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Punic Town of Kerkouane and its Necropolis (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

10 Awesome Day Trips From Tunis

The Best Day Trips From Tunis

If you’re visiting Tunis, chances are you will explore the UNESCO Tunis Medina, marvel at the massive mosaic collection at the National Bardo Museum, and stroll through Tunis’ Ville Nouvelle (New Town). In this article, we want to get outside the Tunis capital and share a few of our favourite day trips from Tunis.

  1. Carthage
  2. Sidi Bou Said
  3. Bizerte
  4. Dougga
  5. Zaghouan
  6. Cap Bon
  7. Takrouna
  8. Oudna
  9. Hammamet
  10. Sousse

1. Day Trip to Carthage

From Tunis, you just need to head eastbound to leave the city and you’ll arrive at one of the oldest and most significant historical sites in North Africa. Carthage was once the capital city of the Ancient Carthage civilization, which then later became Roman Carthage.

Antonine Baths at the Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Antonine Baths at the Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Ruins of Antonine Baths at the Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Ruins of Antonine Baths at the Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Many first-time visitors in Tunisia mistaken Carthage to be one single site where you can freely walk around by foot and explore its entirety. Unlike other archaeological sites in Tunisia, the historical sites of Carthage are spread throughout the city. In fact, your entrance ticket to Carthage includes 10 sites to visit, and there are still other sites in Carthage that you can explore on your own.

We wrote a comprehensive article outlining some of the must-see historical sites in Carthage: Carthage: A Guide to the Historical Site

We recommend spending at least a half-day exploring the highlights of Carthage. You will need a full day if you insist on visiting all the sites in Carthage that are open to the public. Unless you like the idea of taxi hopping 10 times in a day, we do not recommend taking a taxi to visit Carthage. Exploring Carthage with a tour guide and a private vehicle will help you get the most out of your experience. Almost all of our private Tunisia tours typically include a guided tour of Carthage, and that has been consistently a highlight for our customers who are history enthusiasts.

Carthage Amphitheater
Carthage Amphitheater

2. Day Trip to Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said is conveniently located only about 20 km northeast of Tunis. From Tunis downtown, you can expect to reach Sidi Bou Said in about 25 minutes by car if there is no traffic. Getting stuck in the Tunis traffic can extend the trip to about 45 minutes or even up to 1 hour.

The small and beautiful Andalusian-style seaside neighbourhood of Sidi Bou Said is known as Tunisia’s blue-and-white village. It is beautifully situated at the top of a cliff which overlooks the turquoise Mediterranean Sea below. The whitewashed homes and blue ornate doors bears a resemblance to the Santorini island in Greece.

You also should try the popular snack called ‘bambalooni’ which is a fried doughnut that is coated with sugar. Sidi Bou Said is not only a popular destination for tourists, it is also a popular weekend hangout spot for many Tunisians living in the city. It is a great place to visit for a casual stroll, or for artistic inspiration, or to simply enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while soaking up the picturesque view.

matthew douz sahara festival tour dec 2022 - sidi bou said
Visit Café des Délices (Café Sidi Chabaane) for the iconic postcard perfect view of Sidi Bou Said
Remember to try the ‘bambalooni’ at Sidi Bou Said

3. Day Trip to Bizerte

Located about one hour north of Tunis, a visit to the city of Bizerte makes a perfect day trip to this hidden Mediterranean gem. The must-see site in Bizerte is its Old Port which dates back to the 17th century. It is conveniently located in the city centre which makes it the ideal meeting spot for locals. It is always a highlight to sit down at one of the several seafood restaurants along the canal and enjoy a deliciously cooked meal with the fresh catch of the day. If you’re not into seafood, then it is also an enjoyable experience to take a nice stroll along the canal and stop at a cafe for a cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy the spectacular view with the parked boats and ships in the canal, and the mixture of old architecture and a vast array of coloured buildings in the background.

While you’re driving north from Tunis to Bizerte, you might want to stop at Utica to visit its archaeological site and museum.

Bonus: If you’ve decided to make a day trip to Bizerte, then you might also want to consider making an additional stop to Cape Angela which is the northernmost point in Africa.

Bizerte Port

4. Day Trip to Dougga

Located about a two hours drive away from Tunis, the archaeological site of Dougga is well worth visiting. Not only has Dougga been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the archaeological site of Dougga is also considered as the best preserved Roman small town in North Africa. That title is not to be taken lightly as there are many Roman small towns spread throughout North Africa.

The archaeological site of Dougga covers 65 hectares, which is equivalent to 160 acres. Walking through this well-preserved ancient city will feel as if you are walking back in time. It is phenomenal to identify the many well-preserved monuments in Dougga which points to its rich history involving Numidian-Berber, Punic, ancient Roman, and Byzantine history.

Claude and Marie-Anne at Dougga - Tunisia Tour Nov 2022
Capitol at Dougga
Amphitheater of Dougga - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Amphitheater of Dougga

5. Day Trip to Zaghouan

Located less than 60 KM away from Tunis, the city of Zaghouan is spread over the northern slope of Mount Zaghouan, which makes it a popular hiking destination among Tunisians. There are a number of trails and we recommend hiking at Zaghouan with a hiking guide.

Besides hiking, there is a Roman aqueduct at Zaghouan that is considered to have been built during the ruling of Hadrian in the 2nd century BC. This ancient aqueduct was once used to supply water from Zaghouan to Carthage over its canal network which is more than 130 kilometers long.

While at Zaghouan, you will also want to visit the Temple of Water. Here you will find the Small Temple and the Great Basin. The temple has been preserved in great condition. The missing statue in the small temple can be found in the display at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Zaghouan Hiking Trail
Zaghouan Hiking Trail
Temple of Water at Zaghouan
Temple of Water at Zaghouan

6. Day Trip to Cap Bon

Cap Bon is a peninsula located in North-Eastern Tunisia that is worth exploring as a day trip from Tunis. It takes about a 2 hours drive to travel from Tunis to the tip of the peninsula where El Haouaria is located. Here lies the Roman Grottoes of “Ghar el Kébir” where you can explore the ancient quarries that were once used by the Romans for prisoners and slaves. It is also at this tip of the peninsula where red and yellow sandstone were extracted and transported to Carthage for its construction.

While in Cap Bon, you should visit the Punic town of Kerkuane which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city was abandoned after the First Punic War and was never reoccupied, thus the remains of this city is considered to be the world’s best example of a Carthaginian city. The layout of the streets, houses, and workshops are still clearly intact after over 2000 years for travellers to see.

Another site to visit while in Cap Bon is the Korbous hot spring. The town of Korbous is built on the mountainside in Cap Bon, and is known for its natural hot spring which has temperatures reaching over 50°C. If you are interested in soaking in the Korbou hot spring, you may want to consider extending your day trip to an overnight trip by staying at one of the hotels in Korbous.

Bonus: If you’ve decided to make a day trip to Cap Bon, then you might also want to consider visiting the largest and oldest olive tree in Tunisia which is located in Cap Bon.

Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Punic Town of Kerkouane and its Necropolis (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
El Haouaria at Cap Bon
The Roman Grottes at El Haouaria

7. Day Trip to Takrouna

The Amazigh (Berber) village of Takrouna is located just 110 kilometers south of Tunis. The majority of the Amazigh (Berber) villages are located in Southern Tunisia. If you do not have enough time in your Tunisia trip to explore the south, then a visit to Takrouna will give you a glimpse into the fascinating history, culture and architecture of the Amazigh (Berber).

One of the most fascinating architecture design you will notice are the dome-shaped rooftops that are traditionally stone-cut.

The village of Takrouna is perched atop a cliff, which makes it a popular destination among photographers. Climb to the top of the village to be rewarded with a birds eye view of the village with a panoramic view of the farming plains sweeping out in all directions below.

There are only a few families that still live in the village today. A few houses are open for visitors to enter for a close-up look at the traditional village interior decoration. There is also a small café that serves simple local dishes.

The Berber Village of Takrouna

8. Day Trip to Oudna (Uthina)

Most travellers visiting Tunisia are looking forward to seeing the El Jem Amphitheater, which once seated 35,000 spectators. Since it is located about a 2.5 hours drive away from Tunis, not all travellers can manage to visit this iconic site. But don’t worry! Located just a 45 minutes drive outside of Tunis is the archaeological site of Oudna, also known as Uthina. Here lies the Uthina amphitheater which once seated about 16,000 spectators. It has been very well preserved and you can fully access the various levels of the amphitheater. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that the amphitheater is half dug into a hill.

There’s more than just the amphitheater at the Oudna archeological site. You can also visit the Capitol and other historic ruins of this ancient Roman-Berber city.

Here is a video we took of the Oudna archaeological site:

https://youtu.be/ujMCvaAhgMU

 

9. Day Trip to Hammamet

The coastal city of Hammamet is one of the most visited cities in Tunisia. Known for the beautiful pristine beaches, there are many beach resorts with luxurious amenities and all-inclusive options for travellers to enjoy. Hammamet is located about 65 KM away from Tunis, so it makes a good location to visit for a day trip at the beach.

While in Hamammet, you can also explore its Medina which dates back to around the year 1500. The Kasbah of Hammamet is even older and dates back to the 12th century. Inside the Kasbah are some ancient cannons, a mausoleum, and other remnants. Remember to climb to the upper level of the Kasbah for an iconic view of Hammamet. Just outside the Medina is the famous Café Sidi Bouhdid. This is a popular spot among locals and tourists to enjoy the gorgeous sea view while sipping on a cup of coffee or tea.

10. Day Trip to Sousse

It takes about a 2 hours drive to reach the coastal city of Sousse from Tunis. Similar to Hammamet, Sousse is also known for its pristine white sand beaches and beach resort hotels. However, you the extensive history of Sousse dates back even further to approximately 800 BC.

The Medina of Sousse has been recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. The construction of this Medina was one of the earliest constructions after the Islamic conquest in the Maghreb. Thus, the fortifications and buildings found in the Sousse Medina are good representation of the architecture of the early centuries of Islam in the Maghreb. Within the Medina, you will find the Great Mosque of Sousse which dates back to 850 AD. You will also find the Ribat, which is a monastery fortress dating back to the 8th century. Remember to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the Sousse Medina.

While in Sousse, it is also worthwhile to spend time exploring the Sousse Archaeological Museum. The museum is located within the Kasbah, the fortified quarter of the city. The museum hosts an extensive collection of mosaics and artifacts. Among the mosaics, the “head of Medusa” mosaic and the “Neptune” mosaics are quite remarkable. There are also a great collection of Christian artifacts which were extracted from several underground catacombs in Sousse which were once used Christians to worship underground to avoid persecution.

Plan Your Day Trips From Tunis

Enhance your visit to the Tunis capital with some of the above recommended day trips from Tunis. One of the best ways to explore these day trips from Tunis is on a private tour with your own English-speaking guide and a private vehicle. Let us handle all the planning and logistics while you enjoy your time in Tunisia!

Contact one of our Tunisia Travel Experts to start planning a hassle-free holiday to Tunisia. You can also browse through some of our popular Tunisia tour itineraries such as our 14-day tour or our 11-day tour. We can also fully customize a Tunisia tour itinerary that meets your travel preferences.

jmok@mosaicnorthafrica.com

Joshua Mok works as the Sales and Marketing Manager. He loves to travel and has visited 25 countries so far. Joshua currently lives on the island of Djerba in Southern Tunisia, where he is committed to helping others to explore and experience this beautiful country through our private Tunisia tours.

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