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Book a flight to Tunis with Qatar Airways, and explore this compact, captivating city on North Africa’s Mediterranean coast.is the Capital of Tunisia might be less popular with Europeans and visitors from farther afield, than its other coastal resorts but it’s today of one of North Africa’s tourist hotspots. Tunis sits on the Mediterranean-fed Gulf of Tunis and is home to only 2.7 million people, its understated appeal enhanced by surrounding hills and lakes.
The Medina quarter’s melange of mosques and souqs gives way to the Ville Nouvelle and the wealthy northern suburbs.
Tunis beckons; The Medina and the Ville Nouvelle are a great start; next, head for the 8th-century Zitouna Mosque, before stopping by the Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul; Belvedere Park is a beautiful spot to catch your breath.
Any trip to Tunis should begin with a visit to the Medina district. This sprawl of ancient alleyways and winding streets is without a doubt the city's most atmospheric zone. Come in the early morning when the only people around are street vendors selling breakfast treats. The air is filled with the smell of spices and fresh coffee.
Later in the day, head for the souq, a colourful insight into life in Tunis. Tiny shops and stalls sell everything from fabric and carpets to spices and jewellery. Haggling here is essential.
Zitouna Mosque, dating back to the 8th century, is a major draw for tourists, but women should take care to dress modestly. The Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul, built in 1882, is also an eye-watering sight, and a fine example of the French influence on Tunis’ architecture. However, admission to the cathedral’s interior is restricted.
When you travel to Tunis, you should take the time to explore the Medina and the Ville Nouvelle on foot. Once upon a time, everything was traded in the Medina's souqs. Today, you are more likely to find unusual souvenirs and local handicrafts.
On scorching summer days, Tunis’ residents head for Belvedere Park. Here you will find Lake Tunis, the zoo and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as plenty of picturesque spots to enjoy a picnic.
The city is home to some illustrious cultural centres. Bardo Museum (accessible via the Metro) is filled with Tunisian artefacts and renowned for its Roman mosaic collection. Dar Ben Abdallah, a charming folk museum, and the Musée paléo-chrétien de Carthage, are also worth exploring.
Tunisian cuisine is a mouth-watering blend of Mediterranean and Turkish influences. Popular ingredients here include seafood, lamb, tomatoes and olive oil. You will find food to be rich, spicy and hearty. Harissa, a potent blend of spices, is added to many dishes, giving them their distinctive flavour. Try brik (fried dough, stuffed with egg and tuna) or merguez (lamb sausage).
A popular local speciality is poisson complet – a whole fish, usually grilled or fried and served with a spicy sauce. Tunisian baklawa (layers of filo pastry with sugar syrup and mixed nuts) is a great way to end any meal.
But Tunis is not just about spicy North African specialities, and you will find plenty of French restaurants and cafés across the city. From budget eateries to exclusive venues, there are options in Tunis to suit all budgets and tastes. Sometimes, the simplest establishments are the best; look out for restaurants serving fresh salade mechouia (grilled tomatoes and peppers with olive oil, olives, garlic and tuna).
The Medina's souqs are the best place to shop when you travel to Tunis. Across the city, most of the goods for sale are of local origin, and if you can haggle, there are bargains to be found everywhere. For Tunisian crafts and souvenirs, shops on Rue Jemaa Zitouna are worth checking out.
Tunis is home to many independent shops selling everything from antiques to household ornaments. Also available are beauty products made with locally produced honey and royal jelly. For local food, steer clear of chain supermarkets and head for Halfaouine, a traditional food market close to the Habib Thameur metro stop.
Essential facts about Tunis
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip