Did you know that Tunisia has been one of the main centres of Mediterranean culture for 3,000 years? Ancient Carthage’s heir is a fusion of history, sensations, aromas and flavours that will amaze you. From its souks to its beaches, its monuments and its exquisite cuisine, here everything is tradition, light, harmony and good taste. All this will be within your reach when staying at one of the best hotels in Tunisia.
Tunis Medina and its labyrinth
The capital of Tunisia’s Medina, or old town, is a magical labyrinth. Around the Great Mosque, you will forget that time exists. The colorful markets or souks are entwined with palaces, alleys, fountains, mausoleums and small craft workshops linked through narrow passages. Want a tip? Go up to the roof of a building and watch the sunset in the Medina from above. It will be an image that you will never forget.
Before the day ends, enjoy a tea with pine nuts - the most popular drink in the country- and purchase an old book in the legendary Rue des Libraires, at the foot of the Great Mosque.
Tunisian food: couscous, mint tea and nuts
Do you want to know what the secret behind the tenderness of Tunisian stews and roasts is? Cooking them over low heat for several hours.
The star dish is couscous, with lamb, chicken or fish. And an ideal place to taste it is the Main Restaurant at Iberostar Selection Royal El Mansour & Thalasso, a magnificent 5-star hotel in Mahdia where you can delight yourself with many classic recipes from the Maghreb and other civilizations.
However, the most surprising dish may be melloukhia. This stew is cooked over low heat and is made up of mallow leaves, dried and ground beans, garlic, olive oil, spices and beef or lamb. The typical desserts, makrouds, samsas, baklavas or gharaibas, have dried fruits as main ingredients, such as dates, almonds or hazelnuts. To end a meal, all self-respecting food-lover must conclude with a cup of mint tea or a Moorish coffee with drops of orange blossom water.
Bardo National Museum
Founded by Phoenician merchants, Carthage became a global power that was able to dispute dominance over the Mediterranean to Rome itself. This was until the legionaries of General Scipio conquered it and it became part of the Roman Empire. The Bardo National Museum treasures one of the most important and best-preserved mosaic collections of the Roman era, in addition to key pieces in the history of Tunisia.
Douz, a gate to the desert
The Chott El-Jerid salt lake is literally a magical place. Sun rays produce an optical illusion on its surface, which create white, purple, green and pink colors due the reflection of the salt. To the south of this lake, which is dry in summer, is the city of Douz. It is an oasis of palm trees like those depicted in storybooks and is known as the door of the desert. Your Berber adventure will begin here if you wish to venture into the Sahara Desert.
Darth Vader in Tunisia?
Yes, you read correctly! In Tunisia you can visit some locations where scenes from the Star Wars saga were shot, such as the city of Mos Espa, that represents the desert planet of Outer Rim in the film. We would also like to highlight the aforementioned Chott El Jerid salt lake, where you will find the Lars farm, or Matmata, where you will find the inner courtyards that were part of Luke Skywalker’s house. Beyond the fun-fact, all these places will amaze you due to their great natural beauty.
Berber village of Toujane
Some desert men and women still live in Tunisia; specifically, in the village of Toujane. Located on the side of a mountain, their houses are made of dry stone, following an ancestral Berber custom. The views from the top of the mountain are some of the most beautiful in the country.
Sidi Bou Said, in blue and white
This small village on a hill is known for its cobbled streets but, above all, for its houses painted in white and its blue doors. The bohemian atmosphere of its streets, the views over the sea and its craftsmanship will fill you with pleasant sensations.