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Things to do in Kairouan

Our most recommended things to do in Kairouan

From Tunis: Day Trip to Kairouan, El Jem and Sousse

1. From Tunis: Day Trip to Kairouan, El Jem and Sousse

Be picked up at your accommodation in Tunis and head to Kairouan. Kairouan was established in 670 AD and flourished under the Aghlabid Dynasty. Visit the Great Mosque of Kairouan, the Aglabits Bassins, and Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum. Spend some time exploring the Kairouan Medina and enjoy a typical Kairouan lunch. After lunch, head to the small village of El Jem. Here you’ll have the opportunity to see the El Jem Amphitheater ruins. The Amphitheater is the largest colosseum in North Africa and could hold up to 35,000 people. Your next stop is Sousse. Here you’ll visit the Sousse Old Medina and the Port of El Kantaoui. Head back to Tunis and be dropped off at your accommodation in the city

Tunisia: 4-Day Private Discovery Tour

2. Tunisia: 4-Day Private Discovery Tour

Day 1: Kairouan to Tozeur.  Be collected from your accommodation in any city in Tunisia to visit Kairouan and the 9th century Aghlabid basins. Next, visit the grand mosque, which is the oldest in North Africa. Continue to the nearby Sidi Sahbi, a companion of prophet Mohamed, with an introduction to some Tunisian traditions. Have lunch in Kairouan Medina. Continue to Tozeur and check-in to your accommodation in Tozeur where you will have dinner.  Day 2: Tozeur to Douz.  Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then head out to visit Chebika Waterfalls and Tamerza Waterfalls. Then, explore the Mides canyons. Continue to Tozeur for lunch then take a horse-drawn carriage tour in the Palm Groves. Visit the Ong Jemel Star Wars desert set. Depart Tozeur and head to Douz in a 4WD vehicle. Make a stop at the Salt Lake of Chott el Djerid. Your adventure begins with an amazing view of lands of green palms and dunes of golden sand. Continue through the huge charming dunes then arrive at the camp site. Have a delicious dinner and enjoy the night drumming around the campfire. Stay at the Saharnsky luxury desert camp in Douz. Day 3: Douz to Matmata to Tataouine. Have breakfast at the campsite then head to Matmata. Visit the Underground Troglodyte. Then, have lunch in a berber underground house. Continue to Ksar Hadada to visit the old castle on top of a hill. Head to Chenini to visit the 7th asleep mosque and museum. Check-in for the night at your accommodation in Tataouine and enjoy dinner at the hotel.  Day 4: Tataouine to Gabes to El Jem to Tunis.  Have breakfast at the hotel then depart Tataouine for Gabes. Visit Jara Souk, where you can purchase souvenirs and explore the city. Have lunch in Gabes. Continue to El Jem (Thysdrus) to visit the Roman amphitheater, which is the third biggest and the best-preserved one in the Roman world. Take your transfer to your drop-off location to complete your tour. 

Tunisia: 5-Day Private Discovery Tour

3. Tunisia: 5-Day Private Discovery Tour

Discover the highlights of Tunisia in this comprehensive private 5-day tour. Relax, as your meals and accommodation throughout the tour are catered for including delicious traditional breakfasts and lunches and dinners in various stunning locations.  On the first day, you will be picked up from your hotel in Tunisia and will visit 'El Jem', a well-preserved Roman amphitheater. You will then head to Kairouan to visit the 9th century Aghlabid basins and then head on to marvel at the spectacular Grand Mosque, the oldest in North Africa. Your expert guide will provide an overview of the history and Tunisian traditions and you will spend the night in Tozeur.  On the second day, you will visit the breathtakingly beautiful Chebika and Tamerza waterfalls before heading to see the natural spectacle of the Mides Canyons. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a horse-drawn carriage tour in the Palm Groves before heading to the desert, where you can see the movie set where they filmed star wars - perfect for any film fans! Afterward, you will head to Douz with a stop to view the salt lake on the way. At Douz, you can see the famous winding lanes of the souk markets and enjoy either a camel or quad bike tour through the desert sands.  The third day is for heading into the Sahara desert, an incredible arid landscape full of tall dunes. Enjoy lunch looking out over the plains before checking in to the luxury desert campsite. The evening here will be spent enjoying delicious traditional food and listening to drumming as you warm yourself around the campfire.  On the fourth day of the trip, you will head to Matmata to visit the 'Troglodyte' Berber town. Here you can see the famous underground structures where many people still reside today. Continue onwards to  Ksar Hadada to visit the ancient castle there before stopping by Chenini to visit the '7th Asleep' mosque and museum. You will then spend a restful evening in Tataouine.  The last day will involve you indulging in some shopping at the winding Jara Souk where you can purchase some souvenirs from this amazing trip. You will be dropped back at your hotel, satisfied in the knowledge that you have truly discovered the real Tunisia. 

From Tunis: Kairouan, El Jem & Sousse Day Trip with Lunch

4. From Tunis: Kairouan, El Jem & Sousse Day Trip with Lunch

After being picked up from your Tunis accommodation, set off for Kairouan. Start your tour with a visit to the last 2 9th-century Aghlabite Basins which were among the greatest waterworks of the Middle Ages. Witness the monuments from the top of the Tourist Information Building as you gain an introduction to the foundation of Kairouan and its glorious age. After this, continue the tour with a visit to the 7th-century Great Okba Mosque, the oldest mosque in North Africa. Appreciate the powerful and beautiful expression of faith inherent in the 9th-century architecture. Proceed to the nearby Sidi Sahbi, to visit the 17th-19th century building known for its minaret and beautiful courtyards lined with green-blue tile work and white plaster stucco. Then, arrive at the entrance to the Medina for a guided walk through the main street and up to the mystical "Bir Barrouta". Spend some free time strolling through the Medina and shopping. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant.  Finally, climb back into the vehicle and take a 1 hour and 15-minute transfer to the El Jem amphitheater - the main attraction of the tour and one of Tunisia's most visited sites.  Discover how this monumental amphitheater was built in the 3rd-century and is the largest Roman monument left in Africa, ranking 3rd in the Empire after those in Rome and Verona. Marvel at its architecture which was considered to be an improvement of the Colosseum in Rome, though it is a tiny bit smaller. At the end of the tour, begin your return journey to Tunis where you will be dropped off back at your accommodation.

From Tunis: Private North to South 3-Day Tour of Tunisia

5. From Tunis: Private North to South 3-Day Tour of Tunisia

Day 1:  Get picked up from your accommodation and head to Kairouan, the holy city. Visit the famous mosque of Okbaa Ibn Nafaa, the mausoleum of Sidi Sahbi, and Aghlabide's Basins before continuing on to the Roman ruins of Sufetula. After touring the archeological site and having lunch, head to Tozeur, known as the oasis paradise. Stroll through the alleys of the old medina before checking in to a 4-star hotel for the night. Day 2 :  Head out in the morning to discover the incredible mountain oases of the area. Make a first stop at the village of Chebika, famous for its water source that springs from the side of the mountain. Afterwards, visit the gorgeous Tamerza Waterfall and the Mides Canyons before enjoying a local lunch at a homestay. In the afternoon, journey over the sand dunes, through the old rally track, and cross the salt lake of Chott El Gharsa to reach the famous village of Mos Espa where much of the Star Wars movies were shot. Take in the intense colors of the sunset and enjoy a walk in the Mos Espa village before getting back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Day 3 :  Leave Tozeur early in the morning and head to the salt lake of Chott Djerid, the largest salt lake in Northern Africa. Stop to admire the sunrise and see the first rays of sunshine land on a layer of salt stretching as far as the eye can see. Continue to Douz, the gateway to the desert where you will have time to take a camel-ride or go on a quad tour in the dunes. Stroll through the Douz souk before heading to Matmata, an ancient troglodyte village. Visit a local host and enjoy a cup of rosemary tea served with olive oil and honey to tide you over until lunch. Stop for lunch on your way to the amphitheater of El Jem, an impressive Roman monument that rivals the Roman Colosseum. After touring the amphitheater, get returned to your hotel.

From Tunis: Overnight to Kairouan, El Jem, Monastir & Sousse

6. From Tunis: Overnight to Kairouan, El Jem, Monastir & Sousse

Depart Tunis for Kairouan in an air-conditioned van and explore last two 9th-century Aghlabite Basins which were among the greatest waterworks of the Middle Ages. Proceed to the 7th-century Great Okba Mosque, the oldest mosque in North Africa. Nearby is the Mosque Sidi Sahbi (Mosque of the Barber), known for its minaret and beautifully tiled courtyards. Walk through the hustle and bustle of the medina (old city) and take a picture of the camel at "Bir Barrouta." Enjoy lunch on your own and free time to explore the medina.  Regroup and travel approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to El Jem and admire its monumental amphitheatre. Built in the mid-3rd-century AD, it is the largest Roman monument left in Africa, and ranks 3rd in the Empire after those of Rome and Verona. One of the last large amphitheatres built during the Roman era, its architectural design is an improvement over that of the Colosseum of Rome. After the tour, continue to a guesthouse for dinner and overnight.  The following day, enjoy breakfast in the hotel before travelling 40 km to Mahdia. Visit the Skifa Kahla, a massive fortified gate that survives the original Fatimid city, and spend time exploring the souk (market). Regroup and travel 1 hour and 15 mintues to Monastir to visit its grand cemetery where Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia’s first president, was put to rest.  In Monastir, admire the old Ribat (fortress) which has been used as a location for films such as "Life of Brian" and "Life of Christ." Eat lunch in a local restaurant before travelling 20 km to Sousse. Wander through labyrinthic streets to visit the Grand Mosque, the Ribat, and the Dar Esid, a Tunisian Family House museum. Along with its enchanting medieval Islamic history, Sousse wears another hat as a modern resort filled with hamams and beautiful beaches. Visit the El Kantaoui port before meeting the driver for the return transfer to Tunis.

From Tunis, Hammamet, or Sousse: Private Kairouan Day Trip

7. From Tunis, Hammamet, or Sousse: Private Kairouan Day Trip

Get picked up from your accommodation by your professional driver and English-speaking guide and head to Kairouan. Explore the city and learn firsthand about the history of the first Muslim metropolis in the Maghreb. Begin your visit with a stop at the Aghlabid Basins, an extraordinary feat of medieval-era engineering which continue to provide water to the area's desert inhabitants. Then head to the mausoleum of Sidi Sahbi, the most revered holy man in Kairouan, where blessings are obtained for all regional weddings and festivals. Continue on to Kairouan's great mosque. Admire the architectural precision of the structure which serves as the fourth most important mosque in the Sunni Muslim world.  Afterwards, get lost in the city's old medina, classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make a final stop at Bir Barrouta, a legendary well where you can observe a dromedary extracting water from deep beneath the earth.

From Tunis: 2 Day Sahara Express Experience

8. From Tunis: 2 Day Sahara Express Experience

Day 01 : Pick up from your place of residence and departure to El Jem, visit of its coliseum , measuring 148 meters long, 122 wide and 36 meters high, served during two centuries. Its capacity estimated at 35,000 spectators and its imposing size class unquestionably among the largest amphitheatres in the world. This building dating from the third century, shows the greatness of the Roman Empire. Continuation to Matmata located at 40 km west of Gabes, on a mountainside, it is a Berber village of 1800 inhabitants, at an altitude of 600 meters. The name Matmata came from a Berber tribe originating from Morocco, descendant of the Temzit. Matmata is very well known for its troglodyts houses. Troglodyte homes are homes built into the ground as a way to escape the heat of the summer sun, creating their own natural air conditioning. As you walk around on the surface of the ground, you can peer down into these craters, which are the courtyards of these homes. Some of the courtyards have sheer drops of up to 30 feet deep. These courtyards have rooms cut into the ground where residents live. Typical Tunisian lunch in Matmata Departure after the lunch towards Douz also called the desert gate, discovery of the city, check in at your hotel, dinner and accommodation Day 02 : Early breakfast and departure for Chott El Djerid to experience the sunrise on this beautiful salt lake, located between the Gulf of Gabes and the Algerian border, for nearly 300 km, the desert is covered with Chotts, desert areas covered with salt deposits that rest on a mass of mud. When it rains, the chott is covered with water and becomes a kind of inland sea. The mirages are frequent on this salted plain, of a brilliant whiteness. Departure for chebika via Dgueche, picturesque small village of the Tunisian south. Arrival in Chebika, discovery of this mountain oasis, formerly a Berber village that was washed away. Visit of Ong Jmal, known as the setting for the famous 'Star Wars' saga. But Ong Jmal is above all a magnificent place, completely disconnected from time and space. Visit of "Mos Espa" Proceed to Gafsa where you will have lunch On the way back to Tunis, panoramic visit of Kairouan a fascinating city still anchored in a distant past. One of Islam’s holy cities, it was the first capital of the Maghreb. Designated a Unesco World Heritage site, it conceals several marvels and it is also Known as Capital of traditional hand made Carpets Back to your place of Residence.

From Tunis: Kairouan and El Jem Private Day-Trip with Lunch

9. From Tunis: Kairouan and El Jem Private Day-Trip with Lunch

Explore Kairousan on a day-trip from Tunis, that includes the greatest waterworks of the middle ages, the Aghlabite Basins. Discover the Great Okba Mosque, one of the oldest in North Africa, and enjoy hotel pickup and drop-off, plus lunch at a local restaurant. Depart from Tunis by getting picked up from your accommodation and head toward Kairouan. Once there, transport back in time to the 9th-century Aghlabite Basins, that are witnessed from the top of the Tourist Information Building. Take this first visit as the introduction to the foundation of Kairouan and its glorious age. Next, proceed to the 7th-century Great Okba Mosque, the oldest in all of North Africa. Appreciate the powerful and beautiful expression of faith inherent in the 9th-century building. Find next the nearby Sidi Sahbi, and explore the building with its minaret and stunning courtyards, lined with green-blue tile work and white plaster stucco. Upon the entrance to the Medina, enjoy a guided walk through the main street of this mystical place. Take advantage of the free time available to embark on a quest for individual discovery and shopping nearby. Stop at a local restaurant and taste new flavors at a local restaurant. Relax during the hour and fifteen-minute drive toward El Jem's amphitheater. As one of the main attractions in Tunisia, this monumental site is the most commonly visited by tourists from around the world. Learn its ancient history, from its construction in the mid 3rd-century AD to understanding how it became the largest Roman monument in Africa. As of the last large amphitheaters built during the Roman era, its architectural design is an improvement over that of the Coliseum of Rome. After fulfilling your thirst for knowledge about this spectacular place, ride back to Tunis in a comfortable and air-conditioned vehicle.

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What people are saying about Kairouan

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 59 reviews

This guided tour was a fantastic way to see some culturally, and historically significant cities and sites in Tunisia. The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, and made it seem as though you were a friend or relative visiting from a far.

The tour was very interesting, and I learned a lot. We covered a lot of area and got to see some amazing sights. Mohamed, the tour guide, was very knowledgeable and kind. I highly recommend this tour!

We loved the experience ! Both our guide and driver were nice and very attentive to our needs !

Both driver Emir and guide Yaya were extremely kind and helpful! Highly recommended!

Fun and educational tour to see wonderful sites. Great guide and driver.