Tunisia & Morocco: From the Phoenicians to the Berbers

Although near-neighbors and unmistakably North African (albeit with an occasional Mediterranean twist), when it comes to culture and character Tunisia and Morocco share as many differences as resemblances. Both, though, have intricately tangled histories of conquest and colonization – and a rich heritage forged over millennia from epic events and a heady fusion of Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Arab, Berber and European influences.


Mar 25 – Apr 8 2019 (15 days)
Price $4,950 | SS $985
Deposit $500


Tour Description

Embracing northern Tunisia’s major archaeological and historical sites and museums, our study tour includes a full day amid the splendors of ancient Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century BCE and today a World Heritage Site – as is the Roman city of Dougga, also visited. Other tour highlights include the desert city of Kairouan, a holy pilgrimage center renowned for its magnificent Great Mosque and bustling medina, and the National Bardo Museum, a Tunisian heritage landmark.

Bounded by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the high Atlas Mountains and vast Sahara, Morocco’s dramatic landscapes and often remote kasbahs and ksour are the preserve of a vibrant 6,000-years-old legacy derived from Berber, Arab and European dynasties and cultures. We focus on medieval Islamic Morocco’s colorful Imperial Cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech (from which Morocco once ruled an area extending from Spain to Timbuktu), as well as the excavations of Volubilis, the Roman Empire outpost at the heart of the ancient Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania.


  • Travel back to the 9th century BCE amid the imposing ruins of the Phoenicians’ capital city of Carthage, one of Africa’s most renowned World Heritage Sites
  • Delve into Tunisia’s rich culture and history at the excellent National Bardo Museum, housing the country’s most important antiquities
  • Be entertained in Marrakech by the musicians, jugglers, storytellers and snake charmers of famous Jemaa el Fna square

  • Discover Morocco’s ancient links with Rome at the ruined site of Volubilis, a thriving city 2,000 years ago
  • Enjoy opportunities to trial a host of delicious North African cuisines – and for shopping for handicraft items in ancient souks



 Dr Caroline Goodson

2019 Itinerary

Monday, March 25: ARRIVE IN TUNIS
We arrive in Tunis and transfer to our first hotel. We take the rest of the day to relax after our flight, before coming together for our welcome dinner as a group.
Dinner included.

Tuesday, March 26: TUNIS
Our day will be spent at the site of Carthage. We start on Byrsa Hill, once the military center of ancient Carthage and later destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. We visit its museum, home to exhibits that showcase the area’s rich history, and also the nearby Punic houses. The day continues with the Tophet (Punic burial ground), ancient harbors, ship sheds, the Punic fortifications in the “Quartier Magon”, and the Antonine Baths. At around 35,000 square meters, it is one of the three largest bath complexes in the entire Roman world.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Wednesday, March 27: TUNIS
We start today at the Bardo Museum, a site that contains spectacular Roman mosaics, Punic stelae and jewelry. Housed in a former palace, it was built by Mhammed Bey between 1859 and 1864 in the Italo-Tunisian style. Next, we move on to the labyrinthine center of alleys and ancient streets, the Medina of Tunis. Colorful doorways, bustling souks and vibrant culture await. After lunch, we tour the Dar Ben Abdallah Museum, where exhibits explore the public life of city inhabitants. Later, we take a stroll through stunning Sidi Bou Said.
All meals included.

Thursday, March 28: TUNIS – KAIROUAN
Passing west through the Andalusian town of Testour, we spend our day exploring the hilltop site of Dougga, which flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. It also features a monumental Punic mausoleum, which dates back to the 2nd century BC. It is amazingly well-preserved and the glory of Imperial Rome is evoked by its temples, baths and arches. Once we’ve admired the many sights and structures here, our drive brings us to Kairouan, once the Muslim capital of North Africa and still a repository of Islamic culture.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Friday, March 29: KAIROUAN
Today we return to Imperial Rome with a visit to El Jem (Thysdrus) to view the amphitheater, which could hold up to 35,000 spectators and is built entirely from stone blocks without foundations. Its structure is supported by a system of arches and it is free-standing. Though smaller than the Colosseum in Rome, it is in a better state of preservation and is also the largest colosseum in all of North Africa. Later, we will pay a visit to the outstanding archaeological museum, which is filled with an outstanding collection of stunning mosaics. After a stop at the colorful souks of Kairouan, we return to our hotel for dinner.
All meals included.

Saturday, March 30: KAIROUAN – TUNIS
Another morning in Kairouan awaits and this time we visit the 9th-century Sidi Okba Mosque, with its columned prayer room, and the Mosque of the Berber, whose decorative tiling and carved ceilings rival those of the Alhambra. While we’re in the area, we stop at the Aghlabid Basins, 9th century cisterns that showcase the sophistication of ancient engineering. From here, we drive to Monastir for lunch and then we tour the historic Ribat monument. Next, we drive to Sousse and enjoy a tour of the Archaeological Museum. Impressively, this museum contains the second largest collection of mosaics in the world after the Bardo Museum.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Sunday, March 31: TUNIS
Today, we drive to Nabeul to visit the Archaeological Musuem, where we admire funerary furnishings, mosaic pavements and marble sculptures, among other artifacts. We also spend time at the ancient fish-processing pools at Nabeul (Neapolis) before stopping for lunch, and then it’s on to the Punic town of Kerkouane. Here, we take a walk around its archaeological museum and see collections of ceramic art and jewelry. Before our day comes to an end and we have to head back to Tunis, we visit the archaeological site, which reveals the plan of a Punic city. Houses are clearly outlined, mosaic pavements can be observed and rooms appear to have been equipped with facilities.
All meals included.

Monday, April 1: TUNIS – RABAT
Our day is spent travelling as we transfer to Morocco, catching a flight from Tunis to Casablanca. From here, we drive a short distance to Rabat and check in to our hotel.
Breakfast & dinner included.

Tuesday, April 2: RABAT
Following a free morning, which allows us to explore Morocco’s enchanting capital city of Rabat independently, we begin our touring with a captivating afternoon visit to the local archaeological museum. Opened in 1932, this museum contains a wealth of artifacts that tell the stories of Morocco’s past. From prehistoric and pre-Islamic collections, to Roman and Hellenistic exhibits, we can enjoy a range of history here. The city’s most important Islamic monuments are also ours to discover today and we see the walls and splendid gateway of Oudaias Kasbah, built in the reign of Yacoub el Mansour (1185–99), the Royal Palace (Mechouar), the Mohammed V Mausoleum, Hassan’s Tower (originally the minaret of a large mosque) and the Chellah necropolis.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Wednesday, April 3: RABAT – FES
En route to Meknes, we visit Moulay Idriss, perched on top of a great massif. This little holy city is venerated as the burial place of the founder of Islam in Morocco and is the fifth holiest Muslim city. Our touring here includes Bab el Mansour Gate and El Hedim Square, the gateway of Berrima. Lastly, we visit Dar Jamai, home to traditional textiles and crafts. From here, we drive to the imperial city of Fes.
All meals included.

Thursday, April 4: FES
Fes, considered to be the intellectual, political and cultural center of the entire country, is where we begin. We spend the day exploring the medieval medina, with narrow streets and tiled fountains at every corner. It is divided into Fes el Bali, the original city, and Fes el Jdid, a 13th-century addition that houses the former Jewish quarter. Our touring takes us into both sections and includes Bab Bou Jeloud, the monumental gateway to the medina; the Attarine Madrassa, known for its fine tiles; the restored 18th-century Fondouk Nejjarine; and Bou Inania Madrassa, built between 1350 and 1356. We also visit the Dar Batha Museums and the Roman city of Volubilis.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Friday, April 5: FES – MARRAKECH
Another day of travelling is on the cards today and we catch a morning flight from Fes to Marrakech. Shortly after our arrival into the city, we can take a leisurely stroll around its medina. The architecture here is simply spellbinding and examples of the keyhole arch can be seen around every corner. A truly sensory experience, wandering around the medina will introduce us to eclectic modes of transport, delicious regional produce and incredibly vibrant colors.
Breakfast included.

Saturday, April 6: MARRAKECH
Today we tour the city’s historic sites, which offer prime examples of Moorish-Andalusian architecture. Touring includes the great Mosque of Koutoubia, which is also Marrakesh’s largest, and the tomb of the Saadian kings, one of Morocco’s best-preserved and elaborate resting places. Next, we visit Ben Youssef Madrassa, which was once an Islamic college for students with a keen interest in the sciences and theology. We also see the ruined Al-Badi Palace, the Dar Si Said Museum, the Almoravid Qubbah, and the Museum of Islamic Art. Tonight, we enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the city’s finest restaurants.
All meals included.

Sunday, April 7: MARRAKECH
We have the entire day at leisure. Perhaps take the opportunity to see the iconic Majorelle Garden. Created by the French Oriental artist, Jacques Majorelle, this two acre botanical masterpiece is not to be missed!
Breakfast included.

We transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.
Breakfast included.

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