With fall quickly approaching and the likes of North America and Northern Europe getting colder and colder, travelers are beginning to turn their focus to sunnier destinations where temperatures will take longer to drop.
Understandably, many of them will be flocking to the Mediterranean.
The ancient sea, which borders not one but three continents, stays warm well beyond the summer months, and it offers visitors that much-needed subtropical getaway when the chilly autumn winds start blowing. Not only is it still warm and pleasant to visit, but it can make for an incredibly cheap vacation.
That is, if you’re not headed to the usual hotspots of Spain, Croatia, or Greece – and don’t worry, this is not another article on not-so-secret-anymore Albania:
Everyone, Meet Tunisia
This fall, one of the warmest and cheapest vacations is, in fact, not located in Southern Europe. Straddling the coast of North Africa, on the shores of the azure Mediterranean, lies the historical yet often overlooked nation of Tunisia.
As it is located on the ‘wrong’ side of the basin, it is largely ignored by sunseekers who normally ‘play it safe’ island-hopping in Greece or traveling down the Dalmatian Coast on the more developed, touristy European Mediterranean.
As you are about to learn, however, Tunisia has a comparatively vast tourist offer, and as it hosts fewer tourists, it is less crowded than its European competitors and also much more affordable.
Is the dollar-to-euro conversion rate hurting your wallet lately?
Despair not: in Tunisia, your tourist dollars will stretch a lot further, and you’ll get that long-anticipated off-season beach getaway at much more attractive rates.
Tunisia Is Freaking Cheap
You see, Tunisia is neither in Europe nor the Eurozone, and one U.S. dollar buys as many as three Tunisian Dinars. In Tunis, the capital and largest city of Tunisia, a single person’s estimated monthly expenses are around 1,389.30 Tunisian Dinar without accommodation.
In dollars, that is roughly $449.20. Compared to Malta, one of the trendiest fall destinations in Mediterranean Europe, Tunisia is, on average, 51% cheaper.
According to BudgetYourTrip, a one-week stay at a mid-range hotel on Tunisia’s turquoise coast is a very reasonable $344, with an average nightly rate of only $49.
Of course, you could go well above that and splurge on an all-inclusive five-star listing, but the point is, if you would rather save up some money instead while still treating yourself to a Mediterranean holiday, there are tons of options at hand.
The average price for a luxury hotel in Tunisia is $92, still according to BudgetYourTrip.
When it comes to food, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will cost you a negligible $3.23, based on data gathered by Numbeo, while a three-course dinner for two at a mid-range eatery in an upscale district of Tunis or Sousse will set you back by $19.40.
Either way, a Tunisian vacay will hardly break the bank, whether you’re a big spender or a budget-conscious traveler.
Why Give Tunisia A Shot?
You already know it is shockingly cheap compared to other Mediterranean destinations, especially in Europe, but if you’ve never heard of Tunisia before, you may be wondering why this relatively unknown North African country is worth a visit.
First of all, it has a booming hospitality scene, particularly in Djerba, an island off mainland Tunisia best known for its sandy Mediterranean beaches and whitewashed towns, heavily influenced by Berber culture – a group native to North Africa and the Middle East.
Djerba is home to some of Tunisia’s most luxurious and expensive hotels, such as the Hasdrubal Prestige Thassala & Spa, equipped with a lagoon-style pool dotted with islets, inter-connected by footpaths and charming seafront villas.
This September, an overnight at the Hasdrubal will cost $139. To draw a comparison, even $150 would get you nowhere near the Hilton Diagonal Mar in overpriced Barcelona.
On the mainland, popular resort towns include Hammamet, where tourists will find water parks and golf courses, as well as a whitewashed citadel dating back thousands of years overlooking the bright-blue sea.
Sousse is not to be missed, also, what with its contrasting cityscape, where both ancient and modern landmarks coexist.
From centuries-old cobbled streets that lead to a majestic Arab fortress and Roman amphitheaters to a palm-flanked boardwalk lined by restaurants and charming boutique hotels, you will find the best of both worlds here.
And then there is Tunis, the bustling Tunisian capital and the country’s financial center and beating heart. There is much more to Tunis than merely government buildings and clusters of skyscrapers, though: it houses some of the most beautiful French colonial architecture seen anywhere in Africa.
Central Tunis is particularly famous for its colonial-era art deco, which is not exactly well-kept but are still a source of fascination even when dilapidated.
A short 18-minute drive from Tunis, tourists will find yet another of Tunisia’s ancient wonders: the ruins of Carthage, one of the most powerful and legendary Mediterranean states of Antiquity.
Now an archaeological site, it costs only 12 Dinar, something like four dollars, to visit.
Tunisia Is Still Warm This Season
According to Thomas Cook, a Britain-based travel agency, the weather in Tunisia in September sees an average high of 31 degrees Celsius, or 87.8°F, and the seas remain incredibly warm as well, with a maximum water temperature of 82°F in more shallow beaches.
In the evenings, temperatures can drop to a pleasant 19 degrees Celsius, or 66.2°F, ideal for leisurely walks along the promenade in Sousse or some late-night sightseeing in Central Tunis.
Learn more about this fascinating country – and get inspired – here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com