Exciting boat trips, guided tours to the famous historic and cultural sites, tasting traditional local dishes and receiving treatments in the world-known thalassotherapy centers – these are things that travelers can enjoy in Tunisia in autumn and winter.
Moreover, tourists can make their holidays more memorable if they attend one of the numerous festivals which are held in the country at this time of the year. The festivals are very original and always attract many guests and participants. For example, the International Festival of the Sahara is usually visited by over 50,000 people. At the same time, there are events which aren’t so large-scale but tasty and cozy, such as the festivals of harissa and cheese.
The variety of festivals that can be attended is just striking. All you need to do is to make a plan in order to visit most of the events or at least not to miss the most interesting one for you, as about 340 local and international festivals are annually held in Tunisia. We’ve come up with a short list of events which always arouse the interest of travelers who arrive in Tunisia in autumn and winter.
Please note: The venues of some events, as well as the dates, are subject to change. Some festivals can be visited free of charge while others are rather exclusive and expensive entertainment. The terms and conditions of attending should be checked in advance.
So here’s our must-visit list of autumn and winter festivals for tourists in Tunisia.
It’s an international underwater fishing competition for the title of Neptune and owning his trident. It’s quite a difficult contest that requires considerable agility and gives participants the opportunity to test their spear-fishing skills. It’s a great chance to fully enjoy the beauty and cleanliness of the waters while passionately chasing fish. The festival is also held in May, so if you didn’t manage to win the underwater competition in autumn, you have a chance to do it in spring.
SEPTEMBER, KERKENNAH ISLANDS
It’s a very interesting event where you can see the traditional way of catching octopuses. Everyone can test their skills: go to the open sea on a boat, set traps by themselves and compete with other participants of the contest. Then, after the return to the shore, the fishers join the feast where the main dish is octopuses cooked by local excellent cooks.
2-6 SEPTEMBER, TABARKA
Those who like diving and underwater romance will definitely like the festival. Though, even people, who have never dived, will also be amazed by the lectures on the mysterious life of the inhabitants of the sea depths, films and underwater photographs taken by real professionals.
There’s an exhibition, show cooking, tasting and harissa sale. The best cooks who specialize in Tunisian cuisine cook harissa in various ways in front of the audience and then let them try the cooking masterpieces. Guests will also be able to buy harissa as an authentic and very useful souvenir. This super spicy sauce helps locals not get cold during windy winter and mostly be protected from infections in summer. It’s a necessary ingredient on the menu of travelers who want to try what Tunisia tastes like.
5-8 NOVEMBER, TOZEUR
It’s an analogue of European grape harvest festivals but with African specifics and the replacement of grapes with bread of the desert, sweet dates. The programme of the festival includes knife throwing and whip cracking contests, snake charmers performances and horse races. The culmination of the holiday is traditional camel fights. The history of this festival has its roots in the traditions of Tunisia, which are kept alive from ancient times.
NOVEMBER – DECEMBER, DOUZ
It’s one of the most large-scale and fascinating festivals in Tunisia. The event is a four-day celebration of the traditional desert culture, focusing on Bedouin life. Different activities are planned to take visitors on a memorable adventure to discover the local traditions, from a traditional wedding ceremony to music and dance shows, horse and salukis races. Music, photo and picture galleries, documentaries and a book fair will highlight the richness of the culture that perfectly sums up the Berbere freedom and the Arabic beauty. The highlight of the programme is a very emotional camel race which riders from France, Algeria, Qatar, Egypt and other countries take part in.
THE DATES CHANGE, KELIBIA
The festival is organized by the Tunisian Federation of Amateur Filmmakers. Attending the festival is a great opportunity to learn more about the culture of Tunisia and see through the eyes of creative people what’s going on in the country today. The venue of the event, Kelibia, is also worth mentioning. Travelers will find there many restaurants where they cook the freshest seafood and fish, and fascinating tourist attractions, such as a perfectly preserved Byzantine fortress of the 6th century, located on a picturesque rocky spur above the town.
Read about the festivals which attract many tourists in spring and summer here. The burst of citrus flavours, hawk hunting and magnificent jazz – don’t miss it!