From world-class Roman ruins to mystical caravan cities built in staggering, massive deserts, Libya is a real off-the-beaten-track country filled with wonderful sites which have been barely explored by travelers.
In 2011, however, a series of peaceful protests against dictator Gaddafi escalated into a civil war that has been going on ever since, isolating the country even more from the rest of the world.
Today, nevertheless, the situation in some parts of Libya is improving, a peace agreement has been signed between the parties involved and it looks like travelers are beginning to be welcomed again.
In this expedition, we will not only visit the highlights Libya is famous for, but this is the only tour that also puts a strong focus on the political part, the crisis, and the unfortunate war, key elements to understand Libya in the 21st century.
Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.
We will meet early morning at Tunis Carthage International Airport (exact time to be confirmed) to catch our flight to Tripoli all together.
After going through a lengthy immigration process, we will check in at the hotel and go for a hearty, Libyan meal.
Then, we will visit the old city of Tripoli, checking out highlights like: The Arch of Marcus Aurelius, Gurgi Mosque, Al Nakah Mosque, the gold bazaar, the Martyr’s square, and a lot of Italian colonial buildings.
After a particularly long day, you can spend the evening/night in either the hotel (it has an excellent rooftop with great views) or check Tripoli’s nightlife.
Overnight in Tripoli.
Two hours east of Tripoli, you find Leptis Magna.
Founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians and later expanded by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, the ruins of Leptis Magna are absolutely outstanding, first league Roman ruins built on the shore of the Mediterranean.
We will take our time to visit the site – around 3 hours – followed by a good Libyan meal. Then, we will head for Misrata.
Evening and overnight in Misrata.
Misrata is not a tourist destination, there isn’t much to do and it lacks historical sites but, while the city of Tripoli remains quite untouched from the civil war, Misrata witnessed the fiercest battle between the rebels and Gaddafi’s forces.
Our visit to Misrata is going to be political, a visit that is going to be key to understanding a conflict which has been going for the last 10 years.
We will do a proper city tour and then we will visit a brand-new Civil War Museum containing a collection of objects, photos, and weapons from the 2011 battle.
Lunch in Misrata. Then, we will head back to Tripoli.
Overnight in Tripoli.
On day 4, we will drive to Ghadames, which is a long 600-kilometer ride, but we will break the journey by visiting several highlights along the way, in the area of Jebel Nefusa.
Berbers compose around 5% of the total Libyan population and Jebel Nafusa is their heartland. As you may know, Berbers are the indigenous ethnic group, in North Africa before the Arabs came. You may have met some Berbers in Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia but I found Libyan Berbers to have a stronger identity since their flag is flown all across their region.
On the way to Ghadames, we will visit Qasr al-Hajj, one of the finest examples of Berber architecture, a giant granary from the 12th century.
Then, we will go to Tarmisah, an ancient village with stunning views of the valley.
We will have lunch in a traditional cave.
After lunch, we will continue to Ghadames.
In the morning, we will go straight to the Old City of Ghadames, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a giant Saharan city composed of hundreds of entangled lanes, packed with mosques and historical houses.
We will have lunch in a traditional house and then, we will get deep into the desert, climbing the sand dunes from where you can see the Algerian border.
A group of real Tuaregs will make us tea while waiting for the sunset.
Overnight in Ghadames.
There’s going to be a long ride ahead of us but we are going to stop in an area named Gharyan, famous for pottery and also for some very authentic troglodyte caves.
We will have some snacks along the way, but the main meal will be in Tripoli.
Overnight in Tripoli.
Sabratha is smaller than Leptis Magna but most travelers prefer Sabratha because you can see the Mediterranean from anywhere in the ruins, plus it features the best Roman theater.
On the other hand, Sabratha was also taken by ISIS, the heritage of which can still be seen in some of the damaged buildings.
After visiting Sabratha, only if we have time, we will check out some of Libya’s finest beaches, made of white sand and the most crystaline water ever.
Around 1pm, we will head back to Tripoli, have a quick lunch and go to the airport to catch our 5pm flight.
The tour finishes upon arrival in Tunis.
These are the hotels where we always stay but note that once in a while, they might be subject to availability.
4-5 weeks before the beginning of the trip, we will apply for a Letter of Invitation, which takes around one week to process.
Note: Canadian, British and Australian passport holders should apply for the LOI 8 weeks before the beginning of the trip.
With this Letter of Invitation, you will have to go to the embassy in your home country.
Usually, they grant the visa in only one day, but sometimes, it can take up to 3-4 days, depending on the embassy. Moreover, some embassies require your physical presence, while others allow you to mail your docs.
We can offer you guidance, assistance and tips but at the end of the day, applying for your visa at the embassy is your own responsibility.
We can accept almost any nationality, except for US citizens.
They can come to Libya but their LOI approval is a gamble, it’s very random.
Sometimes they get it within one month, sometimes 6 months, that’s why we can’t accept Americans in our groups, but we can certainly organize a private tour.
International flights from Tunis to Tripoli are included in the price. This means that you only need to worry about getting to Tunis.
There are daily flights to Tunis from many destinations in Europe, especially Paris, London, Madrid, and Frankfurt.
We only run expeditions to areas we believe are safe but be aware that most Governments advise against all travel to Libya.
From a local perspective, the situation in western Libya has improved a lot – that’s why we run tours there – but be aware that you will be traveling under your own responsibility.
We limit our tours to a maximum of 9 people.
In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a 500€ deposit.
Then, the remaining amount should be sent no later than 60 days before the departure date.
Methods of payment will be shared upon booking your spot.
Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.