A Hidden Gem: Tunisia

Shereen Shabnam

I recently went driving around Tunisia in the new Hyundai Venue and visited some of the nicest places around the Tunis city. Naturally those who venture off the beaten path in Tunisia see many more beautiful places, but I am lucky I was able to visit beautiful places like Sidi Bou Said reminiscent of Santorini, drive by the intense desert landscapes and the historic areas full of bustling markets and street food.

Tunisia has rich diverse history and natural beauty that goes beyond the beaches and traditional souk type stores. The city is vibrant and yet has coastal roads that are a pleasure to drive on, mountainous greenery, and sparkling coasts. It truly is a hidden gem that offers one of the coolest travel experiences.

The suburb of the city is overflowing with natural beauty, architecture, culture, and welcoming locals who took great pleasure in introducing us to the local cuisine. I loved the maze of ancient streets and alleyways, especially as we wandered in the medieval Medina which has many shops and stalls selling crafts, clothes, souvenirs and artisans at work.

The Carthage area in Tunis is a must visit. The UNESCO World Heritage site is steeped in history and the Byrsa Hill ruins are fairly well-preserved. The Bardo Museum houses the world’s most renowned Roman mosaic collection as well as a collection of marble statues located in an opulent Tunis palace. It is full of treasured displays of mosaic art excavated from Tunisia’s ancient sites.

The Islamic Department contains, in addition to famous works such as the Blue Qur’an of Kairouan, a collection of ceramics from the Maghreb and Anatolia which is fascinating.

For food, I enjoyed the exquisite dinner at le Golf which has the best entertainment and had terraces facing the water. Visitors must try the pastry called Bambaloni and dishes that feature tuna which are special to Tunisia. The Residence Golf Course is another place that is great to spend an afternoon and have some snacks by the water.

For retail therapy, I highly recommend the Zephyr Mall. It was ideal for Ramadan clothes shopping with rich velvet abayas and had outfits for people of all sizes.

Overall, Tunis ticked all the boxes as a tourist destination by offering the best of resorts, shopping, food, cultural excursions and beautiful architecture. It is definitely a place to visit with family and friends.

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