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Day 1: Arrive in Tunis
You are met upon arrival at the Tunis airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to rest or to explore Tunis. We meet our guide for dinner to discuss our upcoming adventure. Overnight in Tunis.
Day 2: Carthage, Sidi Bou Said
After breakfast, we drive to Carthage to view the Punico-Roman ruins, visit the amphitheater at Byrsa, see the Roman baths on the coast and tour the National Museum.
Day 3: Dougga, Bulla Regia, to Tabarka
Today we explore the ruins of Dougga and Bulla Regia. After breakfast we drive to Dougga to view what are widely held to be the best ruins in all of Tunisia. In addition to Roman and Byzantine structures, Dougga also has a pre-Carthaginian mausoleum. The town was actually inhabited until the 1950's when the locals were relocated down the road to Nouvelle Dougga in an effort to preserve the ruins.
Day 4: To Ain Draham, Hike in the Kroumirie Mountains or Relax in Tabarka
Today we travel to the town of Ain Draham and spend the day hiking the wooded slopes of the Kroumirie Mountains. The buildings in Ain Draham are unique in Tunisia. They have sloped roofs, designed to cope with the winter snows that are common in the mountains. Those who don't wish to participate, can spend the day exploring Tabarka. Overnight in Tabarka.
Day 5: To Kairouan, the Great Mosque
After breakfast we drive to Kairouan and spend the day exploring Tunisia's holy city. According to legend, the city was founded when general Uqba bin Nafi al-Fihri found a golden goblet on the ground which had disappeared from Mecca years before. The city's fortunes have fluctuated greatly over the centuries, but it has always remained Tunisia's religious center.
Day 6: To Tozeur via Sbeitla Roman Ruins and Gafsa
Today, we make the trip to Tozeur, stopping in Sbeitla enroute to view its remnants of the Roman Empire. The small town of Sbeitla is the site of the ancient city of Sufetula and possesses some of the best preserved Roman temples anywhere. In addition to temples dedicated to the Roman gods Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the site also has 2 early Christian basilicas and an extensive bath complex with a remarkably sophisticated system for heating the floors.
Day 7: Red Lizard Train
We move on to Metlaoui where we board the Red Lizard (Lezard Rouge) for a train ride through the Seldja Gorge. After the train ride, we lunch in the village of Tamerza. Tamerza and Chebika are Berber villages tucked away in the Jebel el-Negeb mountain range. Inhabited until 1969 when they were abandoned after the region was hit by a freak rainstorm lasting 22 days, these ghost villages are fascinating places to visit.
Day 8: To Douz via Chott El Jerid Salt Lake
This morning, we visit the oasis of Degache by caleche (horse carriage) to see a functioning oasis with a variety of crops. We then continue on to Douz, by way of the Chott El Jerid. Optional micro-plane flight over the desert (conditional upon time and weather conditions). Chott El Jerid is an immense salt lake, part of a system of lakes that stretch from the Gulf of Gabes all the way into Algeria. A long causeway spans the lake and as we drive across, we are sure to see some strange optical illusions as the heat shimmers off the salt flats and the chemical rich water reflects unusual colors.
Day 9: Ksours of Tataouine, to Jerba
Today we make our way to Tataouine. We use Tataouine as our central base to explore the surrounding ksours at Chenini, and Ksar Ouled Soltane. After lunch, we head to the island of Jerba, by way of the town of Mednine. We stop in Mednine to view the historic Ghorfas. Overnight in Jerba.
Day 10: Jerba, Matmata
In the morning we tour the sights of Jerba. Jerba has a long and bloody history dating back to the 8th century BC. It has been settled and conquered by a number of political and religious powers including the Romans, Arabs, Spanish, Ottoman Turks, Kharijites and Normans.
Day 11: Sfax, Gabes, Mahdia
This morning after breakfast we make our way to Sfax, stopping en route to tour the oasis at Gabes. In Sfax, we tour the old medina. The medina is very well preserved and still serves as the marketplace for the residents of Sfax.
Day 12: El Jem Amphitheater, Monastir Fort, Mahdia
After breakfast we drive to El Jem and explore the magnificent amphitheater. The ruins at El Jem are almost as big as the Coliseum in Rome. The three-tiered seating could hold 30,000 people in its day. In addition to being able to climb to the top of the bleachers, we can also explore the underground tunnels used to house the gladiators, animals and slaves that were sent into the arena to entertain the masses.
Day 13: Monastir Fort, Sousse Medina and Fort
This morning we drive to Monastir for a tour of the ribat (fortress) and the mausoleum of the Bourguiba family. The ribat was built at the end of the 8th century AD. The central watchtower provides excellent views of the coastline and local landscape. The fortress was used for the filming of Zeffirelli's religious epic, Life of Christ and Monty Python's religious satire, The Life of Brian.
Day 14: Nabeul, Takrouna - Berber Village; Ruins of the Aqueducts, to Tunis
After breakfast, we drive to Takrouna, a wonderful Berber hilltop village, and then continue on to Hammamet for a brief stop to explore the old city. After lunch, we make our way back to Tunis, stopping enroute at Oudna. We also visit the remnants of an incredible Roman aqueduct that used to stretch over 30 miles from Zaghouan to Carthage. Overnight in Tunis.
Day 15: National Bardo Museum, City Tour
In the morning we visit the National Bardo Museum, which houses a unique collection of mosaics, pottery and other finds from around Tunisia. We also tour the city's old medina and the Arab souks. After lunch together, our afternoon is free to spend exploring Tunis. Overnight in Tunis.
Day 16: Depart Tunis
Today, you transfer to the airport to connect with your international flights homeward.
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