Both located in North Africa and both big on the historic and cultural attractions, it’s a pretty tough job to crown a travel winner in the Egypt vs Tunisia debate.
But as always, I’m not one to shy away from a tough travel challenge and, having spent 2 weeks in both of these countries, I’m well-primed to bring you the official verdict of whether I recommend Egypt or Tunisia more for your next travel adventure.
Breaking the debate down into 10 categories, I’ll asses each country on factors including activities, food, hospitality, accommodation and safety (including for solo female travellers), before brining you my overall conclusion about which of these destinations is best for travellers .
At the end of the article, I’ll follow up with some key travel tips about visiting both of these countries so that, whichever you chose, you’re well-prepared.
So let’s get stuck into whether Egypt or Tunisia makes for the better travel destination…
- Top 55 Things to Do in Africa
- 11 Things To Know When you Travel Tunisia
- All You Need to Know Before you Travel Egypt
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I’m kicking off this list with the “capital” category, because this is likely to be the place you arrive into and depart from… and first impressions count!
Cairo is a huge, bustling city with some of the craziest traffic I’ve ever encountered!
When I first arrived there, it took me almost 30 minutes to cross the road – the cars don’t stop and it sometimes feels like you have to walk into the traffic and just hope for best (this is not advised btw!)
There is a metro system, which does make getting around Cairo quite easy, but it’s still a pretty full-on city and certainly not one for the faint-hearted!
But despite all its chaos and confusion, Cairo does boast both the Sphinx and pyramids within its midst. Well ok, technically these are in nearby Giza, but they’re essentially part of the same huge metropolis area.
Having 2 of the key bucket list sights in the country (if not the continent) within its borders, certainly earns Cairo a few more points, but it’s not a city I’d want to hang out in for too long.
Here’s my top things to do in Cairo for more info,
The capital of Tunisia is the imaginatively named, Tunis!
Set on the Mediterranean coast, it’s a port city – the largest in the country.
The centre of Tunis has some historical and national attractions, including an ancient Medina and important political buildings and landmarks, but it’s a bit rundown.
Most young people, and the fun action in this city happens outside the centre, in suburbs like trendy La Marsa, which has great cafes and restaurants, as well as a beach.
Nearby Sidi Bou Said is technically a separate town, but it’s very near La Marsa, as well as the international airport, and it’s here I suggest heading and basing yourself while in Tunis.
Sidi Bou Said is a stunning UNESCO-listed seaside town with beautiful blue and whitewashed buildings, great restaurants and stunning views,
From here you can also visit the UNESCO-listed Carthage ruins and Punic port – all of which helps to bump up Tunis’ rating.
Learn more in this complete travel guide to Sidi Bou Said I wrote.
Next we turn ourselves to history because, as you’ll soon realise, this is an absolutely crucial part of the both Egypt’s and Tunisia’s touristic offering.
If you hadn’t already heard, Egypt is home to some of the world’ greatest historical treasures!
From the Pyramids of Giza, to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and the fames Abu Simbel near Aswan, this country is honestly littered with historical treasures.
And that’s without mentioning St Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, the great city of Alexandria or the amazing Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), where I literally cried in amazement when I visited!
The museum was due to open at its new site in Giza in 2023 but, at the time of writing, that still hasn’t happened!
Nevertheless, no question Egypt’s historical treasures are through the roof!
Quite simply, they’re hard to top, the world over!
Far less well known than Egypt, Tunisia however, certainly puts up a good fight when it comes to historical attractions.
With a huge number of communities and empires having swept through this country – from the Berber people to the Punic population, the Phoenicians to the Ottomans, the Romans to the French, Tunisia has a rich and layered history with many ancient remains still to be found across the country.
UNESCO-listed El-Djem (a Roman amphitheatre), Dougga (a 65 hectare preserved town) and the Grand Mosque in Kairouan are 3 notable examples, but honestly there’s more ancient temples, baths and ports here than I can possibly list.
Maktar, with its museum and archaeological sight, is another top example, as is Zriba Olia on the outskirts of Zaghouan and that’s not to mention the many stunning historic towns, cities and medinas that are still inhabited across the country today.
While Tunisia may not have the trump cards of Ancient Egypt, it still provides a wealth of ancient and more modern sights of interest for any history buffs to get their teeth stuck into!
A key component in any trip, the friendliness of the local people towards tourists is major factor in assessing the overall travel experience of a country, which is exactly why I’ve included hospitality on this list.
Sad to say that many travellers in Egypt do find they get hassled a lot on the street and in markets and that sometimes, this can be aggressive.
Personally not my experience, I have however heard reports from many other travellers (including a high percentage of female travellers) who sadly said the persistent hassle they got did affect their enjoyment of being in this country.
While I found Egyptian people to be warm and friendly, I do of course have to take the word of many others I know into account, which sadly means I’ve not scored Egypt as high under this category.
During my time in this country, I found Tunisian people incredibly friendly, almost to the point it bordered on embarrassing.
Their welcoming nature and generosity meant I never felt unsafe or hassled, even when wandering in towns during the evening or when shopping for souvenirs.
Tunisian people love to cook, eat and share food and this provides a huge backdrop to the warm and homely experience I had when adventuring here.
A small disclaimer that, as a vegetarian, my food rating is always slightly different to those who eat meat or fish, as we’re essentially having different culinary experiences!
Nevertheless, I wanted to include this category as I know it’s an important factor for many when deciding where to go on their next travel adventure.
I have to say that I didn’t find the food in Egypt to be that great.
A lot of it is quite carb heavy and monotonous, especially for a vegetarian.
The local dish of Koshari (a mix of pasta, fried rice, vermicelli, brown lentils, tomato sauce, garlic vinegar, chickpeas and fried onions) is nice, but not stand out.
I ended up eating a lot of it and growing quite tired by the close of my 2 weeks!
Fish meals are somewhat better at the coast of Egypt, but I don’t think food is a major selling point of travel in this country.
Tunisians, as I mentioned earlier, love to eat!
I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever eaten as much as when I was there!
Portions are huge and it just keeps coming at every meal.
A lot of fresh produce is grown in Tunisia, which always means there’s a hearty amount of vegetables, salad and fruit at every meal.
This kept me very happy!
Meat eaters and fish lovers will also be impressed and there’s a huge plethora of local dishes that are all spicy and delicious.
If you’re not a fan of harissa, you will be by the end of your travels here!
#5 Adventures & Activities
How you choose to spend your time during a trip is key to having a good time in a destination.
And ideally, you want these options to be as diverse and engaging as possible.
So let’s look at the sort of adventures and activities you can enjoy in Egypt vs Tunisia….
A key part of travelling in Egypt for most people involves touring the historical sights and treasures across this country.
From one temple to another, it’s totally possible to fill a week of more with getting your Ancient Egypt fix.
Guides are usually excellent and very knowledgeable and I learnt a huge amount when I was here.
Siwa Oasis trips look incredible (although I’m sadly yet to venture here) and the Sinai Peninsula is also filled with a hearty level of excellent marine activities, including world famous scuba diving and snorkelling sites.
In fact, Ras Mohammed Marine National Park is a protected area and the sheer volume of fish here is outstanding.
It’s great, if not a little surprising, to know that Tunisia also packs a pretty mean travel punch when it comes to amazing adventures and activities.
Little did I know before I travelled here that many outdoor pursuits are possible – from kayaking to cycling, hiking to caving, climbing to sailing.
Many of these adventure activities, plus historic sightseeing tours, are based in the north of the country with its more mountainous and coastal landscape (Al Huwariyah and Zaghouan are 2 top spots), but even in the south, sensational desert tours, including visiting Star Wars film sites and 4wd drives across the Sahara, are also available.
I found Tunisia a real hidden gem when it comes to travel activities and, of course, it boasts far fewer tourists than Egypt – a real win in my book!
Personally, one of the top reasons I travel, and a great reason I know many of you do too, is for the beaches.
After all, who doesn’t like a good dose of the coast when on holiday?!
If you want beaches in Egypt, it’s all about heading to the Sinai Peninsula.
Here you’ll find gorgeous white sand beaches with top resorts, where you can soak up the sun, sea and sand to your heart’s content.
Dress codes are relaxed here and while Sharm El-Sheikh is the resort-capital, I found the independent hub of Dahab far more appealing.
Tunisia is littered with great beaches spots and while the resort capital of Hammamet captures the package holiday crowds, there’s plenty of other fab beaches beyond this too.
Al Huwariyah in the north is a good coastal spot, as are the sandy stretches of Sousse and Djerba island.
Being a fairly small country, it’s easy to combine beaches and sightseeing in Tunisia, which I’m a huge fan of.
The places you stay make a great difference to have you feel about your time in a country and ensuring you pick the right accommodation for your budget and style (or at least have ability to do so!) is a fundamental factor in a great travel adventure.
Accommodation of every sort is available in Egypt.
From great backpacker hostels to cruise ships on the Nile, liveaboard dive boats and world class hotels, Egypt offers it all.
Accommodation standards are usually very good across the board and many people in the tourism industry here speak English, which makes things easy too.
Accommodation in Tunisia can be slightly more tricky to find, as there’s limitations of their access to main booking networks such as Airbnb and Booking.com.
Of course the main cities are filled with hotels and resorts you can book more easily, but outside of these, many accommodation options are small independent guesthouses that can be difficult to find and book online.
But don’t let this deter you.
The best accommodation in Tunisia in my opinion is exactly these small Dar – which are traditional guesthouses, beautifully decorated and offering modern comforts.
Many provide home-cooked meals as well and have just a few rooms.
The sense of local culture, tradition and hospitality you’ll experience in these Dar is unparalleled, so it’s worth persevering with the booking options to find the best of them in almost every town across the country.
Being able to get to and around a country easily definitely makes for a less stressful travel experience and allows you to see more in a shorter timeframe, which is why I think it’s an important factor to consider.
If there’s one thing Egypt is, it’s easy to get to and around!
Many flights from Europe and beyond arrive both into Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh direct and take around 4 hours.
They also tend to be regular and relatively affordable.
A delight for independent travellers, trains, flights, buses, tours and boats criss-cross this country, making it incredibly easy to move from one city to another too.
Trains between Cairo, Luxor and Aswan are key here (booking first class for a tiny bit extra is worth it), Nile cruises between Luxor and Aswan are a fab way to sightsee and move, and getting to the Sinai Peninsula is easy by domestic flight.
Day tours to temples, historical sights and beautiful natural landscapes are also easy to pick up.
Many can be booked both in advance of your arrival online or once in the country.
Tunisia is easy to get to with flights from across Europe and the Middle East arriving regularly into the main airport of Tunis-Carthage.
Flights aren’t that cheap however, as there’s no budget airlines connections, but they are quick – under 3 hours from London!
On the other hand, sadly Tunisia is not that easy to get around, at least by public transport.
There are some trains and bus networks that work across the country, but generally I recommend people either take an organised tour to help with the transport, or hire their own rental car to get around.
If you plan to do the letter, check out Discover Cars, you have some great deals.
There are some domestic flights you can also catch to help get around here, most notably from the capital down to the southern parts of the country, but they aren’t that cheap sadly.
Being safe when you travel is crucial in ensuring you have a good time in a destination – this is particularly true for solo female travellers.
I’ve adventured in both Egypt and Tunisia alone, so have put a particular focus on this safety element.
I always felt safe in Egypt, but know many solo female travellers who didn’t feel the same.
Cairo can be overwhelming and pick-pockets here are certainly a thing.
Not a reason not to go, but be sure to be sensible when you travel here and dress appropriately, especially at temples and in cities.
Tourists have also been targeted at beach resorts in the past.
I found Tunisia to be more liberal than Egypt and felt very safe there the whole time, even when wandering around towns in the evening.
I never got hassled and found I didn’t have to dress as conservatively as in Egypt (no covered shoulders in most places for example).
People were respectful and I never felt hassled, watched or bothered.
That said, things do happen in Tunisia – in fact just after my trip there was some civil unrest in the south of the country.
And finally. we come to costs.
As a keen budget traveller, you know the cost of travelling in a country is always going to weigh-in heavy on whether I decide to go somewhere, and also how much I value it when I’m there, so let’s get stuck in!
Pure and simple Egypt is incredibly affordable – especially when you consider the world class historical sights you’ll be getting to tick off your bucket list.
Transport, tours and accommodation are also well-priced and food costs next to nothing.
Of course you can splurge on top hotels and restaurants in Egypt, but you can also easily enjoy it on a low budget too!
Great news, Tunisia is also incredibly affordable!
Accommodation and food especially is really affordable and it’s easy to pick up good deals on guides and experiences.
The main place your travel budget might be hiked up is on trying to get around the country, which is not always as easily accessible as you might hope.
Weighing things up overall, I have to say that if you haven’t yet visited either Egypt or Tunisia, that you may find the former of these creeps slightly ahead on your list.
After all, it’s hard to deny the allure of the pyramids, the Nile and the fabulous diving if you’ haven’t got to experience them yet.
That said, if you’re looking to get off the beaten track more and away from the tourism main crowd, Tunisia is an ideal spot.
Filled with hidden gems, amazing experiences, fab food and friendly people, it’s sure to be making a big splash in years to come… so get in early!
Top Travel Tips for Egypt & Tunisia
Best Time to Visit?
Spring and autumn months are the best times to visit both Egypt and Tunisia in my opinion.
Travelling to either country in eApril, May, September or October will allow you to enjoy a pleasant climate perfect for activities and sightseeing, as well as the beaches.
Top Egypt & Tunisia Tours
5 Key Packing Items
Make sure you’re prepared for travels in both Egypt and Tunisia with these top 5 packing items…Water To Go bottle Windproof Jacket Versatile Trainers Lightweight Day Pack Mirrorless Camera
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So there you have it, my full guide to Egypt vs Tunisia: which is better to travel.
Hopefully this article has helped you decide on your next travel destination, or perhaps it’s made you put both countries on your list!
Have any questions about travel in Egypt or Tunisia still?
Then don’t hesitate to drop them into the comments box below and I’ll get back to you.