Day 1: Arrive Tunis. Land at Tunis International Airport under your own arrangements (We recommend the flights offered by British Airways from London Gatwick). On arrival you will be met by a M20394 representative and transferred to your hotel. Accommodation: Stay for 5 nights at the Dar Said Hotel (Standard Room)/The Residence Hotel (Sea View Room).
Day 2: Carthage and Sidi Bou Said. Begin the day with a guided tour of the ruins of ancient Carthage. The fame of this ancient city and capital of an empire once resounded across the ancient world. Here Dido wept for Aeneas, Hannibal set forth to conquer Rome, and St Perpetua was tossed by bulls. Visits will include Byrsa Hill, the Tophet, the Punic Ports and Antonine Baths. Following lunch visit Sidi Bou Said, perched high on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the most picturesque villages in Tunisia.
Day 3: Tunis and The Bardo Museum. An immersion in medieval North Africa awaits you this morning when you visit the thronging souqs and grand monuments inside Tunis’s walled medina. Discover the beautiful Zitouna mosque; the covered glittering gold souq; and the lavishly sculpted 18th century royal mausoleum, the Tourbet el Bey. After lunch in an beautiful old house, continue to Tunis’ famed Bardo Museum where a world class collection of brilliantly executed Roman mosaics and sculpture is on display.
Day 4: Bulla Regia and Dougga. Some of the greatest treasures of the Roman world lie inland from Tunis in what was the ancient province (and former kingdom) of Numidia. First visit Bulla Regia, once capital of the 2nd century Numidian king Micipsa, and see the well preserved Roman underground villas; then this afternoon continue to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dougga, and explore what are arguably the finest Roman ruins in Tunisia.
Day 5: Hammamet, Nabeul, Kerkouane. Drive to Hammamet this morning for a walking tour through its small but strikingly attractive medina, then continue to Nabeul the centre of Tunisia’s colourful pottery industry. Next, drive to Kerkouane located near the tip of the Cape Bon peninsula. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is of supreme importance to archaeologists as it is the most complete example of a Punic (Carthaginian) settlement.
Day 6: Thuburbo Majus, Zaghouan, Arrive Sousse. Today visit the Roman ruins of Thuburbo Majus, a fine example of a provincial African city, and the Temple of the Waters at Zaghouan, then drive to the coastal city of Sousse stopping for lunch (payable locally) at Port El Kantaoui marina en route. Sousse is noted for its white sandy beaches and impressive walled UNESCO World Heritage listed medina. This afternoon explore Sousse’s old city and Ribat fortress. Accommodation: Stay for 2 nights at the Movenpick Resort & Marine Spa (Sea View Room)/Movenpick Resort & Marine Spa (Sea View Room).
Day 7: Mahdia and Monastir. Today, visit the scenic whitewashed town Mahdia located on a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. The town is named after Obaid Allah, the founder of the Fatimid dynasty known as the ‘Mahdi’, who moved his capital to Mahdia in 916. Further up the coast is medieval Monastir. On arrival, visit the Ribat fortress and Habib Bourguiba’s (the first President of Tunisia) impressive mausoleum with its 18 carat central golden dome, then return to Sousse.
Day 8: El Djem, Arrive Kairouan. Drive to El Djem this morning to see the magnificent Roman amphitheatre. The structure is in a better state of preservation that the Coliseum in Rome and has huge outer walls rising to a height of three stories. El Djem’s museum, home to a magnificent collection of mosaics, is another highlight. Next, continue to Kairouan; a city that was founded in 670 AD and is venerated as the fourth holiest city in the Muslim world. This afternoon there will be a walking tour of historic souqs and monuments of Kairouan’s medina, and a visit to the Mosque of the Barber and Aghlabid pools lying outside the walls. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the La Kasbah Hotel (Standard Room)/La Kasbah Hotel (Standard Room).
Day 9: Kairouan, Sbeitla. Arrive Tamerza. Continue your Kairouan sightseeing this morning with a visit to the fortress-like Great Mosque of Obka with its distinctive square minaret, then drive into the pre-desert to Sbeitla. On arrival explore the extensive honey-coloured ruins of Roman Sufetula which include one of the most instantly recognisable views in the country: that of three well preserved Capitoline temples facing a Triumphal Arch of Marcus Aurelius. This afternoon drive south to the mountain oasis of Tamerza. Accommodation: Stay for 2 nights at the Tamerza Palace Hotel (Traditional Room)/Tamerza Palace Hotel (Contemporary Room).
Day 10: Lezard Rouge Train, Mountain Oases of Mides, Tamerza, Chebika. Drive to Metlaoui and board the 19th century former Beylical train, the ‘Lézard Rouge’, for a dramatic journey through narrow gorges to Seldja. On arrival, disembark and continue by car into the mountains to visit the oasis of Mides where the abandoned and crumbing old town clings to a clifftop overlooking a deep chasm. Next, continue the short distance to Tamerza to see its lovely waterfall, then following a picnic lunch in the oasis, visit Chebika – arguably the most scenic of the mountain oases.
Day 11: Tozeur, Chott el Djerid, Arrive Ksar Ghilane. Following an early start arrive at Tozeur, once one of the great gateways to the Sahara. Walk through the lanes of Tozeur’s old Ouled Hadef quarter with its distinctive patterned brickwork, then drive across the immense expanse of the Chott el Djerid salt pans and through the rocky hammada desert to the remote oasis of Ksar Ghilane on the edge of the Saharan sand sea. Late this afternoon journey across the dunes on camelback and enjoy a sunset drink overlooking the seemingly endless rippling sands. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Yadis Desert Camp (Tent)/Yadis Desert Camp (Tent).
Day 12: Matmata, Ksar Ouled Soltane. Arrive Tataouine. This morning drive to Matmata to see the sunken troglodytic houses, or haouch hafera, which were developed to combat the extremes of the local climate, and were featured in George Lucas’ film Star Wars. Next, continue to the former Foreign Legionnaire base of Tataouine, then late this afternoon, visit the curious fortified honeycomb-like granary of Ksar Ouled Soltane – another Star Wars film location and one of the best preserved ksar in southern Tunisia. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Sangho Hotel (Standard Room)/Sangho Hotel (Standard Room).
Day 13: Ksar Hedada, Chenini, Douiret, Medenine Gigthis. Arrive Djerba. Begin the day at the extensive and well preserved fortified granary of Ksar Hedada, then drive to Chenini, a picturesque fortified village built on a cliff-face in one of the most beautiful situations in Tunisia. Next visit Douiret, a settlement that some say resembles an ant heap on account of its numerous cave dwellings; then continue to Medenine and explore its ksour (fortified granaries). Late this afternoon cross over to the island of Djerba visiting the Roman port of Gigthis en route. Accommodation: Stay for 2 nights at the Dar Dhiafa Hotel (Junior Suite)/Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso (Deluxe Sea View Room).
Day 14: Djerba. The relaxed olive clad island of Djerba is justly famous for its wonderful beaches and attractive whitewashed houses; it is also noted for its small and ancient Jewish community, and as the mythical home of the Lotus Eaters in Homer’s Odyssey. This morning’s sightseeing will take you to the pottery centre of Guellala, where the streets are piled high with colourful decorated ceramics, then onto the Ghriba synagogue, and will conclude with a tour Djerba’s small capital: Houmt Souk. The afternoon will be at leisure.
Day 15: Farewell to Tunisia. Transfer to Djerba Airport and fly to Tunis International Airport.
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