I've done my fair share of raving about Tunisia - and it's certainly gained some international attention lately with the ousting of President Ben Ali and all its consequences. And while there are still some travel warnings current at the moment, I suspect things are getting calmer there and it won't be crazy to think about planning a backpacking trip of a lifetime there. Backpacking around Tunisia for a couple of weeks remains one of my all-time favourite trips and I thought I'd share my route with you in case I've convinced you that it's a must-see destination!
|The Ribat in Monastir (can you spot me?)|
I should warn you that this was a pretty hectic fortnight or so - but two weeks (and a bit, I think) were all I had for my Christmas holidays while living in Bratislava. Slowing this itinerary down would make it an even better trip. So, here's the route I took around Tunisia:
- Flew into Tunis (probably most flights would, although I think from Europe you'll get flights to "beach" destinations like Djerba too?) - explored the Bardo Museum and the souk/markets.
- Took a short train trip to Sidi Bou Said (I actually spent Christmas here) - it's all white and blue like some of those towns in the Greek islands.
- Also visited Carthage (yes, super historical!) which is nearby.
- Headed down to Monastir on the coast. I gather that at peak times this could be a bit "beach touristy" but it was off season. Home to a famous "ribat" (fort) - used in Monty Python films!
- Took the train a little further south to El Jem, home to a fantastic colosseum (better than Rome's, I think!)
- Continued further south to Matmata - home to many of the bizarre places used in the Star Wars films and actually worth visiting even as (like me) a total non-Star Wars fan - incredible landscapes and architecture including underground hotels.
- Headed further inland to Douz on the edge of the Sahara, managed to time it to see the Sahara Festival (with incredible camel races!) and do some desert trekking.
- South again to Tataouine (a name Star Wars fans will recognise) but ditto as for Matmata.
- Out to the island of Djerba to stay in its main town, Houmt Souq - a beautiful old fort and a fishing village atmosphere (but same warning on summertime tourists applies).
- Way back up north (via Tunis, in fact) to go to Dougga, home to incredible Roman ruins.
- Back to Tunis, into the Zitouna Mosque and finally, back to Tunis airport.
|My camel for the day stepping out in the Sahara Desert|
Map courtesy of Wikitravel