Roman Tunisia

Tunisia was the bread-basket for the Roman Empire during their reign. Following the Third Punic War (mid 2nd century), Rome captured Carthage and the surrounding regions. During subsequent centuries, the land was cultivated and became an important source for much of what Rome needed
Roman remains can be found throughout much of central and northern Tunisia today, with ruins that are frequently in pristine condition.
Our Roman Tunisia concentrates on this aspect of Tunisia’s history and allows participants the opportunity to explore much of the central and north of the country.

Day 1, Friday – Arrival Tunisia 

Upon your arrival in Tunis, you will be met at the airport by one of our drivers and transferred to your hotel in the charming seaside town of La Marsa. Once you have had an opportunity to refresh yourself at your hotel, you can do some light touring with your guide if you wish.

Visit 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.”

Your guide will join you for tonight for dinner to tell you more about your upcoming days in Tunisia. Overnight in Tunis-La Marsa. (D)

A teahouse in Sidi Bou Said overlooking the Bay of Tunis

Day 2, Saturday – Carthage, Bardo Museum, Tunis

This morning visit the world famous 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. (NOTE: The Bardo has been closed for more than a year for political reasons. We will go assuming it reopens).

The Bardo has a world-class collection of mosaics.

 

After lunch, explore the vast site of Carthage, founded in 814 B.C. by the Phoenicians and sacked by the Romans in 146 B.C. It was not until the 1st century A.D. that Rome rebuilt the city, and within a few years it expanded and prospered to the point where it was second only to Rome. Your visit will include the tophets, Punic ports, Antonine Baths, Byrsa Hill, cisterns, and the Carthage museum, which houses an unparalleled collection of Punic artifacts.

Visiting Antonine’s Baths at Carthage

Byrsa Hill on the upper level of Carthage


         Overnight in Tunis-La Marsa (B, L)

Day 3, Sunday – Cape Bon, Nabeul Museum, Kerkouane, Tunis
This morning you depart the Tunis area southwest to the Cape Bon peninsula, a fertile agricultural region that was developed by the French as the heart of Tunisia’s wine industry. As you travel the Cape Bon you will have numerous opportunities to stop, with some of the nicest places to visit including Nabeul, where there is a small, but good archaeological museum, the small historical towns Kilibia and Kerkouane, ,the later with Tunisia’s most expansive Punic remains and also the coastal village of El Haourira. Late day return to Tunis-La Marsa. Dining suggestions to be provided. Overnight in Tunis-La Marsa. (B, L)

Punic ruins at Kerkouane

Day 4, Monday– Uthina, Zaghouan, Thuburbo Majus, Kairouan

This morning you drive south, less than an hour to Oudna (Roman Uthina), one of Tunisia’s more recently excavated sites that is still a work in progress. See the fine amphitheater and nearly a dozen villas with many mosaics, cisterns, and storage areas. as well as visiting Zaghouan, the Roman aqueduct and the nearby Temple of Water. Following these sites, you will drive to Thuburbo Majus, another well preserved Roman site where the archaeological

remains show the Punic origins, built over subsequently by the Romans. Continue on to Sousse. Dinner and overnight in Sousse. (B, L, D)

 

 Thuburbo Majus, showing Roman construction on top of Punic

Day 5, Tuesday – Sousse, El Jem, Kairouan

Following your morning visit seeing the older part of Sousse,, including its wonderful museum which was recently renovated, highlight some very impressive mosaics. Following your visit to the older part  of Sousse, you drive southwest to El Jem, one of the most extraordinary sites in Tunisia thanks to the marvelous, 3rd-century A.D. amphitheater in the heart of the town. Nearby is the museum of El Jem, which houses some lovely mosaics and the remains of some recently-excavated luxury villas.

 

Coliseum of El Jem

Following your visit to El Jem and lunch, you drive approximately 65km to Kairouan. Kairouan’s location along the old caravan routes provided a base for a flourishing crafts industry, which lives on today in its rugs and textiles. Walk through the heart of the city’s medina, past sellers of carpets, leather goods, brass works, and spices to the Great Mosque, which has been rebuilt several times since its original construction in the 7th century. Dinner and overnight in Kairouan. (B, L, D)

 

The Great Mosque of Kairouan

Day 6, Wednesday – Kairouan, Bulla Regia, Tabarka


This morning you start with a visit to the Great Mosque of Kairouan, where construction started in the 7th century with columns that were brought from various places within Tunisia. Check out of your hotel and depart Kairouan by 10:15, as you have a number of hours ahead

of you until your next primary site in northwest Tunisia, taking rural  roads as the terrain changes from semi-arid to the green, lush farmlands of northwest Tunisia.

The primary highlight today is Bulla Regia, an unusual and very well preserved site that features underground Roman villas; a Temple of Apollo, the oldest existing structure on the site and a 4th-century theater. Departing Bulla Regia via scenic mountain roads, you eventually arrive to the seaside town of Tabarka and check in to your resort hotel.  Dinner and Overnight at the 5-star La Cigale Tabarka Hôtel. (B,L,D).

 

Bulla Regia
 

A view of the underground from above, Bulla Regia
 

Day 7, Thursday – Dougga, Tunis

Following breakfast, drive along scenic country roads to Dougga (ancient Thugga), Tunisia’s most extensive site. Covering some 60 acres on a steep slope some 2,000 feet above the plain, we have purposely saved Dougga for the end of your tour, as it is surely a highlight…if not THE highlight!!! Dougga was known as the “city of temples.” Visit the theater, which accommodates almost 3,500 people; the Temple of Saturn, under which was found evidence of a pre-Roman sanctuary dedicated to the Carthaginian god Baal; the Temples of Augustan Piety and Mercury; and the grandest structure—the Capitol that was dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and to the glory of co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

 

The Roman theater of Dougga

Following your visit to Dougga, you return to Tunis, a drive of approximately 2 ½ hours. You will have some late afternoon light to better appreciate the setting where you will be staying. Tonight, your final night in Tunisia will be spent in a unique property, a boutique hotel within the kasbah, in what was formerly a mansion of a wealthy family. Your farewell dinner is in a restaurant within the medina, a 15-minute walk from your hotel.
Overnight in Tunis. (B, L, D)

 

Tunis medina at night

Day 8, Friday, October 21 – Tunis departures

Transfers will be arranged to the airport for your departure flights.

HOTELS in Tunisia

Tunis: Dar el Marsa, La Marsa-Tunis. ★★★★★   
Newly opened in early 2014, Dar el Marsa brings a new type of boutique hotel to Tunisia unlike any previously existing in the country. Situated in La Marsa, an upscale seaside area of Tunis that is home to many affluent Tunisians, diplomats and expats, Dar el Marsa’s overlooks the seaside. Within a short walk of the hotel are many cafes, restaurants and shops. The former summer home of the Ottoman Bey, now housing restaurants, is a three minute walk. Dar el Marsa has spa facilities and a beautiful rooftop terrace and pool, in addition to a gourmet restaurant within the hotel.
http://www.darelmarsa.com/

Sousse: Hasdrubal Thalasso & Spa ★★★★
A resort and spa hotel, within a short walking from the yacht basin of El Kantoui and its man restaurants and shows. Recently renovated
http://kantaoui.hasdrubal-thalassa.com/

Kairouan: Dar Alouini  Hotel de charme★★★★
The first of its kind in Kairouan. Very new but a level of sophistication not found elsewhere in Kairouan.
https://www.dar-alouini.com/details.php

Tabarka: La Cigalle ★★★★★  
Recently opened with a high standard of amenities and service in this northwest region of Tunisia, this seaside resort hotels is among the few in the region.
http://www.lacigaletabarka.com/en/

Tunis: Palais Bayram Hotel de charme  or similar
An old, restored mansion on a quiet street within the medina, with many spaces to enjoy, in addition to the individual rooms, each configured and decorated individually. http://www.darbengacem.com/

NOTE:
Iconic Journeys Worldwide reserves the right to make itinerary changes, if necessary.
With Tunisia, their respective tourism ministry attributes the number of stars. We suggest that one should deduct one to two stars to be commensurate with international standards. 

COST $3,800 per person based on double occupancy. No Single Supplement
DATES Arrival on Fridays in 2022: Nov11, Nov 25, Dec 9, Dec 23.
              Arrival on Fridays in 2023: Jan 6, Jan 20, Feb 3, Feb 17, March 3, March 10,
                                                              April 28, May 12, May 26, June 9, June 23
                                                
                                             
             

           What is included

       * Meals included as indicated by B, L, D. Any other references to meals are for logistical purposes, only.
       *   Bottled water during meals and touring.
       *   Itinerary as shown, including domestic air
       *   Hotels as described or comparable properties with TWO SINGLE rooms.
       *   English speaking guide and private vehicle throughout itinerary, as noted.
       *   Domestic flights where noted
       * English speaking specialists in Tunisia
       * Private vehicle with driver

   What is NOT included
   *
Any purchases of a personal nature, hotel expenditures such as laundry, mini-bar, business center related expenses and spa expenses. All expenses in addition to included room and breakfast
    * Gratuities to guide and driver
    * Alcoholic drinks not included during group meals.