Friends of Jerry Tunisia Tour

Tour schedule: September 13 - 20, 2024

Friday, September 13 – Arrival from Casa
For those arriving from Casablanca, your English speaking driver will take you to the airport where you will join others arriving from various destinations. Explore some of Tunis depending upon flight arrival. Dinner and overnight in Tunis-La Marsa. (D)

Saturday, September 14 – Tunis environs
Today’s touring begins with Carthage, the most famous but by no means, the most expansive of Tunisia’s many archaeological sites. We will also visit the nearby U.S. World War II Cemetery and learn about the rôle of Americans, Tunisians and others in Tunisia during the second world war.
Your visit will include the tophets, Punic ports, Antonine Baths, Byrsa Hill, cisterns, and the Carthage museum (if it reopens by fall 2023), which houses an unparalleled collection of Punic artifacts. Continue on to the cliff top village of Sidi Bou Said, whose gleaming houses and stunning location above the Gulf of Tunis make for a wonderful stroll through its maze of lanes and alleys. The village has attracted generations of European artists and writers, and is often called a “living museum.”
We drive across town to visit the Bardo Museum (providing it has reopened! It has been closed since July 2021 due to political issues.)  The Bardo Museum, whose earliest exhibits (Punic) date to the 7th century B.C., and whose most exquisite exhibits (Roman and Byzantine) are mosaics from sites all over Tunisia, many virtually intact.

From the floor of a synagogue from Roman times

Continue on to the historic heart of Tunis, the medina. Medina means “city” in classical Arabic, with a systemic layout of the heart, the site of the Grand Mosque of Tunis, surrounded by the commercial section which was originally laid out by guilds, such as wood workers, jewelers, food suppliers and then surrounding this, the residential areas. Today the classic layout remains but much of the districts have become a mixture of the above. You will tour the medina and learn about the diversity of architecture within the medina as well as  have the opportunity to wander amidst the souks, the various commercial sections of the medina. 

Restaurant suggestions to be provided. Overnight in Tunis-La Marsa. (B, L)

Sunday, September 15 – northwest Tunisia: Bulla Regia, Dougga and the northwest
This morning you depart Tunis area by 8:30am via scenic rural roads for Tunisia’s northwest. A region little impacted by the tourism development along Tunisia’s coast, the northwest is a region of verdant hills and mountains. After approximately two hours of driving, you arrive at your first destination, Bulla Regia, an unusual and very well preserved site that features underground Roman villas.

From Bulla Regia, you drive through the mountains to the northwest coastal town of Tabarka, with your base being a 5* seaside resort. Dinner and overnight in Tabarka. (B, L, D)

Monday, September 16 – Dougga, Kairouan, Sousse
Morning drive through the mountains and to Dougga, Tunisia’s most expansive site. Covering some 60 acres and laid out on a steep slope some 2,000 feet above the plain, Dougga was known as the “city of temples” a Temple of Apollo, the oldest extant structure on the site; a 4th-century theater; and many other Roman sites of Dougga,.

Visit the theater, which today is used for the Dougga Drama Festival and accommodates almost 3,500 people; the Temple of Saturn, under which was found evidence of a pre-Roman sanctuary dedicated to the Carthaginian god Gal; and the Temples of Augustan Piety and Mercury. The grandest structure is the Capitol that was dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and to the glory of co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucus Verus.

Following Dougga, drive to Kairouan, approximately 2 ½ hour drive. A rather provincial and conservative town in central Tunisia, at the northern tip of the region referred to as the Sahel, where the verdant green of the north transitions to a more parched region covered with olive trees. Upon arriving in Kairouan, we will take a short walk around the town and then check into our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Kairouan. (B, L, D)

Tuesday, September 17– Kairouan, El Jem, Sfax
We start the day with a walking tour of Kairouan. The city was founded and subsequently developed during early Islamic times. Kairouan’s Great Mosque, dating from -the 7th century, is reputed to be the oldest mosque in Africa. Kairouan’s location along the caravan routes also provided a base for a flourishing crafts industry.  The region still provides the base for much of Tunisia’s craft industry, particularly rugs and textiles.

From Kairouan, we drive to El Jem. El Jem was known in Roman times as Thysdrus and noted for its amphitheater, which is similar to the coliseum of Rome, you will have a tour through the amphitheater, as well as a visit to the very impressive mosaic collection at the El Jem Museum.

From the coloseum, we drive a short distance to the Museum of El Jem, which has a very special collection of mosaics found in the region of El Jem.

Room size mosaics fill the museum, as they once graced the Roman floors

From El Jem, you drive south through miles and miles of olive trees, as this is the area of Tunisia where the largest quantity of olive oil is produced. You eventually arrive to Sfax, Tunisia’s second largest city. Primarily an industrial city and also a fishing and canning center. “Sfaxians” as the locals are known, have a reputation of being both industrious and preferring to do business with other Sfaxians, even in other parts of Tunisia.

We will take a walk through the Sfax medina, the only walled medina still existing in Tunisia. The medina serves the locals, for the most part, as opposed to being a medina selling items for the tourist.

Following our walk in the medina and the central part of Sfax, we will have dinner. Overnight in Sfax. (B, L, D)

Tuesday, September 18 – Sahel region
From El Jem, you drive to Jerba, with a stop in Matmata region, known for its troglodyte, underground dwellings.

A woman grinding wheat in her troglodyte.

From Matmata region, you drive to the end of the mainland and cross over to the island of Jerba, arriving to your seaside spa and resort hotel in Jerba by dinner time. Overnight in Jerba (B, L, D)

Wednesday, September 18 – Jerba island (also spelled: Djerba)
Morning tour of Jerba island and a chance to learn about the ancient Jewish community that remains youthful and vibrant in Tunisia.

You then drive to Houmt Souk, the island’s economic heart and Jerba’s main market town. Houmt Souk may also be the best place in all of Tunisia to shop for everything from silver and jewelry…including Judaica, rugs, ceramics and more. Lunch is independent with numerous options in the walkable town. When you wish, you can return to the hotel and enjoy the spa facilities, as well. Overnight in Jerba. (B, D)

The jewelry market or “souk” in Houmt Souk has traditionally been a place where Jewish men from the nearby Jewish village of Hara Kabira tend to ply their trade as jewelry makers, much of the designs being of Jewish symbols.

Return to your hotel at a time of your choosing. A schedule will be sent up providing two shuttle trips from Houmt Souk back to your hotel. Enjoy the amenities of your seaside resort and spa.

Dinner and overnight in Jerba. (B, L, D)

Thursday, September 19 – flight to Tunis
We have a morning flight to back to the Tunis airport where upon we take a drive to the northern tip of the country and visit some of the rural sites that are found in this farming area. Lunch will be at the home of a very close friend who has been a successful, self-made entrepreneur and knows  how to be creative with food and interior design, as you will experience both while visiting Ras Jebal.
We return to Tunis this afternoon, a drive of approximately one hour. Your base for this final night will be a boutique property within the Tunis medina developed by another friend of mine, a very creative and entrepreneurial woman who did her university studies at Boston University.

Our farewell dinner will be at a restored mansion in the Kasbah. Dinner and overnight in Tunis. (B, L, D

Friday, September 20 – departure flight to the US
Transfers will be arranged for your respective flights back to the US or to your next destination.

COST INCLUDES

  • Hotels
  • Airport transfers
  • Guide
  • Driver and bus
  • Domestic flight Jerba to Tunis
  • All meals marked B, L, D.
  • One way flight f rom Casablanca to Tunis*

         *If you will not be flying from Casa on the 11th of November, deduct $275.00

COST DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Purchases of a personal nature
  • Alcohol not included with meals
  • Gratuities to Tunisia guide and driver
  • International flights to Morocco and return from Tunis to the USA
Cost per person. $4,695 per person.  No Single Supplement

Registration