Vacation in Tunisia with Kids

Page update - Jan 25, 2023

What should you take with you and what should you expect if you go to Tunisia with children? What do you need to know beforehand in order not to spoil your holiday? At what points should you keep a close eye on the kids, and at what points can you relax? Read the answers on this page.

Prices and other information on this page were updated in January 2023.

1. Danger on roads

The problem is so serious that some hotels even have warning boards for visitors (see photo near, click on the photo to enlarge).

Traffic in Tunisia is poorly organized and drivers chronically ignore the traffic rules. For many drivers, a red traffic light doesn't mean "forbidden", it means "not desired". And there are traffic lights only in the capital and only zebra crossings in the resorts. Many Tunisian drivers do not think that pedestrians should be primary on a zebra crossing.

The results of this situation are sad. In Tunisia, 154 people per 100 thousand cars die a year. By comparison, in the UK it is only 7 people per 100 thousand cars, in the US it is only 15.

The chance of getting run over by a car in Tunisia is 10 times higher!

Take care of your children when crossing the road. It is better to keep children away from the road.

2. Choosing the resort

Children want to have a lot more fun than adults. And they don't particularly care about the ruins of Carthage or Dougga. Even the huge amphitheater in El Jem does not appeal to every child. Children need water parks and amusement parks, and there are not many of them in Tunisia, it's not Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

The resorts of Sousse and El Kantaoui (which are close by) are the most entertainment-packed. There are two major water parks, AquaSplash and Acqua Palace, as well as the amusement park Hannibal.

The resorts of Hammamet and Yasmine Hammamet also have a decent range. There is the Flipper Water Park, a large amusement park called CartageLand with a small water park called AquaLand.

On Djerba Island, the Crocodile Farm and the small water park Pirate are fun for the kids.

The rest of the resorts have little to no attractions for children, apart from the water slides in the hotels and the small entertainment in the local shopping centers.

3. Tunisians love children, and sometimes too much

It is a feature not only in Tunisia but in most Arab countries as well. They are very fond of children and do not hesitate to interact with them.

In hotels, waiters can touch a little kid's nose or poke him in his belly as a joke. Many of our tourists find such behavior extremely annoying. Locals, especially the older ones, may come up and kiss a child, and it is also considered normal behavior there.

But there are positive moments. Cafes often serve soda or juice free of charge to children. Simple dishes, such as mashed potatoes, boiled pasta or rice, are prepared for children in restaurants and cafes, even if they are not on the menu.

Try to make the most of Tunisians' love of children and try to avoid the minuses. Or try to treat the behavior of Tunisians loyally.

By the way, in Arab countries, people suffer a few times less from neuroses, panic attacks and phobias. Could this be the reason for the attitude towards children? After all, it is in childhood that the vast majority of a person's psychological problems are formed.

4. Tap water

The tap water situation in Tunisia is complex, as there is no uniform standard for all regions.

In the major towns, the water supply is managed by an organization called SONEDE, which guarantees the suitability of the water for drinking. However, they only guarantee that the water is suitable for drinking when it leaves the water treatment plant. The water pipes in Tunisia are often in a state of disrepair, with many pipes having reached the end of their guarantee period. As a result, the water may be contaminated when it comes out of the tap.

In small towns, the water supply is handled by local companies and most of them do not guarantee the quality of the water enough for you to drink it with confidence. The quality is only guaranteed for sanitary purposes - to wash, shave, wash clothes.

Therefore, give your children only bottled water. A 1.5 liter bottle of water costs about 0.7 Tunisian dinar in Tunisia. See the current exchange rates in our review "Tunisian Dinar". Agreed, a small price to pay for peace of mind and guarantees against intestinal disorders for your child.

5. Don't get a stroller, get a backpack baby carrier

It is inconvenient with a stroller as there are not many flat asphalt surfaces for pedestrians in Tunisia. Pedestrian areas are either paved with tiles or paving stones. Strollers usually have small monolithic wheels and there will be more problems than comfort with such wheels. How enjoyable would a small child be with a constant vibromassage? That's an open question.

If you go to see the famous Tunisian medinas, you will ram oncoming passers-by by your stroller in the narrow streets. The shops do not have ramps, and you have to carry the stroller up and down the stairs - a dubious pleasure.

Hotels in Tunisia are usually 2 or 3 storeys high and there are no elevators. If you get a room on the third floor, you will have to carry the pram up and down every time. It's not very pleasant.

You'd better take a backpack baby carrier with which you can get everywhere at any time. At the same time, you will get a reasonable level of physical activity. In addition, there will be fewer delays boarding and disembarking your flights with a backpack baby carrier.

6. Don't forget about dangers of sea creatures

The dangers at sea in Tunisia are few. The sharks in the Mediterranean are small and do not venture into the coastal waters. Poisonous fish are extremely rare; this is not the Red Sea. By the way, all the poisonous fish in the Mediterranean are now "arrivals" from the Red Sea via the Suez Canal.

However, there are marine species that can cause trouble. Primarily jellyfish, which sting painfully, though without much danger to health. The most common species are Noctiluca scintillans (night light jellyfish) and Rhopilema. Children are curious and keen to touch new things, and jellyfish are a regular sight on beaches.

The second danger is sea urchins, but luckily they only appear on beaches at night. Keep an eye on children if they are very young. And explain to older children that sea creatures should not be touched.

A good tip. Bring thick disposable gloves. If a child really wants to touch and play with a jellyfish, put on gloves and play as much as you like.

7. Baby food - bring it or buy it locally?

For a long time, there was no baby food at all in Tunisian stores, but more and more women are working and don't have time to cook. For the last 5 years, the baby food market in Tunisia has been growing at a huge rate.

Now (note: this page was updated in 2023) baby food is on the shelves in large shops, but not in all. So, we can't guarantee that the supermarket in your holiday resort will have it. In addition, Tunisian or French baby food may be unfamiliar to your child.

For these reasons, we recommend taking a full set of baby food with you. You need approximately 1 kg per day, which means that for a 7-day holiday you should take 7 kg of weight. Normally, you can take 23 kilos in your luggage per person on flights. You should agree that 7 kilos in your luggage is a small fee for your baby's health and your comfort.

8. How to reduce the weight of baby food

The weight and volume of baby food can be reduced by following a few simple rules.

Don't take mashed vegetables and fruits in glass containers, as the glass weigh even more than the product itself. For example, a glass jar of apple puree weighs 200 grams, of which 100 grams of puree and 100 grams of glass weigh.

Take the soft pack (see photo near, click on the photo to enlarge), the weight is clearly less. Vegetable purees in soft packs are rare, but can be found if you want to. Meat purees are almost always sold in glass jars, but can also be found in tins. A metal jar weighs less and won't break.

Dry porridge is packed in bags at the factory and then in cardboard boxes. Throw the boxes away, take only the bags with you, so you save space in your suitcases.

For making porridge take a small water boiler. Such a boiler weighs about 100 grams and costs about 5-10 Euros (or UK pounds, or US dollars).

9. Milk and dairy products

There's milk in Tunisia, of course, but the selection of dairy products can be very different. There is no cottage cheese hence no baby cottage cheese. But there is yogurt of all kinds, liben and raib (similar to sour cream).

Bringing baby yogurt and cottage cheese is a bad idea. These products need to be kept refrigerated. The flight to Tunisia takes many hours, plus time for travel from home to the airport and after the flight from the airport to the hotel. Cottage cheese and yogurt simply won't survive the flight to Tunisia.

And even if you bring yogurt and cottage cheese, where to store it? Your hotel room will probably have a fridge, but often it either doesn't work at all or doesn't cool to the right temperature.

Milk is essential for children primarily because of its calcium content. Bring long-lasting baby milk, milk porridge, puree mixes with curd or cream.

10. Diapers and other hygiene products

Do you need to take diapers with you? Or is it better to buy them locally? The answer to this question is not so simple.

Financially, the answer is obvious: bring them with you. Most parents usually buy diapers at home in big packs and often with promotions, so it's cheap. In Tunisia, you would take a small pack of about 30 and one diaper will cost 1 dinar.

In addition, you will also have to take a taxi to the nearest big supermarket which has diapers in stock. And you want to spend your time on the sea, the sun and the pool, not searching for diapers on sale. You can, of course, usually buy the diapers at the hotel, but then you have to pay 1,5-2 dinars per piece.

However, diapers are voluminous and take up a lot of room in your luggage. The average pack of 30 Pampers (size 3) has dimensions of 25x25x12 cm (10x10x5 in). It is not always possible to find so much space in the luggage.

Therefore, there is no universal solution to this problem. You have to decide for yourself. In Tunisian supermarkets, you can find the following brands: Pampers, Libero, Lilas.

Other hygiene products - wet wipes, creams, oils, cotton pads and sticks are available in Tunisia. However, it is better to take these items with you so that you don't waste time looking for them. Wipes and creams won't take up much space in your luggage.

11. There are no fences on the sights

This is a serious problem. Many of the fortresses and excavation sites in Tunisia are very old and no longer in the best condition. And there are no fences on the heights there. And children love to climb and their primate genetic past is playing havoc with them.

The walls of the Kasbah of Hammamet and the Kasbah of Sousse, the amphitheaters at El Djem and Oudna and the fort at Kelibia are major examples.

The Ribat of Sousse and the Ribat of Monastir have not only walls but also towers to climb. And the balconies on top of the towers have fences that are symbolic.

You can see the Ribat (fortress) of Monastir in the photo near. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

On such sites, it is necessary to supervise children, that sometimes spoils impressions for adults. We would like to see the antiquities, but not to watch the children all the time.

The biggest potential danger comes from the southern ksars, the Berber granaries. For example, the Ksar-Ouled-Soltane near Tatavin. The ksars were built from a semblance of clay concrete, and these structures are now very flimsy.

12. The dangers of the sun

Sunburn or heatstroke doesn't just mean you'll ruin your holiday, it also means you'll have to pay for it, because sunburn treatment isn't covered by travel insurance.

Children are more careless, they often do not even notice that they get sunburned. Reddening of the skin is noticed by parents, when it is already too late.

To avoid burns, follow the simple rules.

- The sun is at its most active between 12 noon and 3 pm (12-00 to 15-00). Try to spend this time indoors, at lunch, playing board games or watching a film;

- Be sure to use protective cream. An SPF of 50-60 is recommended for children. And don't forget that cream is only good for a limited time and needs to be refreshed;

- If your child is resting, try to keep him or her under an umbrella. Or at the very least cover your shoulders with a towel, as it is always the shoulders that get burned first.

13. How to get through a flight

The flight to Tunisia from European countries lasts 3-4 hours. Not all adults can sit still for that long, let alone children. It is ideal if the child sleeps during this time, but it happens only to a few parents. The rest have to entertain their child.

A smartphone or tablet with games or cartoons is a proven solution. But it's not good for your child's eyesight.

We recommend that you stock up in advance on some small and cheap, but new toys for the child. Common household items, with which a child has not yet had to deal, will do, as long as they are safe for him/her - stationery, stickers, small board games.

Most importantly, don't pile them all on your child's desk at the same time. Take them out one at a time to keep them interested.

Some parents try to occupy their child with learning: reading, writing, learning something. This rarely works in practice.

14. Features of Tunisian cuisine

Hotels in Tunisia are very fond of serving national dishes on the buffet. This is the difference between Tunisia and Turkey or Egypt, where tourists prefer to be served casual meals.

Firstly, many Tunisian dishes are spicy, and children may not like them and may be hurt. The main source of spice of Tunisian cuisine is hot sauce "harissa". Read our detailed review "Harissa - the main sauce in Tunisia" about it.

Secondly, Tunisians add tomatoes or tomato paste to almost all dishes. Tomatoes are very cheap in Tunisia, as the climate is ideal for them, and the yields are record-breaking. If a child is allergic to tomatoes or does not like the taste of tomatoes, then the choice of dishes for him/her is reduced by about half.

Thirdly, Tunisians use olive oil everywhere. Even mashed potatoes are made with olive oil. If a child is allergic to olive oil, which is very rare, they will only be able to eat fruit, fresh vegetables and bread from the buffet.

15. Features of Tunisian sweets

Tunisian sweets are very interesting and varied. Children are sure to enjoy many types of local biscuits and other sweet pastries. However, many sweets in Tunisia contain potential allergens.

Makroud biscuits contain almonds and dates, and occasionally figs and/or sesame seeds.

Kaak warka doughnuts are sure to contain almonds and rosewater.

Bambalouni donuts contain only flour, yeast, sugar and salt. They are unlikely to cause allergies.

Ghraiba doughnuts contain chickpeas and almonds.

Yoyos doughnuts may contain orange, almonds, mint, honey, and may be sprinkled with pine nuts or sesame seeds on top.

Tunisian halwa is traditionally made with sesame seeds only. Tunisian baklava is traditionally made with almonds, less frequently with pistachios.

We hope your children are not allergic to any of the above ingredients. If so, allow your children to eat any of the national sweets in Tunisia.

16. Antiseptic wipes

The new country of stay means new bacterias, against which the body may have no protection. Your child's immune system is not yet strong enough. It's better to play it safe and actively use antiseptic wipes.

Some tourists complain that the cutlery and plates in hotels are not washed well. However, such reviews are common not only for Tunisian hotels, but also for Turkish and Egyptian hotels.

A pack of 30 antiseptic wipes costs about 2 US dollars (or Euros, or UK pounds). Wiping cutlery for a child will take about a minute. You should agree that this is a small investment of time and money. Safety is more expensive.

What else is important to know

- Many tourists ask which excursions in Tunisia you can go on with children and which you shouldn't. This is a tricky question. The Sahara tour is definitely not recommended. On the other tours, you can, but the interest in the attractions will directly depend on the age and gender of the child;

- The best excursion for children is a trip to Frigiya Zoo with a dolphinarium or an African dinner;

- Entertainment for children can be arranged at any resort. Take a taxi and go to a Carrefour, Monoprix or Magasin General supermarket. There will be dozens of Tunisian and French chocolates, bars and sweets new to the child. A child's delight is guaranteed. Rides in Tunisian taxis are inexpensive, see the official fares in the review "Taxis in Tunis";

- Don't forget to feed your kids the delicious and organic Tunisian fruits, which are already ripe and sweet in the shops and hotels.

Have a great vacation with the kids in Tunisia and read our interesting pages about the country (find the pages list below). © 2020-2024