Living in Tunis
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A comprehensive guide about living well in Tunis
Have you been wondering what living in Tunis is really like? Upon arrival, you will be amazed to discover the city’s rich and varied cultural history. Prepare yourself for life in Tunis by reading our Relocation Guide featuring key information on the culture, but also on everyday life, from transportation to safety.
Life in Tunis
Transportation in Tunis
Due to its compact layout, Tunis is a very easy city to get around. The public transport is very efficient, cheap and comfortable and is mainly made up of the Light Metro system run by the Societe des Transports de Tunis. This comprises six distinct lines, all of which meet at the Place de la Republique in the middle of the city. One journey costs 0.41 TND, while a whole month of travel can be covered for 32 TND.
If you prefer to travel by car, be prepared to drive defensively. Tunisian drivers will overtake, undertake, break the lights, sound their horns, drift into the wrong lanes, and even speed the wrong way through traffic without a second’s notice. Meanwhile, you will also have to contend with pedestrians suddenly coming out of nowhere, along with a fairly large population of stray animals. With that in mind, you might prefer to just take the Metro.
Culture and Leisure in Tunis
There is plenty to see and do when you live in Tunis. A culturally diverse town that has spent centuries seeping in a fascinating mixture of French, African, Arabic, and Italian influences, it offers something unique for the curious expat. Perhaps its most famous landmark is the Zitouna Mosque, the largest building of its kind in the country, which has been the city’s most distinctive feature since the 8th century.
For people watching, there are few experiences quite like the souk in Medina during a busy market day, where merchants and buyers barter loudly on the packed streets. It can all be pretty overwhelming at first, though it is actually far less aggressive than the markets found in many other Arab nations.
If you are a newly arrived expat, it is also a great place to practice your bartering skills, which will be necessary while living in Tunis. Find a cheap item you would like and offer the merchant a quarter of the asking price as a first offer. Be sure you want the product, however — if the merchant agrees to your offered price, you will have to pay there and then.
Safety and Security in Tunis
This may sound harsh but if you are obviously foreign and a Tunisian approaches you unsolicited in the center of Tunis, they are likely intending to steal from you. The vast majority of Tunisians are happy for expats to live there, but will make no attempt to befriend them or speak casually to them out of the blue.
If they do, they are probably either distracting you so an accomplice can snatch your belongings or talking you into a situation where you will have to hand over an extortionate amount of money for some assumed service. So, even if it makes you feel rude, simply walk away from any strangers who try to involve you in conversation out of the blue.