When I tell people I’m going to Tunisia, many respond by either asking where it is or asking why I’m going there. While it isn’t a very popular tourist destination these days, especially for North Americans, it at least was on the radar in years past, especially for Europeans. Budget flights and excellent beaches made it a favorite of Europeans. Until a few high profile bombings at tourist resorts and another at the Bardo Museum put a damper on burgeoning mass tourism.
There are three main reasons I’m going to Tunisia:
1) I’m interested in this part of the world.
Cultures of the Mediterranean have always interested me. There are the remnants of ancient civilizations like the Romans and Phoenicians and the hospitality and culture of the Arabs today. I enjoyed traveling in nearby Egypt a decade ago and figured a neighboring country would also interest me.
2) I haven’t been to Tunisia
I love returning to countries and exploring places I know more in depth but I also like to visit new countries. I have returned to Japan, Italy, India, and Thailand numerous times but I’m in the mood to experience someplace new. I have never been to Tunisia.
3) The flight was cheap
I found a good deal on flights to North Africa and thought I would take a couple weeks to travel. There are often flight deals to Europe in the off-season but I seldom see them to Africa. Ethiopia was also a good price but I wanted more than two weeks to travel there.
I expect Tunisia to be a fairly modern country with a moderate interpretation of Islam. I’m looking forward to meeting friendly people as I have across the Arab world. I’m hoping to get some good photos of old mountain villages, coastal cities, urban street markets, and the residents of these communities.
I’ll get oriented to Tunisia in the capital, Tunis. I’ll spend a couple nights at an Airbnb and then couch surf for a night. Staying with locals will help me learn more about the country and also get good recommendations about what to see and do and where to eat. Then I plan to head out and see the rest of the country. For a small territory, there sure is a lot to see and do in Tunisia. I’d like to make stops in both the north and the south, but I’m getting recommendations to spend more time in the south. I definitely won’t leave without climbing the dunes of the Sahara Desert. And from what I hear the beaches are excellent in Tunisia. But in my mind, spending days at the beach in Tunisia would be a waste of time. I’ll save my beaches for another trip.