Tunisia tourism accounts for 8 million visitors into the country per year. There’s much to enjoy about this exciting North African destination. However, it’s best to come fully informed about the culture and what you might expect from this beautiful exotic land.
If you’re planning a trip to the country this year, the following guide will prepare you by explaining some of the essential Tunisia facts for tourists.
Quick Tunisia Facts
- Currency: Tunisian Dinar
- State Religion: Islam
- Size: 163,610 sq km
- Population: 11,365,220
- Language: Tunisian Arabic, Berber, French
- Climate: Mediterranean: With hot and dry summers and mild, wet winters
- Capital city: Tunis
Is it Easy to Travel in Tunisia?
It’s true to say there have been tumultuous times in Tunisia in the last decade. However, since the democratic revolution during the Arab Spring, the country has slowly recovered and begun to return to business as usual.
However, it’s important to know that there are still occasional protests that occur in Tunisia. Although these don’t target foreign tourists visiting Tunisia and are mostly peaceful in nature, they can often slow or halt the country’s transportation network and other key services. Therefore it’s sometimes best to give yourself more time than necessary to move around the country.
However, one of the best ways to get around Tunisia is via train, with a well-connected and comfortable inter-city rail network available in the country. On the other hand, if journeying only short to medium distances, it’s best to travel by either bus or louage (shared taxi).
Who are the Tunisian People and What is Tunisian Culture Like?
In Tunisia, 98% of the population is Arab-Berber and 99% of the countries’ citizens adhere to the Islamic faith. Whilst it’s true to say that Tunisia is quite firmly an Islamic country, many of its people are secular Muslims.
This means stricter cultural norms on dress and the consumption of alcohol such as those found in Saudi Arabia and Yemen do not apply. This makes the country a lot easier to navigate as a tourist. However, there are a few cultural behaviors you should be aware of and follow whilst on your visit.
How to Behave in Tunisia
- Expect a slower pace of doing things with many tasks being carried out “inshallah” (as God wills)
- Haggling is common in the markets and bazaars
- Toilet paper is not common in public toilets (most people use water and soap instead)
- Take off your shoes when you enter a host’s home
- Dress conservatively
- Expect shorter opening hours during the Holy month of Ramadam
- Eat only with your right hand (most eating is done by hand)
What Are Some of The Best Sights to See in Tunisia?
Tunisia is historical as well as exotic, offering a lot of sights and experiences for foreign tourists to appreciate. There are many places to enjoy whilst on a trip to the nation which captures the cultural landscape, geography and a little of the nation’s rich past.
A Trip to Ancient Carthage
Whilst Rome is known throughout the world, not many people remember the once-mighty Carthage, which was the capital of the Carthaginian Empire, which once occupied the shores of North Africa and the Iberian peninsula.
Whilst the empire was destroyed by Rome itself in 146 BC, the ancient site of this once impressive civilization can still be visited today. This historical site, located close to the modern capital of Tunis, boasts classical architecture and a look at life in one of history’s ancient mercantile civilizations.
Sample One of Tunisia’s Beautiful Beaches
As Tunisia is located on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, it offers some of the most beautiful beaches found in North Africa.
Locations such as Djerba, Hammamet, and Monastir offer beautiful white sands, blue ocean and the perfect environment to relax and unwind. Tunisia experiences warm sunshine almost year-round, therefore there’s almost never a bad time to come here for a beach holiday.
Visit a Scene from Film History
You may be surprised to learn that Tunisia has played a big part in the history of film. Not only has it contributed numerous pieces of cinema via its own national film industry, but it has provided the scenery for many internationally acclaimed movies throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Classic moments from the silver screen for series such as Star Wars, Monty Python and Indians Jones were captured here in Tunisia and some of the sets (most notably those used to create the scenes on planet Tatooine) can still be visited to this day.
A trip to Tunisia is a great way to journey through North Africa’s past and present and enjoy a unique cultural experience.
Before you travel, don’t forget to look at Tunisia entry requirements to check if you need a visa to visit the country. You may be eligible to apply for the new Tunisia online visa, which will simplify the process of passing through immigration and entering the country.