Tunisia: Car Rental
Local Travel Info in Tunisia
Internal flights and major international airports
Tunisia’s three primary international airports are Tunis Carthage (4 miles form Tunis), the main holiday charter airport Monastir Habib Bourguiba (7 miles from Monastir and surrounding resorts) and on Djerba (6 miles from Houmt Souk). There are smaller airports at Sfax, Tozeur and Tabarka. Domestic flights are operated by Tunis Air but must be booked in advance and given
Tunisia’ size, are less likely to be used by most visitors on holiday in Tunisia.
Getting to and from the airport
Taxis to and from Tunis Carthage into Tunis take around 15 minutes. Negotiating or checking the cost before taking a taxi is always advised in Tunisia. The number 35 bus service runs twice an hour to the centre of Tunis, taking around 30 minutes and buses also link directly to Sousse.
The airport train terminal links Monastir Habib Bourguiba to Monastir, Mahdia and Sousse. On Djerba taxi or hotel shuttle bus is the usual mode of transfer to main hotel areas.
In the main tourist zones radiating from Hammamet, Monastir and on Djerba, most hotels will offer or arrange airport transfers, sometimes free.
Taxis to and from Tunis Carthage into Tunis should average around 5TD. The number 35 bus service runs twice an hour to the centre of Tunis, costing 1TD.
The airport train terminal from Monastir Habib Bourguiba to Monastir, Mahdia and Sousse costs from 1.5TD and is a good option for those with easy carry-on luggage. Being the main port of entry for holidaymakers in Tunisia, taxis prices can vary wildly. Expect 5-10TD (50 per cent more after 9pm). The white louage taxis will be cheaper than yellow city taxis but you will be sharing with other passengers going in the same general direction so stop-offs may increase the journey time. For yellow taxis, the price should be metered and fixed and some may prefer this security.
On Djerba taxi prices to main hotel areas should be around 5TD.
Always negotiate taxi fares in Tunisia before taking the taxi and do not let drivers attempt
to charge you more on arrival. Train and bus services when available in Tunisia will be considerably cheaper and will seem inexpensive to most tourists visiting Tunisia.
Car hire is readily available in Tunisia with most major operators represented in the main tourist zones and many independents. Expect to pay form 60TD per day for a small, basic car (plus a small mileage charge from some operators). Be sure to check your rental car includes an accident report form in its documents. Failing to have and complete this form, even in a non-fault accident, may render you liable to costs.
Drivers licence requirements?
Drivers must be over 21 and have held a licence for at least 1 year for car rentals. An international licence is required if the driver’s domestic licence does not carry a photo.
Motor vehicles drive on the right and overtake on the left. Most road signs are in both Arabic and French. Speed limits on open roads are 55mph and 30mph in built-up areas. Only the toll motorway between Tunis and Sousse permits 70mph, so driving around Tunisia can take time. Police patrols and radar are widely used for speed surveillance.
Seatbelts are required in Tunisia and strongly advised due to local drivers who may drive with an alarming lack of warning or apparent due care. Watch out particularly for the many moped riders who will weave freely in and out of traffic and sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road. Carry your licence and passport when driving, as police may stop cars to check papers.
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The state-owned SNTRI runs bus services in Tunisia in and between most towns. In outlying areas bus services are run by small independents and timetables etc can be hard to obtain.
SNTRI bus services are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. Prices compare to second-class train travel. From Tunis the Bab Saadoun bus station serves the north of the country and Bab Alleoua serves the south.
Yellow city cabs are metered and fixed price, serving individual customers or groups. White louage taxis are a cross between taxi and minibus service, usually found in tourist zones and near bus and rail stations, and serving multiple passengers. Louages with red stripes can travel throughout Tunisia, ones with blue stripes serve only local areas and both will simply depart once they are full. Check any fares in advance. Through driving style may seem alarming to some visitors, taxi drivers are used to local driving conditions and styles and generally safe.
Bikes are widely available for hire in tourist zones and from hotels, but check their condition thoroughly. Few cycle lanes are available. If touring by bike, carry spares as few parts and repair facilities will be found away from major towns or tourist areas in Tunisia. Bicycle theft levels are relatively low.
It is possible to take a driving holiday in Tunisia, which can be reached by car ferry from Marseille (CTN and SNCM ferry companies) and also out of Italy from Sicily, Genoa, Naples or La Spezia (the best value). These ferry services arrive in the Tunisian port of La Goulette, 15 minutes by car from Tunis. A regular car ferry serves Djerba from Jorf.
Hitch hiking in Tunisia is not uncommon and, with a largely modern road system, a viable way of moving between major areas. As in most destinations, hitch hiking is at your own risk. Obviously Western-looking hitchhikers are in fact more likely to be picked up since Westerners fascinate many Tunisians, more usually out of friendly, natural curiosity than unwelcome interest.