In Tunisia, the climate is Mediterranean on the northern coast, with mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers, while it is semi-desert or desert in inland areas. The east coast, from the Gulf of Hammamet towards the south, receives little rainfall, which decreases further as you go southward, so that the southernmost part (from the Gulf of Gabès to the border with Libya) is desert. However, the temperatures along the whole coast are typical of the Mediterranean climate, with highs around 16/18 °C (61/64 °F) in winter and 32/33 °C (89/91 °F) in summer.
The coastal and mountainous regions of Tunisia can be affected by the desert wind, which causes an increase in temperature by several degrees, but also a drop in relative humidity, and may also bring sandstorms. During these periods it can be hot, especially from June to September, when the temperature can exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in Tunis and along the east coast.
The rains follow the Mediterranean pattern on the coast, so they are more abundant in late autumn and winter, and become very rare in late spring and summer.


The north coast


Here are the average temperatures of Tunis, the capital, located in the northern part of the coast.
Tunis - Average temperatures
Min (°C)77810141720211916118
Max (°C)161718212529333330252117
Min (°F)454546505763687066615246
Max (°F)616364707784919186777063

Since the weather fronts of Mediterranean or Atlantic origin pass over the northern coast more frequently, here the rains are moderate. In Tunis, precipitation amounts to 520 millimeters (20 inches) 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 (22.5 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation in Tunis.
Tunis - Average precipitation

On the northern coast, in summer the sky is mostly clear, while 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.
Tunis - Sunshine

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.
Tunis - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)151515151721242625221917
Temp (°F)595959596370757977726663

The east coast

As mentioned, on the east coast the temperatures are similar to those on the north coast, while the rains are less abundant, and become gradually scarcer as you move south.


Here are the average temperatures of Sousse, in the southern part of the Gulf of Hammamet.
Sousse - Average temperatures
Min (°C)8911121620212322181310
Max (°C)151618202327303230262117
Min (°F)464852546168707372645550
Max (°F)596164687381869086797063

On the east coast, precipitation decreases to 300/400 mm (12/16 in) per year in the Gulf of Hammamet, and to about 200 mm (8 in) in the Gulf of Gabès.
Here is the average rainfall in Sousse.
Sousse - Average precipitation

On the east coast, in winter the sun shines a little more often than on the northern one, just because the rains are rarer.
Sousse - Sunshine

A short distance from Sousse we find Monastir.


Further south on the east coast, in Sfax the temperatures are similar, but the rains drop to just 200 mm (8 in) per year. East of Sfax we find the Kerkenna islands.
Further south, in Gabès too, the temperatures are similar; the rains amount to 190 mm (7.5 in) per year. East of Gabès and very close to the coast we find the island of Djerba. Here are the average temperatures.
Djerba - Average temperatures
Min (°C)9911131620222321181310
Max (°C)161820222629323330262218
Min (°F)484852556168727370645550
Max (°F)616468727984909186797264

In the southern part of the coast, the trend is similar, although the sea is slightly warmer, and it's still warm in October.
Djerba - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)161516171922262827252218
Temp (°F)615961636672798281777264

Hills and mountains

In the northwest, there are hilly and mountainous areas (see the Tunisian Dorsale or High Tell, and the Tebessa Mountains), which in winter can be cold and may even experience snowfalls, while in summer they are hot during the day, but remain quite cool at night.
Here are the average temperatures of Kasserine, located at 675 meters (2,200 feet) above sea level.
Kasserine - Average temperatures
Min (°C)335811161818161274
Max (°C)121416202531343429231713
Min (°F)373741465261646461544539
Max (°F)545761687788939384736355

Kasserine is located at the foot of Jebel ech Chambi, the highest mountain in Tunisia with its 1,544 meters (5,066 feet).

The desert

In the desert, which is found in central and southern inland areas, the summer heat is remarkable: in July and August, the maximum temperature reaches on average 37 °C (99 °F) in Gafsa, and 39 °C (102 °F) in Tozeur. In the desert, the temperature range is wider than on the coast, so that in winter, night-time temperatures can drop a few degrees below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), while in summer the highest recorded temperatures are remarkable: about 52 °C (125.5 °F) in the southern part of the desert.


Here are the average temperatures of Tozeur, located in the desert, west of Gabès.
Tozeur - Average temperatures
Min (°C)781114182225252217117
Max (°C)171922263136393934282217
Min (°F)454652576472777772635245
Max (°F)63667279889710210293827263

The rains in the desert region are scarce throughout the year, but they are even scarcer in summer, when only very few showers occur. Here is the average rainfall in Tozeur.
Tozeur - Average precipitation

In the desert, the sun shines often even in winter, as can be seen in the following table.
Tozeur - Sunshine

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

Best Time

If you want 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 on the east coast, which is usually sheltered from Atlantic disturbances, so that it can easily last until mid-October.

You can visit the desert in winter, or when the maximum temperatures are normally below 30 °C (86 °F), ie from November to March. In winter, the daytime temperature is mild and the sun usually shines, while at night it can get cold.
Owing to the scorching heat, summer is not the best season to visit the Tunisian desert. In the desert, there are hotels equipped 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 moments of relaxation 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, pack spring/autumn clothes, a jacket and a sweater, a raincoat or umbrella; for the mountain areas, warm clothes and down jacket; for the desert, light clothing, but also a sweater and a jacket for the evening, a scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust.

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

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