Tunisia

A travel taster from Mary Concannon of Eblana Travel

Roman amphitheatre, El Djem.

Roman amphitheatre, El Djem.

At this time of year, many of you are planning your winter sun break and are wondering what options are open to you. In the travel trade, our winter sun seasons operates from November/December to the end of April and the short haul sun destinations on offer include Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Egypt, and Tunisia.

This winter, Tunisia is proving to be one of the most popular destinations for people who are looking for a sun holiday with short flying time, good accommodation, and a different culture. Tunisia has wonderful sandy beaches that stretch for miles, endless blue skies, and sun filled days. Not only that, but it has excellent golf, tennis, and water sports to make it an action packed all-year-round holiday destination.

There are glorious sandy beaches at Port el Kantaoui, Sousse, and Hammamet. Water sports include paragliding and scuba diving at Port El Kantaoui and scuba diving from Hammamet.

Sightseeing

There is lots to see in Tunisia — the Medina of Sousse is home to the Great Mosque, Ribat Fortress, and several souks, and Hammamet's kasbah has its roots in the 15th century.

The Roman ruins at the Carthage, El Djem’s giant amphitheatre, and picturesque Sidi Bou Said are all worth a visit. You should also visit the Sahara Desert where Star Wars and The English Patient were filmed.

Shopping

Shopping in Tunisia is a joy – cotton kaftans, carved olive wood, copperware, silverware, leather goods, quality rugs, pottery, and beautiful enameled jewellery all make great souvenirs. Shopping is a fun experience and you will need good bartering skills for the souks and bazaars.

Getting around

Getting around is easy; there are regular train services linking Sousse and Tunis. The national bus service has routes to most towns and cities, and intercity buses are cheap and reasonably comfortable. Louages (long distance taxis ) can carry up to five passengers and will wait until they are full to leave. They are quick and cost only slightly more than the bus, and the local yellow taxies are plentiful and inexpensive. ‘Noddy’ trains run between Sousse and Port El Kantaoui.

Eating out

Cooked with olive oil, flavoured with lemon and orange blossom, mint, and rose water and spiced with cumin, coriander, caraway, cinnamon, or saffron, the local cuisine is a feast for the senses. In Tunisia you will find North African cuisine at its best including fresh grilled king prawns and lobster, cous cous with meat or vegetables, and ‘brik’, which is deep fried pastry with potato and egg. Go native to local eateries to savour the best of the dishes. Also try the surprisingly good Tunisian wines and beers.

Nightlife

There are many bars and discos widely available in Sousse and Hammamet. You will find two casinos in the Hammamet area and in the summer months you can dance the night away in the popular open-air discos. Most hotels also have their own entertainment programmes and nightclubs where you can experience the belly dancing and traditional shows.

Excursions

There are many excursions to enjoy in Tunisia including the African Dream, where you can watch Zulus performing traditional African tribal dances in the valley of the Atlas Mountains. Experience North and South Africa in one night from cuisine to culture.

Desert adventure

Two full days guided coach safari in sizzling southern Tunisia taking in the awesome Sahara Desert, exploring the Matmata Cave dwellings, El Djem, the Salt Lakes, and a welcoming oasis. It’s not all sitting around in a coach though — you will get the option of sitting on a camel too, and if you are really lucky you might catch the Sahara sunrise.

Road to Carthage

Catch the coach to Tunis, see the Roman ruins of Carthage, and visit Tunisia’s most beautiful village, Sidi Bou Said with its unique blue and white houses. After lunch the guide will talk you through the various artefacts of note at the Bardo Museums.

A lifetime’s education in a day.

Flights to Tunisia operate from Dublin on Saturdays with a wide variety of accommodation on offer including all inclusive, half board, and bed and breakfast options.

To book your holiday to Tunisia contact Mary Concannon at Eblana Travel on (091 ) 501400 or visit www.eblanatravel.ie

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