What is Tunisia known for? Tunsian culture and heritage

Sousse Medina, with lots of colourful plates and bowls.

What is Tunisia known for?

While Tunisia’s not the most visited country in North Africa, I firmly believe that it’s somewhere that should be on your “to visit” list.

But when deciding whether to visit, or planning a trip, it’s a good idea to do some research into what makes Tunisia famous.

This will help you get a more well-rounded picture of the country and what to expect when you’re there.

I visited Tunisia last year and absolutely loved the culture, history and food of the country.

So, here’s my full list of what Tunisia is famous for!

What is Tunisia known for?

Tunisia’s famous for all sorts of things, from ruins, UNESCO sites (there are quite a few) to delicious food. Here’s a list of what Tunisia’s known for!

Ruins of Carthage

One of the things that Tunisia is most famous for are its ruins

The ruins of Carthage are among the most impressive. 

Sitting close to Tunis, this place is a cornerstone of North African and Mediterranean history. 

It offers a tangible glimpse into the world of the Carthaginians, an ancient civilization that was a formidable rival to Rome!

That said, some of the most well-preserved architecture actually dates back to the Roman era. 

The Baths of Antoninus, one of the most well-preserved Roman bath complexes in the world, are a prime example of architectural brilliance. 

Back in the day, they were social hubs where the elite and commoners alike gathered – and a walk through here is like a 3D history book!

Carthage is an open-air museum that provides a comprehensive understanding of an epoch that shaped the Mediterranean world.

It’s definitely worth doing a day trip here if you’re visiting Tunis!

El Djem Amphitheater

El Jem in Tunisia, an ancient Roman ampitheatre with a camel in front.

The UNESCO-listed El Djem Amphitheater is a statement of grandeur and scale that rivals even the Roman Colosseum. 

It’s one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world.

It’s an arena that could accommodate up to 35,000 spectators in its heyday. 

Still largely intact, you can almost hear the echo of the past as you walk through the arched entryways.

The engineering behind this amphitheatre is a marvel. 

With underground passages designed for both humans and animals, as well as seating arrangements that provided everyone a clear view, the El Djem Amphitheater is a site to behold. 

I visited Rome a few months prior, and while El Djem is smaller, it had about 1% of the tourists! 


Brik is a thin pastry wrapped around a gooey egg, with add a bit of tuna or capers for that extra zing. 

It’s then deep fried, until it creates a multi-textured, flavor-packed bite that gives you crunchy, creamy, and savory—all in one go.

This dish is a staple at Tunisian family gatherings, festivities, and even on regular days thanks to its versatility. You can buy it on street food stands or in some restaurants! 

It’s not my food of choice – I don’t eat tuna and egg – but my partner adores it! 

Medina of Tunis

Tunis Medina with colourful doors on each side, cobbled streets and archways.

The Medina is the heart and soul of Tunis, a microcosm of the city’s rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant daily life.

It’s a labyrinth of alleyways lined with stalls selling Tunisian artworks and street food.

There are also restaurants, stores, hotels and even a mosque. 

Some people live in the Medina and have everything they need in the surroundings! 

Each turn here leads you to a different discovery – sometimes it’s a bustling souk where vendors hawk everything from spices to handwoven textiles, other times it’s a quiet corner where artisans are engrossed in their craft.

In the souks, you’ll find an array of crafts and food. 

Whether it’s a scarf woven with century-old techniques or a bowl of spices that releases an aroma as old as the city itself, each item has a story to tell. 

You can feel the pulse of centuries of commerce, art, and craftsmanship reverberating through the narrow alleys.

Each building, with its ornate tiles and intricate latticework, adds a different note to the complexity that is the Medina of Tunis.

The Medina offers a snapshot of Tunisian life in all its multifaceted glory, and is a must-visit place in the country! 

Harissa paste

Let’s talk Harissa! 

This red-hot condiment is a superstar in the Tunisian food scene. 

It’s a chilli paste that can used to embellish pretty much any meal in the country!

I adore Harissa; while I love Middle Eastern/ North African food, I find it lacks spiciness sometimes so I love adding harissa paste to my dishes in Tunisia. 

Harissa is a blend of red chillies, garlic, olive oil, and a dash of spices like cumin and coriander. 

The chillies are sun-dried, giving the paste a concentrated burst of heat and flavour. 

In Tunisian kitchens, Harissa acts as a marinade, a sautéing base, and even a sandwich spread. 

Ever had a traditional Tunisian couscous? Well, it wouldn’t taste the same without a dollop of Harissa!

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said is a harmonious blend of cobblestone streets, blue doors, and white-washed buildings.

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Sidi Bou Said offers panoramic, jaw-dropping vistas.

Whether you’re at a café sipping on a glass of mint tea or strolling through its meandering streets, the sea’s never out of sight!

The stunning views make Sidi Bou Said a magnet for visitors, but it’s also a hub for artists and creatives.

Sidi Bou Said’s marketplace boasts a plethora of unique finds. 

From handmade ceramics to artisanal jewellery, every item carries the essence of Tunisia’s rich culture. 

Sidi Bou Said is multi-layered, with history, art, and culture – all painted in shades of blue and white. 

Tunisian Carpets

Tunisian rugs in a shop in Tunis

Tunisia’s famous for its carpets – in fact, my partner just purchased us one for his flat on his recent trip! 

Made of natural dyes and resilient fibers like wool or cotton for longevity, they’re decorated in patterns that are calculated symbols or narratives, sometimes depicting Tunisian myths, other times representing traditional motifs. 

Each knot and twist of wool is like a pixel in a larger image.

Artisans create these carpets by hand, often on looms that have seen multiple generations. 

Weeks, sometimes months, go into meticulously crafting each piece. 

Depending on whether the carpet hails from Kairouan or a Berber village, the design and texture can vary significantly. 

Kairouan styles often showcase complex patterns and multiple hues. Berber carpets might appear simpler but have a unique, authentic quality.

If you visit Tunisia, you’ll might a chance to purchase a carpet – and it’ll bring a slice of North Africa straight to your home! 

The Great Mosque of Kairouan

Walk into Kairouan, and you can’t miss it – the Great Mosque, an imposing structure that has stood since 670 AD. 

It’s one of the oldest places of Islamic worship in Africa and the world – its historical significance is only rivalled by its architectural prowess.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan boasts an expansive courtyard surrounded by porticoes, with a striking minaret that predates the famous ones in Morocco and Spain. 

The columns were repurposed from Roman ruins, giving a nod to Tunisia’s layered past. 

Each column showcases a different style, symbolizing the blend of cultures that have influenced Tunisia over the centuries.

Inside, the prayer hall evokes a sense of grandeur, adorned with arches and intricately carved wooden panels. 

Pay attention to the mihrab—a niche that points toward Mecca, which is a work of art, complete with Quranic verses etched into its surface.

While the mosque primarily serves as a place of worship, it’s also a centre of Islamic learning. 

The Great Mosque of Kairouan is a standout landmark because it’s a symbol of Tunisia’s rich Islamic heritage. 

It represents the confluence of religious, historical, and cultural currents that have shaped Tunisia and the broader Islamic world. 

Mediterranean Coastline

Port El Kantoui in Tunisia, the sun is setting over boats at the marina.

Tunisia’s Mediterranean Coastline is a refreshing change from the likes of Greece, Spain or Italy. 

Head to Djerba for off-the-beaten-track beaches; it’s an island with a few resorts, but lots of local culture too. 

Over at Hammamet, the vibe is more active (and touristy). Think water sports and lively beach clubs. 

We spent a week in Sousse and loved the beaches there. It was even warm enough for a swim in October!

All-Inclusive Resorts

Tunisia’s an excellent holiday destination. I felt very safe there, both when travelling around the country on train and louage and in an all-inclusive in Sousse.

In fact, if you want to have more of a “holiday” in Tunisia, it’s quite well-known for its all-inclusive resort.

Companies like TUI offer incredible holidays in Tunisia, popular due to the sheer convenience and variety they offer, from unlimited dining options to a range of activities.

You can enjoy the highlights of Tunisia, including El Jem and the Sahara, by taking day trips (or even multi-day tours) from all-inclusive hotels in Sousse.

All-inclusive resorts are just that – everything, from food to alcohol to many activities, are included.

These resorts are engineered for entertainment too. 

Try your hand at archery, or get pampered at a world-class spa. 

If you’re a fan of watersports, there are often options for kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. 

If you’re travelling with family, kids won’t feel left out. 

Children’s clubs and specialized activities ensure younger guests are more than occupied, allowing parents a moment to breathe or perhaps sip on a cocktail by the pool.

Sahara Desert

Step into Tunisia’s southern regions and you’ll be enveloped by an expanse of sand. 

This is the Sahara Desert, the world’s largest desert, parts of which border Tunisia’s Mediterranean regions. 

First up, tackle the dunes. 

These towering mounds of golden sand undulate across the horizon. You can see them by sandboarding or quad biking. 

Venture deeper into the desert and you’ll discover pockets of life—oases lush with date palms and life-giving water. 

These green spaces serve as crucial life sources for local Berber communities; spend a little time learning about this unique Berber culture as well. 

As daylight fades, the desert sky transforms.

Far removed from the city lights, there’s excellent star visibility!

So, what is Tunisia famous for?

Hopefully this article’s given you an idea of Tunisia’s culture, history, heritage and may have even persuaded you to visit!