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Go back in time to see the Roman Empire in a much more natural and untouched setting by visiting Tunisia. Tunisia in Northern Africa is home to some of the World’s most incredible Roman ruins including El Jem, Dougga, and much more. Best of all it’s just an hour flight from the tourist overrun city of Rome.

Tunisia: An Authentic Visit to Ancient Rome

By: Mike Jerrard

There is no denying how incredible the Roman ruins in Rome are. Unfortunately you must share your experiences of them with such an enormity of other tourists that you’ll feel as though you’re in line at Disneyland.

On average, around 8 million tourists flood Rome annually making it one of the top 5 most visited European cities. The Colosseum itself is one of the most visited sites in the world.

El Jem is a Roman amphitheatre that rivals the Colosseum for its impressiveness and actually offers a far more authentic experience. One gains far more access and freedom in El Jem without the waiting in lines and crowds.

Feel like a gladiator as you make your way through the underground vaults, an experience that will cost you quite a bit at the Colosseum. Here in Tunisia it is just a few dollars to visit most ruin sites.

It won’t be long before Tunisia’s treasures become as popular as its European counterparts so the clock is running to experience its wonders now.

Along with Incredible ruins of not only Roman origin, you will find adventurous Sahara tours, beautiful beaches, and some of Africa’s lesser known animals. Scimitar horned oryx, addax, Dama gazelle, and the fennec fox.

Scimitar Horned Oryx: Photo by J. Todd Poling

The overall authenticity you get in Tunisia provides a much more rewarding experience for those travellers looking for an adventure. It looks and feels like a setting straight out of Indiana Jones and it should since it was used for scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Sadly for Tunisia, its tourism has taken a drastic hit with its recent terrorist attacks in Sousse and Tunis in which a large number of tourists were killed. Some areas are reporting tourism is down as much as 90%.

Many governments have advised their citizens to avoid travel to this beautiful country. Although understandable, this only plays into the hands of those wanting to disrupt our way of life.

The list of countries to avoid in fear of being killed by terrorists is ever increasing and the more we show the attackers that their actions pay off, the more they will proceed.

To live in fear rather than see this magical world would be a shame and a defeat to all humanity. So do as the Romans did, and head to Tunisia.


  1. You are so right about the crowds in Rome.
    Both Oryxes seemed as if they have just one horn had to observe carefully ? So unfortunate that tourism is hit badly because of terrorism.

    • Absolutely – the crowds in Rome are often suffocating! Really is so sad that Tunisia’s tourism has taken a hit because of recent events. The sad fact is that terrorism is happening everywhere these days, and countries like Tunisia are just as safe as somewhere like Barcelona, or France.

  2. This is the first time I’m reading of Roman like ruins in Tunisia. Hardly is the country covered under tourism. Glad I read about Tunisia here as I’m planning a tour to less touristy countries. Adding this to my list.

    • Glad we could introduce you Lydia! I read somewhere that it’s among the highest concentration of authentic Roman ruins outside of Rome itself.

      Tunisia is a fabulous option if you’re seeking out countries off the beaten path – you’ll have incredible archaeology sites all to yourself! Have a great trip!

  3. I did not know about Roman ruins in Tunisia until I read this. If I head to northern Africa though, it would be more to experience the Sahara desert than anything else.
    I enjoyed the Colosseum and the Forum and the Palestine in Rome, despite the crowds and heat. Also enjoyed the Roman ruins in Ephesus in Turkey.

    • Glad we could highlight the Roman ruins here for you – sounds like you’ve visited quite a lot of locations with ties to the Roman Empire – if you’re in Northern Africa and have the chance to stop by Tunisia, would be interested to know what you think! Definitely make a huge difference not having to share the ruins with massive crowds like in Rome :)

  4. I didn’t know there were roman ruins like El Jem in Tunisia! It’s such a shame that tourism has taken a nosedive of late. Back in the nineties it was such a popular destination for Brits, my parents went several times and I am sad not to have gotten the chance yet!

    • Glad we could highlight them for you! I agree, the lack of tourism is a huge shame, especially when much of the hospitality industry relies on tourism $$$$ to survive. We can’t wait to go, hopefully sooner rather than later before everyone realizes what they’ve been missing by staying away!

  5. Yeah, I have heard about the travel warnings for Tunisia. Such a pity, as it seems like a very beautiful country. I didn’t expect to see so many ancient Roman structures there. I think, crowd wise, it would be a better alternative to Rome. I would also love to ride the camels and see the native wildlife. That oryx looks fascinating!

    • It really is such a beautiful country – half the time government travel warnings are based on advice which is very overblown. I didn’t expect to that many Roman structures here either, but I think I read it has the highest concentration outside of Rome itself!

      Definitely a better alternative to Rome crowd wise – hope you have the chance to travel at some stage, it sounds like a great destination for you!

  6. I remember reading about this Colosseum-like structure somewhere and I remember being shocked and impressed…I would love to visit there one day. I first heard about the terrorist attacks there while I was in Casablanca, Morocco. I believe it happened the year before. A lot of my friends and family were giving me grief for wanting to travel to a place that was in close proximity. Its so tough as these attacks can pretty much happen anywhere so any place really safe…I love the horns on the Oryx very beautiful…

    • You hit the nail on the head – attacks these days are happening all over the globe, and a place like Tunisia is just as safe as a place like Paris, or Rome. It’s sad, but it’s a global reality we live with that terror could happen anywhere.

      I think places like North Africa and the middle east have a worse stigma around them because of the media, but also because they are places with cultures which are very different to our own. And people are easily wary and apprehensive about the unknown.

      But Tunisia is a fabulous country and people’s fears of travel couldn’t be further from the reality. Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  7. Wow! I had no idea there was such a grand Colosseum in Tunisia…and it does look almost as majestic as the one in Rome. I love the idea of exploring the underground tunnel and it’s cool that it won’t burn your pockets here :)

    • Glad we could highlight it for you! The ruins here really are just as majestic as in Rome, and honestly I would probably say even more so, because the atmosphere of exploring them without any other people allows you to fantasize about being back in ancient times. No crowds to distract you or ruin the experience!

  8. Tunisia has been capturing my attention for quite some time now. Isn’t it incredible how Romans left their remnants scattered across such a large area. It was indeed true that the sun never set in the Roman empire.

    • It really is incredible to think just how large the Roman Empire was in the height of its day! Glad we could further inspire your wanderlust for Tunisia. Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

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