Tunisia fully reopens: Here’s why you should visit its pristine beaches and ancient cities

This north African country has ancient ruins to rival Rome.
This north African country has ancient ruins to rival Rome.   -   Copyright  JR Harris
By Rebecca Ann Hughes

Tunisia has dropped all remaining COVID travel restrictions three years after it first shut its borders during the pandemic.

As of last week, travellers no longer have to present vaccine passes or undergo health checks at the border.

It’s good news for those who have the stunning Mediterranean country on their bucket list.

Tunisia tempts tourists with azure waters, sand dune-filled desert and ancient ruins.

Here’s why you should visit in 2023.

Are there entry restrictions for Tunisia?

Last week, Tunisia lifted all remaining COVID travel restrictions.

The government says the levels of the virus in the country are sufficiently low to allow the move.

Travellers to Tunisia no longer need to show a vaccine certificate, meaning unvaccinated tourists can also visit.

Pre-departure tests for COVID are not required and there will be no testing or health checks on arrival. There is also no requirement for travellers to quarantine on arrival.

However, masks remain mandatory in enclosed spaces for those who test positive for COVID.

Here’s what you should see and do on a trip to Tunisia.

Lounge on Tunisia’s best beaches

Tunisia has long been a popular beach destination.

To the north, you can find wild bays of white cliffs and verdant vegetation, while further south pale stretches of sand lead down to clear waters.

Aleksandr Sali
Towards the south, head over the bridge to Djerba island for pristine sands and a crystalline sea.Aleksandr Sali

Hammamet is a great choice if you’re staying in the capital, Tunis. The balmy waters of this beach are a favourite with snorkelers and scuba divers.

Towards the south, head over the bridge to Djerba island for pristine sands and a crystalline sea. Retire to one of the old villages nearby for a fresh seafood lunch.

Meander medieval streets in Houmt Souk

While on Djerba island, stop off at the main settlement and market town of Houmt Souk.

The city is a melange of cultures as Arabs, Spanish and Ottomans have settled in the coastal area over the centuries.

Wander the streets of whitewashed adobe houses and dip into the bazaars where stalls laden with colourful products crowd the pavements.

Marvel at centuries of ancient ruins in Carthage and beyond

Centuries of conquests and battles for settlement have shaped the rich history of Tunisia.

The country is full of tangible traces of the north African and European cultures that converged on the territory.

The once mighty city of Carthage, now lying just outside modern Tunis, is one of the country’s most famous archeological sites.

Albert Gubaydullin
The once mighty city of Carthage, now lying just outside modern Tunis, is one of the country’s most famous archeological sites.Albert Gubaydullin

Settled by the Phoenician Greeks, it was a powerful trading hub in the ancient world.

Centuries of wars and invasions have reduced the city to ruins, but they still evoke the splendour of the historic metropolis.

A more impressive and better preserved ancient monument is the amphitheatre of El Djem, a UNESCO-designated oval arena to rival the Colosseum in Rome.

Discover sand dunes and a desert oasis in the Sahara

Make sure you leave time to head out into the shifting sands of the Sahara desert.

Visit the mud town of Tozeur, an oasis-settlement of earthen structures built in ancient Berber tradition.

Delve into the city’s medina for arabesque architecture decorated with intricate geometric brickwork designs.