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The Old Port In Bizerte, A Day Trip From Tunis


by Linzy Holst



Welcome to Bizerte, a charming coastal town located in northern Tunisia. Known for its captivating old port, Bizerte offers a delightful day trip for those visiting the capital city of Tunis. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and picturesque scenery, this hidden gem is waiting to be discovered by adventurous souls.


Steeped in antiquity, Bizerte holds the title of being one of the oldest settlements in the Mediterranean region. Its strategic location along the Mediterranean Sea has not only shaped its history but also influenced its vibrant maritime culture. As you stroll through the labyrinthine streets of the old town, you’ll be transported back in time, immersing yourself in the echoes of a bygone era.


The journey to Bizerte unfolds like a tale of exploration and discovery. From Tunis, you can easily reach this coastal haven by taking a scenic drive along the coastal highway or hopping on a convenient train ride. The picturesque landscapes that greet you along the way serve as a prelude to the beauty that awaits in Bizerte.


Upon arriving in Bizerte, the first stop on your adventure should be the enchanting old port. This historic treasure is the heartbeat of the town, serving as a bustling hub for fishermen, traders, and locals. As you wander through the narrow streets lined with white-washed buildings, adorned with colorful shutters and vibrant bougainvillea, the sights, sounds, and aromas of the old port will captivate your senses.


One of the highlights of the old port is the Maritime Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into Bizerte’s maritime heritage. Here, you can marvel at maritime artifacts, learn about the town’s seafaring history, and even explore a traditional fishing boat. It’s a journey through time that will leave you with a greater appreciation for the maritime traditions that have shaped Bizerte’s identity.


No visit to the old port would be complete without a visit to the lively fish market. As you navigate through the lively stalls, you’ll witness the vibrant displays of freshly caught fish, shrimp, and other delicacies. The bustling atmosphere, the shouts of the fishermen, and the briny scent of the sea combine to create an unforgettable sensory experience.


Just a short walk from the old port, you’ll find the imposing Kasbah. This 16th-century fortress stands as a testament to Bizerte’s strategic importance throughout history. Climb to its ramparts and be rewarded with panoramic views of the town and the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Kasbah is a reminder of the rich and turbulent history that has shaped Bizerte over the centuries.


Getting to Bizerte

Getting to Bizerte is relatively straightforward, thanks to its convenient location and excellent transportation options. If you’re starting your journey from Tunis, there are several ways to reach this coastal town.


By car, you can take the scenic coastal highway that stretches along Tunisia’s northern coastline. The drive from Tunis to Bizerte takes approximately one hour, and the route offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and make stops at other attractions along the way.


For those preferring public transportation, a train ride from Tunis to Bizerte is an excellent option. Trains depart regularly from various stations in Tunis, and the journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the train schedule. The train ride provides a comfortable and scenic journey, passing through charming coastal towns and offering glimpses of the idyllic Tunisian countryside.


If you prefer a guided experience, there are also organized day tours from Tunis to Bizerte available. These tours often include transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and visits to the main attractions in Bizerte, ensuring a hassle-free and informative trip.


Once you arrive in Bizerte, the old port area is easily accessible by foot. The narrow, cobbled streets of the old town are best explored on foot, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the local ambiance and uncover hidden gems along the way.


It’s worth noting that Bizerte is a popular destination, and during peak tourist seasons, it’s advisable to plan your visit in advance and secure transportation tickets in advance to avoid any last-minute inconveniences.


Whether you choose to drive, take a train, or join a guided tour, the journey to Bizerte is part of the adventure. As you make your way to this coastal gem, the anticipation builds, and the anticipation builds, and the landscape unfolds, offering glimpses of the natural beauty and cultural heritage that await you in Bizerte.


Exploring the Old Port

The old port of Bizerte is a captivating maze of narrow streets, hidden squares, and centuries-old buildings. It is the beating heart of the town, exuding a timeless charm that transports visitors to another era. Exploring the old port is like stepping into a living museum, where the echoes of history reverberate through every stone.


As you wander through the winding alleys, you’ll be greeted by whitewashed buildings adorned with vibrant blue doors and window shutters, reminiscent of the Mediterranean aesthetic. The streets are lined with traditional cafés, bustling markets, and quaint shops, which offer a glimpse into daily life in Bizerte.


One of the highlights of the old port is the bustling fish market. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as local fishermen showcase their catch of the day. The displays of fresh seafood, from glistening fish to succulent shrimp, are a testament to Bizerte’s strong maritime heritage. It’s a sensory delight as the briny scent of the sea mingles with the sounds of bargaining and the clatter of fishmongers at work.


While exploring the old port, be sure to make a stop at the bustling souks (markets). Here, you can browse a variety of goods, from local crafts and textiles to spices and traditional delicacies. The vibrant colors and sounds of the souks create a sensory feast, and haggling is a common practice, allowing you to engage with local vendors and secure unique treasures to take home.


No visit to the old port would be complete without savoring the local cuisine. Traditional restaurants and street food stalls offer a wide range of gastronomic delights, from fresh seafood dishes to mouth-watering Tunisian specialties. Indulge in aromatic couscous, hearty tagines, or sample the famous local seafood platters. The delicious flavors of Bizerte will leave you wanting more.


As you explore the old port, take the time to observe the local way of life. Chat with friendly locals, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and witness the daily rituals that have remained unchanged for generations. Whether it’s watching fishermen repair their nets or witnessing the call to prayer from the nearby mosque, these moments create lasting memories and provide a glimpse into the authentic culture of Bizerte.


Exploring the old port of Bizerte is a journey through history, culture, and sensory delights. Its narrow streets and vibrant atmosphere offer a unique and immersive experience that will leave you enchanted with the charms of this coastal town. So, get lost in the labyrinthine alleys, discover hidden corners, and let the old port of Bizerte weave its magic around you.


Maritime Museum

Located in the heart of the old port, the Maritime Museum of Bizerte is a treasure trove of history and culture. Housed in a restored historic building, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the maritime traditions and seafaring heritage of Bizerte.


Stepping inside the Maritime Museum is like stepping back in time. The exhibits are thoughtfully curated, showcasing a collection of maritime artifacts, models of traditional boats, navigational instruments, and historical documents. Each display tells a story of Bizerte’s deep connection to the sea and its rich maritime history.


One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of traditional fishing boats. These beautifully crafted vessels showcase the craftsmanship and skill of local fishermen. As you explore the exhibits, you can learn about the different types of fishing techniques used throughout the ages and gain insight into the daily lives of the seafaring community in Bizerte.


The museum also offers a captivating display of marine life found in the Mediterranean Sea. From colorful coral reefs to exotic fish species, the exhibits provide an interactive and educational experience. Visitors can learn about the importance of marine conservation and the efforts being made to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Mediterranean.


For history enthusiasts, the museum houses a collection of historical documents and photographs that shed light on Bizerte’s past as a strategic port city. From ancient maritime trade routes to the role of Bizerte in local and international conflicts, the exhibits delve into the historical significance of the town as a maritime hub.


Visiting the Maritime Museum is not only an opportunity to learn about Bizerte’s maritime heritage, but it also allows you to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of traditional boatbuilding. The attention to detail in the models displayed is a testament to the pride and skill of the local artisans and serves as a reminder of the town’s cultural legacy.


The museum offers guided tours and educational programs, making it an ideal destination for families, history enthusiasts, and anyone curious about the maritime heritage of Bizerte. The knowledgeable guides provide insights and anecdotes, bringing the exhibits to life and making the museum visit a truly enriching experience.


As you step out of the museum, take a moment to admire the stunning views of the old port and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. The Maritime Museum of Bizerte is not just a repository of artifacts; it’s a window into the soul of the town, a testament to its enduring bond with the sea, and a celebration of its maritime heritage.


Fish Market

A visit to the vibrant fish market in Bizerte is an essential part of experiencing the town’s authentic maritime culture. Located in the bustling old port area, the fish market offers a lively and sensory-rich experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the bounties of the sea.


As you approach the market, the enticing aroma of the sea fills the air, drawing you towards the bustling stalls. The sight that greets you is a colorful tapestry of freshly caught fish, shrimp, squid, and other delectable seafood. The vibrant displays showcase the incredible variety and abundance of marine life in the Mediterranean Sea.


The fish market is a hive of activity, as local fishermen bring in their daily catch to be sold and locals and tourists alike flock to purchase the freshest seafood available. It’s a captivating scene as buyers haggle with the fishermen, expertly assessing the quality and freshness of the fish before making their purchases.


For those with a culinary inclination, the fish market is a treasure trove of inspiration. You can learn about the different types of fish and seafood native to the region and gain insights into local cooking techniques and flavors. Whether you’re a seafood aficionado looking to try something new or a curious traveler seeking a taste of traditional Tunisian cuisine, the fish market provides the perfect opportunity to sample the flavors of Bizerte.


In addition to the wide array of seafood, the market also offers a selection of fresh herbs, spices, and other ingredients that are essential to Tunisian cuisine. Exploring these stalls allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant local gastronomy and discover the unique flavors that define the region.


As you navigate through the energetic market, you’ll witness the camaraderie and lively banter between the fishermen and customers. The genuine warmth and friendliness of the locals further enhance the experience, turning a simple shopping trip into a cultural exchange.


While the fish market is predominantly a place of commerce, it is also a showcase of the enduring relationship between the people of Bizerte and the sea. The market is a testament to the town’s maritime heritage and the importance of fishing as a way of life for generations. It is through the fish market that the traditions and stories of Bizerte’s seafaring community come to life.


Whether you’re an avid seafood lover, a curious traveler, or an admirer of local culture, a visit to the fish market in Bizerte is a must. It offers a unique opportunity to engage with the vibrant atmosphere, tantalize your taste buds, and gain a deeper understanding of the town’s connection to the sea. So, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the fish market, and embrace the maritime spirit that is woven into the fabric of Bizerte.



Perched on a hill overlooking the old port, the Kasbah of Bizerte is a majestic fortress that stands as a testament to the town’s rich history and strategic importance. This imposing structure offers both a captivating glimpse into the past and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.


Dating back to the 16th century, the Kasbah served as a defensive stronghold during various periods of Bizerte’s history. As you approach the fortress, you’ll be greeted by its impressive walls, towering watchtowers, and intricately designed gates. Stepping through these gates is like stepping into another world, a world of ancient battles and tales of bravery.


Inside the Kasbah, you can explore the maze-like network of alleys and courtyards, each corner revealing a new architectural marvel or breathtaking vista. The stone buildings, arches, and vaulted ceilings add to the sense of grandeur and transport you back to a time when the fortress was a bustling hub of activity.


As you reach the ramparts of the Kasbah, prepare to be mesmerized by the panoramic views that unfold before your eyes. From this vantage point, you can take in the stunning vistas of the old port, the Mediterranean Sea, and the picturesque town of Bizerte. It’s the perfect spot to capture memorable photographs or simply soak in the beauty of the surroundings.


While exploring the Kasbah, be sure to visit the Dar Essid Museum. Housed in a traditional 18th-century mansion within the fortress, this museum showcases a collection of artifacts, furnishings, and artwork that offer insights into the history and culture of Bizerte. From intricate woodwork to vibrant ceramics, the exhibits are a reflection of the region’s rich artistic heritage.


As you wander through the Kasbah, you’ll also encounter charming cafes, boutiques, and artisan shops that provide a glimpse into the contemporary life of the fortress. Take a break at one of the cafes, enjoy a refreshing drink, and immerse yourself in the ambiance of this historic setting.


Visiting the Kasbah of Bizerte is not just a journey through history; it’s an opportunity to connect with the spirit of the town and the resilience of its people. The fortress stands as a reminder of Bizerte’s strategic significance throughout the ages and its ability to adapt and evolve while preserving its heritage.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply seeking a moment of tranquility amidst stunning surroundings, the Kasbah of Bizerte is a must-visit destination. So, climb its ramparts, explore its hidden corners, and let the echoes of history and the beauty of the present enchant you in this captivating fortress.


Mosque of Sidi Sahbi

Nestled within the enchanting old town of Bizerte, the Mosque of Sidi Sahbi is a place of tranquility, spirituality, and architectural beauty. This centuries-old mosque holds deep cultural and religious significance, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper understanding of the Islamic heritage of the region.


The Mosque of Sidi Sahbi is dedicated to Sidi Sahbi, a revered figure in Tunisian Sufism. It is believed that Sidi Sahbi was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, and his tomb is located within the mosque. This sacred place attracts both worshippers and visitors alike, who come to offer prayers, seek blessings, or simply admire the architectural splendor.


As you approach the mosque, you’ll be greeted by its stunning façade, adorned with intricate geometric patterns and delicate calligraphy. The entrance is marked by a majestic arched doorway, inviting you to step into a place of spirituality and serenity.


Inside the Mosque of Sidi Sahbi, you’ll be captivated by the tranquil atmosphere. The gentle sounds of prayers and the soft lighting create a sense of peace and reflection. The stunning prayer hall features a high ceiling adorned with beautiful chandeliers and intricate designs, adding to the sense of awe-inspiring beauty.


Adjacent to the prayer hall, you’ll find the tomb of Sidi Sahbi, draped in colorful fabrics and adorned with fragrant flowers. This sacred space is a place of reverence and devotion for worshippers and visitors alike. Many come to seek blessings and offer prayers at the tomb, believing in the spiritual power and healing properties associated with Sidi Sahbi.


While visiting the mosque, it is important to be respectful of the sanctity of the place. Dress modestly, remove your shoes before entering, and observe the customs and etiquette of the mosque. This will ensure a harmonious and meaningful experience for everyone.


After exploring the interior of the mosque, take a moment to appreciate the surrounding courtyard. Lush greenery, calming fountains, and beautifully manicured gardens create a peaceful oasis where you can sit, reflect, and absorb the spiritual atmosphere.


The Mosque of Sidi Sahbi not only serves as a place of worship but also as a cultural and educational center. It hosts various events, lectures, and gatherings that promote religious tolerance, interfaith dialogue, and a deeper understanding of Islam.


Visiting the Mosque of Sidi Sahbi offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich Islamic heritage of Bizerte. It is a place where architecture, spirituality, and history converge, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the mosque while gaining insight into the deeply rooted customs and beliefs of the local community.


Whether you’re on a spiritual journey, interested in Islamic art and architecture, or simply seeking a moment of peace and contemplation, the Mosque of Sidi Sahbi is a place that will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.


Fort of Bizerte

Dominating the coastline of Bizerte, the Fort of Bizerte stands as a commanding historical landmark and a symbol of the town’s strategic importance throughout the ages. This impressive fortress, with its towering walls and panoramic views, offers visitors a chance to step back in time and explore the rich military heritage of the region.


The origins of the Fort of Bizerte can be traced back to Roman times, but it has been expanded and fortified over the centuries by various civilizations, including the Arabs, Ottomans, and French. The result is a complex structure that combines elements of different architectural styles, creating a visually striking and historically significant monument.


As you approach the fortress, the sheer size and imposing walls leave a lasting impression. Stepping through the enormous gate and into the courtyard, you’ll find yourself transported to a different era. The well-preserved architecture and the echoes of history that resonate within the walls make this a truly immersive experience.


Inside the fort, you can explore the various sections, including the barracks, storerooms, and weapon depots. Some areas have been restored and transformed into exhibition spaces, showcasing artifacts and displays that delve into Bizerte’s military past. From ancient weaponry to uniforms and military equipment, these exhibits offer a glimpse into the daily life of soldiers who once manned the fort.


One of the highlights of the Fort of Bizerte is its panoramic views. Climb to the top of the ramparts and feast your eyes on the breathtaking vistas of the old port, the azure Mediterranean Sea, and the picturesque town below. It’s a vantage point that allows you to truly appreciate the strategic significance of the fort and the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.


Throughout its history, the Fort of Bizerte has witnessed various conflicts and occupations. It played a pivotal role in defending the town against invaders and served as a key military stronghold during regional and international conflicts. Exploring the fort provides insight into the tumultuous past of Bizerte and the resilience of its people.


Visiting the Fort of Bizerte provides an opportunity to connect with the incredible history and architectural wonders of the region. The fortress serves as a reminder of Bizerte’s strategic significance and its ability to adapt and withstand the test of time.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking panoramic views of the town and sea, the Fort of Bizerte offers a memorable experience that transports you to a world of ancient battles and valor.


So, wander through its corridors, stand on its ramparts, and let the stories of the Fort of Bizerte unfold before your eyes, as you immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of this fascinating historical monument.


Corniche Promenade

The Corniche Promenade in Bizerte is a picturesque waterfront pathway that stretches along the Mediterranean coastline, offering a scenic and leisurely escape for locals and visitors alike. With panoramic views of the sea, charming cafes, and refreshing sea breezes, the Corniche Promenade is the perfect place to relax, unwind, and soak in the natural beauty of Bizerte.


As you stroll along the promenade, you’ll be greeted by stunning vistas of the sparkling blue waters and the bobbing fishing boats. The sound of waves crashing against the rocky shore creates a soothing ambiance, inviting you to pause and take in the tranquil atmosphere.


The promenade is lined with palm trees, giving it a tropical flair and providing shade on sunny days. Benches are strategically placed along the pathway, offering the ideal spot to sit and enjoy the view or engage in people-watching as locals and tourists pass by.


For those looking to indulge in culinary delights, the Corniche Promenade is dotted with charming cafes and restaurants that offer a range of delectable options. From freshly caught seafood to traditional Tunisian specialties, you can savor the diverse flavors of Bizerte while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.


As you continue your walk, you’ll come across small parks and landscaped areas where families gather for picnics and children play on the playgrounds. The lively atmosphere and the laughter of children add to the vibrant nature of the promenade, creating a sense of community and enjoyment.


Along the way, you may also encounter various street vendors and artisans selling their crafts. From local artwork to handmade jewelry, these small stalls offer opportunities to support local businesses and find unique souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Bizerte.


For outdoor enthusiasts, the promenade offers more than just leisurely walks. There are opportunities for activities like jogging or cycling, with designated paths for runners and cyclists. The refreshing sea breeze and stunning coastal views make exercising a delightful experience.


Whether you visit during the day or evening, the Corniche Promenade has a distinct charm. At dusk, the promenade takes on a romantic ambiance as the sun sets over the sea, casting a golden glow on the landscape. It’s the perfect time to take a leisurely stroll and witness the breathtaking colors of the sky melting into the horizon.


The Corniche Promenade in Bizerte is a haven of peace and tranquility, providing a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Mediterranean coastline, embrace the laid-back ambiance, and create cherished memories of your time in this coastal town.


Where to Eat

Bizerte offers a diverse culinary scene that showcases the rich flavors of Tunisian cuisine, with a focus on fresh seafood and traditional dishes. From charming local eateries to upscale restaurants, there are plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds. Here are some recommendations for where to eat in Bizerte:


1. La Grotte: Located near the old port, La Grotte is a popular seafood restaurant known for its fresh catch and delectable dishes. From grilled fish to seafood platters, every bite is a celebration of the flavors of the Mediterranean Sea. The restaurant’s cozy ambiance and friendly staff make dining here a memorable experience.


2. Le Méditerranée: Situated along the Corniche Promenade, Le Méditerranée is a charming restaurant offering panoramic views of the sea. The menu features a variety of Tunisian specialties, including couscous, tagines, and grilled meats. The outdoor seating area allows you to dine while enjoying the refreshing sea breeze and captivating vistas.


3. Café des Nattes: For a truly authentic experience, head to Café des Nattes in the heart of the old town. This cozy café serves traditional Tunisian mint tea, Turkish coffee, and an array of sweet treats. The café’s vibrant atmosphere and live music performances create a lively ambiance to enjoy while indulging in a cup of aromatic tea.


4. Chez Ziza: If you’re in the mood for a quick and delicious bite, Chez Ziza is the place to go. This local gem is famous for its savory Tunisian sandwich called “fricassé.” Made with crispy bread filled with tuna, egg, olives, harissa, and a variety of other ingredients, the fricassé is a flavorful and satisfying street food delight.


5. Le Phare: Overlooking the old port, Le Phare is a refined restaurant with a nautical theme and a menu featuring a fusion of Mediterranean and international flavors. From fresh seafood dishes to succulent steaks, the menu offers a range of options to please every palate. The elegant setting and attentive service make dining at Le Phare a memorable experience.


6. Street Food Stalls: In Bizerte, don’t miss the opportunity to sample the delicious street food found in local markets and along the bustling streets. From savory pastries like brik filled with tuna and egg to mouthwatering grilled fish sandwiches, the street food scene in Bizerte is a feast for the senses. Follow your nose and indulge in the flavors of the town from these casual spots.


With its wide variety of dining options, Bizerte offers something for everyone, whether you’re seeking traditional Tunisian cuisine, fresh seafood, or international flavors. The town’s culinary scene captures the essence of its coastal location and adds another layer to the overall enchantment of this charming destination.


From casual cafes to upscale restaurants, Bizerte ensures that every meal is a delightful and memorable experience, leaving you craving for more of the town’s gastronomic offerings.



Bizerte, with its captivating old port, maritime heritage, and breathtaking coastal scenery, offers a delightful day trip from Tunis for those seeking adventure and cultural exploration. The town’s rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality make it a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.


From wandering through the maze-like streets of the old port to exploring the fascinating exhibits at the Maritime Museum, there is no shortage of attractions to immerse yourself in the maritime heritage of Bizerte. The lively fish market, the imposing Kasbah, and the tranquil Mosque of Sidi Sahbi each offer their own unique insights into the town’s history and cultural traditions.


The Fort of Bizerte stands as a testament to the town’s strategic importance and offers panoramic views of the old port and the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, the Corniche Promenade provides a serene escape, with its stunning coastal views, charming cafes, and leisurely ambiance.


When it comes to dining, Bizerte offers a wide range of culinary delights. From fresh seafood restaurants showcasing the bounties of the sea to cozy cafes serving traditional Tunisian flavors, there is something to satisfy every palate.


As you journey through Bizerte, you’ll encounter the warmth and friendliness of the locals, who take pride in sharing their cultural heritage and traditions. From friendly conversations to the vibrant atmosphere of the markets and cafes, the people of Bizerte ensure that your visit is not just memorable but also enriched with authentic experiences.


Whether you’re an adventurous traveler seeking new horizons or a history enthusiast with a deep appreciation for ancient civilizations, Bizerte has something to offer. Its captivating old port, intriguing museums, and architectural marvels transport you through time, immersing you in the stories and traditions that have shaped the town.


With its seamless blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Bizerte invites you to discover its hidden treasures and experience the charm of this coastal town. So, pack your sense of adventure, embark on a journey to Bizerte, and allow yourself to be captivated by its allure. Your day trip from Tunis will be a true adventure for the heart and the soul.