Whenever Tunisia is mooted as a possible vacation option, most people in the UK immediately assume that it involves jumping on an airplane.
Of course, if you were to study most people who make this trip, this is very true. It doesn’t have to be like this, though.
If you are not against the concept of planning, this is a trip that you can complete in around 48 hours. It will involve starting from London St Pancras Train Station, and taking a combination of the Eurostar, TGV high-speed train and a ferry.
If you think this might be something that appeals to you, let’s take a look at just how this can be planned.
Traveling from London to Tunis
Let’s firstly start with the London to Tunis option.
Your first day of travel will involve taking the Eurostar, from St Pancras, to Marseille. This isn’t a direct trip and if you were to depart at 12:58, and change at Lille to jump on the TGV, you would arrive in Marseille at 20:46. It’s worth mentioning that there is a 32 minute layover in Lille Europe, so there is plenty of time to make the necessary connection. If you really want to see Paris you can also go via this route, but for the purposes of efficiency the Lille option is by far and away the easiest.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is anything-but a boring trip. It’s scenic, to say the least, as you’ll bypass acres of countryside including the Rhône Valley and even glimpses of Marseille harbour.
When you arrive in Marseille, that’s it for the day. Check into a hotel and prepare for your third day of travel.
This third day involves a ferry from Marseille to Tunis. Generally, although times can change, these ferries will depart in the morning at morning or lunchtime. It’s a long trip, and by the time you arrive you will have reached your third day of travel.
We should point out that this is a decent trip, run by either the French Corsica Linea or the Tunisian CTN. Both are very reputable and whilst on-board you will have access to all of the standard facilities like bars, restaurants, cinemas and of course your own cabin. You should also make extra effort to stay on the deck as the ship sets sail – with the views of Marseille being second to none. Likewise, as the ship pulls into Tunis, make sure you cast your eye on the ruins of Carthage which are on view and look utterly amazing.
When you do arrive, on day three, the ferry terminal is several miles out from Tunis city centre. You can pay up to 15 dinars for a taxi to take you there, or there is La Goulette station a short walk away which can take you there. With the latter, this takes around fifteen minutes and is naturally a lot cheaper.
From this point, the country is your oyster. Either decide to stay in Tunis or venture out to Sousse, Sfax, Monastir or any city of your choice using the country’s vast train network.
Travelling back from Tunis to London
The route for the way back is very similar, but because of the ferry connection it can take a day less.
It means that you will sail from Tunis to Marseille using the same ferries that we spoke about earlier. Again, it will be a morning or lunchtime departure, and won’t arrive in Marseille until the following morning. You can also have all of the modern comforts that were mentioned in the last section.
When you arrive in Marseille, it’s all about getting the train back to London. If you are planning this a long time in advance, try and allow for a three-hour connection in Marseille to account for all eventualities. You’ll again be changing in Lille, although you also have the option of changing in Paris again if you want a slightly different (but longer) route back.
How much does it all cost?
Like anything related to travel, it’s impossible to pinpoint exact figures for the purposes of this. However, to give a rough guideline, you should expect to pay around £120 return for the Eurostar element of the journey and the TGV high-speed train. It should go without saying that this is the base price for this, and you can only expect to pay this if you book in advance.
In relation for the Marseille to Tunis element of the journey, this will cost a minimum of £281 return. This does include the cost of a bed in a 4-berth cabin and if you are desperate to save money, you could take the daring option of attempting to do it without this sleeping option
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