Day 01: Arrive Tunis
Bonjour and Merhaba! We are warmly greeted to Tunisia and are driven to the hotel. Check in time starts from 1400 hrs.
Overnight: Tunisia Palace Hotel, Tunis (2 nights) (D)
Day 02: Tunis
Our first exploration of this unique land starts with a visit to the Medina of Tunis*, which is one of the first Arab-Muslim towns of the Maghreb (698 A.D.). Capital of several universally influential dynasties, it represents a human settlement that bears witness to the interaction between architecture, urbanism and the effects of socio-cultural and economic changes of earlier cultures. With its souqs, its urban fabric, its residential quarters, monuments and gates, this ensemble constitutes a prototype among the best conserved in the Islamic world. Our next stop is the Bardo Museum, famous for its fine collection of mosaics. The Punic vestiges, array of Roman mosaics and unique sculptures in this museum are truly astounding! In the afternoon we have a tour of Carthage*. Founded by the Phoenicians, Carthage is an extensive archaeological site, located on a hill dominating the Gulf of Tunis and the surrounding plain. Metropolis of Punic civilization in Africa and capital of the province of Africa in Roman times, Carthage has played a central role in Antiquity as a great commercial empire. During the lengthy Punic wars, Carthage occupied the territories that belonged to Rome, which then destroyed its rival in 146 AD. The town was rebuilt by the Romans on the ruins of the ancient city. We continue to Sidi Bou Said, a splendid Moorish village perched atop a headland. (B, D)
Day 03: Tunis/ Dougga / Kairouan
Morning depart to visit the archaeological site of Dougga/Thugga* covers an area of approximately 75 ha. These ruins of a complete city with all its components are a testimony to more than 17 centuries of history. They are an outstanding example illustrating the synthesis between different cultures: Numidian, Punic, Hellenistic, and Roman. Continue onto Kairouan.
Overnight: La Kasbah Hotel, Kairouan (1 night) (B, D)
Day 04: Kairouan / El Jem / Port El Kantaoui
This morning we tour the holy city of Kairouan*. Founded in 670, the city flourished under the Aghlabid dynasty in the 9th century. Despite of the transfer of the political capital to Tunis in the 12th century, Kairouan remained the Maghreb's principal holy city. Its rich architectural heritage includes the Great Mosque, with its marble and porphyry columns, and the 9th-century Mosque of the Three Gates. In the afternoon we depart for El Jem*, with impressive ruins of the largest colosseum in North Africa, a huge amphitheatre which could hold up to 35,000 spectators, are found in the small village of El Jem. This 3rd-century monument illustrates the grandeur and extent of Imperial Rome. Continue to Port El Kantaoui.
Overnight: El Mouradi Hotel, Port El Kantaoui (1 night) (B, D)
Day 05: Port El Kantaoui / Sousse / Hammamet
Our first stop will be Sousse*, which was an important commercial and military port during the Aghlabid period (800–909) and is a typical example of a town dating from the first centuries of Islam. With its kasbah, ramparts, medina (with the Great Mosque), Bu Ftata Mosque and typical ribat (both a fort and a religious building), Sousse was part of a coastal defense system. Next we get to Hammamet, to visit the Spanish fortress and the Medina.
Overnight: Le Sultan Hotel, Hammamet (1 night) (B, D)
Day 06: Hammamet / Kerkuane / Tunis
We drive to the coastal town of Nabeul, the main centre of the Tunisian pottery industry. Then we head to Kelibia, to visit the recently restored fortress overlooking the harbor. In the afternoon we visit the Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis*. This Phoenician city was probably abandoned during the First Punic War (c. 250 B.C.) and as a result was not rebuilt by the Romans. The remains constitute the only example of a Phoenician-Punic city to have survived. The houses were built to a standard plan in accordance with a sophisticated notion of town planning.
Overnight: Tunisia Palace Hotel, Tunis (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 07: Tunis
Today we explore the ruins of Utica, set on a low hill, composed of several Roman villas. Their walls still preserve decorative floor mosaics. To the northwest of these villas is a Punic necropolis, with Punic sarcophagi. In the afternoon we visit Thuburmo Majus or Colonia Julia Aurelia Commoda, its Roman name. Originally a Punic town, it became a Roman veteran colony by Augustus, which allowed them to start their post-army lives with land of their own. Its strategic location and access to trade routes made it an important establishment. (B, D)
Day 08: Depart Tunis
In the morning we are transferred to the airport for our flight home or our next exciting destination. (B)