From idyllic Mediterranean beaches to a galaxy far, far away, Tunisia is a land of sun, sea, and sand with no shortage of things to see and do. It is little wonder that it is one of the most popular destinations in North Africa. As with all countries in the region, the question of safety might be on your mind. Exactly how safe is Tunisia?
The answer is that, in general, there isn’t much to worry about. Tourism is a priority for Tunisia and visitors are usually made to feel very welcome — especially in the capital and on the coast.
It’s a good idea to check what you need before traveling. For example, is there a Tunisia visa for Canada citizens? Make sure you have all your paperwork in order to enter the country and you’ll be good to go.
How to Stay Safe in Tunisia
Tunisia is a safe country to visit by and large. However, when visiting any country around the world, there are certain handy tips for staying safe.
Keep your eye on your belongings at all times. There are opportunists everywhere, including Tunisia. Crowded areas like squares and bazaars provide plenty of distractions so stay alert in these areas.
Avoid walking alone at night — especially in areas you don’t know.
Use local knowledge wherever possible. Staff at your hotel will be able to tell you if there are any parts of town you should avoid.
In general, simply use common sense and exercise caution in unfamiliar situations. Then, you can enjoy Tunisia to its fullest, whether you’re staying in Tunis or relaxing on the island of Djerba.
If you’re venturing out into the desert, it is best to do so on a tour. Whether in a vehicle or on camelback, follow your guide’s instructions to stay safe. If you’re interested in seeing the filming locations of the Star Wars films, there are plenty of opportunities to do that.
It is always a good idea to check the current safety measures when traveling to Tunisia, especially if you go during the pandemic.
Should I Be Worried About Terrorism in Tunisia?
As a rule, no. Most of the time, Tunisia is relatively peaceful and incidents of violence, unrest, and terrorism are rare.
However, like many countries around the world, occasionally Tunisia has fallen victim to terrorist attacks. In 2015, the world was shocked by a mass shooting at a hotel in the city of Sousse and the Bardo National Museum in Tunis was attacked the same year.
Thankfully, these incidents are very uncommon and even rarer are attacks on tourists. The odds of being caught up in an event like this while visiting Tunisia are similar to those in western countries like France, the UK, and the US. It is not something that should put you off visiting.
That said, it is always a good idea to stay vigilant — wherever you are in the world. If you see someone acting suspiciously, move away and alert the local police.
Safety for women
Like many countries in the region, Tunisia is fairly conservative and the majority of the population adhere to Islam. However, Tunisia stands out as having much greater gender equality than some of its neighbors, with women being able to work and study.
Women are generally treated with respect if traveling with a man. However, foreign women — particularly if traveling alone — may experience some unwanted attention from locals.
While this is rarely anything that would compromise their safety, it can be intimidating and can come across as creepy.
The thing to remember is that Tunisian men traditionally don’t socialize much with women before marriage and the sexualization of women in western media has led to the widespread impression that foreign women are somewhat promiscuous.
It is not uncommon for local men to ask western tourists to kiss them, and often seem genuinely confused if the woman turns them down.
In general, if this sort of thing happens, it can be dealt with by firmly saying non merci (no, thank you) or even “Harem alek” (“shame on you” in Arabic”) for any unwanted physical contact.
If you want to avoid this kind of behavior, it’s advisable to dress conservatively like the local women. Covering your shoulders and knees, wearing long sleeves, and even wearing a headscarf can greatly reduce unwanted attention.
Although most of the country is perfectly safe to visit, there are some parts of Tunisia that are best to avoid.
The southernmost region, around the Libyan border, can experience conflict and travel is advised against.
Other areas that you should avoid include the Chaambi Mountains National Park and the designated military operations zones of Mount Salloum, Mount Sammamma and Mount Mghila; Ben Guerdane and immediate surrounding area; the militarized zone south of the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba; and Sidi Bou Zid.
Most of the popular destinations in the country, such as Tunis, Carthage, Kairouan, and Djerba are all regarded as very safe for foreign visitors. In fact, with fascinating archaeological sites, intricate Islamic architecture, glorious weather, pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, and so much more, Tunisia is a country you’ll fall in love with. No wonder so many visitors return!