Tunisia: Summer 2016

Maybe it’s the effect of the super cold weather we’ve been having here in the UK recently, but as of late I’ve been suffering from some serious holiday blues, so it seemed appropriate for me to share my experience of three weeks in Tunisia with you.

This wasn’t my first visit to Tunisia, as my partner’s family live there, but at three weeks it was the longest I’ve spent there and it really gave me the opportunity to explore the beautiful country.

Djerba

A good place for me to start off would be Djerba. An Island off the south coast of Tunisa, this is a gorgeous location for anyone who is up for a bit of adventure whilst being surrounded by the picturesque seascape. While we were here I had the chance to try so many new things. One of the main highlights had to be parasailing; we were lucky enough to book our slot just as the sun was setting and being able to watch that in the middle of the Mediterranean was mind-blowing. We also had a great atmosphere on the speedboat watching everyone else take their turn  while listening to countless club bangers (which managed to make their way onto our Spotify playlist for the car ride back!)

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Another new experience was a camel trek along the beach, which is something I’d always been slightly hesitant to do, but it was so comfortable and so much fun. The locals were also so friendly and treated the animals with great respect. It was lovely to see.

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Because of being in the south, it was especially hot and dry in some places, but even then the desert landscape was  incredible. I had the chance to discover a lot more about Tunisia’s heritage at the Musée de Gallala which was beautifully decorated and so imformative. One of the most interesting exhibits was a recreation of a traditional wedding and even showed how the brides used sugar to remove any unwanted body hair for their big day. This is still carried out by some women today.

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As a tourist hot spot, Djerba also has a myriad of great places to eat and drink. A traditional evening pastime in Tunisia is going out to a café and it always surprised me how my partner was able to order an espresso at 9/10pm and still get to sleep! I much preferred to go for a Tunisian loose leaf mint tea, which tastes amazing and so refreshing too. As well as this, many cafés also offer a great range of non-alcoholic cocktails and delicious fresh juices. The photo below is of one of my favourite cafés we visited whilst in Djerba.

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Chebba

Chebba is extremely popular among Tunisian tourists with its dazzling blue sea and incredible beaches and luckily for us, my partner’s family happen to live there! His parents own a beautiful apartment with a balcony overlooking the seafront and as a real water baby, it was amazing for me to be able to walk out of the front door and practically be on the beach.

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It is a very different atmosphere to the other places we visited, as Chebba is nowhere near as busy. We spent a lot of time in the sea and one of my favourite parts of that was a trip on a pedal boat (which doubled up as a work out) and also rekindling my love of  sea kayaking! The other great thing about these activities as they cost next to nothing in Tunisia, so if you’re looking for some adventure on a budget I would seriously recommend it- although you may have to be up for some bargaining in a highly tourist area.

Korbous

Venturing north we passed through Korbous, which boasted hot springs, amazing mountain views and yet again some fantastic beaches. I was intrigued by people standing by the hot spring selling rejuvenating skin masks and various other products made entirely of natural ingredients. In hindsight I do actually regret not buying one to try out but hey- there’s always next time!

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We also got to try out a lovely beachside grill restaurant where the staff were so accommodating and friendly for such a tourist-filled area! It was actually quite funny watching the rival businesses fight for our custom, but in the end we were sold when one guy managed to get us a parking space in the majorly busy car park! The food was delicious. I went for barbecued fish which, as in all grill restaurants, came with fresh bread, Tunisian salad, fries and my favourite, harissa dip.

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Sidi Bou Said

This brings me now to my favourite place. Sidi Bou Said is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever visited. With its blue and white colour scheme, it is reminiscent of the Greek islands. It was a desperately hot day when we visited, but despite the heat it was incredible walking through the hustle and bustle of the markets and delving into the Tunisian culture completely.

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Another thing I loved about Tunisia was the amount of cats which were popping up everywhere! Although they were strays, they added so much character to the already thriving atmosphere, and I am a big cat lover! This particular cat appeared in a cafe which was overlooking the sea, and although I wasn’t brave enough to pick her up, she did make a lovely photo!

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There was honestly too much to photograph here, but the views we did capture were absolutely stunning. The one thing I would say about our day trip here is that it was relatively pricey, as it is a tourist favourite; however, it was worth it for experiencing the sheer beauty of the surroundings.

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I’d just like to round up this post by urging anyone considering a new holiday destination to pick Tunisia. Despite any preconceptions you may have gotten from the media etc, Tunisia is a truly amazing location full of culture, wonderful and welcoming people and countless beautiful places to go and visit. On top of this, their tourism industry is really struggling as an effect of negative press. I can assure you that in three weeks there and in my previous visits I have never encountered a problem. As long as you have an open mind and enjoy new experiences, I can guarantee Tunisia is the perfect, affordable holiday!

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