You can access the Tunis beaches via TGM from Tunis Marine station. The beaches at La Marsa and Sidi Bou Saïd are further up the line but tend to be less crowded than those of La Goulette and Carthage. Alternatively, head to dilapidated but beloved Hammam Lif in the south (easily accessed by suburban train or taxi); the corniche (coastal road) is often still pumping at 1am.
Sight Tour: Bardo Museum
- Length Three Hours
Start in the museum's entrance hall, where, in 2015, 21 visitors and one staff member were killed in a terrorist attack. A memorial records their names and nationalities.
Proceed up the staircase to the left of the memorial to Room 1, home to a famous mosaic portrait of the Roman poet Virgil flanked by two muses: Calliope (epic poetry and eloquence) and Polymnia (pantomime). Proceed to Room 3, which displays finds from a shipwreck discovered off the coast of Mahdia in 1907, and to the Punic Room (Room 4), which showcases statuary including an extraordinary 1st-century-AD statue of a lion-headed goddess wrapped in a costume imitating the wings of a bird.
From here, follow mosaic-rich rooms numerically, being sure not to miss the huge, double-height Carthage Room (Room 9), with its statues from Carthage and huge floor mosaics. Then head up the marble ramp to the Treasures Room (Room 10), a lavishly decorated apartment that once housed the harem of the Ottoman governor Sadok Bey (1859–1881); its carved stucco ceiling is exquisite. Backtrack through Room 9 to the Althinburos Room (Room 11), once Sadok Bey's music room – one of its mezzanines was for the women of the harem, the other for musicians. Mosaics here depict ships and fishing techniques, as well as a banquet at Carthage.
Then continue to the gilded and vaulted Roman Villas Room (Room 13), with its mosaics depicting life in the rural villas of Roman Africa. Further on, in a room accessed via a passage between rooms 9 and 17 is the Ulysses Room (Room 16), home to a 4th-century-AD mosaic of the Homeric hero lashed to the mast of his ship so as to resist the lure of the Sirens. Also here is a lovely 4th-century-AD mosaic of Venus being crowned by two female centaurs.
The floor above, accessed by a curved staircase, houses plenty more mosaics, including Theseus killing the Minotaur in Room 20.
These two floors now explored, those with energy and time to spare can visit the ground floor, where Tunisian ceramics and Christian and Jewish artefacts are displayed.