This Tunisia travel itinerary provides the best places to visit and what to do in Tunis if you only have 3 days in the capital. It combines historical landmarks, popular tourist attractions with cultural heritage and coastal destinations. While this is just a suggested itinerary for Tunis Tunisia, it can easily be customised to suit your own interests and wants.
Some of the travel guide highlights are Carthage, Bardo Museum, Sidi Bou Said and the old town in Tunis. Plus day trips to the World Heritage sites of El Jem amphitheatre and Dougga Ruins. Also a visit to the beach resorts of Hammemt, Sousse and Tabarka.
The Mediterranean Sea from the Sidi Bou Said village Tunisia
I really enjoyed my time in Tunisia and felt safe everywhere I went. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of what to do in Tunis and just outside the city. Plus I was impressed with the Tunisian cuisine with a mix of Mediterranean and African flavours.
Things to do in 3 days in Tunis
Tunis is the capital city of Tunisia, North Africa and is only a 2 and half hour direct flight from London. It is a perfect location if looking for a city or weekend break that offers a blend of history, culture and food. Tunis is also a great base for exploring popular landmarks and attractions in Tunisia.
Here is my suggested travel Itinerary guide for what to do in Tunis Tunisia, if you only have 3 days.
Day 1 – Bardo Museum – Carthage & Sidi Bou Said
Start your morning at the renowned Bardo Museum, located in the suburbs of Le Bardo. The museum is housed in an old Beylic palace dating back to the 19th Century. It is one of the most important museums in the Mediterranean region and the second largest in Africa after the Egyptian Museum.
Bardo Museum has an impressive collection of Roman mosaics, the largest collection in the world. It also has artefacts showcasing Tunisian history tracing back 3,000 years, including Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Islamic.
The museum costs you less than £2.59 and it is open from 9 am – 5 pm every day except Mondays. It is a vast collection; so leave yourself at least a 2hrs if you want to see everything.
The Ruins of Carthage Historical Landmark in Tunisia
Explore the ancient ruins of Carthage
Then head to the ancient city of Carthage, located just outside Tunis on a hill promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the top historical places in Tunisia to visit.
Explore the extensive archaeological site, including Roman ruins, the Acropolis of Byrsa, the Antonin baths, the Punic ports, the Punic tophet and an amphitheatre. There is also Carthage National Museum, which displays artefacts from the ancient city.
Tickets are just over £3 per person (12DT) and opening hours in the summer are from Monday-Friday 9:00-19:00 and Saturday 9:00-17:00, closed on Sunday. With its panoramic views from Byrsa Hill and ancient ruins, this Tunisian landmark site is worth seeing. A cool way to see one of Tunisia’s top attractions is on a guided bike tour.
Sidi Bou Said
Spend the evening in Sidi Bou Said the most picturesque village in Tunisia. It is located near the archaeological site of Carthage just a short trip from central Tunis. This charming blue and white village is located on a hill with an amazing view overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. You can easily book a combined tour to the Archaeological site of Carthage and to Sidi Bou Said if want a guide.
Stroll through its narrow streets, adorned with colourful doors and bougainvillea flowers, take in the stunning views, and have a Bambaloni (a sweet Tunisian doughnut). As well as visit local art galleries and craft shops and Dar el-Annabi a Sidi Bou Said museum, an 18th Century family home complete with wax figures. Before finishing up, have dinner at one of the restaurants in Sidi Bou Said taking in those views. You can easily spend half a day here exploring.
If you want to take a break and have a Tunisian coffee, I recommended going to Cafe des Delices. It has some of the most incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. Being one of the top activities to do in Tunis, Sidi Bou Said is also a popular tourist area to stay in.
A vendor selling the famous Tunisian sweet Bambaloni (doughnut) in Sidi Bou Said
Day 2 – A Day trip El Jem – Sousse & Hammamet
El Jem Amphitheatre Tunisia
Start your day at El Jem one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. It is another famous UNESCO World Heritage site in Tunisia and is known as the “African Colosseum”. You have to see this place to believe it and I understand completely why it is one of the best things to do in Tunisia.
El Jem Amphitheatre is located in the modern-day city of El Jem just over 2 hours from Tunis via car in southern Tunisia. It is the third largest amphitheatre in the world & the biggest in Africa, sitting up to 35,000 spectators. Wander through the ancient archways, and learn about the bloody history of gladiator battles.
This by far is one of the top historical landmark sites and attractions in Tunis, Tunisia and well worth the drive. What makes it more appealing is that it’s less crowded than the Rome Colosseum and only a £4 entry fee.
If you don’t feel like hiring a car and driving, book a private one day tour to El Jem Amphitheatre that also goes to Kairouan with Viator.
The Roman Amphitheatre of El Jem, a popular Tunisian Landmark.
Historical City of Sousse Tunisia
Next, visit the popular summer destination Sousse; it is the first major resort on your way back from El Jem Roman Amphitheatre. It was an important port during the Aghlabid period (800–909). Today Sousse has some of the best beaches in Tunisia, historical landmarks, museums and cool cafes.
Some of the main things to do in Sousse are wander around the well-preserved Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Ribat, the Bu Fatata Mosque and Great Mosque. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Sousse. Reserve and pay later for a History and Culture of Sousse Medina guided tour.
Take a break and try a traditional flavoured tea with a Tunisian sweet. I suggest mint tea with a Makroudh, a popular sweet that is deep fried and filled with dates before being soaked in honey syrup.
Hammamet Coastal Resort
Afterwards, head to the coastal town of Hammamet to experience the lively nightlife and see the historical sites. It is located along the Mediterranean Sea not too far from Tunis on your way back from Sousse.
Here are some of the things to do in Hammamet, explore the Medina old town, climb the Kasbah fortress walls and visit the George Sebastian Villa. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant that serves traditional cuisine like Tunisian couscous with meat and vegetables. Fish is also a common ingredient from coastal regions like Hammamet and the nearby island of Djerba.
If you have more time or want to spend a full day in Hammamet, then I suggest Carthageland Amusement Park for families looking for an adventure. The archaeological site of Pupput (Souk el-Abiod) is for those who are looking for places to go to learn about Tunisia’s history.
Exploring the Hammamet Medina and Kasbah Fortress Tunisia
Day 3 – What to do in Tunis City
Marché Centrale (Municipal Market)
Start your morning at Marché Centrale or Municipal Market in English, located in central Tunis. It is a great place to visit if you want to experience Tunisian culture first hand and try Tunisian food. It is a bustling market full of colour, you will see lots of local people here doing their shopping.
The original market building dates back from 1891 and additional halls were added later on. There are three main sections, a fruit and vegetables area, fresh seafood and fish hall and an area for local produce like olives, pungent cheese and spices.
Stop at the Bab el Bhar
Take a quick stop at Bab el Bhar Gate before exploring the old city. It is located near the Hotel Royal Victoria at the entrance of the medina of Tunis. Bab el Bahr (gate of the sea) or Porte De France is a city gate, which marked the starting point of the old city and the end of the modern city.
This huge freestanding gate is made up of a lowered archway and topped by a crenellated parapet and is one of the most important historical monuments in Tunisia. You only need 15 minutes here to take pictures.
Medina of Tunis
Next, visit Medina, one of the best places to visit in Tunis city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located near the Zitouna Mosque and Dar Ben Abdallah Museum. Many of the buildings and monuments date back to the period between the 12th and the 16th centuries. Explore its narrow streets and vibrant markets, and watch craftsmen hard at work.
This is a good spot for souvenir shopping if you are looking for local products or spices, especially the area between Rue Djemma ez Zitouna and Rue Kasbah where most of the stalls congregate.
Another medina highlight is the Souk des Chéchias, where the makers of Tunisia’s traditional blood-red felt caps have had their workshops for centuries. Craftsmen also produce customised hats in a variety of colours and styles, exported to other African countries. I suggest taking a city walking tour that shows the souks and other hidden gems in the medina.
Exploring the Medina UNESCO World Heritage site Tunis City
Next, visit the Zitouna Mosque, one of the oldest and most significant mosques in Tunisia. It is located not far from the Municipal Market in the heart of Medina Tunis. It is an architectural wonder featuring a huge square, 200 columns taken from Roman Carthage and a prayer hall.
Although non-Muslims cannot enter the mosque, the facade of the building is worth seeing while in the medina. One of the main things to do in medina Tunis is visit the colourful tiled terrace at Panorama Medina Café to see the Zitouna Mosque courtyard from above.
- It is also a great spot to take pictures and watch the sunset over the Medina.
Spend the afternoon discovering the modern side of Tunis in the Ville Nouvelle area with a spot of shopping and a drink of traditional coffee or tea. It is located just outside the medina and can easily be reached by foot.
Explore Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, lined with palms and eucalyptus trees in the middle and shops, cafes, and colonial-era buildings. See St. Vincent de Paul Cathedral, the largest surviving building of Tunisia’s French colonial period.
Walking around the Ville Nouvelle area in Tunis City
Traditional Tunisian dinner
Enjoy a traditional Tunisian dinner with wine in central Tunis after exploring all day. There are plenty of restaurants in and around Medina and along Habib Bourguiba Avenue.
Their food likes to combine North African and French flavours together with a touch of spice. I suggest having dishes like Tunisian couscous, Tajine, Brik (a savoury pastry). If you have a sweet tooth, try Makroudh or Bambalouni, which is also sold as street food.
Another option, if you are looking for things to do in Tunis at night, is to take a night food tour around the city. Where you will learn about Tunisian cuisine, get a taste of the nightlife and meet local suppliers.
Suggested places to visit in Tunisia
Here are lists of other places you can visit in Tunisia that can be added to your itinerary if you have additional days.
One of the unusual things to do in Tunisia is to visit Tataouine and discover the Berber village of Chenenni a historical village topped by a rocky ridge on a day tour.
Add a 2 day guided overnight stay in the Sahara that includes a visit to the world famous Star Wars location in Tozeur to your Tunisia itinerary.
Discover the ancient Roman ruins at Dougga, Bulla Regia and Chemtou all within easy reach of Tunis in Northern Tunisia. Book a full day guided tour to Dougga, Bulla Regia from Tunis.
Archaeological site of Thugga Dougga Tunisia
3 Days in Tunis
This itinerary for 3 days in Tunis only provides a glimpse into Tunisia’s rich history, cultural heritage and coastal beauty. I have only covered the best things to do and popular places in Tunisia, however, it can easily be adjusted to suit your needs. I felt totally safe in Tunis and Tunisia is well worth visiting for a weekend break or longer.
If you are staying longer and were wondering where to go in Tunisia for a holiday in the sun, then I recommend Hammamet, Sousse or Tabarka. Please feel free to head to my Africa or Mediterranean page, if you like more related articles and travel guides.
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Have you been to Tunisia or its beach resorts 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.