TUNISIA
Detailed Itinerary
All itineraries subject to slight changes.
Please contact Baraka Journeys for most current itinerary.
Day 1
Depart Los Angeles on Air France
Day 2
Arrive Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris and transfer to flight to Tunis.  Arrive Tunis and transfer with group by motorcoach to seaside resort of Hammamet for dinner and overnight. 

Day 3
After breakfast head north, visiting Nabeul, the pottery center of Tunisia which is also famous for its many other crafts including perfume distilleries. Afterwards, begin to know Tunisia by leisurely following the beautiful Mediterranean coastline and driving through the fertile lands of Cap Bon, abounding with olive trees, citrus groves and vineyards. Visit the well-preserved Phoenician site at Kerkouane, founded in the 5th century BC. Continue on to the hot springs at Korbous, a relaxing spot much enjoyed by Tunisians; Kelibia with its 6th century fortress and the Roman quarry at El Haouria.
Day 4
After breakfast in Hammamet, head south, visiting the elegant museum home of Romanian millionaire George Sebastian, This home has welcomed many renowned guests such as Sir Winston Churchill. Designed by a Sicilian architect who lived in Tunisia, it was described by architect Frank Lloyd Wright as “the most beautiful house I know.” The architecture of this home demonstrates how Arabic style can be integrated into contemporary architecture. Many hotels and contemporary buildings throughout Tunisian owe their style to the design movement created by the Sebastian home. Continue to Sousse for lunch and a visit. Modern Sousse is the third largest city in Tunisia and was founded 3000 years ago by the Phoenicans. Visit the walled city and the treasures it encircles, the Grand Mosque dating from 851, the Ribat (guard castle or fortress), the Museum of Roman antiquities and the picturesque souks. Dinner in a private home and overnight in Sousse.
Day 5
After breakfast in Sousse, embark on a day trip to wander through the colorful medina of Kairouan and visit the carpet weavers, the shops and bakeries. Founded in 670 AD, Kairouan is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the fourth most Holy City in Islam, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The Grand Mosque is one of the wonders of the Islamic World, constructed with columns of the Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Aglabites. Its Mihrab is decorated with golden tiles. It is said that seven pilgrimages to the “Grand Mosque El Oqba” of Kairouan is equivalent to one trip to Mecca. This Grand Mosque is the oldest religious monument still in use in North Africa. Later, see the Sidi Saheb or “Barber’s Mosque”, with its Andalousian décor consisting of intricately decorate tiles and sculpted stucco. Dinner and overnight in Sousse.

Day  6
In the morning travel to the seaside town of Mahdia to visit the weekly ‘souk”, the Kasbah, the quaint fishing harbor and the museum with its collection of traditional costumes. After lunch in Mahdia, visit the Roman sites of Lamta and Thapsus which are currently under excavation. These sites are not regularly open to tourists but by special arrangements with the National Institute of Archaeology, they have been made open to us. Visit a rock-cut, Punic burial site. In the afternoon, head to Monastir to visit the impressive complex dedicated to the family of Tunisia’s first president Habib Bourguiba; the imposing, medieval, cliff-top Ribat and the small Islamic museum. Dinner and overnight in Sousse.

Day  7
Morning departure to El Jem (ancient Thysdrus) to visit the largest and most spectacular Roman ampitheater in North Africa and the best preserved in the world. This colossal edifice (classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which seems to rise out of nowhere, was designed with seating for 30,000 people and is similar to Rome’s Coliseum. In the small archaeological museum, see the gorgeous collection of mosaics.  Visit the remains of Roman villas behind the museum before continuing on to the walled city of Sfax for dinner and overnight. As the commercial capital of Tunisia, Sfax is rarely visited by tourists but its vibrant souk is a pleasure to experience because it retains its timeless charm. Market scenes in “The English Patient” were filmed here. Hotel Les Oliviers Palace.

Day  8
Morning visit through the fascinating old medina of Sfax filled with colorfully dressed Berber women from the surrounding countryside and the small but splendid ethnographic Museum. “Dar Jallouli” housed in a lovely former residence. Depart southward. After lunch, join the ferry, cross a small segment of the Gulf of Gabes and arrive at the island of Jerba. Homer’s epic poem purports that Ulysses was to have been washed onto this island when he and his crew were temped by the Lotus Eaters. The infamous Barbarossa brothers launched their campaigns to dominate the Mediterranean and North Africa from the headquarters they maintained on this island for years. Founded by the Phoenicians centuries before Christ, it has housed a Jewish population since the 6th century BC. Dinner and overnight on Jerba at Dar Diafa, a memorable, beautiful and creatively designed new hotel, built from a conglomerate of five historic homes.

Day  9
Today we will visit parts of Jerba’s Jewish community, enjoying lunch at a Kosher restaurant. Later see the Turkish Fort, the museum, the jewelers and the potters. Enjoy an informal talk on the ancient Judaic-Berber culture. Spending the day coming to know Jerba. You will understand why painter Paul Klee and architect Le Corbusier were so inspired by the island. Afternoon for optional shopping or rest. Overnight at Hotel Dar Diafa.

Day 10
Depart Jerba after breakfast by a caravan of 4-wheel drive vehicles across the old Roman Causeway. “El Kantara” through Zarzis and Medenine. The highly experienced desert drivers of these 4-wheel drive vehicles will escort you through Tunisia’s Saharan cities. Proceed to some of the most remarkable Berber area of Tunisia. Afternoon arrival in Tatouine for dinner and overnight. Hotel Sangho.

Day 11
In addition to your regular fare, this morning enjoy “b’sissa”, “leblebi" and other delicious traditional foods for breakfast. Through a food demonstration, learn a little history about these dishes and their origins. Later visit the remote mountain village of Toujane on your way to Matmata, city of the trogolodytes. The site of Matmata resembles a lunar landscape, pock-marked with craters. These craters however, are man-made, carved into the soft rock and serve as the homes of thousands of people. By burrowing into caves dug inside these central “craters,” these hardy people and their animals can survive the sweltering summer heat and the freezing winter nights. Travel to several dramatic Gorfas of the region including stunning Ksar Ouled Sultan. Ghorfas are elaborate storage structures for gain and other foodstuffs, dating as far back as the Middle Ages. On picturesque, winding mountain roads pass through villages of Ghomrassen and Guermessa, which are architecturally very interesting. Visit spectacular Berber villages of Douiret and Chenini. Perched on mountain-tops, the villagers have built their homes literally out of the hill. In Chenini, life with their animals goes on as it has for centuries, watched over by the white-washed mosque at the very peak of the mountain. Visitng these villages will allow us to experience the traditional life of the deep south of Tunisia. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Sangho.

Day 12
An early breakfast will allow us to arrive in time and be part of the lively, traditional “Thursday Market” at Douz. The Nomadic, Bedouin and Berber people from all the surrounding regions fill the small square while exchanging their goods. Later visit an interesting elementary school for the hearing impaired or another local social service project. Afternoon free for rest or optional activities. Dinner with a local family and overnight Hotel Mouradi, Douz.

Day 13
Continue traveling by four-wheel drive vehicles across the great salt flat, Chott El Djerid, a remnant of times past when the Mediterranean Sea covered this area. Here you may see a mirage! In Metlaoui, board the Red Lizard train (a gift from the French to the Bey of Tunis in 1940) and visit the dramatic gorges of Selja. Today will be another truly unique day as we continue by 4-wheel drive to the remote mountain outposts of Tamerza and Chebika, close to the Algerian border. These villages marked the Western border of Roman Africa. Sheltered by palm groves, the Berber villages are inhabited by shepherds following the tradition of their ancestors. A short hike into the canyon allows you to enjoy the waterfall at Chebika. Continue to Tozeur, a desert oasis city built with much intricately patterned brickwork. Dinner and overnight in Tozeur. Dar Chrait Hotel.

Day 14
See the best ethnographic museum in Tunisia, Dar Chrait, and later visit a small desert zoo and oasis gardens. In the late afternoon visit another oasis, that of nearby Nefta, which is abundant in date palms, almond and pomegranate trees, figs and flowers. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Dar Chrait.

Day 15
Leaving the desert and proceeding to the north, stop in Gafsa, the old Roman city of Kapsa. Later travel through Kasserine, site of the famous World War II battle, and then to Sbeitla. Sbeitla was the large and magnificent Roman city of Sufetula in the 1st century. See the triumphal arch of Diocletian before visiting the Temples of Minerva, Juno and Jupiter and the small museum. Continue to Kairouan for dinner and overnight. Hotel Kasbah.

Day 16
Continuing north from Sbeitla, we visit the archaeological site of ancient Roman Maktar, dating from the 2nd century and only rediscovered in the the 19th century. The triumphal arch dedicated to Trajan was built in 116. The ruins include the Basilica, the Baths, the Temple of Bacchus, the Forum as well as a Neo-Punic Mausoleum. Enjoy the on-site museum. Leaving the site at Maktar, we’ll visit the local weekly market, have a picnic and then continue onwards through beautiful green farmlands to Bulla Regia. It is easy to understand how Tunisia, as a part of the Roman province of Africa Proconsolaris, became an important bread-basket for the entire Roman Empire. “Africa” the ancient Roman name for Tunisia, eventually became the name of the entire continent. The fabulous Roman ruins at Bulla Regia include two storied villas with one floor underground. We’ll see the Baths, the Forum and the Basilica. The in-situ mosaics are spectacular! Time permitting, we will then continue to Chemtou to visit a wonderful new museum and the marble quarries from which the yellow marble for many marvelous buildings and temples (including the Pantheon in Rome) was obtained. Dinner and overnight in the small, quaint cork-oak forested town of Ain Draham in the Atlas Mountains at the Hotel Rihana.

Day 17
After breakfast in Ain Draham we will head east to visit Dougga, perhaps the most impressive Imperial Roman site in all of North Africa. This hilltop site which flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, includes the Temple of Mercury, the Temple of Augustus, the Baths, the Capitol and Forum and a massive Triumphal Arch. After lunch drive through more beautiful, green farm land, back to Tunis. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Dar el Medina (or similar).

Day 18
Visit the world famous Bardo Museum housed in the former palace of the Beys. The museum is home to the finest Roman mosaic collection in the world. In the afternoon, travel to the 17th century seaside village of Sidi Bou Said overlooking the Gulf of Tunis. Sidi Bou Said is home to many artists, and possesses an exquisite architecture, cobble-stone streets, with white-washed walls which are complemented by blue painted doors and purple bougainvillea. Visit the magnificent Palace of the Baron d’Erlanger and the Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music. Enjoy glorious views of the Mediterranean and perhaps visit with some of the local painters, shop or enjoy some tea in a quaint teahouse before returning to Tunis for dinner, a special guest presentation and overnight at Hotel Dar el Medina (or similar).

Day 19
Today tour the Medina of Tunis and visit the great Mosque Zitouna, the Perfume Souk, the Carpet and Antique Souks and at least one of the old homes in the Medina. Free time in the afternoon in the Medina, for visiting the National Crafts Shop, or other shopping or strolling. Overnight at Hotel Dar el Medina (or similar).

Day 20
We will begin the day by visit two ancient Roman sites, the newly excavated site of Oudna with its magnificent ampitheater and Thuburbo Majus. Initially a Phoenican town, it became a major Roman city. Stately columns, 25 feet high, watched the sacking of the city by the Vandals, 1000 years ago. Visit the peristyle houses with well-preserved mosaics, the ancient Capitol. The Petronii Portico, the Baths and the Temple of Baal. Continue to Zagouan with its giant Nympheum, the ancient origin of the water for Carthage. Follow the route of the Roman aqueduct toward the sea. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Dar el Medina (or similar).

Day 21
Visit the site of ancient Carthage, (another UNESCO World Heritage Site), founded by Phoenicians in the 9th century BC. See 1st century Roman ruins built on top of the Punic remains. See the old Punic Port and the Sanctuary of Baal Hammon, the Roman Baths, Villas and the Theatre, as well as the Carthage National Museum. Drive through lovely residential communities of La Marsa, Gammarth and modern Carthage. Visit the American Military Cemetary near Carthage. In the afternoon, return to Tunis, for a special farewell dinner at Dar Jeld, in a restored 200 year old home in the Casbah of Tunis, considered to be the finest restaurant in the country. Overnight at Hotel Dar el Medina (or similar).

Day 22
Morning departure for Los Angeles.
Email: barakajourneys@sbcglobal.net  Telephone: (626) 570-1700   Contact: Christine Robison
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TUNISIA

A Mosaic of Ancient Civilizations. 

From the Mediterranean to the Sahara. 

A comprehensive, cultural, archaeological and history tour.