When is the best time to visit Tunisia?
Bordering the Mediterranean in the north and the Sahara desert in the south, Tunisia's climate is a mixture of both, with hot dry summers and mild winters. It is situated in the Mediterranean's subtropical zone but the south of the country experiences weather more typical of Africa, with just two seasons – a long scorching summer and a brief winter or rainy season.
In the north and coastal areas, summer temperatures can reach in excess of 35 degrees Celsius, while in the desert the midday heat can climb to 45 degrees Celsius. During July and August, the country often experiences up to 12 hours of sunshine a day, making its coastal regions perfect for sunseekers. However, the temperature in southern desert regions such as the Jerid is too hot to handle in the summer, while it can drop to 8 degrees Celsius in the winter. Even in January, it hardly ever rains here and its parched sands are still bathed in 8 hours of sunshine every day.
When is it best to travel?
High summer in Europe – July and August – is also peak season in Tunisia, when the country sees the most visitors. This is also the hottest time of year to visit. While the coast is protected from the scorching desert heat by mountains, and cooled by sea breezes, the baking temperatures of the southern desert and the country's interior make sightseeing uncomfortable and desert safaris intolerable at this time of year.
The best time to visit depends on the type of activities you plan to do in Tunisia. For a beach holiday – May to October are ideal and travelling either side of the peak period, in May, June, September or October means you can avoid the crowds and possibly pay less for your holiday. On the coast, temperatures in the shoulder seasons – in spring and autumn – still average in the mid-to-high twenties, and Djerba, in particular, is pleasantly warm at this time of year.
For desert exploration, late autumn is the ideal time to take in the stunning landscapes and explore the dunes in warm but not uncomfortable temperatures. If you are planning a trek or safari into the Sahara, it's worth trying to coincide your trip with the Sahara festival in Douz, which takes place in November or December each year.
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