When planning a trip to Tunisia, we know that Tunis and ancient Carthage are highly suggested cities to check out, but there’s more to see in the country beyond these. Tunisia has an impressive collection of small towns with unique personalities and charms. From architectural marvels to centuries old ruins, here are some of the most charming small towns of Tunisia.
Sidi Bou Said
Did you know that there is a spot in the country that will make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon one of the Greek islands? Sidi Bou Said is a short drive outside of Tunis and is recognized for its iconic painted blue and white buildings throughout the town. During the 1950s, the town became a popular hang out for artists and bohemians looking to unwind from busier cities. The well-known celebs that used to spend their days in Sidi Bou Said include Paul Klee, Gustave-Henri Jossot, Michel Foucault and Aleister Crowley. Walk along its main street and you’ll find an outdoor market selling everything from homemade trinkets, to potteries, to musical instruments.
Suggested hotel: La Villa Bleue
Get your history fix at Dougga to see ancient ruins that are still open for tourists to explore. Dougga is considered to be the most well-preserved Roman town in all of Africa and is located right outside of the small town of Teboursouk in northern Tunisia. The ruins date back to 6 B.C. in the Numidian era. Today, visitors can see the still-standing theater, roman baths, marketplace, statues, arches, mausoleum and tombs. There is a circus location where visitors can see long strips of road that were used for chariot races. The theater (pictured above) is in such a good condition that concerts and performances are still held there on occasions.
Suggested hotel: Hotel Thugga
Kairouan is considered a holy city, thanks to its world famous Great Mosque of Uqba that’s located in the heart of the city. The mosque is considered one of the most important sites for Sunni Muslims after Mecca and Medina. The area is rich in ancient architecture that dates back to the year 670. Tourists are permitted to visit the famous mosque on select days, but non-Muslim visitors are not permitted in the prayer rooms. While there, visit the Medina (souk) for a maze-like adventure through historic, narrow, walled streets to shop, dine and learn about local cultures.
Suggested Hotel: Hotel La Kasbah
If this town reminds you of something straight out of Star Wars, that’s because it is. Matmata’s unique landscape was used as a backdrop and filming location for the series. The small Berber town has a tiny population of a little over 2,000 residents, but continues to draw tourists for its extraordinary architecture of cave-like houses found in pockets of cliffs. Visitors can explore some of these homes that are open to the public as well as visit sites that were filmed for the making of some of the Star Wars movies. You too, can experience what it’s like to stay in one of the dug out homes by staying at the luxury Aubuerge Tamezret Hotel.
Suggested Hotel: Aubuerge Tamezret Hotel.
Stay by the mountains at Chebika in western Tunisia. Chebika is divided by two sections, a small abandoned old village that still stands in ruins and the newer city that lies adjacent to it. Hike up the nearby mountains and you’ll notice the old town strongly resembles the maze city in the film “Labyrinth” with its clay walls and confusing layout. The old town was abandoned after a flooding in the late 1960s but tourists can still explore the area, go for scenic hikes to see waterfalls and enjoy the marketplace in the newer Chebika.
Suggested Hotel: Dar Tozeur
Looking to stay close the water? Then consider Hammamet, a seaside town that’s famous for its abundance of jasmine plants found throughout the area (think how amazing it smells there). While a little on the big side of small, the town is located in the northern peninsula and guests love to take advantage of its beaches and high end resorts. There is a historic section of the town where visitors can go on an adventure through narrow streets with walls built in the 13th and 15th century. There, you’ll find a marketplace that sells multiple jasmine-themed souvenirs for you to take home.
Suggested Hotel: The Russelior Hotel & Spa
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