Photo Credit: Eirik Newth

All of Tunisia’s major cities contain plenty of modern shopping malls, but the country’s most unique and unforgettable shopping experiences lie within its souks and medinas. The biggest outdoor market in all of Tunisia is the central market of Tunis, where vendors have hawked handicrafts and fresh food since the 19th century. The main market of Sousse is held each Sunday on the outskirts of the city.

Although several souvenirs are sold in the shops on Jemaa ez-Zeytouna, the biggest shopping street in Tunis, each of the city’s souks is worth closer exploration. Traditional felt skullcaps are sold at the Souk des Chéchias, traditional Tunisian clothing can be found at the Souk des Étoffes, silver jewelry is the Souk de la Laine’s specialty, and the Souk el-Attarine sells spices and perfume. Many Tunis antique shops and tailors are located at the Souk el-Trouk.

Each Tunisian city and market boasts its own handmade craft specialties. Handcrafted ceramics are piled high at the Tozeur market’s stalls, while the Nabeul market is renowned for its traditional Tunisian pottery. The community of Kairouan produces high quality carpets, and visitors can watch the production process for themselves at the local Centre des Traditions et des Métiers d’Art. Alloucha are traditional Berber carpets, and most Tunisian carpets and rugs are either woven or knotted. All good quality carpets bear official grading labels from the country’s National Handicrafts Office.

Visitors wishing to purchase authentic Tunisian handicrafts without the hassle of haggling at the souks can explore shops like Hanout, the government-run Société de Commercialisation des Produits de l’Artisanat, and Mains des Femmes, which sells crafts made by rural Tunisian women. All of the above shops are located in Tunis, but Société de Commercialisation des Produits de l’Artisinat shops and workshops are situated throughout the country. Embroidered sandals, Sahara Desert stone roses, sheesha water pipes, and olivewood sculptures are some of the other popular souvenirs that can be found in Tunis.

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