Solo Travel in Tunisia
Types of Girls about the Globe – History GatG, Movie GatG (Star Wars), Beach GatG, Desert GatG
You may feel intrepid about solo travel to Tunisia with the preconceived notion of having to cover yourself. The only time you need to cover yourself is if you entering a mosque. It is still respectful to dress conservatively but since the Tunisian Revolution in 2011 women are permitted to dress as they choose. There are still areas where women are predominately covered but generally only in rural areas.
Tunisia is predominately a Muslim country and the majority of people are polite and respectful. If you get lost or need anything there will always be someone who is keen to help. You may get some attention from others but this is no different from attention that you may receive on the Mediterranean.
If you spend time in the souks or walk past shops expect the sellers to try and get you into their shops. You will need to barter too.
Below is our guide to how to travel solo in Tunisia as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.
- Places To Visit in Tunisia
- Where To Stay in Tunisia
- Tunisia Tours
- Transportation in Tunisia
- Tunisia Itinerary
- Best Time To Go To Tunisia
- Travel Insurance For Tunisia
- Airports in Tunisia
- Travelling Onwards
- Facts About Tunisia
- Map of Tunisia
- Plan a Trip to Tunisia
Places To Visit in Tunisia
Tunisia is a country steeped in history. Located in North Africa between Algeria and Libya, the first traces of men here go back half a million years BC. So many nationalities have set foot in this country. The Phoencians, Turks, Spanish, and French are just some of the settlers who made their home in Tunisia.
It is even said to be the land where two mythical adventures were supposed to have taken place – both Jason and the Argonauts, and The Odyssey. The Berbers were an ethnic group native to North Africa who had a large impact on rural Tunisia and live in scattered communities around the country.
Tunisia is a beautiful country to visit with historic buildings, stunning tiled-buildings and the most colourful doorways you will ever see. From the olive trees in the Sahel to the salt lakes, there are so many places to see in Tunisia but not all of them are easily accessible to travellers. Below are our recommended things to do in Tunisia for solos.
Tunis is the capital of Tunisia with more than one million residents. The city has an urban culture with over hundreds of historical monuments. Its Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a colourful blend of trinkets, fabrics and spices within its ancient alleyways. Inside the historic walls are old palaces and mosques which entice you to visit.
The Al-Zaytuna Mosque is the oldest in the country and has a minaret 141 feet high. You can visit a small area of this beautiful mosque but make sure that your head, shoulders and knees are covered before you go inside. Step outside of the medina to see Bab el Bhar – a stone gate from the 1800s which was built by the French to mark the Old City and the new.
Kasbah Square plays an important part in Tunisia’s recent history and was where the protests took place during the 2011 Revolution. The government buildings here are an interesting mix of architecture.
There is a large entertainment centre in Tunis which has movies screens and restaurants and is a good place to keep yourself entertained during the evenings.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head north to La Marsa, an alternative place to stay. This was once the former summer capital and has stylish bookshops and cafes with a French flair. Stroll along the waterfront or spend some time on the beach. Next to La Marsa is Gammarth, a posh seaside resorts with some of the luxury hotels in Tunisia. It’s the place where you can sample the nightlife and hang out with the younger locals.
Belvedere Park (known as ‘The Green Lungs of Tunis’) is where you’ll find Tunisian families on the weekend and the ideal place to get a nature fix.
Sidi Bou Said
Sidi Bou Said is a short ride from La Marsa. This beautiful town which overlooks the sea is a mecca for artists. The whole area has a white and blue theme which was introduced by a French artists during the 1920’s.
On the weekends expect the cobbled streets to be full of locals enjoying a mint tea and soaking up the artistic vibe. If you are looking to buy a souvenir from your stay, this is the place to do it whilst you browse around the colourful stalls and market. Just don’t forget to barter. Sip a mint tea on one of the terraces whilst admiring the Mediterranean sea views before taking a look inside Ennejma Ezzahra, (the “House of the Baron”), a former palace residence with landscaped surroundings.
Another former palace is the Bardo Museum which is now one of the most important museums within the North African region. Learn how Tunisia makes its colourful tiles, the importance of its Arabic roots and how its capital was once one of the richest cities in the Islamic world. Allow 2 hours to wander around the impressive floors admiring the mosaics and statues.
The archaeological site of Carthage is a short taxi ride away from Sidi Bou Said. Carthage was founded in the 9th century BC and you can visit the archaeological site and the ruins for an insight into Roman and Punic history. This site isn't as impressive as others in the rest of the country but being so close to Tunis makes it worth seeing.
The north and north-east coast of Tunisia are surrounded by a mountain range and at one point Tunisia is only 140km from Sicily in Italy. It is thought that men could cross on foot from Sicily to Ras Addar in Cape Bon in 30,000 BC. Nowadays you can stay in one of the beach resorts here and admire the still shimmering water as you stare out to sea.
Kerkovane on Cape Bon was founded in 5/6th century BC, and it is the only place in Africa where you can find the original structures of a Punic City.
The salt lakes also belong to the northern landscapes and you can spot pink flamingoes amongst their rosy pink hue.
Roman Ruins Tunisia
Tunisia has so many UNESCO sites that you’ll need at least two weeks to see all of the countrys’ gems. The Amphitheatre of El Jem is one of the most stunning and is one of the largest of the ancient world. It was built in 238 AD and you can take tours to see it.
The Roman aqueduct is also impressive. These arches stretch 132km across the Miliare Wadi Valley. It is said that a Hafsid prince added the Barda diversion to bring water to his gardens of Tunis.
Dougga is one of the interesting places in Tunisia. A Romano-Berber city, it is home to the best-preserved Roman town in North Africa and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dougga is over 65 hectares of markets, and temples and recently-discovered tombs. Take a step back in history at the Licinian Baths with tunnels once used by slaves or the large Mausoleum.
If you are a beach GatG and prefer to spend your days at one of the coastal resorts then Hammamet is a good option. It was launched as a resort town nearly 100 years ago with hotels, a marina and a palm-tree lined promenade. It is a popular choice with package holiday makers and is a good destination to meet others. This area has a definite ‘relaxing holiday-feel’ to it with private beaches lined with bars, a ‘Wetherspoons’ and even a pirate ship. It also attracts golfers.
Outside of Hammamet is the International Cultural Centre (also known as George Sebastian House). It was built by a Romanian billionaire in the 1920s and has very cool architecture.
History GatGs may want to follow the coastline down to Sousse, a harbour town founded in the 9th century BC by the Phoenicians. The town is rich in history and culture with many archaeological remnants. The Archaeological Museum is within the medina and houses the second largest collection of mosaics in the world. A 3D Museum called Magiceye, isn't something that you would expect in Tunisia, but the optical illusions are a fun break from the history and culture.
Continue down to the coastline to Monastir, which was once visited by Julius Caesar. All of the big towns on the eastern coast were once used for defence and important ports including Monastir, Mahdia, and Sfax.
Monastir was where the first president of Tunisia was born, and its main attraction is ‘the Ribats,’ a chain of fortresses which stretch along the Tunisian coastline. It is said that they communicate via light signals.
Sfax is the second biggest city in the country and was founded in 849 AD. The city is protected by the shelter of its harbour and is ideal for souk shopping, getting lost in the Medina and visiting the Great Mosque.
Kairouan was the first political capital of moslem Tunisia. The Great Mosque, and Three Doors Mosque are sacred sites and other mosques in the North African region were built using this same style of architecture.
Star Wars fans will definitely want to include Matmata onto their itinerary. This small village in the south of Tunisia was the location setting for scenes of this famous movie. The Berbers created underground dwellings along the Matmata Plateau. Houses are built from sandstone and created from a pit in the ground instead of being built above. It is so unique, and apparently the houses adapt to the climate so the temperature remains mild in the winter.
The cave dwellings are a tourist site for movie lovers who travel south to see the home of Luke Skywalker (a hotel called Sidi Driss). You can either fly here, or take the train or bus to Gabes then take a louage (a shared minibus) to Matmata.
Not far from here is Djerba, another one of Tunisia’s favourite holiday spots. This beautiful island has more than 120kms of coastline and magnificent beaches. Called ‘The Golden Sands island’ it is perfect for sun seekers.
Civilisations such as the Romans, the Ottoman Empire, and the Spanish have left their mark on the island giving it a unique architectural heritage with more than 360 religious buildings including isolated mosques on the shorelines. Cultural GatGs should visit Guellala for its fascinating pottery history.
Tozeur is another town in the south of Tunisia. It is out of the way but this oasis is unspoilt by tourism and is a good base to take a tour to one of the nearby Saharan villages. You can also visit Chott El Jerid, a nearby large salt lake.
The city of Douz is the gateway to the Sahara (7 hours from Tunis). The oasis of Ksar Ghilene is the last stop of desert adventurers. You may think that the Sahara is all sand but it is also made up of rocks and stones. The English Patient was also filmed in Tunisia’s Sahara.
Other Places To Visit in Tunisia
Other places to visit in Tunisia are: Mahdia, a fishing village and old Punic port: Mides, a ghost village on the border of Algeria with deep gorges: Tamerza, the largest mountain oasis in the country which became a ghost village overnight during the floods in 1969: the small churches and forts of Byzantine: and the citadel in Le Kef.
Tabanka and Bizente are two other towns worth visiting in the north of the country and are only twenty minutes apart from each other.
N.b. Expect to hear the Call To Prayer at 4.30am especially if you stay in Tunis medina.
Where To Stay in Tunisia
Tunisia offers all kinds of experiences, from hotels in the cities to guesthouses and farmhouses in the rural towns. If you prefer to stay in a resort you’ll find plenty in Hammamet and other seaside resorts. The rating system differs from the western star system so don’t expect 5 star quality or service in a 5 star resort. Hostels here are called Auberges and they are in the minority. You can find one in both Tunis and Djerba but they aren’t common.
If you are looking for a more cultural experience stay in an 18th century palace or a ‘Dar’ which is similar to a Moroccan riad. The traditional buildings in Tunisia are decorates in colourful tiles.
Airbnb also offers the chance to stay with locals in traditional buildings. You can save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
Homestay is an alternative to Airbnb. They offer a unique mix of stays such as a stay in villa in Sidi Bou Said, or a duplex in Sousse. You can video call your host family before you go to find the perfect host. Check homestays and prices here
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement.
If you are planning to relax in Djerba, the Hasdrubal Prestige Thalassa & Spa Djerba offers the chance to do just that. With an onsite spa including hot tubs, therapy areas and massage treatments you can really pamper yourself and treat yourself to a harman or sauna. The outdoor pools offer both seawater and freshwater so you could easily spend all day here relaxing and dining at one of the four restaurants.
The rooms are spacious and come with air-conditioning and a flat-screen TV so you can relax even more in the evenings. The staff are welcoming and can arrange an airport shuttle for you if you are flying into Djerba. Breakfast is included.
- Prices start from £91 per night for a junior suite
- To book, check prices or availability for Hasdrubal Prestige Djerba
Situated in Yasmine Hammamet, this 5 star property is located near the beach. It's ideal for solos who want to relax within the hot tubs, and outdoor pool. Inside is a heated seawater pool and a spa so you can treat yourself to a traditional hamman and a massage.
Although it is classed as one of the luxury hotels in Tunisia, it may not have the 5 star luxury that you’re used to. The hotel still has its original design which some consider outdated but it is in the traditional Tunisian style. Choose from a junior or prestige suite with sea view or garden view.
- Prices start from £106 per night for a junior suite with sea view
- To book, check prices or availability for Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa
For amazing sea views, you can’t get better than Dar Fatma. This boutique-style houses is located on a cliff it offers a great panoramic of the Gulf of Tunis from the roof-top terrace. Relax in the hot tub, or explore the streets of Sidi Bou Said from this traditional Arabian house. You are just a short walk away from the cafes, restaurants and bars yet the property is very quiet. Rooms are air-conditioned and breakfast is included within the price
- Prices start from £86 per night for a double room with a private bathroom
- To book, check prices or availability for Dar Fatma
This property is just stunning. Tucked away inside the Medina it offers a traditional Tunisian experience with comfortable rooms and air-conditioning. It is beautifully decorated. Each of the rooms are designed around the central courtyard with water fountain, and there is a panoramic terrace. The staff are really helpful and speak French and English.
The accommodation has a lovely ambience and feels incredibly peaceful. Eating your morning crepe to the sound of the water fountain is the perfect start before exploring the Medina just outside.
The only way to reach Dar Traki once you get to the Medina is by foot so make sure that you arrive before 6pm as some of the streets inside the Medina are closed and it is difficult to get to. Choose from a single room with private bathroom, a superior double room, or a Moucharabi double room with a private terrace.
- Prices from £44 for a single room with a private bathroom
- To book, check prices or availability for Dar Traki Medina de Tunis
If you’ve ever wanted to sleep in a palace, this 18th century Tunisia palace should be on your solo bucket list. The palace has been in Belhassen – the owner’s – family for 250 years. Each wall is perfectly tiled and there are old photographs of his ancestors hanging from the walls. Don’t expect it to be modern as this place is oozing with history which Belhassen will happily tell you more about. The rooms are over two floors with shared or a private bathroom.
The palace is perfect for solo females as you can meet the other guests in the lounge area. I stayed here alone for two nights and was treated to welcoming Tunisian hospitality. There is no sign on the door so look for the big yellow door opposite Patissere Zitouna. Call before arriving as he can arrange your airport pickup and drop off.
- Prices start from £28 for a double room
- To book, check prices or availability for 18th Century Palace
- Save $20 off your first Airbnb stay
Group adventure companies such as G Adventures and Intrepid don’t seem to have any trips to Tunisia at the moment. There are local tour companies that you can use.
Engaging Cultures Travel – This local company are a socially conscious tour operator who brings together people of different cultures. You can visit traditional Berber hilltop villages where you can eat lunch with the Berbers and learn more about their culture. They also offer trips to see Roman ruins, the food market in Sousse and day excursions to the Sahara.
Sahha Sahara – Offers quality tours such as camel treks and cultural tours. They aren’t cheap but give you such a welcoming and personal experience, staying in unique places. Choose from a night in the Sahara, or a caravan Silk Road trading route. If you have time book the five day Southern Tunisia Tour.
Transportation in Tunisia
Tunisia does have a good road network with three main motorways. Signs are in French as well as Arabic. If you are planning to drive you may want to take note of the driving here as Tunisian drivers can be very erratic and like to use their horn. You may feel more comfortable driving away from a city then through one. To hire a car we recommend Avis but you need to be over 21 years of age.
The trains are really cheap and connect the capital with Sousse, Sfax, Monastir, Mahdia, and Gabes. Some of the trains offer a first and second class but both classes are comfortable and have toilets onboard. Buy your train ticket from the train station. Check here for train information.
The metro (which is more like a tram) runs between Tunis Marine to Sidi Bou Said, Carthage and Marsa. Buy tickets at the station ticket windows.
You can also travel by coach but book as early as you can if you are visiting during the summer months. If you are planning a trip to the Sahara Desert, you may feel more comfortable taking a tour instead of hiring a car.
TunisAir and TunisAir Express operate internal flights to: Djerba, Monastir, Tozeur, and Sfax. A flight from Tunis to Djerba only takes one hour. Book ahead if you are planning to fly to ensure that there are still seats.
When taking taxis ensure that they have the meter running or agree a price before you drive. You can also hire taxis for half days too. If you are feeling adventurous you can use shared taxis (called louages). Don’t use them if you are in a hurry though as they wait until they are full before departing. Look for the louage stations.
There are also ferries which operate between the islands in Tunisia. Travel between Djerba Island and El Jorf, as well as Sfax and the Kerkennah Islands.
Depending on what type of holiday you’re looking for, Tunisia is a great destination for a week away. If you are planning on spending time in the desert you may need more time. Below are some recommended itineraries for 7, 10 and 14 days in Tunisia.
One week itinerary:
Tunis (2 nights), Hammamet (3 nights), Sidi Bou Said (2 nights).
10 nights itinerary
Tunis (2 nights), Sidi Bou Said/Carthage (3 nights), fly to Djerba (5 nights)
Two week itinerary
Tunis (2 nights), Hammamet (4 nights), Sousse (3 nights), Monastir (3 nights), Sfax (2 nights)
Tunis (2 nights), Sidi You Said/Carthage (3 nights), fly to Djerba (3 nights), Matmata (2 nights), Tozeur (2 nights), Mides (2 nights).
Best Time To Go to Tunisia
Tunis has a good year-round climate. The winter months are a bit cooler but they are still ideal to sightsee. If you love the beach and are planning to sunbathe then travel here between June to August when the temperatures are at their hottest. Head south and the temperature is even warmer. If you want to avoid the summer peak season for lower prices then September and October are still warm enough to get on the beach. Expect a bit of rain between October to December.
Below is an annual weather chart for Monastir (from January to December).
Travel Insurance For Tunisia
Tunisia is a wonderful country to explore but travel insurance is always recommended to cover you for any travel delays, medical assistance and activities.
I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road, and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover.
Airports in Tunisia
Tunisia has several international airports and domestic airports. Tunis Express??? offers domestic flights within the country making it easier to see multiple places in a shorter amount of time.
Below is a list of the main international airports and how to get to and from each one.
Tunis – From Carthage International Airport (TUN) you can take a taxi into Tunis, Carthage, or Sidi Bou Said. If you choose an English-speaking taxi and arrive after 9pm expect to pay about €18 into Tunis (taxis charge 50% extra fare 9pm). Other taxis are cheaper. Please note that taxis can’t go too far inside the medina. Bus line 35 operates from the Airport into Tunis. Check here for timetables
Enfidha – From Hammamet International Airport (NBE), taxis are cheap and only cost approximately £8 for the 40 minute journey depending on whether you are staying in Hammamet or Yasmine Hammamet. Buses take 50 minutes and leave every 4 hours.
Djerba – From Zarzis International Airport (DJE) you can either drive to or from Djerba or take a taxi for the 2.5 hour journey. A taxi will cost £26.
Gabès – From Matmata International Airport (GAE) you need to take a taxi if you are not hiring a car. Taxis take approximately 50 minutes and cost £8.
To hire a car you can always pre-book with Avis so you can collect your car when you arrive at the airport.
Tunisia to Algeria – You need a visa to enter Algeria. There have been reports of people being refused entry into the country via the land border. The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel through here.
Tunisia to Libya – The Foreign Office advises against all travel across the border into Libya.
Facts About Tunisia
- Can I drink the water? No
- Is tipping expected? It isn’t expected but rounding up for your taxi driver is appreciated. Tip 5-10% in a restaurant.
- Fixed price or barter? Try bartering in the souks.
- Any ATMs? Yes but some of them don't provide receipts. You can’t use Tunisian Dinar in the airport so use Euros.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? There are vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Tunis and the main towns. If you eat fish, try a traditional ‘brik’ with tuna.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
Map of Tunisia
Plan a Trip To Tunisia
If you are ready to plan a trip to Tunisia here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, vaccinations and cultural experiences.
Budget – £45 ($60) a day
Capital – Tunis
Population – 11.4 million
Language spoken – Arabic, French, Italian, English
Local Currency – Tunisian Dinar (you can't use Dinar in the airport)
Do I need a visa? Not on a UK passport
The Best Time to Go – (to Monastir) May and June
Did you know? Star Wars was filmed here!
Dar Zaghouan is Tunisia’s first eco-bed and breakfast. Located in the Dorsale Mountains, it provides an alternative tourism experience specialising in eco tourism to benefit the local community. Choose from horse riding, hiking, climbing or exploring caves. The bed and breakfast’s farm has sustainable agriculture.
If you are looking for an eco retreat away from the city, this eco-dome in Mornag near Tunis offers the perfect accommodation. You’ll be staying inside a calming Earth House surrounded by olive trees on a permaculture farm. Find out more…
Association de Développement et Communication Sociale (ADCS) is an NGO which offers 6 month volunteer placements. Accommodation and food is included. Positions available are Project Coordinator, and Fundraising Officer. Find out more
Mind Body & Soul
Tunisia is the perfect place to pamper yourself with spas and thalasso centres and massages with unique techniques. There are many hotels offering Thalassa spas.
Mehari Hammamet Thalasso & Spa is an ideal place to get pampered. Choose from a hamman, a peeling or wrap and a massage. There is a Thalassotherapy pool to help improve your circulation and enhance your wellbeing. Afterwards you can enjoy a Tunisian tea in peaceful surroundings.
Dr. Chirayu Thakkar offers meditation workshops and weekend yoga classes. There is also the option for morning or evening yoga sessions. One-to-one sessions are also available on request. Email for details: [email protected]
The 8-day Goddess Retreat – Allows you to unlock the power within you and gain insights on the next phase of your life’s journey. This life-changing retreat takes place in Monastir over 7 nights at the Royal Elyssa Thalassa & Spa.
The International Festival of the Sahara takes place annually in December/January in Douz, the gateway of the Sahara. It is a celebration of traditions and arts in North Africa.
You have to explore the Sahara if you visit Tunisia and what better way to see it than on a a camel trek. Take a sunrise or sunset camel trek from Douz and hike to the top of sand dunes during your trip. Check dates and prices here
Social Impact Projects
Since the 2011 Revolution the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has launched a series of projects to break the cycle of poverty in some of Tunisia’s most underprivileged areas. One of these projects is a covered market in Sidi Bou Said which is providing street vendors with work. Another project is an irrigation project in the small hilltop town of Kesra which has increased the potential for agriculture.
International Alert are working in Tunisia to build model economic projects. Since the Revolution the majority of people they interviewed said that their economic situation had not improved. International Alert works within two poor neighbourhoods north of Tunis, Ettadhamen and Douar Hicher, training young people in the slum areas to empower and repair the the reputation of Ettadhamen and Douar Hicher.
Issues in the Country
On January 14th 2011 Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to step down from power. A young street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi who had set himself on fire in protest of corruption was the catalyst of a revolution that toppled the Tunisian government. This significant moment named the ‘Jasmine’ revolution was heralded as a model for democratic transitions in the Arab world but the country still has its difficulties. Read more