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Safety in Tunisia, for a serene vacation

Tunisia is one of the most peaceful and safe countries in North Africa from a tourist’s perspective. It has always been an Islamic country very open to the Western world, and there is no trace of extremism or hostile behavior towards foreigners.

However, after the 2015 attacks at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, the perception of Tunisia as a dangerous country increased. For this reason, security has been greatly strengthened with a substantial deployment of law enforcement, who patrol places that could potentially become targets of terrorist attacks, such as hotels, restaurants, casinos, or heavily frequented monuments. The police presence in Tunisia is quite noticeable on the streets; checks and roadblocks are frequent, but it is important to emphasize that this is done to ensure the safety of citizens and visitors, not to intimidate them. Similarly, controls at entry points to the country, such as ports, airports, and land borders, have increased.

Thanks to these activities by law enforcement, the country in general is very safe: robberies or thefts are very rare, whether in sensitive buildings like banks or government offices, or in everyday life. You might encounter demonstrations or strikes, but these rarely occur in tourist areas.

Areas to avoid

The advice is to go to Tunisia relaxed and calm, confident that the police are doing their job diligently; but as in any part of the world, it is recommended to follow standard safety precautions, especially at night and in peripheral or poorly lit areas.

It is advised against visiting the area near the Libyan border, close to the Ras Jedir land border and in the city of Ben Gardene: the risk is higher here, and these are often areas where military operations take place. However, these areas are completely outside the tourist circuits, so you shouldn’t have any interest in visiting them.

Local laws

In Tunisia, it is important to be aware of certain offenses that could lead to very unpleasant consequences. For example, all types of drugs are strictly prohibited, and mere possession of a minimal amount for personal use is punishable by at least one year in prison. Regarding homosexuality, it is generally tolerated, but officially it is sanctioned by law.

Finally, anyone committing sexual abuse or crimes against minors (the age of majority in Tunisia is set at 18 years) will be prosecuted, both in the country and upon returning to Italy.

Useful information

If you have problems with the local police, or if you are detained or arrested, you can contact the Italian Embassy in Tunis at +216-71-892811, on mobile at +216-98301496, or via email at assitenza.tunisi@esteri.it. For added security, you might want to register on the website dovesiamonelmondo.it managed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and notify the Italian Embassy in Tunis of your stay in Tunisia. Lastly, but not least importantly, remember to get a travel insurance policy.

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