If you're looking for a destination with an astounding collection of ancient ruins, fantastic beaches, verdant mountains, dramatic desert dunes, gorgeous Islamic architecture, rich culture, and warm, welcoming people, then Tunisia has your ticket. Sandwiched between behemoths Libya and Algeria, Tunisia is a pint-sized North African jewel that packs a powerful tourism punch. You'll enjoy exploring the country's many casbahs; shed a tear over the lost glory that was Carthage; be awed by its impressive Roman ruins and mosaics; and you'll feel a sense of déjà vu visiting the filming locations for classics such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, and The English Patient. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Anthony Minghella had good reason to choose Tunisia given its inherent cinematic qualities. For this reason and many more, you should choose it, too.
The following sample itinerary is for an 11-day excursion that will immerse you in Tunisia's venerable history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture.
❊ - indicates a UNESCO World Heritage Site
DAY 1 - Arrive at Tunis-Carthage International Airport
-Our representative will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel.
-Rest of the day free to rest and acclimate.
DAY 2 - Tunis
Note: Every day your guide and driver will meet you after breakfast.
-Start your day at the world-famous National Bardo Museum, home to the finest collections of ancient Roman mosaics in the world.
-Next, your guide will lead you on a guided tour of Tunis' Casbah* (Old City) culminating in a gourmet lunch in a historic riad (mansion).
-After lunch you'll stroll along modern Tunis' famed Avenue Bourguiba before visiting the ruins of the doomed city of Carthage*, destroyed by the Romans in 146 BCE.
-Spoil yourself with a Turkish bath and massage at your luxury hotel in the Casbah.
DAY 3 - Tunis - Kairouan
-Depart Tunis for Dougga*, which boasts over 160 acres of some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the country.
-Head to the city of Makhtar, known in the Roman era as "Mactaris." Like Dougga, Makhtar is home to an impressive array of Roman ruins, including archways, temples, and amphitheaters.
-Arrive that afternoon in the Holy City of Kairouan, the first Arab/Islamic capital of Tunisia founded in 671 CE and the 4th holiest city in Islam after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. Kairouan is famous for its Great Mosque, religious shrines, and seemingly endless narrow lanes and alleyways. The city appealed to Steven Spielberg so much that he used it as a stand-in for Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
-Take an evening stroll with your guide through the historic city center before retiring for the night.
DAY 4 - Kairouan
-First stop is the Great Mosque of Kairouan (670 CE), one of the oldest mosques in the world and a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
-Next, you'll learn about Kairouan's ancient water storage system at the Aghlabid Basins (862 CE) before heading to Bir Barrouta (8th century CE), a holy well the faithful believe to be connected to the sacred spring of Zamzam in Mecca.
-Visit the Shrine of Abou Zamaa el-Balaoui, a mausoleum for one of the Prophet Muhammad's companions killed in 654 CE fighting the Amazigh (Berbers). The current shrine is a 17th-century testament to Ottoman-Tunisian architecture.
-Explore Kairouan's souqs (markets), known for their ceramics, sweets, and carpets.
-In the afternoon take a short side trip to the amphitheater of El Jem* (238 CE), the largest Roman arena in North Africa and a rival to the Colosseum in terms of grandeur.
DAY 5 - Kairouan - Tozeur
-Depart Kairouan for the Saharan town of Tozeur. En route you'll stop at Sbeïtla, an incredible archeological site testifying to Rome's enduring presence in Tunisia.
-Continue on to Tozeur, a massive oasis with 200 springs and 400,000 palms.
DAY 6 - Tozeur
-Drive to the desert gorge at Midès, a scenic canyon featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as well as The English Patient.
-Admire nearby Tamerza's desert waterfalls and the oasis of Chebika.
-Next, visit the historic town of Nefta, an important center of Sufism, before venturing over Saharan dunes to visit the rock formation at Ong Jamal and The Phantom Menace set of Mos Espa.
-End your day with a walk through Tozeur's historic center and lush palm groves.
DAY 7 - Tozeur - Ksar Ghilane
-Travel through the expansive salt flats of Chott El-Jerid en route to the remote Saharan outpost of Ksar Ghilane.
-Settle into your luxury tented campsite before taking a camel ride to Ksar Ouled Soltane, an ancient Roman fort.
-Lounge by the pool; enjoy a splendid dinner; and stargaze to your heart's content.
DAY 8 - Ksar Ghilane - Djerba Island
-Depart Ksar Ghilane for Djerba Island, stopping in Matmata, famous for its troglodytic homes, including Luke Skywalker's from Star Wars.
-Next, visit the hilltop caravan ghost town of Ksar Medenine with its multi-storied adobe houses.
-Arrive in Djerba, Odysseus' Island of the Lotus Eaters, home to an ancient Jewish community dating back to 586 BCE, and a former haven for Barbary Pirates.
DAY 9 - Djerba Island
-Tour the Jewish village of Er-Riadh with its renowned El Ghriba synagogue. The current structure dates from the 1920s, but an active synagogue has existed on the site for over 2,000 years.
-Visit the town of Guellala. If you're a fan of pottery, then you'll love Djerba's ceramics center with over 450 potters devoted to their art.
-Your guide will then take you on a guided tour through the whitewashed old city of Djerba's largest town, Houmt Souk, home to some of the island's best markets.
-End your tour of Houmt Souk with a visit to the port's 16th-century fortress of Burdj El-Kebir.
DAY 10 - Djerba Island - Sidi Bou Saïd
-Enjoy a leisurely morning swimming in Djerba's turquoise blue waters and sunbathing on one of its lovely beaches.
-Take a one-hour flight to Tunis where you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the charming seaside suburb of Sidi Bou Saïd.
-Spend the afternoon taking in the town's whitewashed houses, vividly colored doors and windows, and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Tunis.
-Enjoy a farewell dinner on the last night of your trip.
DAY 11 - Depart for Home
-We will transfer you to Tunis-Carthage International Airport for your flight home.
INCLUDED WITH ANTIQUE LANDS' CUSTOM JOURNEYS: