When we think about the Mediterranean we tend to think about traditional destinations like Italy and Spain.
But the Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by 22 countries across three continents. You’ll find African, Asian, and European countries on this list.
One North African country with a Mediterranean coastline is Tunisia—a beautiful country with a rich and varied heritage.
Here’s why now is the best time to visit this lesser-known Mediterranean destination:
A Record-Breaking Year
Tunisia has had a record-breaking year for tourism. By October, tourism spending in the country had exceeded the 6 billion dinar ($1.94 billion USD) mark for the first time.
The country is also set to exceed visitor numbers higher than any other year with over 9 million overseas visitors arriving in the country in 2023.
But as we move into fall and winter the number of visitors arriving in Tunisia starts to decline.
This is great news for tourists who can travel outside of the summer months as it means that you can enjoy all the attractions that Tunisia has to offer but without the crowds.
From shopping in the Medina of Tunias to exploring the enormous Amphitheatre of El Jem and relaxing on the many beautiful sand beaches or exploring Tunisia’s rich history in the Mosques and museums.
These attractions are all more relaxing and easier to explore when they’re relatively empty.
The weather in Tunisia can be deadly hot during the summer months, but the winter months can be much colder in comparison.
While it never drops below zero, you’ll still need to bundle up warm if you want to explore the country in the winter.
That’s why in weather terms the shoulder months of September to December and March to May are considered the best months to visit Tunisia.
The weather is warm enough to swim in the Mediterranean Sea or explore the Chott el Jerid Lake. But it has cooled down enough that you can also go camping or camel riding in the Sahara Desert.
Now is also the perfect time for adventurous travelers to go scuba diving, where you can see unique underwater fauna and unforgettable archaeological sites.
You can also hike across waterfalls or even book a cycling tour across the Sahara.
Sun seekers should head to the center western and southern regions of the country, where annual temperatures tend to be higher than along the northern coast.
There’s nothing worse than sightseeing in the heat of the summer when all you can think about is how to get out of the burning hot sun.
That’s why now is the perfect time to visit Tunisia and explore the rich cultural attractions that the diverse country has to offer in relative comfort.
Many people don’t realize that Tunisia has so much more to offer than a traditional Mediterranean beach vacation.
But beyond its pristine sandy shoreline, you will find a range of UNESCO World Heritage sites and monuments, exciting souks, and a host of majestic mosques.
The most comprehensive collection of tiles and mosaics in the world can be found in Tunis inside the former Bey Palace. This museum also houses a huge collection of Roman antiquities.
If you’re interested in learning more about the indigenous people of the country, then in the North West of Tunisia you’ll find the Chemtou Museum which is a fascinating source of information about the Numidian people.
The Museums of Popular Art and Traditions are in nearby Kef, so it is possible to explore both attractions in one day.
World Renowned Cuisine
Finally, it would be impossible to talk about visiting Tunisia without mentioning Tunisian cuisine. Although technically a Mediterranean country, the food in Tunisia is very different from a traditional Mediterranean diet.
Tunisian food combines traditional French and African flavors but with a spicy kick that is all its own.
The staple food in the country is couscous, so this features heavily. Tunisian dishes also often include fresh seafood if you’re by the coast or lamb if you’re inland.
Whether you dine in a restaurant or enjoy local street food, you’ll find delicious dishes that are rich and spicy. And as eating out in Tunisia is not expensive, you can explore plenty of authentic dishes.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com