As you reach the central coast of Tunisia the greenery gradually fades and the landscape becomes parched. Yet this part of Tunisia centred on the towns of Sousse and Monastir is absolutely fascinating. There is the lively Mediterranean city of Soussewith its beautiful beach and beguiling medina the evocative Phoenician city of Monastir containing the ancient ruins of a fortress to explore the sparkling harbour of Mehdia the incredible colosseum at El-Jem and the unique architecture that can be found at the island of Jerba.
Areas & Neighbourhoods around Sousse and Monastir
Sousse – The liveliest city in Tunisia enjoys a daily bustle of visitors students and locals. It is the grand medina that draws everyone in. The magnificent mosque shops markets museums eateries and other attractions here are separated from the rest of the city by imposing medieval fortifications. Outside of the medina the main thing to do is visit the attractive beach.
Monastir – This ancient city boasts the ruins of one of the finest fortresses known as the Ribat and the mausoleum of the first president of Tunisia Habib Bourgiba. An earthquake in 2013 made significant damage to both of these but they still make impressive sights. Golf lovers can enjoy a choice of two courses here.
El-Jem – A trip to this town in central Tunisia will allow you to explore some of the most impressive Roman remains in Africa like the world-renowned Roman amphitheatre of Thysdrus.
Jerba – Another must-visit place is this island that is known for its Mediterranean beaches and stunning whitewashed desert towns whose architecture has been uniquely influenced by Berber Arab Jewish and African cultures. In Houmt Souk you will find handicraft markets an atmospheric fishing port and a 16th century fortress the Borj el Kebir. To the south of the island is El Ghriba synagogue a pilgrimage site for North African Jews.
Things to See in Sousse and Monastir
The beaches of Sousse and Jerba are particularly beautiful but far from the only glorious sights to behold. The fortress walls of Sousse’s medina and the chaotic energy to be witnessed within is no doubt something you will find yourself drawn to return to time and again. The ancient ruins at Monastir and El-Jem are awe-inspiring whilst the contemporary cultural mix that defines the architecture of Jerba makes this feel like a very special place indeed.
Things to Do in Sousse and Monastir
Haggling over the crafts and textiles in the medina at Sousse is always a pleasure and never a chore. At the beach there are a range of watersports to indulge in including fishing paragliding jet skiing and many more. If you’d prefer to keep dry there are two rather good golf courses at Monastir to practice your swing at. The museums of Sousse will fill you in on the cultural and historical background of the area but there is nothing like a boat tour to just help you relax and appreciate the views without any further commentary.