Sightseeing: Visits Tunis, Dougga, Sidi-Bou-Said, Carthage, Monastir, El Djem, Sfax, Matmata, Tamezret, Douz, Chott el Jerid, Gafsa, Kairouan
Scenic Highlights: Sahara Desert
Local Guide for Eden Palm Museum in Tozeur. Professional Tour Director while touring
- December 20 Departure - Christmas week
Day 1Arrive in Tunis, Tunisia
Welcome to the capital city of Tunisia! Check into your hotel, then the rest of the day is free to acquaint yourself with Tunis. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2Tunis. Excursion to Dougga, Sidi-Bou-Said & Carthage
A delightful blend of ancient and modern, Tunis has a colorful medina (Old Town) and a contemporary city center. Enjoy included excursions to Dougga archaeological site, hailed as the best-preserved ruins of a small Roman town in North Africa. Also visit the Andalucian-looking port village of Sidi-Bou-Said and the ancient Carthage city ruins. (B,L,D)
Day 3Tunis–Monastir–El Djem–Sfax
This morning, head to Monastir, a city nestled in the shade of its walls. Here, visit the Ribat that was used to scan the sea for hostile ships, and more recently where Monty Python's Life of Brian was filmed. Then, the opulent Bourguiba Mausoleum, final resting place of the founder and first president of Tunisia. Then, on to El Djem, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the continent’s most impressive Roman ruins. Capable of seating 35,000 spectators, the imposing 3rd-century Roman amphitheater was supported by a complex system of arches and rivals the Colosseum in Rome. Continue to the ancient city of Sfax on the Gulf of Gabes, a former Barbary pirate stronghold and now Tunisia’s second-largest city. (B,D)
After a visit to the medina of Sfax, journey to Matmata, renowned for its underground troglodyte village that was inhabited until the 1960s and served as the setting for the original Star Wars film. Follow the twisting road to Tamezret with its stone houses and streets lined with high walls—a complete contrast to Matmata! Westward to the desert outpost of Douz, gateway to the Sahara. With more than 500,000 palm trees, this is the largest oasis in western Tunisia and a major producer of dates. For a truly authentic experience, consider an optional camel ride into the desert. (B,L,D)
Day 5Douz–Chott El Jerid–Tozeur
Today, travel across the salt lake of Chott el Jerid to Tozeur, an important ancient caravan route between Algeria and Tunisia. Enjoy a visit to the Eden Palm Museum, situated in an oasis. Your Local Guide will explain the history and traditions of life on the oasis, and there is a chance to taste some local products, like chocolate, jam, or syrup made with dates. Later, how about an exciting optional jeep excursion to the mountain oasis of Chebika? This evening, consider an optional folklore show with dinner. (B,L)
Day 6Tozeur–Red Lizard Train–Gafsa–Kairouan
After breakfast, drive to Metlaoui to board the historic Red Lizard train for a spectacular 2-hour journey. Built by the French at the end of the 19th century to transport mined phosphates, in 1940 the train was given as a gift to the Bey of Tunis. Today, it runs along the old mining tracks through the breathtaking Selja Gorges, affording plenty of opportunities to take stunning photographs. Stop for lunch in Gafsa, then travel on to the sacred city of Kairouan for an overnight stay. (B,L,D)
This morning, visit the Great Mosque with its 414 marble, granite, and porphyry columns, one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world. Next, head north and return to Tunis for a final overnight. Visit the medina and the famous Bardo Museum, housing the finest Roman mosaics in the world. (B,D)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Transportation: Scheduled transatlantic flights and airport transfers in Tunis if Cosmos issues the air tickets. Touring by private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach. Red Lizard train ride
Buffet breakfasts; 4 lunches; 5 dinners
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Years of Experience: 16 years
As our Roman visitors would have said, Tempus Fugit (Time flies). I have so much to show and tell you about my country of choice-its history, diversity, traditions, culture, and much more. Come see for yourself how "time flies" in Tunisia!