A road trip in Tunisia is probably one of the most laid-back and unique road trips you will take in your lifetime
There’s nowhere like Tunisia. Sure its souks reminded us of Morocco, its villages reminded us of Greece, its food has both African and Middle Eastern influences, but the country is a unique mix all its own. It is easy to plan a road trip lasting anywhere between a 7-14 days in Tunisia. You can choose locations depending on whether you enjoy history, culture, or beaches. One thing is for sure – you can expect beautiful views and good food wherever you go!
The tourism sector isn’t too developed (just yet), so you just have to work that little bit harder to plan your trip. But we did all the research and got you covered. Read on for all our tips about Tunisia.
Pros of a road trip in Tunisia
Tunisia is a beautiful country with lots to see. It is also super affordable, has amazing food, and friendly locals.
Cons of a road trip in Tunisia
The country is chaotic and you need to choose services such as day trips and car rentals with care as everyone is out to make a quick buck at the expense of tourists. However we have included lots of tips below that will help you avoid this.
Visa For Tunisia
While before the pandemic there was no visa needed for Indian passport holders to visit Tunisia, post pandemic you must apply for a visa at your nearest consulate. More information can be found at the embassy’s facebook page.
Getting a mobile SIM upon arrival in Tunisia
Whether you’re planning a road trip or not, we would highly recommend getting a sim card for your phone upon arrival in Tunisia at Tunis Carthage airport. It will help you with directions, navigation, and prevent you from getting lost in a new country. This is convenient and cheap. We purchased one from Orange.
Where to stay on a roadtrip in Tunisia
Tunisia offers a range of accommodation, ranging from small boutique hotels to luxury resorts. The most popular category of hotels is all-inclusive resorts with a beach. We stayed at La Royal Hammamet after reading quite a few reviews. This is advertised as a 5 Star Hotel but to be honest, we didn’t enjoy it at all. We really wouldn’t recommend it. The rooms were passable but the shower in our room wasn’t working and the toilet was grubby. Moreover the food tasted like cardboard on most days – it was so bad that even though our meals were included we ended up eating out most days. This one is a no from us!
But the area of Hammamet makes for a great base to explore the country. For accommodation, we would suggest looking for an alternate hotel in Hammamet such as Royal Azur Thalassa or Hotel Bel Azur. You can also look at a unique like Hotel Bou Fares in a village like Sidi Bou Said which is gorgeous. Choose with care and read reviews thoroughly. And if you’re getting a deal that’s too good to be true it probably is! Sorry to sound like a negative Nancy, but I wanted to share our experience so all of you reading can have an excellent holiday without these problems.
Car rental for a road trip in Tunisia
Another logistic arrangement you must approach with caution are car bookings for your roadtrip in Tunisia. We compared car rental rates here and booked online with Camel Car and the process was seamless. They have a car rental booth at the airport, so it was easy to collect the car. We received a Hyundai Accent. The car was alright – no problem there. But it wasn’t in the best of shapes. Here’s a photo of the seat:
So if you are picky about the kind of car you need on your roadtrip in Tunisia, then we would highly recommend clearing these things when you make the booking. It is hard to make changes upon arrival as English is not widely understood!
Things to see and do on a road trip in Tunisia
Despite these mixed experiences with the hotel and car rental, we ended up having a great time on our road trip in Tunisia. That’s because there is so much to see and do on your road trip in the country. If you’re staying in Hammamet as we suggested, then you can just venture out in a different direction each day. There are dozens of things to do in the area but here are a few things we would definitely recommend
- Start with the colourful souk in Hammamet. Explore the little alleyways and sit down for a meal at one of the cute cafés lining the Kasbah walls. They offer great views of the waterfront
- Head to Nabeul for an offbeat day trip. Nabeul’s souk is ideal for a bit of shopping as it is a lot cheaper than places like Hammamet.
- You must not miss a visit to El jem – the world’s second-largest colosseum, second only to Rome’s iconic colosseum. Unlike Rome, there are very few people here which makes it incredible for a visit. Try to go early if you want to get the entire historical amphitheatre to yourself.
- If you enjoy history, then don’t forget to plan another day trip to the sprawling Roman ruins at Dougga. This is a UNESCO Heritage Site and it is easy to see why – these are some of the most impressive Roman ruins in Africa.
- If you enjoy history and culture you must plan a day trip to visit the mosque and medina at Kairouan – the architecture will leave you spellbound. It also makes for some stuffing photographs.
- If you want to feel like you have walked into a picture postcard, then you must visit the immensely popular yet gorgeous village of Sidi Bou Saïd. It boasts of bright blue doors and white walls, dripping with pink bougainvillea. You can drink in some of the best views of the coast from a cafe called Cafe del delice in Sidi Bou Said. However do beware – the café might have the best view but be very careful about what you order. Food and drinks are overpriced and you might be charged extortionate rates for things like cookies and breads that are kept on the table in addition to your order!
- If you’re in the mood to laze at a beach, you will find plenty of them in Hammamet itself. However if you want to venture out on yet another day trip, then Monastir has some nice beaches too
- If you enjoy long drives and gorgeous mountain views, then visit Jebel raseel – you can go hiking in the area. If you’re in the mood for something more leisurely, combine it with a visit to the vineyards and olive groves of Grombalia
- You could also opt for a short or long desert Safari in case you have a day or two to spare. We skipped this as we had recently been on a desert safari in Abu Dhabi, but you might want to consider it if you want to spend a night under the stars or witness another facet of Tunisia.
I hope this gave you some ideas for a planning a truly unique road trip in Tunisia. If you have any questions or comments, don’t forget to leave them down below! We love hearing from you 🙂
2 thoughts on “Planning a Unique and Offbeat Road Trip In Tunisia”
Hey! Thanks for such a detailed, informative blog. I am curious to know about the public transport scene in Tunisia. If one doesn’t wish to rent a car, is it still possible/convenient and advisable to explore Tunisia?
Hey Sonal – yes of course it is possible. However in that case, would suggest planning a trip to the major cities only 🙂