Anyone traveled to Tunisia? I'm interested in planning trip for 2011 & I've not found much helpful information.
Posted on Sep 28, 2010
I recently spent a few days in Tunis for the first time while on my honeymoon (right before we traveled onward to Sicily).
Although it sounds like other people here may have a deeper knowledge of Tunisia, here are some snapshots we took and a few things that might be of interest to you:
We stayed at Hotel le Consul, which was a top TripAdvisor pick for Tunis. We had mixed feelings about it: The room was clean and the staff we met were very nice (especially the owner), but the location made walking around unrealistic and the breakfast wasn't that great.
Everything that I read about Tunis before arriving warned about "an epidemic of crooked Taxi drivers". My tendency is to dismiss stuff like this, but I hate to say that we did experience this ourselves upon our arrival in Tunis. Our driver from the airport turned off the meter without warning just before we pulled into the hotel-- but not before I caught sight of the charge. He then asked for a grossly inflated amount, claiming fees for each of our bags (and who knows what else).
"Hold on", I said. I got out of the taxi and walked directly into the hotel to ask for their help which, as it turned out, was a very good instinct. The hotel owner and the taxi driver had a heated discussion and, lo and behold, I ended up paying the correct amount. Later that night, the owner told me that the driver had returned an hour or so later and begged him not to report the incident to the police. He said that the Tunis police will pull the taxi license of anyone found to cheat customers.
And this is why I thought it worthy of mention to you -- If you find yourself in that position, don't hesitate to ask for help... in fact, just looking like you're going to ask for help may solve your difficulties for you!
The rest of the time there, the drivers were very nice and we didn't have any trouble with them trying to overcharge us. One more suggestion if you don't speak Arabic or French -- try to write down the address of your destination before leaving the room. English may be spoken almost anywhere in the world these days but, in my experience, Tunisia isn't one of those places!
--The Souks at the Medina.
Be sure to go there! I've attached a snapshot below and, if that piques your interest, check out this great post to learn/see more.
--Sidi Bou Said
This is a cliffside village just outside of Tunis which is a popular stop with tour groups -- but you should go there anyways! ;)
The blue and white buildings will remind you that Tunis, though North African, is also Mediterranean. As it's touristy, there are a lot of people trying to sell you stuff... but it really is a lovely place and we enjoyed walking through its hilly streets.
There was a suburban commuter train that traveled from Tunis through Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, and Gammarth called the TGM. As I recall, the fare was next-to-nothing and it was a great way to get to/from Sidi Bou Said for us.
There are all the well-known beaches you've probably read about in the guidebooks but, if you're looking for a quick day at the beach while staying in Tunis, there is one very close by in Gammarth. We took a taxi there and hung out on the part of the beach near Hotel Le Residence. I think the fare is about 12 Dinar from Tunis / 6 Dinar from TGM Station (Mansa).
--Getting to Sicily.
We had heard that there was ferry service, but it was hard for us to pin down exact information about departure and travel times. As we were heading to Eastern Sicily (Taormina) anyways, we decided to take an Alitalia flight to Catania.
That's probably enough to start. Please feel free to let me know if there any aspect of this you'd like to know more about!
Posted Sep 29, 2010Add a comment
I used to live in Tunisia for about 2 years!!! I highly reccommend it! I can give you any info you want including places to visit, what to bring, what to expect etc.
I recommend getting the Lonely Planet Tunisia and start to look through it to get ideas.
What are you interested in: the beach, the desert, ruins?
Posted Sep 28, 2010Add a comment
Hey Amber! Thanks for the quick response. I've checked out the Lonely Planet book on Tunisia; I think I am just looking for someone's personal experience. What were you doing in Tunisia for 2 years?
I am looking to visit the beach & see the sites...I tend to be quiet the adventurer but I'd to relax a bit more on my next trip. Thinking about coupling Sicily & Tunisa next summer - no more than 2 weeks. What would be realistic in terms of seeing the country? I'd love to hear more about your adventures in Tunisia!
Posted on Sep 29, 2010
I am sure Amber has muuuch more information than i can offer but i stayed with a friend just outside of tunis in sidi bou said --- sooooo stunning. maybe amber can offer her two cents on that. i highly recommend it! Have a great trip!
Posted on Oct 07, 2010
Tunisia is a wonderful mix of Africa, the Middle East, France, and Italy. It is, of course, an African country with strong Muslim influences. It was a French colony so French is spoken widely, and it is close to Sicily so there are lots of Italian influences, too. There are many sites with Roman ruins throughout the country. I particularly enjoyed the museums (with wonderful roman sculpture and mosaics), the food (terrific pasta, fish, olives, and the ever present harissa), and the lovely white architecture set against turquoise sea views.
There is lots of good information at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tunisia and in the printed Lonely Planet Guide. Have a good trip!
Posted Sep 28, 2010Add a comment