Of all the places I stayed in Tunisia, Dar Ya Hostel was definitely my favorite. Built in the mid 19th century, Dar Ya was originally the home of a wealthy Tunisia family. It was recently renovated in 2014 opening its doors under the name “Dar Ya” which means grandmothers house in Tunisian Arabic.
While not exactly a hostel, Dar Ya is more like a hotel with shared bathrooms. Set around a beautiful interior courtyard centrally located in Tunis’s medina, the hotel offers private rooms for singles and doubles.
I liked this place so much firstly because of the awe-inspiring beauty of the interior and secondly because of the unbelievable Tunisian breakfast. The friendly and helpful staff as well as the central location all added together to make for an excellent stay.
The beauty of the interior courtyard has not gone unnoticed by locals and in fact Dar Ya occasionally opens its doors for movie and commercial shoots. Recently in October 2014, a music video called My Name is Sebsi was filmed there.
Located right inside the ancient Tunis Medina, a world heritage site, Dar Ya offers an opportunity to see this beautiful ancient city up close and personal. From the souks to the markets and panoramic cafes, there is something for everyone in this Medina. One of my personal favorite places is the Zitouna Mosque just minutes from Dar Ya.
When it comes to breakfast, Dar Ya goes all out with local Tunisian treats like makroud, a date-filled cookie, Tunisian jams with bread and butter, Tunisian doughnuts, and fresh oranges. And of course they have the coffee and tea ready to go.
Aside from the central courtyard, Dar Ya also has a beautiful rooftop with nice views of the surrounding Medina. This is a great place to relax on a sunny afternoon or to catch a beautiful sunset over Tunisia’s capital city.
The price for my twin bed room was 70 dirham per night or about 24€. It can be booked online through third party websites, but my suggestion is to just message them on their Facebook page to secure a room and avoid the increased fees through booking sites. They respond promptly to messages. While I’ve stayed at cheaper places in smaller cities in Morocco, 70 dirham is an excellent deal for Tunis especially considering the quality of this hotel.
Finding Dar Ya can be a bit difficult since it is located within the medina where no cars are allowed. I recommend getting a taxi to “La Kasbah” which is where all the central government buildings in Tunis are located. Taxi drivers will be familiar with this place. From La Kasbah it is about a five minute walk to Dar Ya. It’s best to come with GPS on your phone so you can find it. Tunisian locals are incredibly friendly and seldom see tourists so they will often be very helpful with directions so long as they understand what you’re asking. The lingua franca there is French but a few people know English.
If you ended up visiting Dar Ya and like it as much as me, let me know in the comments below!