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Tunisia family holidays

Traditional market in TunisTraditional market in Tunis
Camels in TunisiaCamels in Tunisia© Danyweb | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Club Med Djerba Douce beach, TunisiaClub Med Djerba Douce beach, Tunisia© Club Med
Capital City Tunis
Flying Time 3hrs
Carbon Footprint 1.59 CO2
Timezone GMT +1
Currency Tunisian Dollar

Today

Overview

Tunisia is a wonderful destination for family holidays, with an interesting mix of attractions that would do justice to a country twice its size. You can sunbathe, sail and dive at the popular resorts on the Mediterranean coast, visit ancient ports and medinas, or take a trip to Carthage, to stand on the spot where Hannibal departed to take on the might of the Roman Empire. Younger kids love being let loose on the beautiful beaches, while older children might enjoy an adventure trip into the Sahara Desert to ride camels and see the sets of the Star Wars films. 

On top of all this, the food is fabulous, the people are friendly, and the weather is hot most of the year. Tunisia can’t be recommended highly enough. Just remember that it's a traditional Islamic country, so cover up and be respectful.

For guidance on travel to Tunisia in the light of recent incidents, refer to the latest FCO advice.

Things to do with kids in Tunisia

Entertain little ones in one of the many resorts along the Mediterranean coast. Head to Hammamet for kilometres of clean beaches, a small medina and plenty of family-friendly hotels and resorts. The town also has lots of restaurants and bars, but don’t expect to be alone – Hammamet is popular year-round with tourists, reputedly boasting 40,000 hotel beds for a town of just 50,000 inhabitants. 

South of Hammamet, the purpose built resort of Port El Kantaoui offers luxurious hotels and Tunisia’s answer to the posh marinas of the south of France. But though the resort has plenty of comfortable options for family holidays, a more authentic experience can be found in neighbouring Sousse, where you can explore the markets and allow yourself to get lost in the alleyways of the old walled medina. This resort is a great option for a beach holiday with character, as well as a popular stop-off point for many family adventure trips.

Wth older children, an adventure trip is one of the best ways to explore some of Tunisia’s most interesting sights. A typical itinerary will head north to take in the ruins of Hannibal’s Carthage and the seaside town of Sidi Bou Said before moving on to Sousse and the impressive coliseum at El Djem where little gladiators can fight it out before heading off to explore the lions’ lair beneath the coliseum floor. 

From here, most trips head inland to the Sahara and the desert capital of Tozeur, where Skywalker fans (both young and old) can visit the expanses of the Chott el Djerid salt flats and film sets from the first Star Wars film and The English Patient. Quad-biking, camel rides and a night sleeping under the stars in a Bedouin tent are guaranteed to keep all ages occupied.

If you can squeeze it in, no visit to central Tunisia is complete without a ride on the Red Lizard Train to take in the breathtaking views of the Seldja Gorge. The train departs daily from the station at Metlaoui not far from Tozeur.

Most adventure trips round off with another dose of Star Wars trivia and a trip to the troglodyte homes in the village of Matmata (used as the location for Luke Skywalker’s home planet), before winding up with a stay by the beach at Djerba

For those travelling with younger children or opting for a stay by the beach, many tour operators offer excursions from major resorts to sites including Carthage, El Djem and Tozeur. When booking trips take into account travelling times to and from sites to avoid long days with tired children.

Eat

Tunisian food has been influenced by the influx of different inhabitants over the years and remains essentially a mixture of Mediterranean (French, Spanish and Italian) and traditional Tunisian recipes. Many meals include olives, flat bread and harissa, a very hot sauce that can be left out on request. Couscous is the national dish, often served with vegetables, lamb or poultry. Grilled fish is also abundant due to the long coastline. Other popular dishes include brik, a snack consisting of an egg fried in a thin pastry envelope, sometimes made with a savoury filling. 

Don’t leave without sampling sweet delights including loukoum (Turkish delight), baklava, and marzipan-filled dates.

International cuisine is also widely available, especially in resort hotels, which can be a boon for family holidays with fussy kids.

When to go to Tunisia

The ideal time to take family holidays in Tunisia is spring (March–May), before the summer heat kicks in, when temperatures are a pleasant 25°C. From June to September, temperatures along the coast hover around 27-30°C. Inland, summer temperatures can rocket, especially in the southern desert where they can reach a whopping 45°C. High temperatures inland mean that many family adventure trips do not operate during these months.

Remember that during Ramadan, sites and museums may have limited opening hours.

Cost

Tunisia can be a great-value destination for family holidays: expect to pay from around £450 per adult for a week half-board in a mid-range hotel at a popular resort such as Hammamet in peak season. For 5-star luxury, prices range between £750 and £2000. Adventure trips start at £879pp for 9 days.

By Zannah Ingraham

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