The summer season is well underway in Tunisia, with the thermometer showing a comfortable 30 degrees and clear blue skies in the coastal tourist areas Djerba, Sousse and Hammamet. The sunny climate, in addition to beautiful beaches, deserts, exotic culture and affordable prices, is the key ingredient that attracts Scandinavian tourists to Tunisia.
The high season is infused with optimism this year, as the Tunisian tourism industry is steadily recovering from the blow it took after the peaceful revolution of early 2011. Tourism authorities expect that the 2014 season will bring the total number of visitors back up to the record 7 million it welcomed in 2010. In 2013, 55,500 Scandinavians and Finns visited Tunisia, an increase of 11 percent from the year before.
The current optimism is partly due to Tunisia’s stable political situation. As the first Arab country, Tunisia is making a successful transition to democracy, with the next election planned for the end of the year.
In January, the acknowledged Conde Nast travel magazine called Tunisia ‘The Next Big Travel Destination’, highlighting the open and optimistic attitude of the people, as well as the country’s historical sights and splendid beaches.
Summer festivals in Tunisia
Summer is festival season in Tunisia. Every major city takes pride in celebrating the arrival of the sunny weather with music, dance and festivities. At night, the streets, squares and even ancient ruins come alive with activity as Tunisians and tourists celebrate summer side by side.
Music by candlelight in the Roman coliseum
Symphony orchestras have replaced gladiators at the 2000-year-old Roman coliseum of El Jem. Every year some of the world’s best classical musicians perform by candlelight in the impressively well-preserved coliseum, which is second in size only to the Coliseum of Rome. The El Jem festival consists of a string of concerts throughout the summer. The combination of classical music and the historical surroundings makes for a magical musical experience.
International Festival for Symphonic Music, El Jem, 28 June – 30 August.
See Ulysses arrive in Djerba
Djerba is known as the island where Ulysses and his companions all but forgot their wives at home, as beautiful sirens fed them delicious lotus flower fruits. At the annual Ulysses Festival in Djerba, the arrival of Ulysses and his men is re-enacted by local actors and dancers. The program also features musical performances, film screenings, a sailing competition and the crowning of the island’s most beautiful siren.
Ulysses Festival, Djerba, 17-25 Jul
Open-air entertainment in Carthage
Most people remember Carthage from history class – the stubborn archenemy of the Roman Empire that was finally destroyed in 164 BC. The Romans rebuilt the city, and the ruins are still standing just outside the Tunisian capital Tunis. Every summer, the Roman amphitheatre of Carthage serves as an impressive backdrop to world-class music acts, opera, ballet, and theatre performances during International Festival of Carthage. This year, the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary. The full program has yet to be announced, but the Belgian pop singer Stromae is among the headlining acts.
International Festival of Carthage, 10 July – 16 August.