Over more than two decades since I started in the travel industry, we have grown multi-fold, adding many destinations throughout the globe. We could never have done this without the loyalty of our thousands of clients who went on our original tours in the 1990s to Tunisia and Turkey. While our destinations continue to grow with every year, and with many of our clients joining us in many different countries, Tunisia continues to be a place where I have had the good fortune of seeing decades of friendships in that country stay with me on a personal level.
Despite the limited amount of time I can actually join our tours as a host, I want to pay special tribute to Tunisia and share it with those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to visit. Joining me throughout this tour is one of those wonderful friends, Hatem Bourial, whom I have had the privilege to know as a friend and share many opportunities of traveling together.
This special tour will be my only opportunity until 2021 to lead and host a tour in Tunisia.
I hope you can join!
Founder and President
Iconic Journeys Worldwide
P.S. For more information on this tour and others, including another tour which I will be leading in June 2020 to Morocco, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Iconic Journeys Worldwide Founder and President on this one time only tour, with Jerry as your host! A specialist in Middle East and North African affairs and a former longtime resident of Tunis, Jerry Sorkin holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and is an adjunct at Temple University in Philadelphia, where his courses are about Middle East and North Africa policies.
In April 2019, Jerry Sorkin was awarded for the 10th time, a “Top Travel Specialist” honor by Conde Nast Traveler magazine for Tunisia and for the 3rd time, for Iran.
In July 2018, Jerry Sorkin was named by the Republic of Tunisia to a new diplomatic post as Honorary Consul for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the new Consulate based in Philadelphia. He has also been accorded diplomatic status by the United States Department of State.
Author of nine books and a weekly columnist in one of Tunisia’s French-language newspapers,
Hatem Bourial is a leading specialist in Tunisia’s world of
history and culture and a longtime friend of Jerry.
Friday, February 7 – Tunis Arrival
Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to your hotel near the sea. You will also have an optional walking tour near your hotel should you wish to get some fresh air before your dinner. Tonight, enjoy your welcome dinner with your fellow guests. Overnight in the Tunis-Gammarth area. (D)
Saturday, February 8 – Tunis and Environs
Today and tomorrow are devoted to seeing the sites within the Tunis area. Start with a visit to the most famous site in Tunisia; Carthage. As you will discover in the days ahead, Carthage exceeds its present remains when compared to some of the better-preserved Roman sites of Dougga, Bulla Regia, and Sbeitla. However, the setting of Carthage helps underscore the strategic importance of the site to its inhabitants in past centuries. Your visit will include numerous sections of Carthage, including the Tophets, the Punic ports, Antonine’s Baths, Byrsa Hill, the cisterns, and the Carthage museum.
You will also have the opportunity to visit a nearby U.S. World War II cemetery in Carthage, which is the only U.S. War cemetery in North Africa. Afterward, enjoy a walking tour of Sidi Bou Said; a picturesque village near your hotel that today, like Gammarth, is an affluent seaside region of Tunis. The architecture of Sidi Bou Said was inspired by the Andalusian settlers who came to the area after leaving Spain at the end of the 15th century. Dining and overnight in Tunis seaside area. (B, L, D)
Saturday, February 9 – Special Guest Lecturer and a visit to the Bardo Museum
This morning, drive to the Bardo Museum. Housed in a former palace of the Ottoman Bey, the Bardo houses a world-class collection of mosaics along with many remains found in sites throughout Tunisia.
In June 2012, the Bardo opened a newly
expanded and renovated wings, providing a display of items previously in
storage. This visit provides some historical groundwork for your
subsequent days in Tunisia.
Tunisia’s Revolution, which spawned the media-dubbed “Arab Spring”, has not seen its “spring” in the region. However, Tunisia has been the exception, having truly become a democracy, with both presidential and parliamentary elections having successfully held in fall 2019 meeting full transparency as judged by international observers and by Tunisians. Tunisia’s democracy has opened up many new opportunities in the media. Before the Revolution, the media was controlled. The Revolution has brought new freedoms, such as a vibrant media of radio, television, and the press. You will have an opportunity to meet someone who will share impressions about the transitions that have taken place.
Later today, return to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Tunis seaside area. (B, L, D)
Monday, February 10 – Tunis area and NGO Visit
Following breakfast, we have a guest speaker who will speak about the role of women in contemporary Islam and their role in Tunisia’s democratization.
We then visit the historic heart of Tunisia, where Hatem Bourial will share with us aspects of the medina of Tunis, some of which dates back to the 7th century. Lunch in the medina.
This evening, your dining is independent. There are many wonderful dining options and we will provide suggestions on places to go and how to get there. Overnight in Tunis-La Marsa. (B, L)
Tuesday, February 11 – Northwest Tunisia
This morning you check out of your Tunis area hotel and begin exploring regions of northwestern Tunisia known as the “bread-basket” of the Roman Empire, and is a region filled with archaeological sites. Today’s ride will take you through beautiful rural scenery. Your primary visit today will be at the northwest site of Bulla Regia. The architecture of Bulla Regia was designed with the need to find an escape from the heat of the region during the summer months. The underground architecture allowed for cool surroundings, even in the depth of the summer heat. The result of underground architecture is the wonderful preservation of mosaics in-situ. From Bulla Regia, you depart into a more mountainous area of Tunisia where you will be based for the night.
Dinner and overnight in northwest Tunisia. (B, L, D)
Wednesday, February 12 – Dougga
This morning you depart your northwest base and enjoy a drive through scenic country roads, eventually arriving at Dougga, which is Tunisia’s most expansive site and an archaeological highlight! Covering some sixty acres, Dougga is known as the City of Temples. Its existence is thought to date back to the 4th century B.C.
From Dougga, head east towards the region of Zaghouan, the mountain that provides a water source that traveled by a Roman aqueduct all the way to Carthage.
Late day arrival at your base; a spa hotel in the seaside resort town of Sousse. Dinner and overnight at your hotel. (B, L, D)
Thursday, February 13 – Kairouan and El Jem
This morning, drive approximately one hour west to the city of Kairouan. Kairouan is a rather provincial town. The city was founded developed during early Islamic times. Kairouan’s “Great Mosque” dates from the 7th century and is reputed to be the oldest mosque in Africa. Kairouan’s location along the caravan routes also provides a base for a flourishing craft industry, particularly rugs and textiles.
After your morning tour of Kairouan, drive southeast to El Jem. In Roman times it was known as Thysdrus and is known for its amphitheater, which is similar to the colosseum of Rome. You will tour the amphitheater and see an impressive mosaic collection at the El Jem Museum. From El Jem, head towards the coast and drive to the seaside city of Sousse, which is considered to be Tunisia’s third-largest city. Dinner and overnight in Sousse. (B, L, D)
Friday, February 14 – Sousse
Your day begins with a visit with students from the University of Sousse, allowing you to have an interchange with Tunisian “twenty-somethings” about a myriad of topics from politics to family values. Following the morning discussions, drive into the historic heart of Sousse, where you will visit the ribat and the Great Mosque of Sousse, which dates back to the 19th century. Walk along the medina before visiting the newly renovated Sousse Museum with its collection of mosaics from the region. From Sousse, head south along the coast and stop in Monastir, the birthplace of Habib Bourguiba, who was the leader of Tunisia’s independence movement and Tunisia’s first president.
Continue from Monastir to the Sahel, which is a region where the transition to the more parched southern terrain provides the source for Tunisia’s largest city and is an industrial city known for its hardworking people. The medina of Sfax is the country’s only walled city, it’s original walls still intact.
Dinner and overnight in Sfax. (B, L, D)
Saturday, February 15 – Matmata and Jerba
This morning, drive south from Sfax into the semi-arid desert region of Matmata. This region’s crater-like topography is dotted with troglodyte dwellings. Its exotic settings provided one of the film locations for the movie Star Wars. You will be able to explore some of these dwellings and have lunch in a troglodyte home. Later this afternoon, head east to the coast for the ferry crossing to the island of Jerba and arrive at your seaside resort hotel around dinner time. Overnight in Jerba. (B, L, D)
Sunday, February 16 – Djerba Island
Enjoy a morning tour of Jerba island (sometimes spelled Djerba), which was a port-of-call to the Phoenicians and where Ulysses and his men were detained on their return from Troy. Jerba’s island location has always provided its people with a simple and peaceful lifestyle which continues today. Jerba is also the home of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. You will visit the Ghriba synagogue and learn about this ancient community, as well as visiting the picturesque village of Guellela, known for its pottery production.
The afternoon is time for you to enjoy the easy-going pace of the island. You may choose to spend time exploring the souks (markets) and enjoy a leisurely lunch on your own at one of the town’s many seafood restaurants. This area is also one of the best places in Tunisia to shop for crafts, silver, rugs and other items. For those who prefer to be pampered, your seaside hotel has wonderful spa facilities which are best reserved in advance!
Dinner and overnight in Jerba. (B, D)
Monday, February 17 – Tunis
This morning, you will have a flight back to Tunis. Upon arrival in Tunis, you will be transferred to your hotel, which is in the heart of the city and a short walk to Tunis’s historic heart, the medina. Stroll through the historic points within the medina and see some of the architectural renovations that are taking place. You will also have time to wander amidst the winding alleyways of various shops and markets. You will have time to independently explore the medina and the nearby streets of “ville nouvelle”; the adjacent quarters of Tunis that were developed during the French period and whose architecture reflects the French influence. Farewell dinner tonight in the medina in a very special setting.
Overnight in Tunis. (B, D)
Tuesday, February 18 – Departure
Transfers to be arranged from the hotel to the airport for your departure. (B)
Tunis-La Marsa: Dar el Marsa ★★★★★
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, thus allowing guests to feel that they can take a leisure walk that takes them to any number of shops, beautiful views, as well as the daily Marche Central. Dar el Marsa has spa facilities and a beautiful rooftop terrace and pool, in addition to an excellent gourmet restaurant within the hotel.
Tabarka: La Cigale ★★★★★
One of Tunisia’s newest hotels, designed to fill a luxury class with spa facilities in this northwest corner of Tunisia. A major emphasis is the Thalasso Therapy center which is a state-of-the-art facility. For visiting the northwest and combining five-star amenities, La Cigalle is a welcome addition.
Sousse: Movenpick Resort and Thalasso ★★★★★
The first deluxe hotel to open in the heart of the city, in addition to spacious rooms and known for a high standard of service, the hotel has outstanding spa facilities, multiple restaurant s and beautiful interiors, both in common areas and within the rooms themselves.
Sfax: Movenpick ★★★★★
Newly opened by the European Movenpick chain, their Sfax property has beautiful interiors with full spa facilities on site.
$4,795 per person. No Single Supplements!
Meals listed as B, L, or D
Tour excursions described in the itinerary
International Air (Note that IJW does not book air directly, however, we will be happy to assist clients in finding a discounted Business Class or Economy fare.)
Items of a personal nature (souvenirs, alcoholic drinks not included with meals, etc.)
Gratuities to guides and drivers