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Tunisia travel guide

About Tunisia

From broad sweeps of beach overlooked by a tumble of sugar-cube houses, to grand ancient ruins and the vast, rolling dunes of the Sahara, Tunisia encapsulates everything that’s enticing about North Africa.

Lose yourself in the maze of medina alleyways inTunis, explore the Maghreban mosques of Kairouan and stand on the shimmering salt flats of Chott El Jerid. Tuck into freshly baked brik at a bustling street market, pretend to be a Roman gladiator at El Jem’s impressive amphitheatre and hoist yourself onto a camel for a trip into the desert.

Traditionally, sun-seeking tourists came to Tunisia for its beaches – lining the Mediterranean, the long, rambling coastline is impressive. There are also tiny coastal villages where fishermen haul in the day’s catch on quiet beaches and cobblestone streets are lined with blooming bougainvillea.

But Tunisia is so much more than a seaside destination where visitors lounge on the sands all day long. Join the locals at a café after the last notes of the call to prayer have faded, or puff on apple-scented shisha as you watch old men play dominos. Alternatively, get scrubbed and steamed on a marble slab under the tiled domes of a hammam. Or haggle in the souks, sipping glasses of mint tea while you barter for the best price. Suffice to say the age-old traditions of Tunisian life are still alive and well.

Regarded as one of North Africa’s most politically moderate countries, Tunisia balances traditional Islamic culture with modern influences. Beyond the ancient medina, the cities are full of restaurants, cafes and bars, many of which have a European air about them.

Though tourism took a hit in recent years after a number of suicide attacks on tourists and the authority. The Tunisian government is working to improve security in major cities and tourist resorts.

Key facts

Area:

163,610 sq km (63,170 sq miles).

Population:

11,375,220 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

67.4 per sq km.

Capital:

Tunis.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Kaïs Saïed since 2019.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Habib Jemli since 2019.

Travel Advice

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

Baggage Rules

Flights to the UK from Tunisia are subject to additional hand luggage restrictions, as from 25 March 2017. All phones, tablets or laptops are banned from carry-on luggage and must be placed in hold luggage if they are larger than:

  • 16 cm in length
  • 9.3 cm in width
  • 1.4 cm in depth (thickness)

The UK Foreign Office advises travellers to contact their airline before travelling to find out if they will allow specific electronic devices or electrical items on the flight.

Flights to the USA from Tunisia do not allow any electronic devices larger than a smartphone in carry-on baggage. These restrictions prohibit any laptops, tablets, electronic game units and e-readers larger than a smartphone. All electronic items of this size should be carried in hold luggage. For more information visit the Department of Homeland Security website.