Often seen as simply a beach destination, Tunisia has a bucketful of surprising tourist attractions and things to do for those that venture off the sandy shores.
This is North Africa wrapped up into one bite-sized package.
There are alleyways of pastel-washed houses and crowded souk streets to explore in the cities; ancient ruins to discover out in the countryside; and the vast desert expanse of the Sahara to the south with its sweeping dunes, craggy mountains, and hidden, palm-tree-filled oases.
El Djem Amphitheater
The walls of the mighty Roman amphitheater of El Djem dwarf the surrounding modern town.
This incredibly well-preserved Roman relic is Tunisia's big sightseeing highlight, one of the most popular things to do on day trips from the coastal resorts, and one of the best examples of amphitheater architecture left standing in the world.
The monumental bulk of the walls are a reminder of Rome's once-mighty grip across North Africa.
You can still walk the corridors under the arena, just like the gladiators did. Or, climb up to the top seating tiers and sit staring across the arena, imagining the battles that took place below.
If you're looking for the picture-perfect beach escape, then the island of Djerba checks all the right boxes.
The island town of Houmt Souk is the main point of interest off the beach, with an old town district that is a muddle of whitewashed houses.
Houmt Souk's shopping is an attraction in itself, with plenty of handicraft vendors for browsing and haggling opportunities off the beach.
But it's those sandy strips of shoreline out of town that are the island's most popular highlight. Pristine and trimmed by date palms, the beaches are relaxing, get-away-from-it-all settings where summer daydreams are made.
Once Rome's major rival, Carthage was the city of the seafaring Phoenicians, forever memorialized in the Punic Wars.
The atmospheric ruins of this ancient town now sit beside the sea amid the suburbs of Tunis, a warning that even the greatest cities can be reduced to rubble.
The ruins are extensive but spread out, and if you've been lucky enough to visit ancient city sites such as Ephesus in Turkey or Volubilis in Morocco, which are well-preserved, Carthage can seem quite underwhelming at first.
But these UNESCO World-Heritage-listed remnants are hugely important historically, and any tourist interested in North Africa's ancient past shouldn't miss a visit here.
The National Bardo Museum
Even non-museum fans can't fail to be impressed at the massive haul of beautiful mosaics exhibited inside the Bardo.
This is one of North Africa's top museums, and it houses one of the world's most important mosaic collections, all curated beautifully.
It's a showcase of the dazzling, intricate artistry of the Roman and Byzantine eras, with pieces cherry-picked from every major archaeological site in Tunisia.
If you only have one day in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, this museum should be high up on your to-do list
Grand Erg Oriental
Tunisia's vast Sahara covers much of the country's interior, and the most beautiful corner of the desert is the field of sand dunes known as the Grand Erg Oriental.
These poetically beautiful dunes are a surreal and gorgeous landscape of huge waves, shaped by the ever-shifting desert sands.
For many visitors, this is an adventure playground for riding dune buggies and camel treks, but nothing tops the simple pleasure of sitting atop one of these mammoth sand mountains and watching the sun set over the Sahara.
The nearest center is the desert town of Douz, from where you can organize camel, hiking, and 4WD excursions and multi-day trips to the dunes.