mausoleum of Sidi Makhlouf. Visit Sbeitla, also named Sufetula, famous for its best preserved Roman Forum temples in Tunisia, inhabited by the Byzantines before becoming the significant geographical point in the Muslim conquest of North Africa. Transfer to Tozeur through the enormous landscape of Gafsa. Tozeur is a perfect desert oasis which enchants all who visit. Tozeur is a world apart from coastal Tunisian resorts and houses a medina full of unique brick-patterned architecture and a lush sprawling palm grove that makes for a refreshing sea of green through the desert sand. (B,D)
Overnight Diar Abu Habibi or similar
This morning enjoy a private visit of the oasis of Tozeur aboard a horse & carriage, followed by a visit to the Medina of Tozeur to discover the local life of the people of the Jerid. Visit the museum of dates where you will learn all about the different types of dates and how they are harvested and processed from the oasis of palm trees in this area. (B,D)
Overnight Diar Abu Habibi or similar
Today you will set off to visit Douz, also referred to in Arabic as ‘The Gate of The Sahara’. Spend time in Matmata, a small Berber village known for its troglodyte habitations and also home to the second most popular star wars site in Tunisia. Many Berbers still live in these cave houses. The homes in Matmata are not built on the side of the mountains. Instead, they are created by digging a large pit in the ground, and then around the sides of the pit, caves are dug to be used as rooms. The open pit functions as a courtyard, and are sometimes connected to other ‘pit’ courtyards nearby through trench-like passageways forming a large underground maze. (B,D)
Overnight Au Trait D’union, Tijma or similar
Following breakfast, set off to visit Guellala, the capital of pottery in Djerba, an activity dating back centuries since before the Roman era. This small island, is the home of the last Tunisian Jews, with one of the largest and most vibrant Jewish populations in the Arab world – and the oldest synagogue in Africa which you will visit. (B,D)
Overnight Dar Dhiafa or similar
Visit the downtown area of Djerba, Houmt Souk, meaning in Arabic ‘the market Neighbourhood’. Previously referred to in the Roman era, as the ‘Girba’ which is also the birth place of two Roman Emperors, Djerba is home to whitewashed buildings, sandy beaches rimmed with turquoise water, and colourful souks.
Heading up back north, you will stop at El Djem, a small city built by the Carthaginians and later colonised by the Romans. It was once the centre of the production of olive oil, with age old techniques still used today by a few hundred inhabitants as a source of life and income. The highlight though, is the roman amphitheatre, which is located at the centre of the city, from the top of which the scenery is just magnificent. This 3rd-century monument illustrates the grandeur and extent of Imperial Rome. (B,D)
Overnight Dar Hassine Allani or similar
Explore Kairouan, the Capital of Islam and the home to the Mosque of Uqba Ibn Nafi, the main leader of the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb. Kairouan’s heritage also includes the two monumental Aghlabid Basins, which has supplied the population with drinking water since the 8th century. Overnight in Sousse, or Hadrumetum, as called by the Phoenicians who founded it in the 11th century. (B,D)
Overnight Dar Antonia or similar
Visit the local pottery market and Dar Chaabane stone sculpture workshops in Nabeul to see how the artisans turn clay and rocks into colourful kitchenware and various house decorations.
Take in the outstanding view on the way towards the Tunisian Peninsula along the coast of Kerkouane.
Enjoy lunch at Haouaria where lunch will be served at a restaurant located right at the crystal coloured beach! You will then enjoy a small hike in the Caves of Haouaria. It is then time to head to a coastal town on the Cap Bon peninsula known for its sandy beaches and hosting a 16th century citadel, 150 metres above sea level. (B,D)
Overnight Dar El Gaied in Nabeul or similiar
This morning, enjoy a visit of Carthage, the central capital city of the Carthaginian civilisation. Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. on the Gulf of Tunis. From the 6th century onwards, it developed into a great trading empire covering much of the Mediterranean and was home to a brilliant civilization. In the course of the long Punic wars, Carthage occupied territories belonging to Rome, which finally destroyed its rival in 146 B.C. A second – Roman – Carthage was then established on the ruins of the first. The highlights of this visit are the Theatre of Carthage, nowadays hosting the Annual International Music Festival of Carthage, as well as the Antoninus Baths and the Punic Ports, once called ‘The Empire of the Sea’ for its strategic location on the Mediterranean Sea. (B,D)
Overnight Dar Said or similar
This morning is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward departure. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.