One hour from: Tunis

Everything stops for (mint) tea

See the Roman ruins, extraordinary modern architecture and a resort for the beautiful people.

See the Roman ruins, extraordinary modern architecture and a resort for the beautiful people.

Sidi Bou Said

Stunning sugar-cube white houses with blue studded doors and elaborate grilles stack up along the labyrinth of lanes in the resort town of Sidi. The stamping ground of the Tunisian élite is littered with chic boutiques, galleries and great restaurants and bars. Take tea and baklava (yummy honey-soaked flaky pastry cake) in the classy Café des Nattes. Sip a sundowner (try the mint tea topped with pine nuts) overlooking the sea at the Café Sidi Chabaane.

By car: take the airport road and follow signs; journey time approx 25 mins. By train: TGM link; journey time approx 35 mins.

Carthage

In 46BC, when it was the second-largest city in the empire, Carthage rivalled Rome. Today, only fragments of it remain, but the surroundings are beautiful. The top sights are spread out, so exploring on foot makes an ideal day trip. Don't miss Mount Byrsa, which was the Acropolis of both Punic and Roman Carthage, now home to a museum, the amphitheatre and the Antonine Baths.

By car: take airport road and follow signs; journey time approx 20 mins. By train: TGM link; journey time approx 30 mins.

Hammamet

Tunisia's "garden resort", so-called because of its green spaces filled with dense citrus and lemon groves. Follow in the footsteps of the artists and writers who flocked here, including Paul Klee, Guy de Maupassant and Oscar Wilde. The beautiful people soak up the rays on the white-powder sands of Hammamet Sud when they are not at the glitzy boutiques.

By car: A1 motorway; journey time approx 45mins. By train: Tunis-Gabes line to Bir Bou Regba then taxi; journey time approx 1 hour.

Kerkouane

This Carthaginian site, discovered in 1952, was first thought to be a holiday resort dating from the 5th century BC due to the lack of public buildings. However, these days it is thought that it was the main site for the manufacture of purple dye, the imperial colour of Rome. The well-preserved foundations show that almost each Carthaginian house was identical and had its own private bath, covered with mosaics. But Romans bathed in public. The museum has some notable Punic statues and jewellery.

By car: A1, follow signs; journey time 1 hour-plus.

Oudna

The Roman remains recently uncovered at this site, formerly known as Roman Uthina, are tipped to make this the top archaeological draw in Tunisia, superseding Carthage. Work is still in progress, but the site is due to open shortly.

By car: road to El Fahs, follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins.

Korbous

This has been a thermal resort since Roman times. Korbous waters are said to cure conditions including obesity and rheumatism and even to banish cellulite. Plenty of fancy hotels offer excellent treatments. Go on – you know you're worth it.

By car: A1 motorway, follow signs; journey time approx 1 hour plus

Wigmore Holidays (020-7836 4999; www.aspectoftunisia.co.uk) offers four nights at the five-star Hotel Abou Nawas from £468 per person, including return flights. Europcar (0870 607 5000; www.europcar.co.uk) offers weekend car hire in Tunis from £130. For more information contact the Tunisian National Tourist Office (020-7224 5561; www.comtotunisia.co.uk).

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