Day 1: Arrival in Tunis. Arrival to Tunis airport, assistance and transfer to Tunis, dinner accommodation at your hotel.
Day 2: Tunis - Carthage – Bardo-Sidi Bou Saîd - Tunis
Depart to the ancient city of Carthage founded by a Phoenician princess, visit of the Byrsa Hill with its vestiges of Carthaginian and Roman buildings, and the Antonine Baths, a huge Roman bath complex on the edge of the Mediterranean. Continuation to the picturesque Andalusian village Sidi Bou Said. It is a delightful place for a leisurely stroll through its winding cobbled streets. Its trademark white walls, contrasting sky blue doors and ornate window grids make for wonderful photography. Next visit of the Bardo Tunisia’s National Museum with it’s archaeological collections including the world’s largest collection of Roman polychrome mosaics. It is housed in a 19th century Beylical palace, and was the first museum to be founded in Africa National Museum, then free time at the Médina (old town ). At the end of the day, transfer back to your hotel in Tunis dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 3: Tunis–Bizerte-Tabarka
Depart for the north coast to Bizerte, where you will explore the city’s old port, take a picture of the Great Mosque with its octagonal minaret and see the Kasbah, which dates back to the 17th century. Continue to Tabarka, the capital of cork industry and where the sea and mountains elegantly merge, a seaside resort tucked in between the ocean and the mountains, stop to explore the “needles” Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 4: Tabarka-Ain Draham-Bulla Regia –Dougga-Hammamet
Departure of the hotel, stop in Ain Draham, with it’s unique buildings having sloped roofs, designed to cope with the winter snows that are common in the mountains. We continue to the ruins of Bulla Regia. The ruins here are unusual as they reveal the Romans adopting the local custom of building their homes underground to avoid the heat. In addition to the subterranean mansions, the site also contains a theater, baths and a temple to Isis, an Egyptian goddess who the Romans thought it fashionable to worship at the time. Continue to Dougga to view what are widely held to be the best ruins in all of Tunisia. In addition to Roman and Byzantine structures, Dougga also has a pre-Carthaginian mausoleum. The town was actually inhabited until the 1950’s when the locals were relocated down the road to Nouvelle Dougga in an effort to preserve the ruins. At the end of the day departure for Hammamet, Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 5: Hammamet –Kairaoun-Sbeitla-Gafsa
Depart to Kairouan; this city remains a purely Arab city filled with outstanding examples of the finest Islamic architecture in Tunisia: Visit the Great Mosque, the oldest place of worship in North Africa, and the zaouia, or tomb complex, of Sidi Sahab, a companion of the Prophet. We will see the impressive pools at Aghlabid Basins, built in the 9th century to collect and store winter rainwater. Then free time to stroll into the medina (old town), the ancient marketplace encircled by 11th-century walls. Continue to Sbeitla to view its remnants of the Roman Empire. The small town of Sbeitla is the site of the ancient city of Sufetula and possesses some of the best preserved Roman temples anywhere. In addition to temples dedicated to the Roman gods Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the site also has 2 early Christian basilicas and an extensive bath complex with a remarkably sophisticated system for heating the floors.Continue to Gafsa, dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 6: Gafsa-Chébika-Tamerza Midès-Tozeur
Morning at leisure or you can take an optional 4WD excursion: It’s a discovery extra ($) tour to the mountain oases, where many of the scenes of "The English Patient” were filmed. You’ll drive south into some of the country’s most spectacular mountain scenery, visit the mountain oasis of Tamerza, along with Mides and Chebika, In ancient days the village of Heike was called Ad speculum after the Roman troops who communicated by mirror. The towns were flooded in 1969 in freak torrential rains and were later abandoned. The original villages are now “ghost’ towns. These villages continue with the old tiered oasis-style of cultivation of crops – vegetables are grown under pomegranate and orange trees which in turn are grown under date palms. Arrive in Tozeur, visit the old town little changed since the 14th century when it was built. This quarter is famous for the unique decorative architecture in brick with exuberant towering facades patterned in bas-relief zigzags. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel. After dinner you can enjoy an optional ($) visit to the museum of Tunisian traditions in the Dar Cherait complex.
Day 7: Tozeur-Nefta-Chott-El Djerid -Douz-Matmata
After breakfast we’ll travel to the small, remote town of Nefta. This peaceful oasis, with a crater-like depression planted with palm trees in its centre, is crowned with the white domes of numerous Zaouias (holy sanctuaries). We'll visit the old quarter with its distinctive architecture and observe, through ancient doorways, the looms and rugs that provide a living for most of the people. After, we'll drive to cross the Chott El Jerid. This chott (flat, dry salt lake) is the largest in Tunisia and only becomes an inner sea during the winter rains. Most of the year it is a salty and dry marsh with the light reflected from the crystal surface creating mirages.
Continue to Douz; a typical desert village. Douz is a maze of sand-coloured homes, narrow streets, a central marketplace and palm-filled oases. Here you have the opportunity (optional $) to have a camel ride passing through deserted landscape and picturesque sand dunes. Continue to Matmata, of Star Wars notoriety, but more importantly, center of the most extensive number of traditional troglodyte pit homes in the region. The landscape is barren and marked with fissures, crags and small tabletop mountains. The Berber people built these simple underground dwellings to escape the extremes of weather and any unwelcome invaders, to get a feel for troglodyte living visit of one of these dwelling caves, then visit the hotel Sidi Driss, where scenes from the Lars homestead in Star Wars were filmed. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 8: Matmata-Medenine-Chenini-Tataouine
Departure to Medenine; a well-known Berber village famed for its Ghorfas, a fascinating dwelling once used by the nomad tribes, visit the ghorfas, ancient wheat granaries built in the rocks. Drive to Ksar Hadada, one of the most picturesque ksour, (a ksar is a Berber granary). It was built to store and protect barley, wheat, and olive oil. The ksar is made of stone, gypsum, and mud. The ksar is built of overlapping vaults stacked on top of each other, so it looks like the scales of a fish. It was also used as a movie set for Star Wars 1 - The Phantom Menace.
Afterwards, we'll drive to visit the village of Chenini, perched on the top of a dizzying ridge, and one of the few Berber-speaking villages still inhabited. This village is embedded in the mountains and is a most magnificent site; the white mosque is the only architectural element that stands out among the troglodytes and the ghorfas. Continue to Tataouine, one of the most picturesque cities of the South-East. Tataouine is surrounded by Ksours and fortresses jutting out of the mountain, once used to store food essentials such as cereals, olive oil and dried fruit away from the enemy. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 9: Tataouine-Djebra
After breakfast, visit of the city of Tataouine and its marketplace. Departure to the island of Djerba by driving along El Kantara, known as the Roman road. Djerba Island is a genuine garden in the sea which attracted Ulysses and his friends nearly 3,000 years ago. The typical architecture of the white menzels has made the island an irresistible watercolour. You’ll explore the picturesque Guellala, famous for its beautiful pottery, El Ghriba synagogue, home to the world’s oldest Sefer Torah, Houmt Souk; the island's capital; the main town of Djerba known for its fabulous souk. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 10: Djerba. Full day at leisure or you can take an optional ($) tour to the Pink Flamingo Island, a 45-minute boat ride off the Djerba coast, this Island completely secluded, it has pristine, white sand beaches and sea of the deepest emerald green. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel
Day 11: Djerba-Gabès-El Jem –Sousse
Departure to Gabès, the main attraction in the city centre is the souk (Souk Jara) area where locals sell fruit and vegetables, spices, dried fish and mounds of green henna for which the city is renowned, visit of the souks and market spices. Continue to El Jem (ancient Thysdrus) to visit the largest and most spectacular Roman amphitheater in North Africa and the best preserved in the world. This colossal edifice (classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which seems to rise out of nowhere, was designed with seating for 30,000 people and is similar to Rome’s Coliseum. In the small archaeological museum, see the gorgeous collection of mosaics. Visit the remains of Roman villas behind the museum. From El Jem, we drive to Monastir where you will admire the Bourguiba Mausoleum. Continue along the coast to the resort of Port El Kantaoui, a modern seaside resort (Marina). Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 12: Sousse. Enjoy a free day stay in your hotel in Sousse. (You can explore the centre of Sousse, there are a number of shops and restaurants, you can also visit the local medina. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 13: Departure. Assistance and transfer to the airport for your back flight.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Tunisia History Whiz Archeology/History
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