Tunisia and Algeria 2024

I had 1 day of obligatory vacation and 1 day of holiday, so I combined it into 10 days of vacation. I skimmed for a destination and settled for Tunisia because of a good flight option (from Ljubljana over Frankfurt, 183 € return ticket). Later I thought about it and got an idea to squiz in one more country.

Libya was not an option and Algeria was quite a fuss. To get an Algerian visa (105 €) I took a short trip to Budapest and bought flight tickets from Tunis (210 €). Now everything was set and I was ready to go on my trip: Tunisia and Algeria 2024. Below you will find details of the trip by individual days on a link or by category as budget, …

Tipaza ruins - Tunisia and Algeria 2024
Tipaza ruins – Tunisia and Algeria 2024

Daily review

People

People in these two countries are similar. In North Africa, we have Arabs as big majority. Most of the people live in the coastal area, In the back are Atlas mountains where we can find Berber people with their own culture. Further to the south, in the desert, there are Beduin nomadic people.

The main religion there is Islam which can be seen in culture (mosques, souqes, medinas, kasabas, …), clothing (most women cover their hair, Algeria is more traditional). They all speak the Arab language with different dialects. The second language is French, because of colonial history. English is spoken by young people and in tourist venues.

people on public transport
people on public transport

As their actions go, they are kind, nice, and helpful. A few examples, when I had dirty hands small girl offered me her napkin, when I had a leaf in my hair from walking in the park one guy would pick it out, when I sat for a beer they would give me their food and buy me a drink, they would put me in front of queue few times…

In tourist areas, they will try to sell you things but after a firm No they will let you go. I felt safe during the whole trip, no matter if it was in front of the main attraction at noon or in a small alley at midnight.

Things that I would say bothered me a bit were, garbage lying around, usually ques nonexistent, delayed public transport, and smoking in too many places even though I am a smoker.

Transport

Again I used many different means of transportation that used much of my time and budget. 7 flights were relatively cheap (443 €) and OK except delay in Djerba. Trains were a cheap option to move, in Tunisia bad and delayed in Algeria OK. Similar to trams in Tunis or the metro in Algiers. For 10 different rides, I paid around 10 €. Road transport included cars, taxis (Bolt), shared taxis – louage and buses. A cheap option that will take you anywhere (55 € for 20 different rides). Together 510 €.

Flight

flight
flight

On this trip, I was on 7 flights. Ljubljana-Frankfurt 600 km in 1 hour, Frankfurt-Tunis 1500 km in 2 hours, Tunis-Algeris 650 km in 1 hour. Djerba-Tunis 500 km in less than 1 hour. So flying both ways was around 6000 km in 9 hours, but I lost probably 40 hours with arriving at the airport, procedures, waiting, and flying itself.

Flight Ljubljana-Frankfurt-Tunis and back was 183 € with Lufthansa. It was a great price performance. Lufthansa has one of the best services (water, chocolate, pillow and blanket, internet). Only insufficient leg space on the second flight.

Return flight Tunis-Algiers was 210 € with Air Algerie. Old airplane with enough leg space, and average service.

Flight Djerba-Tunis was 50 € (cheap when you buy from Tunisia) with TunisAir Express. Delayed 3 times, late 7 hours. But at least it was empty and I could lay down.

As for airports, Brnik-Ljubljana is a small airport, nice and new A section of terminal for flights inside the EU. Frankfurt is one of the biggest European airports but well organized. Tunis-Carthage airport is a middle-sized one, nothing special. Similar to the airport in Algiers. Djerba Airport is small and uninteresting.

Train and metro

metro algiers, algeria
metro algiers, algeria

I moved on rails a few times. On the first day from Sidi Bou Said back to Tunis by tram, it was old and in bad shape. In the middle, we stopped and walked to the next station because of some work, but it was cheap, around 1 TND=0.3 €. Also took it once from Ariane to the city center. Also, they have an extensive railway network grid from the north to Gabes in the south.

But the trains are in bad shape, usually late and sometimes overcrowded, but at least they are cheap. I took one from Tunis (Barcelona main station) to Sousse, 8.1 TND=2.4 €, cold. Later from Sousse to El Jem, 4.7 TND=1.4 €, late and crowded. From El Jem to Sfax 4.7 TND=1.4 €, 1 hour late and last one Sfax to Gabes 4.7 TND=1.4 €, late 3 hours.

In Algiers, I used a train from the airport to the city and back, 80 DZD=0.56 €, 20 minutes, OK train. In the city, I used the metro. Metro in Algiers was second in Africa, it operates well and is cheap 50 DZD=0.35 €. Also went to Martyr monument with cable car, 20 DZD=0.15 €.

On the road

highway in Tunis, Tunisia
highway in Tunis, Tunisia

Taxi

I used yellow taxis in Tunis quite a lot because it was cheap, around 0.3 € per km. Hotel to train station 7 TND=2 €, to Carthagena 15 TDN=4.5 €, to Sidi Bou Said 10 TDN=3 €, taxi to hotel 6 TND=1.8 €. Next morning to the airport 10 TND=3 €. Shared taxi (van that starts when it is full, drives around city or region) to Monastir 2.5 TND=0.75 €.

In Gabes taxi to louage 2 TND=0.6 €. Taxi to Matmata 50 TND=15 € for 42 km. Djerba, a taxi to the hotel is 6 TDN=1.8 € and the next day to the airport, 15 TND=4.5 €, In Tunis, a taxi is 10 TND=3 € to the hotel, next day taxi is 13 TND=4 € to Airbnb, and the last ride to the airport 12 TND=3.6 €.

Also, I used the Bolt platform that is used by taxis as well. The alternative is the Yassir platform, but I haven’t tried it.

Bus/louage/minibus

minibus Algeria
minibus Algeria

Good and cheap option, leaves when it is full (up to 15 minutes). check upfront routes so you will not get stuck in some place. Also, most lines are open until it gets dark, and later you will have a problem finding transport.

In Algeria, I went by minibus to Tipasa 90 DZD=0.63 €, and returned by bus, 110 DZD=0.76 € (comfy and faster).

In Tunisia, I used louage, white vans with 8 seats, enough space, cheap, and covering most destinations. I used louage to get to Kairouan from Monastir 4.7 TND=1.4 €, to return to Sousse from Kairouan, 8.1 TND=2.4 € and on my way from Medenine to Djerba Midun, 8 TDN=2.4 €

Car

transport at Frankfurt airport for selected
transport at Frankfurt airport for selected

With a car, my sister drove me to the airport in Ljubljana (35 km) and back. Also took a half-day tour around Berber villages/Star Wars locations (60 €) with a Toyota Land Cruiser. Traffic is heavier in big cities, roads in general are OK, watch for large speed bumps

Walking

I did 231 km in 10 days, from 7 to 28 km in a day. That meant walking in airports, to hotels, around cities and sights. Stairs in a few towers were again a major challenge. Also, you should be careful when crossing streets, and follow the lead from locals.

Accommodation

Accommodation
Accommodation

Again I tried from a hostel to 5 star hotel. In Algeria, there are not many cheap options. In Tunisia, hostels are not abundant. I found places to sleep via Booking, Agoda, and AirBnB. I was picking places with discounts. But still, the second biggest item in the budget was accommodation, altogether 368 €.

On the first night in Tunis, I slept in Nomads Hostel Tunisia, a typical hostel, with a nice staff, for 18 €. In Algiers, I paid 83 € for 2 nights in City Hotel Alger, nice location, nothing special. Again in Tunis Saheb Ettabaa Tunis for 25 €, cheap, not a great location. In El Jem, I stayed one night in the Julius Hotel for 49 €, OK location, not many options.

I was sleeping in a cave, Hôtel Marhala Matmata for 32 €, a nice venture, a very kind personnel, bar. In Djerba, I went to the luxury 5-star Radisson Blu hotel for 75 €, OK, nice breakfast. Back in Tunis, I was at Le Maison Blanche for 50 €, not a real 5 stars. Last night I took an AirBnB apartment close to the airport, 36 €, kind owner, nice and clean apartment.

Food and drinks

food in maghreb
food in Maghreb

While traveling you will spend some money on food and drinks. But these countries are among the cheap ones for these commodities. I paid 60 € for all the food and around 50 € for all the drinks. Street food is cheap, but in luxury hotels and airports, prices go up.

In the morning I would have breakfast in accommodation, some great ones. If not I would buy something in a shop or bakery, up to 2 €. As for food during the day, I ate mainly street food (Algier – shwarma, 300 DZD=2 €, burger 200 DZD=1.4 €, pizza slice with lemonade, 100 DZD=0.7 €; Tunis chapati paid by local).

I also had some big meals, in Tipasa (cream soup, 1/4 of grilled chicken, rice, fries, bread, water; 1200 DZD=8.3 €), In Algiers (lamb, rice, fries, vegetables, bread, and water; 1550 DZD=10.8 €), in Matmata (tomato soup, goat, salad, pasta, deep fried brik with egg, couscus), in tour (1/4 grilled chicken, rice, fries, salad). Also tried a few sweets, baklava, (0.5-1.5 €).

drinks in Maghreb
drinks in Maghreb

In general fast food for snacks, main meals would include some kind of meat (also fish) and on side rice/fries/couscous, optionally soup and harissa chili sauce can be found on each table. Bread is usually French baguette, also local options of bread can be found. Desserts are sweet (honey) pastries with some kind of nuts.

Water is a basic drink, the price is from 0.3 € for a 2l bottle in a shop up to 5x more for 0.5l in a fancy restaurant. 0.5l Coke is 0.7 € in street shop. Tea (with pinjole) and coffee are found in many cafes and they are from less than 0.5 € up to 2 €. Alcohol is not found everywhere. Mostly it is hotels in resorts, in Tunisia even some shops. Small local Celtia beer was from 1.5-2 € in hotels, in shops, it is around 1 €.

I smoked Camel light/blue which were 3 € in Tunisia and 2.5 in Algeria. Local cigarettes are half the price, you can buy cigarettes by piece. Many places have shisha.

Sights

cable car, Algieres, Algeria
cable car, Algiers, Algeria

North-west countries (Maghreb – Morrocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia, Mauritania) have similar things to see. In the north (Tunisia also east) you have the Mediterranian Sea (visited during summer for beach activities). From the sea to the Atlas mountains in the south, you have cities and agricultural areas. Behind the mountains, you have the Sahara desert.

Star Wars location
Star Wars location

Historically, you can find some petroglyphs from the Stone Age, from ancient times you can find Punic/Carthage and Roman remains. middle ages are known by Islamic culture, later came Ottoman rule, and last before independence was French colonization. For each of those periods, you could find a few sites. The entrance is really cheap, from 0.3 to 3 €, but usually things are not labeled well. I spent 75 € on sights (60 € was a tour in the south).

oldest minaret in worls, Kairouan, Tunis
oldest minaret in world, Kairouan, Tunis

Tunisia

Tunis

Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis, Tunisia

In the capital city, the main sites you can see from the Clocktower on 14 January 2011 Square by Avenue Habib Bourguiba to Kasbah Square:

  • Clocktower, entering point in the city, on a tall obelisk, in this shape from 2011, below nice Fontaine in square
  • Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul and St Olivia of Palermo, the main Roman Catholic cathedral from 1989
  • Central Market of Tunis, a busy market from 1891, Art Deco and Arab styles
  • Bab al-Bahr (11th/19th century), a gate into Medina, UNESCO
  • medina (old town, with narrow streets, shops with rooftop views)
  • with Great Ez-Zitouna mosque-just court accessible (5.000 square meters, 7-9th century)
  • Kasbah square 1950’s with many imporant buildings (National Monument 1989, mosquée El-Kasbah and the City Hall of Tunis)

Other interesting places in the city would be a Bardo museum with mosaics and a big Belvedere Park with a ZOO.

Carthage, Tunisia
Carthage, Tunisia

Close by is Carthage with ancient Punic and Roman ruins, 12 TDN=3.6 € to visit 10 different sites. Not all are worth visiting, the best one is the Baths of Antoninus. On the hill, you can find a museum and Saint Louis Cathedral.

Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

Sidi-Bou-Said further north is a town on the cliff where there are white houses with blue doors/windows/rails (similar to Santorini, Morrocco, …). But it is very touristy and crowded. Still, you can wander into one of the more tranquil streets.

Central Tunisia

In the central part of Tunisia, there are a few cities worth visiting:

Ribat in Sousse
Ribat in Sousse
  • Sousse – nice medina in kasbah with ribat (8 TND=2.4) and mosque (5 TND=1.5 €)
  • Monastir – similar to Sousse, big ribat-rebuilt
  • Kairoun – holy city, the previous capital, Great mosque with oldest minaret in the world, governor house, pond, mausoleum, medresse
  • El Jem – second biggest amphitheater after Colloseum (12 TND=3.6 €.)
  • Sfax – big regional city, not worth visiting
Amphitheatre in El Jem, Tunisia
Amphitheatre in El Jem, Tunisia

Southern Tunisia

Matmata cave hotel
Matmata cave hotel
  • Gabes – not worth visiting
  • Matmata – a small village with cave hotels, a nice experience
  • Djerba – touristic, beach activities, all-inclusive resorts, similar is Hammamet in the north
  • Desert – south of the country, there are nice dunes and camel tours, … but didn’t go there
Berber village, Tunisia
Berber village, Tunisia

Algeria

Algiers

View fro Kasbah, Algiers, Algeria
View from Kasbah, Algiers, Algeria

In the capital city to the north, you will find an old neighborhood of Kasbah (UNESCO) in the hills, with narrow streets, not maintained. Before arriving there you will pass buildings from colonial times (the most memorable is the Post).

Post, Algiers, Algeria
Post, Algiers, Algeria

South-east from the center there is the Martyrs Monument with the Museum to Revolution (30 DZD=0.2 €) accessible on foot or by cable car (20 DZD=0.15 €). Below is a nice botanical garden Jardin de’Essey (150 DZD=1 €).

Botanical garden, Algiers, Algeria
Botanical garden, Algiers, Algeria

Tipasa

In this town one hour’s ride away from the capital you will find vast Roman ruins, separated into Western-better (120 DZD=0.83) and Eastern part (110 DZD=0.76 €).

Tipaza, Algeria
Tipaza, Algeria

There are many more interesting places in this enormous country (2.4 mio km2). From cities Oran in the west, Anaba and Constantin in the east, mountains, desert, … But I didn’t visit them

Roman ruins in Tipasa, Algeria
Roman ruins in Tipasa, Algeria

Weather

For early February, the weather is quite warm. During the day it goes up to 23 degrees Celsius, but before sunrise it gets cold, 9 degrees. Most of the days were sunny, but last they there were some short rain bursts.

Budget

Total for this trip was 1150 € including everything (transport 443 €, accommodation 368 €, food and drinks 110 €, sight 75 €, misc 50 €, visa 105 €). But if I stayed just in Tunis for all 10 days, the cost would be below 1000 € (Algeria costs 450 € for 3 days, so it is better to stay longer). Also few bucks could be saved on cheaper hotels and if beers would be left out. In general, these destinations are very cheap and affordable, especially in wintertime.

Tunisia and Algeria 2024 1

In Algiers, I changed 50 € on the black market and got better exchange rates than from banks by 20 %. But in the end, it is just a 10 € difference.

Visa/telecommunication

For Tunisia you don’t need a visa (EU citizens). For Algeria you need a visa, it’s 105 €, quite expensive. You will need 2 forms, 2 photos, insurance, flight tickets there and back and a hotel reservation or invitation letter or program by the tourist agency. Many people asked me if it was a problem to get it.

I made a trip to Budapest to get it, while there is no embassy in Slovenia. I wrote them an email to ask if I could get it in 1 day because I would travel 500 km to obtain it. When I arrived there, they were very helpful even though they had some construction work done in their office. It was done in 1 hour.

In both countries I used Ooredoo. In Tunisia at the airport, I bought a SIM for TND=6 €, package 10 GB (used maybe 1/3). Similar in Algeria, SIM 500 DZD=3.5 €, 10 GB. Having internet all the time is a great asset while traveling, you have more freedom and things can be done last minute.

For example, you can book a place to stay while traveling to the next city. I also had to call one hotel because I was late and someone would wait for me at reception. Reception was all around except in some parts of a trip to Berber country. But still, you can opt to rely on WiFi in hotels and bars.

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1 Response

  1. Thank you for writing this post!