Tunisia Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by croisbeauty
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by croisbeauty
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by croisbeauty

Tunisia Off The Beaten Path

  • Chott el-Djerid

    Chott el-Djerid is a 1,930-square-mile (5,000-square-kilometer) salt flat located in southern Tunisia near the Algerian border. (chott is Arabic for "salt flat"). It was formed when an ancient saltwater lake evaporated, leaving a perfectly flat lake bed covered with a layer of salt.For about two months of the year, shallow water from intermittent...

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  • DESERT TOURS

    Day 1: Your driver will pick you up from your Tozeur hotel in the morning. From there you will drive to Nefta, a near-by oasis with a stunning palmeraie. After looking at the beautiful view of this oasis from above, you will continue on to the dunes of Rejim Maatoug, just 25km from the Algerian border. Mid-morning will see you at El Faouar, before...

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  • Chemtou: looking for golden . . . stones...

    Ici brille le rocher doré des Numides (Stace, IAD)Chemtou is a real off the beaten path. It is not easy to reach if you are travelling by public transport soo after visiting 467833458833 archaeological sites in Tunisia there was no need to go there. In fact what attracted me of this site was not its archaeological interest but its origins which are...

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  • Ask a trustworthy local

    Tunisia is a very lovely country and people are really generous, but snares are all over. If you wanna have an unusual trip, try to ask a local that looks reliable. Mastering bookish English is a sign that the person offering to help you is really dependable. A good education and a high English fluency and accuracy are signs of a higher level of...

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  • Beni Mtir:Alsacian village on Tunisia...

    My guidebook describes Beni M’tir as an Alsacian village in the middle of Khroumirie Mountains. I have never been in Alsace but the feeling that I had when I jumped off the bus is that I was not in Tunisia! Beni M’tir was built by the French workers of the first hydroelectric dam in Tunisia. Originally from Alsace, they tried to build their new...

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  • Takrouna: overlooking the world

    Takrouna is one of the few Berber villages that you will find on the Dorsale Mountains. Maybe this name sounds familiar to someone: at Takrouna took place one of the 2WW definitive battles where the New Zealanders made the Germans leave their position, on 12th April 1943. Apart from this it is said that Takrouna offers the best sunset in Tunisia....

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  • Port au Prince

    This is the perfect place for a relaxing day trip from Tunis. An unknown place in Tunisia, even for most of the locals, it is on the Cap Bon area, at 20 Km from Soliman, and you can reach it only by car. The name of Port au Prince comes from a French prince who was kidnapped here (well, this is what people told me :-) ). Nowadays this is one of the...

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  • Hammam Lif: this is the real Tunis

    Hammam Lif is an interesting place that deserves more than my short visit. We are still in Tunis, in the “banlieue sud” and unlike their banlieue nord neigbours, good standing people but also posh and sometimes hypocrites, the Hammam Lif inhabitants have accepted their reality and they always smile. Hammam Lif means in Arabic “the baths’ nose” and...

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  • Old Roman ruins

    Instead of heading to Tunis, and the thousands of tourists wandering around there every day, why not head to El Jem, between Sousse and Sfax, and wander around the old Roman colosseum - the largest one in North Africa, and a UNESCO World heritage site - for a while. It's in incredibly good condition, and while the town itself is a bit of a...

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  • Maktar: border roman city

    Maktar village (200km from Tunis) is from another planet!. Situated on the top of a hill at 1000 m, time has stopped there. All men wear long tunics ended with a hood like jedi knights (are you sure that starwars was not shot here?!) and looked at me like if i was an alien! I had never had this unkind feeling visiting a place so I went directly to...

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  • Zaghouan: water temple

    Twenty minutes walk from the main street and surrounded by beautiful scenery there is this roman monument called the water temple (Temple des Eaux). It’s the first monument of the big water system used to supply the roman city of Carthage in general and specifically its Antonin Baths. It was built during the II nd century AD and the galleries have...

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  • Zaghouan: public fountains

    Zaghouan does not serve water to Carthage any more but their public fountains still work and they are very helpful for locals and for tourists like me during hot days. They are very colorful, decorated with ceramic tiles in Andalusian style and their water is so fresh and good . . . directly from the mountains!More info and pictures in my page...

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  • Zaghouan: fresh water from the mountains

    Zaghouan is situated 60km south of Tunis, at the foot of Zaghouan Mountain (1295m). It was a roman city (Ziqua), that administrated one of the most important water resources of Carthage and you still can see some remains from this period. Apart from this roman remains I decided to visit this city mainly because I read that the new village was built...

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  • Utica: mosaics, marbles and other stones

    Nowadays Utica’s best mosaics are in Bardo Museum but you still can admire in situ some interesting ones. They are characterized by a great typological and chronological diversity using different materials like ceramics, marbles from Carrara and Greece (the green one) and local marbles from Chemtou (the yellow one). The oldest mosaics (1st century...

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  • Utica: punic necropolis

    The Punic necropolis dates from the 8th century BC and it surprisingly survived the construction of the roman city, 6metres above its level. You can admire some unusual sarcophagi (picture 2) which are built into the ground. Some centuries later people adopted the cremation technique so instead of using sarcophagi they put the ashes in small and...

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  • Utica: the museum

    I strongly recommend you to start your visit from the small museum. There you will find some information about the history of this ancient city and some useful maps and plans that will help you later to understand better the site. Of course there are every day objects too: the collection of Punic amphorae is very interesting and you can see the...

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  • Utica: Carthage's rival

    On the way to Bizerte the remains of Utica worth a visit. Utica was a Punic city founded by the year 1100 BCE, which means 300 years before Carthage. Utica and Carthage were neighbors and also competitors: they always tried to buy larger and more beautiful buildings than the rival’s. Utica had the advantage that it was at the outlet of Medjerda...

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  • Uthina: strange capitol

    The strangest capitol that I’ve seen here in Tunisia!. And this is due to the Byzantines, that used the former roman structure and transformed it in a kind of fortress. I had never been under a capitol and I enjoyed a lot its vaulted rooms (picture 3) , from roman or Byzantine periods, visiting one after another like in a kind of labyrinth. There...

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  • Uthina: the baths of the bats

    I enjoyed this construction like a child, discovering underground halls and hidden passages. Seen from a distance it looks like a rubble of giant stones (picture 1) and you could easily decide to ignore them and go directly to visit the capitol. These remains were the ground structures of public baths that were destroyed during the WW2 when they...

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  • Uthina: labyrinths and secret passages

    Oudna (the current name) is at 30km south of Tunis. We don’t know much about the origins of this Roman city. At the beginning it was a Punic-Berber settlement, transformed into a roman colony during Augustus period. At Icentury a.D. Plinio the old mentioned Uthina between the six ancient roman colonies in Africa. Uthina lived its golden age during...

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  • Testour: Grande Mosquée

    There are a lot of XVII century mosques in Testour but the most interesting one is La Grande Mosquée. Its minaret is plenty of symbolic decoration. The most interesting thing is its clock (Testour’s minaret is one of the few minarets in the world to have a clock). This clock has its numbers symbolically placed backwards, expressing the wish of the...

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  • Testour: still Andalusia

    This smiling village on the top of a hill became in the XVII century the adopted home of a Spanish Muslim community who had to leave the country because of their religion. In Testour they built their houses and main buildings using the techniques and style they were used to in Spain so the result is a picturesque Andalusian village in the middle of...

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  • Sidi Khelifa: tiny roman city on the...

    In Sidi Khelifa you still can admire the remains of the Roman town called Pheradi Maius. It can be reached by a road branching off from the road linking Carthage to Hadrumetum (the present GP1 Tunis-Sousse). We have news from Pheradi Maius since at least the IIIth century BC and it became a Latin municipality under Marcus Aurelius (IIth AD) and...

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  • Raf Raf: nice beach . . . from the hills

    Raf Raf is a beach in the north east of Tunisia, considered one of the best beaches of the country . Very popular between locals, it’s almost unknown by foreigners. Beaches don’t interest me a lot and Raf Raf was not on the top of my wish list but some friends proposed me to do a short trekking on the hills around that area and I thought that...

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  • Sidi Ali el Mekki: turquoise waters

    One of the bests beaches in Tunisia, even if its not as known as its neighbor Raf Raf. At the end of September it was empty (maybe because of Ramadan) but the turquoise water was still good to take a bath; The hills are only at a few meters of the sea and I liked the feeling of having a sea bath in front of the mountains (picture 3). The white...

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  • Mides: canyon's ghost town

    Mides is a mountain oasis with a very impressive gorge 3km long. The gorge was used as part of the village's natural defence in older days. The old village of Mides was abandoned in 1969 when a torrential rain that lasted 22 days destroyed many houses. It’s very impressive: some houses on the edge of the gorge look like if it were cut down by a...

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  • Mahares: freaky sea promenade!

    There is not much to say about Mahares, it’s a seaside village where some people of Sfax (which is only at few km north) have their summer house. But if you are around there, Mahares sea promenade deserves a short stop. That promenade was chosen to show the Tunisian artistic creativity to the world (picture 2) and it’s full of contemporary...

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  • Le Kef: the rock (and mint minarets!)

    Le Kef is an elegant village on the top of a hill (picture 1). Houses are nice on the slope of the mountain, well kept and there are nice corners (pictures 3 and 4)and some things to visit but nothing special. I found more interesting its history (born around 500 BC as an strategic site for Carthage, it became a city of prostitutes and unpaid...

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  • Korbous: Healing springs

    Korbous is a small spa village (well, it’s one street village) between the Cap Bon cliffs, just 60km east from Tunis. Its famous for its hot springs and it seems very popular between locals, but I found it not very interesting. I guess it’s more beautiful in spring or autumn, let’s see.There is a small zawiya at the top of the cliff (you can see it...

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  • Hergla: a hidden gem by the sea

    But being next to the tourist villages of Sousse and Port El Kantaoui I guess that it won’t be like this for a long time! Hergla is a quiet sea town, one of the last of its kind, where everything is blue and white. There are not many things to do in Hergla but it deserves a short visit to walk along the streets, enjoy its quiet life and the...

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  • Ghar el Melh: the Turquish port

    Unfortunately this port has no pirate origins but it was the main naval base in Tunisia until the 19th century. Nowadays all you can find is some colorful fishing boats and the fortifications that protected it in the past but it’s nice to walk around there and take some pictures. I found specially interesting the constructions to keep and repair...

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  • Ghar el Melh: the fortresses

    In Ghar el Melh there are three fortresses; They are from pirates' time but they have suffered a lot of transformations during the centuries. At the beginning (XVIIth century) they were used as slaves' prison; During the French protectorate (1881) they were used as prisons and after the Independence people were sent there to do hard labors. For...

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  • Ghar el Melh: pirates!!

    55km north of Tunis you can visit the nice sea village Ghar el Melh. Ghar el Melh means "salt grottos" due to its proximity to a salt marsh. This is a tiny village (just one road) but its history is fascinating; Founded by Phoenicians it soon became Utica's "pre-port". During the XVth and XVIth centuries Porto Farina (its ancient name) was the base...

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  • Dar Chaabane: stonework

    If you get lost in Nabeul maybe you arrive here :-)). This happy village is not between the tourist destinations list in Tunisia and by the looks of its people i guess i was "the tourist of the month". I went there just because the weather in Tunis looked threatening and i wanted to visit a new place not far from the capital (just in case); What...

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  • Beja: the city of red minarets

    Beja is not a tourist city. Again by the looks of the people I felt I was “the tourist of the month”. But there are two-three nice things to visit so if you are for example on your way to Bulla Regia, Beja would worth a short stop. Let’s begin with the eclectic medina, one of Tunisia’s most authentic, where everything (I’m talking about...

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  • Ain Tounga: beautiful Byzantine fortress

    Ain Tounga is not a tourist place. And when I say this I don’t mean it’s visited by few people: it means it does not appear neither on tourist maps, nor on guidebooks!. There are no indication panels (you know that you have arrived because you see the remains) and no information. But it’s a very nice site that deserves a visit if you are around! In...

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  • Haïdra: border Roman city

    Welcome to the Wild West! Haïdra is a border city: from here Algeria is only at 43Km. And it is also a forgotten city . . . forgotten by locals, by tourists and even by archaeologists . . . and it’s a pity because it’s really huge and very interesting!!! I guess there are more underground remains waiting to be discovered than visible remains. We...

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  • Lalla Oasis: river oasis

    An oasis is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, surrounding a water source. There are very beautiful mountain oases in the west of the country (I have a tip about Mides) with beautiful waterfalls and nice views. Lalla Oasis, at 7km south east of Gafsa, is a little bit different because it is a river oasis so if you are around Gafsa it...

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  • Gammarth: French War Cemetery

    The French War Cemetery is very beautiful. Not far from the American Cemetery, they were built in the same period, the story is more or less the same and they have the same purpose, but I found them quite different. While Americans “created” in the middle of nowhere a wonderful landscape to “contain” their cemetery (when you are there everything is...

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  • Jughurta's Table: kiss the sky!!

    Jughurta's Table is great!!. It's a mesa 1.255m high that has its name from the Numidian King Jughurta , who used it as a natural fortress against the Romans. The best views of Jughurta's table are from a distance. Even if it is surrounded by other mountains it's clear why you want to go to Jughurta's . . . it's very impressive !!Jughurta's Table...

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  • On the way to Jughurta's Table . . .

    This was my first attempt to go to Jughurta’s Table, following the road from Maktar to Haidra. Here you are on the Dorsale Mountains, the continuation of Morocco and Algeria’s Atlas Mountains. Views are gorgeous, superb, wonderful. . . I could stay there admiring these landscapes for hours. Unfortunately it was not possible in that occasion but we...

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  • Haïdra:byzantine fortress & other...

    The Byzantine fortress was built by the command of Justinian in the middle of the 6th century, and is said to be the largest of its kind in North Africa. Constructed from the old roman road until the banks of Oued Haidra it measured 200x100 metres with walls 10 metres high. Inside there is a chapel, a church and other remains. The sandstone used to...

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  • Zama: yes I did it!!

    I was very interested in visiting Zama because there it took place one of those important events that changed the World History: the Battle of Zama, where Hannibal was defeated by the roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio and meant the end of his power and the emergence of the Roman Empire. That happened in 202 BCE during the Second Punic War....

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  • Haddej: troglodytes' houses and angry...

    Haddej is until now the only place that I recommend you not to go. Lonely Planet describes it as a place where you can find original troglodyte houses, without all that Matmata’s touristy accessories. . . Haddej was also used to shot some scenes of the Monty Pyton’s Life of Brian and “the marriage cave” should worth a visit as well. But as soon as...

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  • Tamezret: village on a hill

    On the way to Matmata, the sleepy village of Tamezret deserves a short stop. Some tourist buses do it, but they only stay at the foot of the hill, where there is a tourist café and people can take nice pictures of the valley and buy some souvenirs. The real Tamezret is on the hill, walking in all those climbing streets until the white mosque on the...

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Tunisia Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Tunisia off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Tunisia sightseeing.
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