Spring and summer in Tunisia is a wonderful time when tourists can go to the open sea on a pirate ship, visit old Arab fortresses and do many other interesting things. And travelers can make holidays more memorable if they attend one of the numerous festivals which are held in the country at this time of the year.
Even the most experienced tourists will be surprised by the variety of events which include the festivals devoted to hawk hunting, jazz, citrus fruits harvesting, underwater spearfishing, etc. We’ve come up with a short list of events which always arouse the interest of travelers who arrive in Tunisia in spring and summer.
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.
11-17 MARCH, TATAOUINE
There travelers can see the traditional folk crafts of Tunisia, admire national costumes, and enjoy the fascinating local folklore. Fights of strongmen, performances of Arabian horse riders and a competition of endurance and intestinal fortitude, a 100 km marathon make the experience truly unforgettable.
18-28 APRIL, NABEUL
It’s the festival of orange blossom harvest that brings a burst of citrus flavors and scents. There you can not only see the process of obtaining essence from citrus blossoms, but also taste it. Guests of the festival will also enjoy the exhibition and sale of souvenirs from Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and other countries and buy original gifts for yourself and your loved ones.
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 September, so if you didn’t manage to win the underwater competition in spring, you have a chance to do it in autumn.
26-28 JUNE, EL HAOUARIA
The festival is the demonstration of the brilliant skills of Tunisian falconers who have preserved the ancient traditions of catching, breeding and training of hunting birds. The main characters of the event are falcons who are the fastest birds of the Falconidae family, and sparrowhawks. The festival is held outdoors. The spectators who want to see everything in detail, can watch the video broadcast of hunting on special screens. The show accompanied by the drumbeat, ends with a very beautiful action of releasing birds back into the wild.
JUNE – JULY, HAMMAMET
It’s an event that attracts talented young performers and teams of children involved in various cultural and artistic activities from all over the world. There are nominations for everyone, for example, choreography, performing arts, singing, visual arts, decorative-applied creativity, and whatnot. The festival is a venue for performers from different countries and continents to meet each other and share their experience. It’s also a good opportunity for young talents to showcase their skills.
12 JULY – 18 AUGUST, CARTHAGE
Both the lovers of classical art-forms and those who prefer modern jazz trends will like the festival. At the same time, it’s a multidisciplinary cultural event, which hosts all sorts of musical shows and popular art for the most prominent singers in the world, so the audience of different tastes can find their favorite shows. The festival also aims at creating a space where artists of different backgrounds can meet and exchange experiences.
15-18 JULY, TABARKA
The festival can be characterized as new, creative and super stylish. The annual musical event has become popular among the true jazz connoisseurs who come to the festival not just to enjoy the brilliant music performances but the modern reinterpretation of music of this kind. The main part of the festival takes place in the old Roman basilica, concerts begin after nine o’clock in the evening, but many participants of the event usually can be seen much earlier, for example, in concert halls and cozy restaurants of Tabarka. The International Tabarka Jazz Festival is an important and big event in the town and the entire Tunisia.
15 JULY – 15 AUGUST, MONASTIR
It’s the festival of theatre, poetry and satire. Shows, plays, performances and concerts for the spectators of all ages take place at the outdoor venues and in the ancient fort called Ribat which is now open as a museum. The participants of the festival come to Monastir from all over the world and delight the audience with their performances.
17 JULY – 15 AUGUST, BIZERTE
It’s a real holiday for those who like Mediterranean music. The programme of the event includes the performances of all kinds, from classic to modern ones. Everyone who likes the music filled with the sun and the sea, light breeze and sea surf sounds, should definitely attend the festival and open their hearts to the beauty of the arts.
17 JULY – 19 AUGUST, HAMMAMET
For many years Hammamet has been attracting classical and modern music virtuosos, dancers and other performers at the festival held in the Villa Sebastian which was built at the beginning of the 20th century by a Romanian millionaire who was fascinated by the beauty of the town. World-known performers from different countries appear at The Hammamet International Festival and make wonderful live shows in the amphitheater from the upper rows of which the spectators can enjoy a breathtaking sea view.
17-31 JULY, TESTOUR
Malouf is a kind of music imported from Andalusia after the Spanish immigration to Tunisia in the 16th century. One of the settlements of the former Andalusians is Testour, an ancient town that looks like a bizarre fortress, which today preserves age-old folklore traditions. The Festival of Tunisian Malouf features Arabic and Andalusian music performed by musicians from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Indonesia and other countries. Drums, violins, sitars and flutes are part and parcel of the event.
23 JULY – 3 AUGUST, MAHRES
The place of the annual gathering of young talented people from all over the world. It’s a new wave in art from those who are still taking the first steps towards creating masterpieces. The winner of this festival is honored to hand over his/ her work, sculpture or painting, for exhibition in the central park of the town, which bears the symbolic name Philosophy Park.
23 JULY – 22 AUGUST, EL JEM
Among the regular participants of the festival there are world-known stars, such as the soloists of a famous Milan opera house La Scala or the Vienna State Opera and other best theatres of the world. The concerts are staged in the evening in the flickering torchlight. The venue of the festival is the 3rd largest ancient Roman Colosseum in the world, situated in El Jem. Just imagine, the place where gladiator fights once took place, it’s an ancient amphitheater and there music that strikes a chord in the heart will be performed. An unforgettable and enjoyable experience is guaranteed!
24 JULY, SOUSSE
It’s a parade of symbolic chariots, fanfares and folk groups from Tunisia and elsewhere which takes place along the main street of the resort city of Sousse. The carnival has all the features of a typical event of this kind such as dances, music, singing and pouring water on each other which is so nice at this hot time of the year. People from many different countries come to Sousse to share the delight and fully enjoy the Tunisian summer. The Berber word Awussu means the heat wave of the month of August, so the carnival is the gate to the month.
1-5 AUGUST, BELKHIR
Grace and lightness, speed and excitement. The event is absolutely mesmerizing and fascinating. The spectators will be able to admire the riders showcasing their skills and the advantages of Arabian horses, which can be seen in all their glory. The main goal of the festival is to preserve the best qualities of this breed of horses, one of the oldest on Earth.
1-6 AUGUST, GUELLALA, DJERBA
It’s a festival and a fair that takes place on the island of Djerba in Guellala, known as the village of potters for a great number of pottery workshops. There you can have a closer look at the hand-made pottery and buy some of the original dishes and souvenirs from local craftsmen. Ceramic masterpieces, such as jugs, mugs and platters, created from shapeless lumps of clay, will be a good reminder of a wonderful journey to sunny North Africa.
Read about the festivals which attract many tourists in autumn and winter here. Exciting camel races, octopuses catching and the African edition of the grape harvest festival – don’t miss it!