Where to stay in Tunisia
The appeal of Tunisia’s Mediterranean beaches – and the sailing, sunbathing and golfing that go along with them – means the country’s resort areas are now well stocked with high-standard international resorts. Many of the resorts in Tunisia are identical in terms of facilities and design to those found in the Spanish Costas.
Large resort-style hotels in Tunisia can usually be found in a 'Zone Touristique', which has all the major tourist hotels together in a specially constructed quarter. More characterful (but usually less luxurious) hotels in Tunisia are often to be found in the town centre. Most of the better tourist properties are located in the coastal resort areas, where several international chains have taken up presence in recent years.
Grading: Hotel accommodation in Tunisia is inspected by the government and is classified by a star system ranging from deluxe (5-star) to simple (1-star). Places that have not been inspected are designated nonclassifié (NC; non-classified).
Tents can be pitched (or trailers parked) on beaches and in parks with permission from the property owner or the police. Some good campsites include Camping Les Jasmins (www.hotellesjasmins.com) in Nabeul, Les Beaux Rèves (http://beauxreves.koi29.com) in Tozeur, Camping Desert Club in Douz and Camping Ghilane in Ksar Ghilane.
Homestay Accommodation: Several hosted homestay options are available on the internet.
Youth Hostels: There are two types of hostel in Tunisia. Auberges de jeunesse are part of Hostelling International (www.hihostels.com), of which you have to be a member (this can be arranged on arrival if needed). They offer excellent accommodation in Tunis, Djerba, Bizerte and Nabeul. Maisons des Jeunes are government-run and generally spartan, though some, such as the Hammamet hostel, have good locations.
Unique Accommodation: Several splendid mansions have been restored and refashioned into stylish boutique hotels in and around Tunis, while on Jerba, there are converted funduqs (traditional inns). In Matmata, in southern Tunisia, you can sleep underground in simple troglodyte hotels, and farther south, even stay overnight in pre-erected tents in the Sahara.
Backpacker Hostels: Cheap hotels abound in Tunisia and although some cater more for locals, they'll nearly always take foreign guests as well. There is a huge variety in cleanliness and amenities. The cheapest have shared bathrooms (sometimes squat toilets rather than western) and may offer dormitory beds also - for male clientele only. Others offer private rooms, often with en suite. Many of the best are small family-run businesses with a real homely atmosphere.