Tunis is a vibrant metropolis where ancient and modern collide, as well as a jumping-off point for exploring the cultural and historic riches of Tunisia. Three days gives you enough time to experience a bit of it all. Here’s how to make the most of your three days in the Tunisian capital.
Day 1: Ancient and Modern Tunis
Take your first day to explore the city of Tunis itself. Start with a morning sightseeing tour, and take in such city highlights as the UNESCO World Heritage Site medina in the old city, Tunis El Manar University, and the old French district. Depending on your interests, spend the afternoon learning the art of Tunisian cuisine during a hands-on cooking class with a local family or visit the Bardo National Museum—one of the best museums in the country—to see its exquisite collection of Roman mosaics, rare Phoenician artifacts, and early Islamic ceramics. Head back to the medina this evening for a meal at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Ancient Carthage
No trip to Tunisia would be complete without a visit to the Carthage Archaeological Park, where the ruins of the former Punic capital dot the area around Byrsa Hill. Most tours stop at the 2nd-century Antonine Baths, Roman villas, Punic ports, Sanctuary of Tophet, and the Carthage Museum atop Byrsa Hill, with views across the Gulf of Tunis. If you’d rather explore the site on your own, consider a self-guided bike tour. Spend the afternoon soaking up the sights in the blue and white clifftop village of Sidi Bou Said, considered one of the most scenic spots in all of Tunisia. Do some shopping along its cobbled streets, or stop at a café terrace for a cup of mint tea, and then stick around for an alfresco dinner.
Day 3: Around Tunisia
Head farther afield today to experience a bit more of Tunisia. Those with an interest in history and archaeology could spend the day touring the ancient Roman city of Dougga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most impressive Roman ruins in all of Africa. Another option is to combine a visit to the UNESCO-listed medina of Kairouan with an afternoon visit to the ancient amphitheater at El Jem. Alternatively, head to Cap Bon on Tunisia’s coast to explore artsy Hammamet, soak your feet in the Ain El Atrous hot springs, and view the Roman quarries (Les Grottes).