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6 Best Experience Holidays to Explore Tunisia

With a historical pedigree to rival Rome, Tunisia offers unforgettable experiences and cultural immersion at sun-drenched destinations from Tunis to Djerba Island. Holidaymakers can, naturally, retreat to the all-inclusive coastal resorts at the core of Tunisian tourism, but the most intrepid thrillseekers will find a whole other side of the country lies in its otherworldly southern landscapes – once the set of the Star Wars franchise – manicured golf greens and luxe campsites pitched on the golden sands of the Sahara.

That’s without mentioning the abundance of ancient World Heritage medinas, Roman ruins and traditional slices of Tunisian culture in the Berber villages, fortified granaries and troglodytic houses that dot the arid terrain. From camel treks to 4×4 tours and even golfing getaways, here’s a carefully curated list of Tunisian highlights to inspire the ultimate North African holiday – and how to incorporate the inland adventures into your sunny stay on the Mediterranean Sea.

Tour the World Heritage sites

Tunisia entwines ancient archaeological sites with the traditional heritage of Berber, Arabian and African cultures. The North African country has eight World Heritage sites and landmarks officially recognised by Unesco, including the Roman amphitheatre of El Jem, ruins of Carthage and ancient medinas – a stark contrast from the azure Mediterranean shores in Hammamet. Experience the past in the present at the Unesco-listed Medinas, a medieval fortress, Sousse and Tunis, and the historic sites of the Great Mosque and the Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba in Monastir.

Wild Frontiers Travel features an epic 12-day “Tunisia Uncovered” package for £2,985pp, including all meals, transport and accommodation. Tour highlights such as the ancient ruins of Carthage, the Unesco-listed Tunis medina and nomadic dune camping culminate on the inviting waters of the Mediterranean coast. International airfares are not included; return flights to Tunis currently average £112 when departing from London.

Trek the Sahara Desert

For the ultimate desert adventure, trek by camel, 4×4 or on foot across the towering golden dunes of the Sahara Desert. The majestic Tunisian portion of the Sahara even has natural springs for bathing immersed within the captivating landscape that blends sun-drenched adventures with history. For a glimpse of ancient life in the heart of the desert, experience authentic Berber barbecues and Tunisian cuisine around the campfire, bucket-list desert sunsets and comfortable nights pitched up in a luxury Bedouin tent under a sea of stars.

Xperience Tunisia’s “Trekking Adventure” tour from Matmata to Ksar Ghilaine includes five nights’ full board camping accommodation, transportation via 4×4 and camel and expert local tour guides. The trek costs £538.74pp for a thrilling five-day journey through the famous dunes of the Sahara, indulging in Berber cuisine and cosying up in Bedouin camps under the stars.

Discover southern Tunisia

Vast desert scapes, salt pans and Eden-esque oases create a unique, almost alien, environment in southern Tunisia, a world away from the sprawling coastal resorts of Sousse and Hammamet. In fact, a natural depression separates Tunisia’s north and south sands, with southern adventures attracting hikers, dune surfers and blockbuster directors alike. Road trips to the olive groves of Zammour and desert strongholds in Kebili present a treasure trove of history where Berber and Bedouin influences prevail and sunken troglodytic houses and ksars, traditional fortified granaries, pepper the Tamezret countryside.

Corinthian Travel offers a privately guided “Oases & Sahara” tour of some of the best sights southern Tunisia has to offer, from Tunis to Djerba Island and Tozeur. The 10-day trip costs £2,995pp and includes all accommodation, breakfasts, excursions including the Chott el Djerid, Africa’s largest salt lake, and luxury desert camping, plus all internal flights. 

Explore the Star Wars sets

George Lucas’ pop culture phenomenon Star Wars, catapulted Planet Tatooine onto our screens in 1977 – and it was filmed in a galaxy not so far, far away. In southern Tunisia, the harsh sand backdrops in Tataouine presented a climate that was a fitting double for the fictional world and 4x4s tour the abandoned film sets and props of the desert destination to this day. The sci-fi scenery of entire villages constructed in the Tunisian desert includes the set of Mos Espa spaceport, the city where Anakin Skywalker was born, and there’s even a chance to hike Sidi Bouhlel, the “Star Wars Canyon”. Matmata, the home of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, is easily accessible from Djerba Island, while Hotel Sidi Driss performed as the interior for the Lars Family homestead – the exterior shots were filmed in Chott el Jerid. 

Tui Experiences features two action-packed days of Star Wars filming locations in the Tunisian Sahara from £105pp including transport, accommodation, all meals and an expert guide. The guided 4×4 tour of El Jem Colosseum, the rock-cut village of Matmata and the film set at Onk Jemal departs from Hammamet with an integrated overnight stay in the oasis town of Douz.

Trail traditional Tunisian landscapes

From cave dwellings in the Dahar Mountains region to the oases and canyons of Chebika, Tunisia is hardly short of breathtaking landscapes beyond the dunes of the Sahara Desert. Ancient Berber settlements dot Tozeur while echoes of Tunisia’s Roman past in the preserved baths of Dougga city and the El Jem amphitheatre meet Africa’s oldest synagogue, El Ghriba on Djerba Island, and the mosques of the spiritual centre, Kairouan. The traditional settings don’t stop there; the Phoenician city of Carthage, the fortified granaries of Tataouine and the Chemtou quarry, famous for its Numidian marble, are all off-the-beaten-track spots begging to be explored.

Native Eye provides a “Tunisia Explorer” package for a fast-paced 14-day discovery of the North African gem beyond its azure Mediterranean coastline. For £2,699pp in October, see the sapphire roofs of Sidi Bou Said, the Roman villas of Bulla Regia and Tunisia’s oldest Arab city, Kairouan. Accommodation, all activities and most meals are included in the cost.

Swing into a golf getaway

It’s not hard to find a tee-time in Tunisia with 10 PGA standard golf courses that bask in the year-round African sunshine. On the doorstep of luxe resorts well equipped for golfers, a wealth of relaxed clubs along the Tunisian coastline from the Carthage course in Tunis to an 18-hole course in Port El Kantaoui and Flamingo Golf Club in Monastir are blessed with balmy breezes, lessons and stocked clubhouses. The individual sport is ideal for a solo holiday or long weekend spent making par on manicured greens surrounded by Tunisia’s diverse forests and palm groves.

Golf Escapes holidays take avid golf enthusiasts on a five-night, three rounds golf trip to Hammamet staying at The Sinbad Hotel. For £449pp for trips departing between 1 September and 31 October 2023, guests will be greeted with airport transfers, half-board accommodation and a complimentary shuttle service to clubs Citrus Golf, La Foret and Oliveras. Other highlights of the hotel deal include four swimming pools, four restaurants and a spa and wellness centre.