Days
10
Price from
$2,190USD

Be enchanted by the leisurely pace, atmospheric ruins and oasis-studded landscapes of Tunisia

Only a slim wedge in the expanse of North Africa, Tunisia packs a lot of punch. While it may be on the adventurous side of travel, the friendly locals make any time here unforgettable. Tunisia is simply sublime.

PLEASE NOTE: This Itinerary has been permanently changed, and will no longer visit Ksar Ghilane & Douz
Please trip notes for more details

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1 January 2017 this trip will no longer visit the town of Sousse on Day 7 & 8. Instead we will visit the seaside town of Mahdia. These changes come as a result of traveller feedback and the advice of our local operator that the town of Mahdia will provide a great place for our passengers to relax. enjoy the beaches, culture and history of the area.
The new itinerary is outlined below

Day 1 Tunis
Day 2 Tunis
Day 3 Kairouan
Day 4 Tozeur
Day 5 Tozeur
Day 6 Matmata
Day 7 Mahdia
Day 8 Mahdia
Day 9 Tunis
Day 10 Tunis (departure day)


Start
Tunis, Tunisia
Finish
Tunis, Tunisia
Country
Tunisia
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Adventure
Code
PGHT
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
2 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Slip back through the centuries while guided through the intoxicating ancient medina of Tunis, the largest in North Africa

  • Discover the Tunisia of the famed Hannibal in the World Heritage site of Carthage

  • Make your own pilgrimage to Kairouan, the fourth holiest site in the Islamic world, and step foot in one of the world’s oldest mosques

  • Take a classic desert journey on camelback – traverse picturesque arid scenery to a mirage-like oasis

  • Explore the cinematic, otherworldly landscape, and unique underground dwellings, of Matmata

  • Contrast the heat and dust of the desert with the breath of fresh ocean air at seaside Monastir and Kelibia

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves walking around a number of ancient ruins at times of the day when it can be hot. Be sure to pack a hat, sun protection, sturdy comfortable walking shoes, and carry water.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

On arrival at Tunis Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel (approximately 30 minutes). This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Tunis at any time. Please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The rest of your day is free to explore the surroundings and your tour leader may make contact with you in the evening. Tunisia’s blend of cultures, landscapes and history make it a unique destination. Beneath the rapidly modernising exterior of the capital Tunis, lies a city almost unchanged for centuries, where souqs and ancient bazaars sit along endless stretches of coastline. The city has two main parts – the 19th century ville nouvelle grid created by French colonials, and the 8th century Arab medina where all the twisted alleyways lead to the Great Mosque. This evening why not wander down Ave Habib Bourguiba and then enjoy a water’s edge drink.

Notes: Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel, to organise the transfer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Gammarth or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Discover more of Tunis on a guided tour, beginning with the medina (old quarter), the largest in North Africa (larger than those in Fez, Algiers or Cairo). Walk though the twisting alleyways, passing shops overflowing with goods, where the smells of spice, essential oils, and cooking fill the air. Explore the specialty souqs that make up the medina markets, like the Perfume Makers’ Souq or the Grand Souq des Chechias, where iconic blood-red felt hats are made. After lunch you'll travel outside the city to the World Heritage site of Carthage, founded in 814 BC and the oldest Phoenician settlement on the coast of North Africa. Many wars were waged against the other Mediterranean powers, with its most famous general Hannibal crossing the Alps to battle with the Romans. Left in ruins by the Romans, then refounded by Julius Caesar, the city grew to a huge size and become as cultured as it was cosmopolitan. Today monuments such as the vast Antonine baths, Roman amphitheatre and the Punic ports hark back to the glories of a bygone era, while some of the best relics can be found in the archaeological museum of Carthage. You will continue to the chic, charming village of Sidi Bou Said and stroll through streets lined with whitewashed houses featuring blue shutters and doors. A favourite retreat for visiting artists and writers, here you can visit various art galleries or try a bambalouni (a light and crispy Tunisian style doughnut) in one of the cafés that offer superb views of the Gulf of Tunis.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 1 hour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Gammarth or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning you will visit the Bardo Museum, the finest museum in the country and one of the best archaeological museums in the Mediterranean region. Housed in a 13th century palace that once belonged to the Husseinite beys, who were former rulers of Tunisia, it is especially known for its beautiful and extensive collection of mosaics that date back to Roman times. Absorbing the beautiful exhibits, then travel out to the remains of a World Heritage listed Roman town of Dougga. En route you’ll stop in Testour and discover the Spanish influence that Andalusian Muslim refugees, who were evicted from Spain in the 17th century, brought to the town. See the Spanish-style Great Mosque and the village square. Continue on to the archaeological site of Dougga, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in Africa. Built on an elevated site overlooking a fertile plain, it was the capital of both the Punic and Roman states. It became an influential agricultural centre, controlling important trade routes to Carthage. Its important marble quarries and fresh water supplies helped make it a prosperous and successful town. See the theatre, built around AD 168, the impressive Capitoline Temple, and the 18 metre high Mausoleum of Ateban monument. After an optional lunch, you will continue to the holy city of Kairouan, another UNESCO site and an important centre for Sunni Islamic scholarship and Quranic learning.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 4 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Kasbah or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Kairouan is the fourth holiest site in Islam, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It is said that seven pilgrimages to Kairouan is equivalent to one pilgrimage to Mecca. Discover more about the city with a visit the 9th century Great Mosque of Oqba Ibn Nafi, an important example of Islamic architecture. Many of the columns that can be seen throughout the complex were taken from surrounding ruined cities like Carthage. On a walk through the serpentine streets of the median pass the souks, where you will get to taste makroudh (traditional local pastry stuffed with dates) and learn about the traditional savoir-faire of the womenfolk: rug making. You will then continue to the oasis town of Tozeur, which is lined by extensive palm groves, and was historically an important stop on the Bedoiun caravan route from the desert to the Mediterranean coast. Here you will visit the Dar Charait Museum, which evokes images reminiscent of the classic fable, 'One Thousand and One Nights', and features family heirlooms and relics of the Beys (rulers) of Tunisia. The town is home to some of the world’s most enchanting palm groves, and so you will also visit the Eden Palm, a museum which tracks the history of dates (there are 150 different varieties) and the Palm tree’s by-products in a beautiful authentic building. The evening is free for your own leisure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ksar Rouge or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today is free you for to do as you wish in and around Tozeur, and you leader will discuss the options when you arrive in the town. You could take a camel ride around the beautiful Oasis of Tozeur for a unique perspective on the Tunisian desert. The oasis is home to over 400,000 date palms, hundreds of fruit trees, and a running river. Or you can take a very different form of transport with a ride on the Lézard rouge. Running on the tracks originally build for mining companies, the “red lizard” was constructed in 1910 and used by the bey of Tunis to travel through the dramatic scenery – fantastical rock formations of the Seldja Gorge – from Tunis to his summer palace at Hammam Lif. Today it’s possible to take full or half-day trips on the line. Another option is to take a 4WD tour to discover the surrounding mountain oases, where many of the scenes of "The English Patient” were filmed. You’ll drive south into some of the country’s most spectacular mountain scenery, visiting the mountain oasis of Tamerza, along with Mides and Chebika. No matter what you choose to do today you’ll enjoy a memorable dinner, the local speciality of lamb cooked in a clay plot, at Kmar restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ksar Rouge or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tozeur - Lezard Rouge train - USD42
  • Tozeur - Mountain Oasis 4WD tour - USD58
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After breakfast you will depart to Matmata, crossing the dry salt lake of Chott el Jerid en route. This chott (flat, dry salt lake) is the largest in Tunisia, and spends most of the year looking like the surface of the moon, only becoming a water lake during the winter rains. The light reflects off the crystal surface creating mirages that the deserts are often famous for. Continue on to Matmata, named after the tribe who live in the region, but now best known for the houses built underground to protect the Berbers from intense summer heat. These troglodyte villages are exciting places to explore and one of these, together with the surrounding lunar-type landscape, was the set for the mythical planet of Tatooine (which got its name from the nearby town of Tataouine) in George Lucas’ landmark movie, ‘Star Wars’. Scenes from Steven Spielberg’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ were also filmed here. Before arriving in Matmata, make a short visit to the Berber village of Toujane nearby (32 kilometres from Matmata), which has outstanding sceneries. The hillside is surrounded by stone houses and is home to the ruins of an old Kasbah, and a gorge that leads down to the coastal plain. A guided visit will bring you to some troglodyte dwellings and artefacts including a very old oil press, used for centuries to press olives. Your accommodation for the night is set in the remote desert and is a partial cave building.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Diar El Barbar or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you will travel to Sousse, Tunisia’s third largest city and one of its most cosmopolitan. You will make several stops on the way, including at El Jem. Here you’ll take in the World Heritage listed amphitheatre, a structure that dates from 238 AD and is the second largest of its kind in the world after the Colosseum in Rome. It’s quite unexpected to see such a grand construction in this incongruous location. It was built in the 3rd century and was possibly the last of its kind made in the Empire. El Jem, formerly Thysdrus, was one of the most important North African outposts of the Empire after Carthage. Look down across the amphitheatre from the higher levels, or enter the basement, where animals were kept before being released into fights. The site has been used in films as various as ‘Life of Brian’ and ‘Gladiator’. You'll also visit the newly opened small museum and investigate the excavations that extend behind the museum, where many beautiful mosaics have been found. Continue to Monastir, once a busy fishing town and now a relaxing seaside town. Explore the town and visit the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba, the founder of Modern Tunisia. Perhaps take an optional excursion to check out the well-preserved Ribat (small frontier fortress) that was built to protect the coast from marine incursion. A short drive brings you to the coastal town of Sousse, a blend of beaches and history. Your accommodation tonight is located perfectly on the costal strip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Tej Marhaba or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
You will have the entire day to appreciate the attractions of Sousse. In the morning explore the newly renovated archaeological museum, housed in the Kasbah of Sousse Medina, one of the best preserved Kasbahs in Tunisia. The museum is home to the country’s second largest collection of antiquities after the Bardo; don’t miss the exquisite mosaics. You will then have a full day to explore the city. Perhaps visit the Great Mosque, dating from the 9th century Aghlabid period and based on its predecessor in Kairouan. The building has an unusual approach to architecture, with no minaret and favouring an austere design, with its only flourish a Kufic inscription in the courtyard. The fort of the Ribat, similar to the one in Monastir, has a beautiful high tower with a panoramic view of the town. In Sousse, you can also explore one of the best-preserved medina in Tunisia; like slipping back through the centuries while walking through narrow lanes and past numerous souq shopping opportunities. Or you can relax on long white sandy beaches with the beautiful Marina of Port El Kantaoui nearby.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Tej Marhaba or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
On the way back to Tunis today you'll stop in the city of Nabeul, famous for its ceramic workshops in the Medina thanks to the suitability of the local clay. Here is a perfect place to pick up pots of every shape and size, as well as beautiful tiled panels. Continue to the small fishing town of Kelibia, where the streets are busy with the sights and sounds of workshops. The striking castle fort that dominates the town dates from the Punic and Roman time, and you can choose to explore it. Explore the ruins of Kerkouane, founded by the Phoenicians in the 6th century BC. Because it was never rebuilt after being destroyed by the Romans, it’s a unique window into a true Punic town and a World Heritage site. Just after Kerkouane, you’ll come to the mountain of Haouaria, which sits in a beautiful landscape overlooking the Cape Bon. Haouaria is famous for its falconry festival and bat caves. Return to Tunis, where you’ll spend the last night of the journey enjoying an optional evening out to commemorate this Tunisian adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Gammarth or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your trip will come to an end today, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Tunis.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 9 dinners

Transport

4WD vehicle, Camel, Private Minibus

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (8 nights). Desert Camp (1 night)

Reviews

Our Highlights of Tunisia trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Highlights of Tunisia, October 2015

Heather Skeen

Highlights of Tunisia, September 2015

Sally-beatson Hedger

Dates & availability

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Important notes

PLEASE NOTE: This Itinerary has been permanently changed, and will no longer visit Ksar Ghilane & Douz
Please trip notes for more details

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.