Ride the trams around
Tunis' tram system is easy and cheap and well worth the time to tootle about.
Coming as I do from Melbourne, another 'tram city' I never miss the opportunity to ride and compare.
Trams give one an opportunity to see the less touristy parts of a city.
The system is known as the 'Métro léger', and is a modern light rail system. The first line was built in 1985, and now 5 lines link the suburbs with the city centre. There is a stop close to the heavy rail terminus at Tunis Gare Centrale, and with the separately managed TGM railway to Sidi Bou Said at Tunis Marine. Other than these stops, the most convenient one for tourists is the Bardo stop (Line 4) for the wonderful 'Bardo Museum'
The cars are modern and comfortable, and is particularly crowded at rush hour. Best to count the stops to find the one you are aiming at. The tickest are pretty cheap, and a re bought at booths at the stops. Note that in the opposite direction, the stop may not be in exactly the place as the outward one.
- Budget Travel
Tunisian Railways (SNCFT)
UPDATE: - SNCFT now have a website (French or Arabic) with timetable and fares available. (www.sncft.com.tn)
SNCFT Operate a good modern railway network connecting most main cities. The main routes are as follows:
Tunis - Bir Bou Regba - Sousse - Sfax - Gabes (main coastal line)
Bir Bou Regba - Hammamet - Nabeul (branch line, change trains at BBR)
Sousse - Monastir - Mahdia (change trains at sousse, differnt station for mainline)
Tunis - Bizerte
Tunis - Kalaa Kasbah
Sfax - Gafa - Metlaoui - Touzer (through trains from Tunis)
Tunis - La Marsa (Commuter line to Cap Bon peninsula, differnt stn. to mainline)
Getting a TIMETABLE, is anything but easy. For some reason I have never fathomed timetables for the trains must be some sort of state secret or something, as they are all but impossible to get a copy of, even at the stations. I actually saw one once at a tourist office and asked if I coul dhave a copy, but they wouldnt photocopy it for me, though they let you copy down selected times by hand! If you do get hold of a timtable, guard it with your life! You WONT get another one!
Trains themselves are modern, quite fast and comfortable. Urban commuter trains around Tunis and Monastir can get crowded, but InterCity trains tend to be fine. InterCity trains are air conditioned, some commuter trains are, some aren't. Service is reliable and semi-punctual, dont expect split second accuracy, but you will get where your going more or less on time.
Fares are reasonable and a unlimited rail pass is available called Carte Bleue, if you ask nicely maybe they even give you a timetable to go with it? There is also a special "Red Lizard" tourist train which (I think) operates around Touzer, but I don't know much about it.
SNCFT TIMES AND FARES NOW ONLINE: www.sncft.com.tn
Just be careful with taxi from airport.
Ask for the meter to be used.
And check they don't turn it off halfway on the trip and try to charge you more.
That's what my driver did although I caught him doing it and refused to pay what he wanted demanding to see the price on the meter.
Don't pay any more than 10TD to the centre
The trains are a great way to get around Tunisa as they are cheap and comfortable for the most part similiar somewhat to those in Europe. Be cautious around holidays though and if you start to see locals crowd around the entrance to the platform get in the mix and don't be the last one in the train car. We happened to line up next to a door on the train that did not open. We were riding from Tunis to Sfax (a 4 hr ride) and ended up standing in the end of the car next to the door (we got to sit on our packs in the doorway for a few hours)..this was after walking through 4-5 cars looking for two seats. While this was during the begining of a holiday weekend and is not normal you still need to be aware of pax loads as the stations will oversell the trains. A train leaving on another platform in Tunis prior to our departure had people hanging halfway out of the door of a train as it was departing....don't know when they were able to squeeze in.
- Adventure Travel
Tunis-Taxi from airport to town
I've been caught several times on this one, but no more.
A taxi from the airport to the centre of Tunis should cost under 4TD.
When I arrived in Tunis asked "How much to the Gare de Tunis" I was told 20 TD, we eventually agreed on 15TD. On the way home we stoppped a taxi near to the station and asked how much to the airport and was told that it was metered, that was ok. The meter started at 400 mill (0.4TD) within minutes it was at 2500 (2.5TD) which surprised me, but the driver had appeared to have pushed a button, from then on I watched the meter like a hawk.
When we arrived at the airport the fare on the meter was 5.25TD, then he said that he would add 2TD for the two bags. Now he was trying his luck, that is where the unexplained sudden increase had come from, from 500mill to 2500. So, be warned, if you are getting a taxi from the airport to Tunis centre only expect to pay around 5TD for two people and 2 bags. Ask the driver to put the meter on and invite him to add the baggage charge then you'll be in no doubt.
- Budget Travel
Getting to Bardo Museum
Your best way to reach Bardo museum which is located away from the centre is to get metro (in fact tram) No4. If you stay centrally (Av.Bourguiba) then you can pick it up from a side street by the cathedral. You get off at station named "Bardo" and then it's a short walk. You can;t miss it as there is a route map inside the tram in arabic as well as in latin characters. In case you have doubts ask any passenger. Tunisians are very friendly and keen to help.
It's cheap, effiient, might get crowded in rush hours. Note that you get on of off is in different streets as the tram follows a different route on its way back
there are several car hire places inside tunis airport. international firms like avis will charge an awful lot more than local firms, but you will probably get a better car. some of the cars from local firms can be a bit battered. it all depends what you want to pay.
you will find hiring a car in tunis slightly cheaper than hiring in a resort like sousse etc
however, they may be busy, so it might be best to pre-book
you could try budget rental at Kaffel.email@example.com or star rental at firstname.lastname@example.org or amel car on email@example.com
I must stress I am not recommending these companies, I just happen to have their cards. The only company i have used there is camel cars, and they were awful, kept messing me about, changing prices, had a dodgy car with lots of faults!
- Road Trip
If you're planning on visiting the Bardo Museum (which is a must visit while in Tunis), the easiest way to get there is by tram or Metro Leger as they call it. The museum is near Le Bardo station on line 4. Tickets cost 450 mills but it looked like most people didn't bother and simply went through the barriers. Be warned that the Metro finishes in the early evening so don't wait around late at night for one to arrive!
TGM to Carthage
The best way to get to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said is by taking the small suburban train known as the TGM. It travels from the Tunis Marine TGM station at the eastern end of Habib Bourguiba and passes through La Goulette, Carthage and Sid Bou Said before ending at La Marsa. Second class costs about 650 mills and can be quite crowded whilst first class costs TD1.1. The journey to Carthage takes about 30 minutes.
The Tunis metro - actually an above-ground tramway system - is a good way to get around town. Tickets (less than a dinar for short journeys) are bought from kiosks at the stations, which are sometimes proper stations and sometimes only a railed-off section of pavement.
One thing to beware of is that many of the stops are not signed or only have a single sign at one end of the platform: so it is advisable to stay aware of where you are by counting stops..
Tunis has a system of trams and trains which cover much of the suburbs of the city and are useful for getting to destinations on the outskirts such as the Bardo museum or Carthage and Sidi Bou Said. There are 5 lines which converge on the city centre at either Place Barcelone to the south of Bourguiba or Place Republique to the north.
Tunis-Carthage airport is located about 8km north of the city. There are buses between the airport and Tunis-Marine train station in the Ville Nouvelle. However, we couldn't work out where the bus left from at the airport so we took a taxi instead. The journey took about 15 minutes and it cost us 10 Dinar, which was a little bit expensive.
This is the biggest airport in Tunisia and there are the facilities you'd expect to see like cafes, restaurants, ATMs and foreign exchange boots. There are also a few shops though I would advise against shopping here as everything is far cheaper in the city.
From Tunis-Carthage Airport
The most efficient way to travel from Tunis-Carthage Airport to Tunis is by taxi. However, before entering a taxi, make sure it has a counter -- and that the driver will use it. The ride between the airport and Tunis city centre should cost no more than 5-10 dinars.
Our first time in Tunis, we got sucked in by a driver who asked for 20 dinars because our flight had arrived at 3 a.m., some 3 hours later than planned. By then, we were in no mood for haggling and we were only worried about getting to our hotel.
- Budget Travel
Traffic is very slow in Tunisia
Driving car in Tunisia looks like an adventure to me. As far as I could noticed, the drivers are not very skillful and a great number of cars is in very bad conditions. Under such a circumstances, I wasn't very surprised to see the traffic jams all over the places.
I wanted to rent a car but those which were offered to me I didn't want to accept. Besides, the company wanted me to rent the local driver too!
- Family Travel
Put on the coutner sir!
It is pretty easy to travel around the city by your own, but if you have to cover a long way, then caught a taxi, which is the most developped transportation.
You must take care and make then put on the money counter, otherwise they will simply ask for an ammount which will be 5 times higher then the real one!