'luxury at its finest in the capital of tunisia'
arriving in from istanbul just a short hop over the mediterranean you will find yourself in the north african capital of tunisia, tunis. although tunis does not have the same reverence as say marrakech or cairo this lesser know capital has so much to offer as its close to the sea but also retains the culture and history of the past empires that have left their mark on it.
villa edo - gammarth
my first experience of tunisia was not the capital from the airport i took a taxi to the small seaside area of gammarth about 20 mins to the east of the city. this was going to be my base for the trip as i wanted a relaxing place to come back every day away from the hustle & bustle of the city.
villa edo is perched atop of the hills in one of the most expensive and safe areas in tunisia. this ultra-luxurious boutique villa makes you feel immediately at home from the moment you step through the vast double doors.
room no.7 was my home for the duration of the stay, located at the rear of the property with its own terrace and orange trees that shade you from the midday heat. the direct pool access was a huge bonus. the tastefully classical decorated room was spacious with seating area & large bathroom but for me, it was all about the small details from the high-quality sheets, handmade leather items to the luxury toiletries from amarante perfumes. quality oozes from every corner of the property
from the terrace with ocean views to the beautifully designed lounge with ample rooms for everyone to enjoy an evening drink. kamel, the in-house chef creates an extravagant breakfast daily that is sure to get you ready for the day. lunch and dinner are also available on request.
things to do
like most major cities tunis has an abundance of places to visit & things to do so here are just of few of the highlights i found while on my short trip. there are also a considerable amount of day trips you can take from tunis to some beautiful historical sights, unfortunately, i didn't get the opportunity to venture out the city as i was short on time and wanted to focus on this wonderful city.
the medina / souk
at the historic centre of the old city, you'll find the medina. the small winding streets are a hive of activity at all times of the day. as you meander through the tiny streets passing the local craftsmen working with metal to create beautiful objects, to the nougat salesman with his cart full of beautifully sticky freshly made local candy made with nuts. you will also find countless sandwich shops where the locals frequent that serve up fresh baguettes with filling of your choice for less than ($1).
at the heart of the medina, you will find the world-famous zaytuna mosque that covers over 5000sqm with its nine entrances its a true sight to behold and while you may not get the best view from the ground i would recommend one of the many rooftop cafes that offer spectacular views especially in the early afternoon. a must-try is the traditional almond tea, it's heavenly. after jostling though a few selfie tourists to wander through the medina once again it was time for a little history lesson.
a ten-minute taxi drive from the media you'll find yourself at the bardo museum. this modern structure houses mostly epic mosaics that are super significant to tunisian history & culture. I was taken aback by the sheer scale of these mosaics you can spend half the day here easily as it houses the largest collection of roman mosaics in the world.
sidi bou said
one of the most exciting things i found about tunis was the small towns that are only a short train ride (20mins, $0.30c) from the centre. one such town sidi bou said is by far the most famous town in the area.
sidi bou said is set right on the coast of the mediterranean with its picturesque azure blue & white buildings that are reminiscent of santortini in greece it's a tourist hotspot. tourists & locals flock here to take pictures of the famous coloured buildings especially the blue arabic style doors that are often used as a backdrop for the numerous teenagers that take impromptu photos shoots.
after exploring the town make sure to head to the most famous cafe, cafe des delices. although it's overpriced & does not have the best service the views make up for it, i spent a few hours here reading a book, looking out to sea daydreaming.
where to eat
so many places to eat here from the street stalls to the fancy restaurants. here are my favourite places to eat for each meal of the day.
breakfast | villa edo - okay so I'm cheating a little but my hotel rustled me up an amazing breakfast every morning. pastries, fresh juice, dates & yogurt just to name a few items that readied me for the day.
lunch | port la goulette - this area is famous for the freshest of fish. at lunch time you can indulge in a set menu of grilled fish for less than ($10). so many restaurants to choose from so look around to see which one has the most peopl, take a seat & enjoy.
dinner | l'astragale - one of the many fine dining restaurants in the city. l'astragale serves up french haute cuisine all with the freshest ingredients that tunisia has to offer. from the moment you arrive riadh will make you feel at home, every dish was exquisite.
my lasting impressions
i came to tunis & the surrounding area without many expectations but i was blown away from the moment i arrived at my luxury stay in villa edo with the owners anne & her husband mario to the food & the people, well what can i say everyone one i met from people the street to friends & my interview with l'instant m magazine i left tunis with such a good feeling that i know i will be back in the future...
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country travel tips
atm: all seem to charge around ($4) per transaction.
sim card: orange or ooredoo are available at the airport ($3) = 4GB
transport: use the public transport, super cheap.
taxi: uber? use promo: carlm5078ue for free ride.
accommodation: get ($20) off your first booking.com reservation here