Those planning to visit Tunisia have several options for how to travel to the country. Foreign visitors are able to access Tunisia by boat, via land border crossings from Algeria or Libya, or by air.
It is possible to take a direct flight to Tunisia’s main airport, Tunis-Carthage International, from various destinations in Europe and North and West Africa. Tourists traveling to Tunisia from Australia, Asia, or the Americas will need to change their flight in the Middle East, Europe, or North Africa.
Those who wish to travel to the country by boat are able to take a ferry to Tunisia from several different seaports around the Meditteranean, in Italy and France. Read on to find out where you can catch a ferry to Tunisia and how frequently they operate.
Ferry Routes to Travel to Tunisia
It is possible to take a ferry to Tunisia from France and Italy throughout the year, with several services running every week. Prices vary throughout the year, and July and August are usually the most expensive months to travel. Visitors are advised to book well in advance if taking a ferry to Tunisia during these months.
The majority of ferries to Tunisia arrive at the main seaport of Tunis, La Goulette, which is roughly 10 kilometers from the center of Tunis. There are two local transport options that those arriving in Tunisia by ferry can use to travel to the city center; taxi, or commuter train. It is also possible to take a train from La Goulette to Sidi Bou Said, a popular tourist resort just 20 kilometers away.
There is also at least one ferry line that arrives in the port of Zarzis from France. Zarzis is a coastal municipality in the southeast of Tunisia around a 3-hour drive from Tunis. There is no railway line connecting the two cities, but there are 3 flights from Zarzis to Tunis every day, with the journey time lasting approximately 1 hour.
Taking the Tunisia Ferry from Italy
Those traveling from Italy are able to take the ferry to Tunisia from several ports in the country, including Genoa in the Liguria region, and Palermo in Sicily. There are around 11 crossings per week across different departure points.
Different ferry companies operate the routes to Tunisia from Italy, depending on the port of departure. Grimaldi Lines operate the Palermo-Tunis route, while Grandi Navi Veloci operates the route to Tunis from Civitavecchia, a port city close to Rome. Other routes are operated by the Corsica Linea, CTN, and SNCM ferry companies.
The average travel times to Tunisia from ports in Italy are as follows:
- Sicily-Palermo: 8-10 hours
- Trapani: 10-11 hours
- Genoa: 23 hours
- Salerno: 23 hours
- Civitavecchia: 21 hours
Travel times can vary depending on scheduling and weather conditions, but in general, the quickest crossing to Tunisia from Italy is from Palermo, which usually takes an absolute maximum of 10 hours. The crossing from Civitavecchia can often take the longest, up to an absolute maximum of 28 hours.
Arriving in Tunisia by Ferry from France
Tunisia ferries from France depart from the port of Marseilles and are run by two different operators, Maritima Ferries, a French company, and Compagnie Tunisienne de Navigation (CTN), a Tunisian company. CTN operates a ferry service to Tunis from Marsailles 3 times a week, and there are 2 other weekly services that run the same route.
It takes roughly 20 hours to sail from Marseilles to Tunis. CTN also operates a service from Marsailles to Zarzis once a week, which takes around 21 hours to reach Tunisia. As well as passenger ferries to Tunisia from France, CTN also operates freight transport services from Tunisia to Barcelona, Spain, and Livorno in Italy.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Tunisia by Ferry?
Whether a traveler requires a visa to travel to Tunisia by ferry depends on their nationality and the period of time they intend to spend in the country. Citizens of a number of foreign countries are able to visit Tunisia without a visa for stays up to 90 days. All other nationalities are required to obtain a visa for Tunisia to enter the country, no matter the amount of time they intend to stay.
It is currently necessary for eligible citizens to apply for a tourist visa from a Tunisian embassy or consulate. However, this will soon change when the electronic visa for Tunisia is implemented later this year.
Eligible citizens will able to complete the simple Tunisia eVisa application online in just a few minutes, to receive an approved visa for Tunisia via email. When arriving by ferry, holders of an approved Tunisia eVisa will able to present a printed copy alongside their passport to gain expedited entry to the country.