Tabarka Tunisia is a charming coastal town nestled between the sea and the mountains. It is known for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, archaeological sites and its mountains and forest. Making it a popular tourist destination for beach holidays and water sports, as well as outdoor activities and exploring historical attractions.
The coral reefs in the area are also particularly renowned, attracting diving enthusiasts from around the world. Away from the beach, there are many other things you can do on land in this northern Tunisia town, like visit Genoese Fort, Tabarkas Les Aiguiles and the mountain village of Ain Drahm.
Tabarka even has two official Tunisia UNESCO World Heritage sites you can explore, Dougga / Thugga and Ichkeul Nationa Park, an easy half day trip from the city.
Les Aiguilles of Tabarka along the seafront and Genoese Fort in the distance.
Where is Tabarka Tunisa
Tabarka is a small coastal town located in north western Tunisia, near the border of Algeria Africa. It is on the Mediterranean Sea and is part of the Jendouba Governorate area.
While Tabarka has its own airport, you can only get direct flights from London to the major cities of Tunisia and the capital. Tabarka is just a 3hr drive from Tunis, 2.5 hours from Bizerte and 3.5 hours from Hammamet.
To find more travel information and guides on places to visit in Africa, you can check here.
Best Things to Do in Tabarka Tunisia
I took a trip to Tabarka and Ain Draham from Tunis so I could experience the culture, enjoy its natural beauty and visit the historical sites. For a small coastal city, Tabarka is worth adding to your Tunisia itinerary for a couple of days or a beach holiday.
Here are the best tourist attractions and things you can do while visiting Tabarka, North Tunisia.
1. Tabarka Genoese Fort (Castle)
Tabark Fort or sometimes known as Genoese Castle is one of the top things to do in north-western Tunisia. This important Archaeological site is located on a wooded hill guarding the entrance to the harbour. It dominates the skyline and you can’t miss it from the town.
This 16th century fortress offers stunning panoramic views of the Tabarka centre, beaches and the Mediterranean Sea. You only need roughly an hour here to explore inside and walk along the fort walls. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the best bit is that entry is free.
The historical site of Genoese Castle or also known as Tabarka Fort
2. Tabarka Beaches
Tabarka has some of the best beaches in Tunisia that offer clean sandy beaches crystal-clear waters and coral reefs. It is one of the reasons why many Tunisians and foreigners come here for the summer holidays.
They are the perfect spot for water sports, swimming, fishing and sunbathing. Plage El Kebir or also known as Barkoukech Beach is one of the most popular beach areas. It is a long white sandy beach with turquoise water. It is also where a lot of the hotels and resorts in Tabarka are located.
Plage Chatt El Bejia is a small beach near the city centre and adjoins the old marina. The beach has cafes and a lively atmosphere about it. It is more popular with the locals than tourists due to its location.
3. Marvel at the Aiguilles of Tabarka
Les Aiguilles of Tabarka is a spectacular formation of spiky pinnacles of rock formed thousands of years ago. They are an interesting geological formation that attracts tourists from all over the world. These 10 meter or more coarse columns are quite a site to walk through.
They are located across from Tabarka’s old harbour bay and near Amphithéàtre de Tabarka. Les aiguilles de Tabarka is just a short walk along a seaside promenade and is a pleasant evening stroll when the sun is setting. It is also a great spot for taking pictures of the surrounding area and of the Genoese fort. I used my Sony mirrorless from their camera collection to capture the views.
The geological site of Tabarka Les Aiguilles
4. Ichkeul National Park and Lake
Ichkeul National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located in northern Tunisia in the Bizerte district on the Mateur plain, just a short drive from Tabarka. It’s an ideal outdoor destination for hiking in the forest and one of the top places for birdwatching in Tunisia.
The park is filled with wildlife, the main attraction is the wide range of bird life. In the winter season, migratory waterbirds descend on the lake too. Several bird towers are set up around the park, so you can watch the birds in their natural habitat. Make sure that you wear Insect repellent for mosquitos.
5. Best Tunisian Food to Try
Trying local Tunisian food from Tabarka is a great way to experience the culture in the North West. Their food likes to combine French and African flavours together with a touch of spice. If you are lucky enough to visit a Tunisian home for a meal, you will be greeted with a variety of traditional vibrant local dishes, presented on beautiful handmade ceramic platters.
One of the best traditional Tunisian dishes to try is Mloukhia, a beef or lamb stew that is cooked in a very rich sauce, or a Tunisian couscous with meat and vegetables. Fish is also a common ingredient from coastal regions like Tabarka and the island of Djerba.
For dessert, I suggest Makroudh, a popular sweet that is deep fried and filled with dates before being soaked in honey syrup. Dar El Ain offers culinary adventures in Tabarka allowing you to experience the flavours of the region.
Traditional Mloukhia and Tunisian couscous with lamb and vegetable
6. Enjoy the Tabarka Jazz Festival
Don’t miss the Tabarka Jazz Festival held annually during the summer season in July. It’s a popular event that includes performances by local and renowned international musicians.
The Tabarka Jazz Festival attracts jazz musicians and music enthusiasts from around the world. It is not only one of the biggest cultural events in Tunisia but one of the most prominent.
7. Tabarka Tunisia Archaeological Sites
Discover the ancient Roman ruins at some of the Archaeological Sites near Tabarka. You can explore the remains of the Roman baths, basilica, and other structures that offer insights into the town’s rich history. There are three main historical sites Dougga, Bulla Regia and Chemtou, all within easy reach of the coastal city.
Dougga is rated as one of the most important Roman ruins in northern Tunisia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It reminds me of the one in Delphi Greece with its ancient columns and ruins. Bulla Regia is a Roman archaeological museum site, located 63 km from the centre of Tabarka.
The ancient city of Simitthus (modern Chemtou) is another famous Roman archaeological museum and popular tourist attraction. It is the largest marble quarry in ancient North Africa and also has a Sanctuary on the summit of Djebel Chemtou, dedicated to the Punic god Baal-Ammon. Book a full day guided tour to Dougga, Bulla Regia from Tunis.
Dougga the archaeological site in north Tunisia
8. Go Scuba diving or Snorkelling
There are some amazing diving and snorkelling spots around Africa like in Tanzania and Tabarka’s is no different. It has coral reefs, underwater caves and rich marine life that are renowned worldwide. Take a boat and go scuba diving or snorkelling to discover the underwater world and discover colourful marine life. It is an excellent location for diving enthusiasts. If you are lucky you might even see the rare red coral.
One of the best spots to do this is in the zone touristique in the Mediterranean Sea. Thabraca Thalasso Resort has a diving centre with direct access to the coral beach. They provide all the necessary water equipment and ensure safety during dives. Don’t forget to take your GoPro and microfiber travel towel with you.
9. Shop for local Tunisian handicrafts
Tabarka is known for its handicrafts, particularly woodwork, pottery and ceramics. One of the best places to shop for local handicrafts is in the small town of Ain Draham in the Jendouba Governorate. Which is just a short drive south up the mountain from the centre of Tabarka.
Here you can explore local markets and shops to find unique Tunisian crafts and souvenirs like wicker baskets and carved wood. Buying local products is a great way to give back and support the local community. Their handicrafts reminded me of the ones in Freetown Sierra Leone.
One place I recommend in Ain Draham is ASSAK, a non-profit organization run by local women. They make traditional handmade decorative rugs and scarves with patterns and various colours. As well as other woollen products all offered at a reasonable price. This was a wonderful cultural experience in Ain Draham Tunisia listening to their stories and learning how to make carpets.
Learning how to make a handmade carpet from one of the local Tunisian locales.
How to get to Tabarka Tunisia
Tabarka has a small airport, Tabarka-Ain Draham Airport, which connects the town to other cities in Tunisia. Air Tunisia flies regularly from London to the Tunisian capital of Tunis. Then from there, you can get a short flight to Tabarka. Another option is flying to the capital, and then rent a car to Tabark.
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Tunis to Tabarka distance
Tabarka is easily accessible by road from most cities in Tunisia, like Sousse, Hammanet and Bizerte. Tunis to Tabarka distance is roughly 185kms and should take around 3hrs via car. Driving in Tunisia is relatively easy as roads to major cities are along tolled highways and there are petrol stations where you can stop, have a beak and go to the toilet.
Tabarka Tunisia Hotels
I stayed at one of the best Tabarka Tunisia hotels in the area. It is a combined resort and diving centre that specialises in thalassotherapy, a treatment that uses saltwater and seaweed for therapeutic purposes. Thabraca Thalasso is located close to Tabarka Beach and offers convenient access to the Mediterranean Sea within the zone touristique.
Thabraca Thalasso & Diving Resort provides a combination of wellness, and outdoor and water adventures for guests seeking a seaside hotel in Tabarka, Tunisia.
Hotel Tabarka Tunisia facilities
Thabraca Thalasso offers a variety of facilities and amenities that include swimming pools, fitness centres, spa facilities plus much more. It also has indoor and outdoor bars and restaurants serving Tunisian and international cuisine. The resort is also known for its diving centre, which offers diving courses and excursions for both experienced and beginner divers.
Check availability and compare prices for hotels and accommodation across Tabarka here.
The view from my room at the Thabraca Thalasso and diving centre.
Best Tips for Visiting Tabarka Tunisia
- Flights: It is only a 2 and half hour’s direct flight from London to Tunis and Airtunisia has the most regular service to the capital.
- Currency: The Tunisian dinar is the official currency used in Tunisia and is easily available at ATMs and banks. Tunisian dinar is a closed currency meaning you can’t order it before you leave or take it out of the country.
- Adaptors: Tunisia has type C and E sockets that fit the 2 pin plugs. These are the same adaptors that are used in Europe.
- Visa: The residents of the UK don’t require a visa for Tunisia. You can check here to see what other countries do and don’t require to enter the country.
- Official language: The main language that is spoken in Tunisia is Arabic. However, a large portion speaks English and French at the main tourist destinations and beach resorts.
Thank you for reading my article on the best things to do in Tabarka Tunisia. I hope that it helps with any information you may have about visiting this coastal city. Please feel free to head to my Africa or Mediterranean page, if you like more related articles.
Have you been to the beaches in Tabarka or any of Tunisia’s cities before? Please feel free to leave your comments or experiences below.
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Disclaimer: I was a guest of Tunisia Tourism during my time in the country. However, all views are based on my own experience.