Africa · Travel

Your Perfect One Day Tunis Itinerary – Bardo, Bazaars and Bambalouni

Spread the love

Tunis is the enigmatic capital of Tunisia. Fun fact, the country was named after Tunis and not the other way around. Many flights arrive at Tunis airport and busloads of tourists drive straight past the city without giving it a second glance. What a mistake! It is absolutely worth staying in the city for at least one day to take in its sights. For a quick trip, here is your perfect one day Tunis itinerary.

This post may contain sponsored content or affiliate links that help support the blog. All opinions are our own.

National Museum of Bardo

The Bardo Museum in Tunis is housed within the magnificent walls of a palace originally built in the 1200s and extended in the 1700s. It is beautifully tiled and is an attraction in and of itself. Inside you will find a treasure trove of art and artefacts from across Tunisia.. The most popular exhibits feature huge Roman mosaics, full of intricate details of North African life. As you enter, marvel at the Triumph of Neptune. This was installed on the wall during a recent renovation and became the world’d largest vertical mosaic. However, the museum isn’t just about ancient history. It’s also packed with items telling the story of Tunisia’s later cultural heritage.

The Bardo is a little far out of town, on its Western edge. Hop in a cab from here and ask for Monument Place de la Kasbah.

Place de la Kasbah

Place de la Kasbah is a big, lively public square created when the French removed the Kasbah walls in the 1950s. Around the edge you will find both the old Kasbah Mosque and newer important city buildings. The square’s importance is reflected in its use as the base for many huge protests.

The Monument of the Kasbah at the heart of this big public square. It was designed by Abdelfattah Boussetta in 1989. It is reminiscent of Turkmen city buildings but actually memorialises several big events in Tunisian history.

Wander the Medina

Walk into the Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have a compass on your phone (or a real compass) then make sure you are walking due east. This is the main souk of Tunis and holds everything from tourist souvenirs to wedding gowns.

If you plan to do a little shopping, be prepared to haggle. Negotiating a price is expected and all part of the dance. Be prepared with a price you’d like to pay (and a slightly higher one that you would accept) and let the fun begin. Sticking to your guns and walking away is a very effective way of getting your desired price. However, remember that £1 might not be much for you but could be a lot to the stall holder so don’t quibble too hard. Even if you aren’t shopping, it is an interesting place to get a little lost, do some serious people-watching and to see some of the beautiful things that fill Tunisian homes.

Just remember that most shops are shut on Sunday

Zitouna Mosque

Halfway along your path, you should come across Zitouna Mosque. It is not possible to visit for nonmuslims but for a glimpse inside the courtyard, head to Paronrama Medina Cafe. See if you can spot the columns, salvaged from nearby Carthage.

Victory Square (Olace de la Victoire)

Emerging from the Medina, you can’t miss Bab El Bhar (Porte de France). This large arch is the centrepiece of Victory Square and is backed by a fun fountain, perfect for running through on a boiling day (if you don’t mind soggy undies). This gate used to be part of a large medina wall but the walls rather side were removed by the French.

The Victoria Royal Hotel on the edge of the square used to be the British embassy before most of the embassies moved out to the New Town. It has a faded charm and some rather fancy furniture.

Avenue Habib Bourguiba

Keep heading east along the large Avenue Harbib Bourguiba. This Parisian-style boulevard has a nice, pedestrianised central walkway and some nice leafy trees, perfect in summer. You could stop in one of the pavement cafes for some lunch or a coffee.

On your left, opposite the French embassy is the Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul and St Olivia of Palermo. The Catholic cathedral’s exterior, completed in 1910, might remind you of a Spanish church and it does share Moorish design roots. Inside, the half dome that stretched nice the alter is magnificent, edged by white columns and covered in heavenly frescoes.

Further along the road, one the right is the Théâtre Municipal de Tunis. Built in 1902, its interesting white frontage celebrates the beauty of Art Nouveau. They don’t do tours but if you check the schedule ahead of time, you may be able to get tickets for one of the ballets, concerts or theatre shows that are regularly performed here

Hop on the TGM

Walk to the TGM Marine Station (sometimes known as Tunis North) and grab a ticket. TGM is one of the the railway systems in Tunis and stands for Tunis – Goulette – Marsa. We will ride it to the end later in the evening. The train takes around 30 minutes and runs every 15.

Sunset at Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said is known as the Santorini of Tunisia. White and blue buildings wind up a steep will on one side, and cascade towards the Mediterreanean on the other. Here, artists workshops abound and it feels a world away from the busy centre of Tunis. Technically, this is a separate village but as with all cities, ubran spread mean it is now basically suburb…albeit and delightful one.

Head up the hill from the train station and make your first stop Dar el Ennebi Museum.

Dar el Ennebi Museum

This house museum is maintained as a traditional Tunisian villa with plenty of space in the airy courtyard, and plenty of rooms upstairs for the wives. Make your way up to the top of the roof for a great view across the rooves. Be careful on the very top level though as there isn’t much of a railing.


Further up the hill is the duo of bambalouni shops opposite Dar Zarrouk, that attract long lines of hungry visitors. For less that £1 you can get a hot, freshly fried doughnut called bambalouni. You can have them plain, or covered in sugar. These taste just like the doughnuts from the British seaside but they are as light as air. The shop on the left is the original but the one on the right is bigger….both are great though.

Sunset Views with a Drink

For a beverage with a view, there are two excellent options and one bad one (but it has booze):

  • Caffe Des Nattes – You will have to get here early to snag one of the outside tables. The best vista is from the small terrace on the right as you ascend the stairs to the entrance. You may even get lucky and have a furry, feline friend join you.
  • Cafe Des Delices – This cafe tumbles down the hillside with stellar views across the water. Ignore the waiters insistance that you sit near the top of the cafe and make your way straight down to the waterside. They will relent and you will have some of the best seats in the house. Keep your ears peeled for the singer that serenades couples. Apparently his song encourages fertility and…all that goes along with that.
  • Dar Zarrouk – If you want a cocktail then this your only option. It isn’t badly priced with cocktails around 25-35 dinars (£5-£6) but doesn’t really have a view…but needs must.

Dinner at La Marsa

To round out this one day Tunis itinerary, take a taxi or hop back on the train to reach La Marsa. This coastal suburb is known for its seaside promenade and dining options. If there is still some light and heat left in the day then strolling along the seaside promenade is a real pleasure and another excellent people-watching moment. Once you’ve worked up a proper appetite, enjoy some dinner at one of the local seafood restaurants like the excellent O Moules or highly rated Yabon. Their fresh, Mediterranean catch is prepared simply, cooked to perfection and considerably cheaper than fish restaurants back home!

A Few Tips for Visiting Tunis

  • Currency – Tunisia uses the Tunisian Dinar. It cannot be converted outside of the country. Bring cash with you to exchange at the airport. Money can’t be changed back without a receipt so taking it out of a machine is a worse option. Plus, some machines have been known to swallow or clone cards so the less you use them, the better…
  • Getting Around Tunis – Utilize taxis, buses, or the Tunisian TGM (Tunis-Goulette-Marsa) train to navigate between locations.
  • Comfortable Shoes – Bring comfortable, flat shoes for walking. Pavements can be a little uneven in the Medina and the steep hill at Sidi Bou Said is a tricky business in stilettos.

Final Thoughts on Your One Day Tunis Itinerary

If you have an extra day, a whole weekend in Tunis, then spend a day at Carthage. It is especially handy if you are around on a Sunday as many other things shut but the site is open, This huge complex contains ruins, a museum and a huge amphitheatre. We will certainly return to Tunis one day and spend some time here but until then, the wonderful memories of our day in Tunis will have to suffice.

Rosie xx

Spread the love

Leave Us A Comment