Africa’s Louvre holds the finest collection of Roman mosaics in the world, and much more besides. Don’t even try to see everything in a day – the national museum is vast, and it’s better to avoid antiquity-exhaustion by visiting the sights you really want to catch. The Islam Museum; a brilliant collection of Punic era artifacts; and a vast collection chronicling early Christianity in Tunisia – all this in one of the country’s most dazzling palaces. But the mosaics are the undoubted stars – don’t leave until you’ve marvelled at the Sousse and Dougga Room’s staggering displays.
The Bardo Museum and the medina are Tunis’s heavyweight holiday draws, and not to be missed. But try getting a feel for life’s local rhythm, and join the Tunisians in one of their favourite pastimes: eating. Tunisians like their food, and they like it spicy. Hot harissa paste is a mainstay of any table, and some of this, a bowl of the ever-present couscous, and just-off-the-boat seafood is a delicious staple. Then move on to the merguez (spicy sausages), slow-cooked lamb stew, eaten with flatbread and a dollop more couscous. Finish off with the stickiest, tastiest baklava sweets you’ll eat anywhere. Tunisia’s history and culture lives in its flavours, and any tour of the capital’s medina reveals a rich array of choices, from five-star restaurants to humble market stalls, bustling with grazing locals.