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Small is beautiful

As North Africa's smallest country, Tunisia punches well above its weight. From the silky dunes of the Sahara in the south to the green rolling plains of the west and a palm-fringed golden coast, its constantly shifting landscape provides a wealth of natural wonders, while its history stretches back into ancient myth.

The country's capital, Tunis, is exotic as it is fascinating, with colourful souks, beautiful mosques and a UNESCO-listed medina. The capital is also the site of the ancient city of Carthage, a cornerstone of the mighty Roman Empire that's not-to-be-missed on any tour of the country.

Beyond Tunis, Tunisia's coastal resorts draw thousands of sunseekers every year, who come to bask on endless stretches of fine golden sand. There's plenty of accommodation to choose from in the tourist towns of Sousse and Hammamet, for instance, which have also managed to maintain their arabesque cultural character. The idyllic island of Djerba is a prime spot for beach holidays, with a clutch of luxury resorts and affordable hotels clinging to the soft sandy coastline.

Beach Havens

Hammamet

Fringed by a wide stretch of white sand that sweeps around the coast, Hammamet is a historic fishing town in the east of the country that grew to become Tunisia's first tourist destination. Most holidaymakers come here to enjoy the beach and watersports available, and the resort is perfectly equipped for all types of holiday, whether you are travelling with family, friends or as a couple.

Known as Tunisia's 'garden resort', Hammamet is peppered with citrus trees and olive groves, as well as fragrant jasmine, which gave rise to the name of the town's purpose-built tourist resort of Yasmine Hammamet. Shops and restaurants abound here, and the choice of accommodation ranges from budget hotels such as the fresh and intimate Residence Romane to large luxury resorts such as the five-star Vincci Taj Sultan.

Sousse

Sitting at the southern end of the azure Gulf of Hammamet, the pretty resort of Sousse is a great base for travellers who enjoy a combination of beautiful beaches and cultural sights. Its wide swathe of seemingly-endless powdery white sand curves more than 10km around the coastline, backed by dozens of smart hotels and tourist facilities. But the town has individual character too. It has retained its arabesque charm and boasts a number of interesting treasures including a UNESCO-listed medina, Roman catacombs and a 9th-century mosque. If you're looking for five-star luxury in Sousse, a stay at the plush beach-front Movenpick Resort and Marine Spa will tick all the boxes. Alternatively, the attractive adults-only Scheherazade Hotel is the ideal romantic retreat for couples.

Djerba

This secret paradise of myth and legend is the perfect destination for beach connoisseurs. Set in the Mediterranean just off the eastern coast of Tunisia, Djerba is thought to be the legendary 'Land of the Lotus Eaters' from Homer's epic Odyssey: an island so lovely that it lulled Odysseus' men into a state of bliss and led them to forget their mission. Most hotels on the island back onto the magnificent stretch of sand and turquoise waters along the north-east coast. But, though it's a quiet island, there's history and culture here too. Visitors can explore countless archaeological sites, admire quirky Berber architecture, and visit Houmt Souk, the island's chief city built on the site of an ancient Roman settlement. Accommodation tends to be centred on the north-east coast, ranging from top-quality chain resorts such as Radisson Blue Palace Resort and Thalasso to smaller boutique-style options like the Hotel Petit Palais and Spa.

Cultural Heartlands

Tunis

The country's bustling capital has to be the first port of call for any cultural tour of Tunisia and makes a great base for exploring the country. For a start, this was once the site of the legendary Phoenician and, later, Roman city of Carthage, which formed a cornerstone of the wider Roman Empire. Its ruins can still be seen in the suburbs of the city where visible layers of archaeological bare testimony to its rich and storied history. Visitors today can still explore the well-preserved amphitheatre, Roman baths and the remains of two Phoenician ports. To get a real sense of the country's rich classical history, a visit to the fantastic Bardo Museum, chock-full of ancient art, sculptures and mosaics, is an absolute must.

Beyond the ancient sights, Tunis is also a great place to experience Berber and Arabic culture. The labyrinthine streets and alleys of the city's beautiful UNESCO-listed medina are a joy to explore, with a web of souks and some surprises too – palaces and monuments built by the Berber dynasty and a mosque dating back to the 7th century. Accommodation abounds in the city – travellers can choose from charming retreats such as the centrally-located Le Pacha hotel or Hotel Phebus, on the coast just minutes' from central Tunis.

Matmata

To see the quirkier side of Tunisia, a trip to Matmata is highly recommended. This southern town features a cluster of underground troglodyte dwellings that are truly unique. Built by Berbers who chose to burrow beneath the earth to escape the desert heat, these homes are set in caves carved around open circular pits that form central courtyards. Rounded doorways lead away into cool rooms and passages while carved stairs ascend to surface level. If these unusual houses take your fancy, Hotel Sidi Driss, used as a film set for the classic Star Wars movies, is the ideal place to spend a night.

Life-affirming Landscapes

Douz

For a spot of desert exploration, the southern oasis town of Douz is a fantastic starting point for treks and safaris into the rolling dunes. Dotted with more than half a million palms, it is often described as the ultimate palm oasis and was once an important stop-off for trade caravans crossing the Sahara. If you are looking for a good place to stop-over en route to the desert, the four-star Hotel Sahara Douz is one of the best hotels in the area.

Tabarka / Ain Draham

Known as 'Green Tunisia', the area around Tabarka and Ain Draham is lush and green owing to its special microclimate. It's the ideal place to immerse yourself in nature and explore the rolling cork tree-carpeted hills, reminiscent of Provence. If you want to stay in the region, the Tulip Inn Ain Draham Hotel, nestled in the hollow of a valley in the beautiful Kroumirie mountains, is the ideal base for forays into the surrounding scenery. In a bucolic setting amid unspoilt scenery, it is only 20km from the coastal town of Tabarka.

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Places of interest in Tunisia

Depending on the type of location you want, the kind of facilities you'd like to find and the proximity to certain attractions, we have a good number of areas for you to choose from and stay at during your holiday.

Whether you want a pumping and energetic beachside retreat, a tranquil setting in a secluded cove, a hillside resort perched in the midst of nature, or a strategic central location close to civilisation and buzzing city life, nightclubs, theme parks and other kinds of leisure attractions, we can advise you on the best places for you.

Choose from our selection of handpicked places and be based right at the place that's most ideal for you and your travelling party

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