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Practical information Tunisia

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Tunisia : Travel Information before you go!

Area

163.6

Population

1021600

Airports

The international airport is located about 10 miles from the city centre of Tunis. It is a 30 minute trip on the bus and 15 minutes by taxi (which costs a pound or two depending on traffic).
Djerba airport lies around 16 miles from the tourist complex. It is a 15 minute drive by taxi (approx. £3) and there are no buses. Monastir airport is 5.5 miles from the city centre. It is less than 15 minutes by taxi (a pound or two) and roughly 30 minutes by bus.
When leaving Tunisia's airports (international flights), keep in mind that you will no longer be able to pay in dinars (except at the restaurants) once you have passed through customs. Make sure that you have exchanged or spent your last dinars before going through passport control.

Security

The FCO advises against all travel to the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardinaou, Nefta and El Kef, the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba and anywhere within 5km of the Libya border area from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossing. It also advises against all but essential travel to areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis (including the Tunisia-Libya border crossing point at Ras Ajdir), to within 30km of the border with Algeria south of, and including, the town of Jendouba and the governorate of Kasserine, including the town of Sbeitla.

Be wary in crowded markets, the medina in Tunis and tourist areas, where pickpocketing is not uncommon. Make sure you never leave any valuables visible in the car.

For the latest developments, see the FCO Travel Advice section for Tunisia.

Languages

The official language is Arabic, but French is spoken all over the country.

Required travel documents for

For European citizens, a valid identity card is enough to enter the territory, as part of a group. Individual travellers need to have a valid passport.

Religion

Islam is the official religion (close to 98% of the population). At Tunis, you will find a small Jewish community and roughly 20 000 Catholics.

Currency

The official currency is the dinar (TND). Bear in mind that you cannot change dinars outside the country. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged in banks, but be sure to compare the exchange rates offered by each establishment first. Banks do not charge a transaction fee for travellers cheques (except BIAT bank). Hotels and restaurants accept credit cards almost everywhere and there are plenty of cash machines in Tunis and most other cities. Banks are open from 8:00am to 11:30am and 2:00pm to 5:00pm, Monday to Thursday, and from 8:00am to 11:00am and 1:30pm to 4:00pm on Fridays. During the summer, from 1st July to 31st August, they open from 8:00am to 11:00am, Monday to Friday.

Local transportation

Hiring a car in Tunisia will cost you roughly £320 per week for unlimited mileage. It is preferable to take out insurance. Budget approximately 80p per litre of fuel and check the state of the vehicle before leaving. Car rental agencies are numerous, including in small towns. The French driver's license is accepted in Tunisia. The roads in the North are tarred, unlike those of the south. Note that in Tunisia the car horn is used as a signal before turning. Fines are paid directly to the police.
Trains cover a railway network of over 1,240 miles. Such a distance is worth covering in Tunisia, especially from Tunis to Gabès (3 hours). At atmosphere is guaranteed in 2nd and 3rd class. The bus network covers all of the cities. It is the least expensive and the most practical means of transport. Shared taxis or rentals carry six people. Although it is not comfortable, it is equally cheap (a group is formed, the price is bargained and the car kicks off once it is full, not before).

Domestic airlines fly to the major cities, but prices are high and it is preferable to book well in advance.

Health

No particular vaccine is required to enter Tunisia. It is recommended to be vaccinated against typhoid and hepatitis A. Fruit and vegetables must be washed, peeled, or well cooked. Only drink mineral or purified water (you can use 'Micro-pur' water purification tablets).

Electricity

220 V in all hotels.

Tourist numbers

In 2006 Tunisia hosted 6.5 million visitors.
The French form the bulk of tourist clients after the Libyans.

Taxes and tips

Here is how government taxes are allocated: 18% on common goods and services, 29% on luxury products and 6% on vital products (food products). These taxes are usually included in the marked prices. Tips, however, are not included, and it is a common practice to leave a few coins equivalent to 10% of the bill's total.

Telephone

To call Tunisia from the UK, dial 00 + 216 (the country code) + the area code (71 for Tunis, 76 for Tozeur, 72 for Hammamet, 73 for Monastir), followed by the number you are trying to reach.
To call the UK from Tunisia, dial 00 + 44 followed by the number you are trying to reach, without the initial 0.

Tunisia : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Tunisian Embassy
29 Prince's Gate
London
SW7 1QG
Tel: 020 7584 8117

Tunisian National Tourist Office
77A Wigmore Street
London
W1U 1QF
Tel: 020 7224 5561

At the destination

British Embassy
Rue du Lac Windermere
Les Berges du Lac
1053 Tunis
Tunisia
Tel.:+216 71 108 700

Tunisian Tourism Office
1, avenue Mohammed-V
1001 Tunis
Tel: (+216-71) 341 077