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Girl in Traditional Dress at Sahara Festival, Looking at Camera, Douz, TunisiaTunisia (or formally, the Republic of Tunisia) is a country in North Africa. Tunis is its capital.  Its Northern and Eastern parts face the Mediterranean Sea, and it has borders with Algeria to the West and the South. It also has borders with Libya to the South. A big part of it is in the Sahara Desert.  As of 2004, there were 9,974,722 people living in Tunisia. Its official language is Arabic, but French and English are spoken by many people too. Tamazigt, formerly called Berber, is another language spoken by the old Saharan people.  Phoenicians settled the city of Carthage in what is now Tunisia, and this became a rich and great country. They fought against Rome and lost. The Romans destroyed the city of Carthage once and for all. As part of the Roman Empire, this area was called the province of Africa. They rebuilt Carthage as its capital. Later, Arabs conquered this area, and since then people have spoken Arabic.  Tunisia became independent from France on March 20, 1956.  Films like Star Wars and Life of Brian were made there.
Souks and Sunbathing - Turn On to a Tunisian Holiday

The country combines Mediterranean beach resorts with desert adventure, bustling cities and magnificent historical sites.  Here are 10 great  reasons to visit Tunisia to help start your holiday planning and further research , showing  the best that this part of North Africa has to offer, from sunbathing by the sea to shopping in the souk.

Beaches: Miles of golden sand take in popular resorts such as Hammamet and Monastir, upmarket spots such as Port El Kantaoui and the islands of Djerba and Kerkennah.

Desert: The Sahara beckons.  Join a four-wheel-drive safari to explore the lunar-like landscape of Matmata, where Star Wars was filmed, or watch the sun set over the oasis towns of Tozeur and Douz.
History: Tunisia's attractions stretch far beyond the modern holiday resorts.  The country boasts stunning ancient sites dating back thousands of years.  Must-sees include Carthage and the magnificent Roman amphitheatre at El Jem.

Spas: Relax at one of Tunisia's famous thalassotherapy spas, which offer a range of treatments using hot seawater.  There are spas at many major hotels.

Food: Away from hotels, dining options range from gourmet restaurants in Tunis to stylish pavement cafes in resorts such as Port El Kantaoui.  Popular local dishes include brik, a lightly cooked egg wrapped in filo pastry.

Restaurant Terrace on the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia
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Shopping: Enjoy some good-natured bartering in the souks of Tunis, Sousse and other large towns.  Top buys include leather goods, carpets and pottery.

Golf: Tunisia's not all sand.  There's a good choice of green fairways too.  Top spots for teeing off include Hammamet, Monastir/Skanes and Tabarka.

Touring: Join an escorted tour or hire a car to explore little-known gems such as Kairouan, with a magnificent mosque and an ancient medina, and the impressive Roman remains of Dougga and Bulla Regia.

Cities: Tunis combines a vibrant medina of narrow lanes and bustling souks with a more European-style new town of tree-lined avenues and elegant buildings.  Don't miss the Bardo Museum, which boasts a renowned collection of Roman mosaics.

Festivals: Experience authentic Sahara traditions such as camel racing, magic shows and nomadic dancing during the International Douz Festival every December.  The town also hosts a lively weekly market where Berbers barter for camels.

So - a holiday in Tunisia offers a country of Bedouin villages and vast desert landscapes, all within easy reach of popular holiday resorts, with plenty of cheap flights to Tunisia from all over Europe.  It's also a place that, no matter how many times you visit, throws up lots of surprises - from one of the most impressive Roman amphitheatres to be found anywhere to fine dining under the stars.


Jimi St. Pierre, in collaboration with travel correspondent Penny Church, writes for the map-based holiday destination and flight finder Travelwhere. On the Travelwhere website at, you can find cheap flights to Tunisia along with a wealth of additional information - including the package holiday brochures of specialist tour operators to Tunisia.


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