Map from Google - Tunisia

In Tunisia the climate is Mediterranean on the northern coast, with mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers, while it is semi-desert and desert in the inland areas. The east coast, from the Gulf of Hammamet towards the south, receives little rainfall, and in the south becomes progressively less rainy, until it becomes desert in the southernmost part (from the Gulf of Gabès to the border with Libya), but the temperatures along the coast remain Mediterranean-like, with highs around 16/18 °C in winter, and around 31/32 °C in summer.

Tunis, the capital, is located in the northern part of the coast, where the weather fronts of Mediterranean or Atlantic origin pass more frequently in the winter months.
Here are the average temperatures of Tunis.
Tunis average temperatures
Tunis J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 7 7 8 10 14 17 20 21 19 16 11 8
Max (°C) 16 17 18 21 25 29 33 33 30 25 21 17

The rains have a Mediterranean pattern on the coast, so that they are more abundant in late autumn and winter, and become very rare in late spring and summer. They are most abundant in the northern coast: in Tunis, precipitation amounts to 520 millimetres per year, most of which occur from October to April, while in summer it hardly ever rains; in Bizerte, in the far north, the rains are a bit more abundant, around 570 mm per year.
Here is the average precipitation in Tunis.
Average precipitation Tunis
Tunis J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 65 65 55 45 25 10 5 10 35 70 60 75 520
Days 8 8 8 7 5 3 1 2 5 7 7 8 69

Precipitation decreases to 300/400 mm per year in the Gulf of Hammamet, and about 200 mm in the Gulf of Gabès.
Here is the average rainfall in Sousse, in the southern part of the Gulf of Hammamet.
Average precipitation Sousse
Sousse J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 35 30 30 30 15 10 5 10 35 55 35 45 330
Days 6 6 6 5 4 2 1 2 4 6 5 6 53

In the northwest, there are hilly and mountainous areas (Tunisian Dorsale or High Tell, and Tebessa Mountains), which in winter are cold and may even experience snowfalls, while in summer they are hot during the day, but remains quite cool at night.
Here are the average temperatures of Kasserine, located at 675 metres above sea level.
Kasserine average temperatures
Kasserine J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 1 2 3 6 11 15 18 18 14 10 5 3
Max (°C) 11 12 15 19 25 31 35 34 28 22 16 13

Kasserine is located at the foot of Jebel ech Chambi, the highest mountain in Tunisia, 1,544 metres high.

In the desert, the summer heat is remarkable: the maximum temperature reaches on average 37 °C in Gafsa in July and August, and 39 °C in Tozeur. In the desert, the daily temperature range is wider than on the coast, so that in winter, the night-time temperatures can drop a few degrees below freezing, while in summer the highest recorded temperatures are about 52 °C in the southern part of the desert.
Here are the average temperatures of Tozeur, located in the desert, west of Gabès.
Tozeur average temperatures
Tozeur J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 7 8 11 14 18 22 25 25 22 17 11 7
Max (°C) 17 19 22 26 31 36 39 39 34 28 22 17

The rains in the desert region are scarce throughout the year, but they are even scarcer in summer, when there are very few showers. Here ais the average rainfall in Tozeur.
Average precipitation Tozeur
Tozeur J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 15 15 20 15 10 5 1 5 15 15 20 15 155
Days 4 3 2 3 2 2 0 1 3 2 3 4 29

In the desert area, there is the also a large salt lake, Chott el-Jerid, almost entirely dry, witness of a past when the climate was more humid. The few remaining waterholes have different colours, depending on the salt which prevails in each of them, offering an unusual sight.

The coastal and mountainous regions of Tunisia may be affected by the desert wind, which raises the temperature by several degrees but also a drop in relative humidity, and may cause even sandstorms. During these periods, the peaks of heat are remarkable, especially from June to September, when the temperature can exceed 40 °C in Tunis and along the east coast.
In the south, the islands of Djerba and Kerkennah have a mild climate, but they are also subject to the torrid wind from the desert.
Djerba average temperatures
Djerba J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 9 9 11 13 16 20 22 23 21 18 13 10
Max (°C) 16 18 20 22 26 29 32 33 30 26 22 18

The amount of sunshine in Tunisia is very good throughout the year on the east and south coast and in inland areas, while on the northern coast, from October to April, there's no shortage of sunny days, which, however, alternate with cloudy and rainy periods which last for a few days.


In the northern part of the coast, the sea is warm enough for swimming from July to September, while it is definitely cool, if not cold, from December to May.
Sea temperature Tunis
Tunis J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 15 15 15 15 17 21 24 26 25 22 19 17

In the southern part of the coast, the trend is similar, although the sea is slightly warmer, and remains warm still in October.
Sea temperature Djerba
Djerba J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 16 15 16 17 19 22 26 28 27 25 22 18

When to go

To visit Tunis and the northern coast, and also the northern hills and mountains, you can choose spring and autumn (April, May and October).

For a beach holiday, you can go from June to September. The favorable season for a beach holiday is quite long, especially in the east coast, which is usually sheltered from the Atlantic disturbances, so that it can easily last until mid-October.

The desert can be visited in winter, or when the maximum temperatures are normally below 30 °C, ie from November to March. In winter, the days are mild and the sun usually shines, while at night it can get cold.
Summer is not the best season to visit the Tunisian desert, because of the scorching heat. In the desert, there are hotels with swimming pools, but in summer the heat is so intense that even sunbathing can be difficult. A compromise between excursions in the desert and relaxing moments at the pool could be found in spring and autumn, ie in April and October. On the contrary, as mentioned, the coast is good for a beach holiday in summer.

What to pack

In winter: for Tunis and the coast, spring/autumn clothes, a jacket and a sweater, raincoat or umbrella; for the mountain areas, warm clothes and down jacket; for the desert, light clothing, but also sweater and jacket for the evening, scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust.

In summer: for the coast, lightweight clothes, light scarf for the sea breeze, light sweatshirt for the evening. For the desert, loose fitting clothes, made of natural fabric (cotton or linen), desert turban for the wind-borne sand and dust; sunglasses (even graduated instead of contact lenses); a sweatshirt for the evening or the mountains, sweater or sweatshirt and sleeping bag for overnight stays outside; hiking boots or sandals.
For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts, especially in rural and non-tourist areas.