Handicrafts and souvenirs sold in the medina are about the only items you’ll have to bargain for in Tunis. To be good at bargaining, you need to enjoy the banter. Once you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun, though it’s often frustrating. Knowing a few words of Arabic or French really helps smooth the way. Note that in tourist areas prices can start absurdly high.
Dangers & Annoyances
Tunis is a relatively safe city, though you should beware of pickpockets in the medina and on public transport.
Quieter parts of the medina, the Halfaouine district and outer suburbs are not particularly salubrious or safe after dark. Be discreet about using your smartphone in public – these are extremely expensive in Tunisia and thus are the targets in a growing number of muggings in the city.
As is the case in many cities, you may come into contact with unscrupulous taxi drivers; those at the airport and at the port terminal in La Goulette are notorious. At the port, insist on the driver using his meter, and if he won't do so, exit the taxi and find a driver who will. At the airport you may have to settle on a set fare of 20DT to 25DT; do not pay an extra charge per bag if you have negotiated a set fare.
Emergency & Important Numbers
A growing number of cafes and fast-food restaurants in the city are offering their customers free wi-fi access and most hotels in the city do the same (some only in foyers, though). Mobile (cell) phone reception is generally excellent.
The tourist office hands out a good, free map of the Tunis medina that is detailed and fairly accurate. It includes an inset showing Centre Ville and some northern suburbs.
Branches of the major banks with ATMs are found throughout the city, including at the airport, in the medina and on Ave Habib Bourguiba in Centre Ville.
Main Post Office Has poste restante.
Tourist Office Can supply information, free maps of the Tunis medina and Carthage, and various brochures.
Tunisie Telcom Helpful bilingual staff can set you up with a local SIM card at this branch near Hôtel Africa on the main drag.
Travel with Children
Having little ones along with you in Tunisia will ensure you get lots of smiles and local contact. And as Tunis is so small, there’s quick access to beaches if they start to suffer sightseeing overload.
Children will enjoy the colourful medina souqs and can be bribed with stuffed camels or puppets, though be aware that the main drags can get very crowded and pushchairs are difficult to manoeuvre (sitting kids on your shoulders is a better option).
Some children will enjoy a short dose of the Bardo Museum with its Roman mosaics – the pictures tell stories and feature lots of animals. Sidi Bou Saïd has a popular bombalouni (doughnut) stand and La Marsa has a long sandy beach and plentiful ice-cream and gelato shops. In Carthage the Oceanographic Museum has an aquarium that children enjoy viewing as well as a family-friendly garden cafe overlooking the Punic Ports and Gulf of Tunis.