Welcome to Sousse, Tunisia's captivating coastal gem! Nestled along the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Sousse is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. With its ancient Medina, stunning beaches, and a vibrant mix of old-world charm and modern amenities, Sousse offers a mesmerizing blend of experiences that will enchant travelers from all walks of life.
WildyNess team compiled a comprehensive travel guide to help you enjoy your trip and conceive your itinerary.
How to Get to Sousse?
Driving to Sousse allows you to explore Tunisia's picturesque countryside at your own pace. Take the A1 motorway southbound from Tunis, and you'll arrive in Sousse in approximately 90 minutes, depending on traffic. Make sure to have a valid driver's license and insurance if you plan to rent a car. Having a GPS or navigation app can be helpful, as road signs are in Arabic and French.
Tunisia's railway network offers a convenient way to reach Sousse. Catch a train from Tunis Gare Centrale, and enjoy a comfortable journey with stunning coastal views. Trains are generally safe and reliable. Remember to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons. The train journey from Tunis to Sousse takes about 2 hours.
For an authentic Tunisian experience, take a louage (shared taxi) to Sousse. Louages are popular among locals and offer an economical means of travel. Louage stations are easy to find in major cities, including Tunis. For those who are going from Tunis to Sousse, catch your louage from the Moncef Bey station. Make sure to get the louage from the station. Some louage drivers may try to convince you to take their ride from outside the station. Please, refuse these requests and enter the station to get an officially-certified one. The journey from Tunis to Sousse takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on stops.
Traveling by bus is budget-friendly and comfortable. The National Coach Company (SNTRI) operates long-distance buses connecting major Tunisian cities. Catch a bus at the central station "Bab Alioua" in Tunis. You can check the official website to know more about the time, here. The journey takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Remember to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
The Best Time to Visit Sousse in Tunisia
Timing can make a big difference in your experience. For the best visit, consider traveling during spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). With temperatures ranging from 18°C to 28°C (64°F to 82°F), the weather is pleasantly warm, ideal for sightseeing and beach activities. Spring brings colorful blooms, while autumn offers a more relaxed atmosphere with fewer tourists. If you prefer hotter temperatures and bustling beaches, summer (June to August) is the peak season. On the other hand, winter (December to February) offers a quieter ambiance. Keep in mind the dates of Ramadan, respecting local customs during this holy month.
Whenever you decide to explore Sousse, its rich history, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture await your discovery. Plan your trip now and embrace the charm of Sousse, Tunisia.
Sousse Itinerary: Great Things to Do
Stroll in La Medina of Sousse
The Medina of Sousse has earned the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage site, making it a place of exceptional historical and cultural importance. As you step into its narrow, maze-like alleys, you'll be transported back in time to a bygone era filled with fascinating stories and traditions.
Walking through the Medina offers a glimpse into the daily lives of its residents. You'll witness locals going about their daily routines, artisan workshops crafting traditional goods, and the aroma of freshly prepared street food filling the air. Engage with the friendly locals, learn about their customs, and savor the warm Tunisian hospitality.
Visit Ribat of Sousse
The Ribat of Sousse, a prominent landmark northwest of Sousse's Great Mosque, holds a significant place in the city's history. Part of a chain of approximately 800 fortifications constructed by the Aghlabid dynasty along the Tunisian coast, it stands as one of the few surviving structures of its kind today.
Constructed as the town's first line of defense during the Aghlabid era, the Ribat with its solid and imposing walls served to protect against enemy attacks. Interestingly, the Aghlabid soldiers stationed here were revered as religious warriors, devoting themselves to religious duties during peacetime. This unique aspect has led scholars to suggest that these warrior holy men might have influenced later Christian knightly orders.
Climbing up to the top of the watchtower offers visitors exceptional views across Sousse's vibrant medina below. The Ribat of Sousse, alongside the Ribat of Monastir, is now recognized as one of Tunisia's best-preserved historical sites.
Exploring the Ribat of Sousse allows tourists to immerse themselves in the city's intriguing past, marvel at its sturdy architecture, and witness sweeping panoramas of the surrounding landscape. As a remarkable piece of Tunisia's heritage, the Ribat stands as a testament to the country's rich history and cultural significance.
Good to know: visitors need to purchase tickets in order to visit the Ribat
Visit the Kasbah of Sousse
Originally built in the 9th century, the Kasbah's fortifications were extended around the tower in the 11th century, assuming the military role of Sousse's Ribat. Today, the building houses the Sousse Archaeological Museum, allowing visitors to admire its remarkable architecture while exploring fascinating exhibits.
One of the Kasbah's highlights is its 50-meter-high topmost platform, which offers unparalleled views of the Medina, making it a top destination to capture breathtaking vistas of this historic city. As you wander through the fortress, you'll be transported through time, immersing yourself in Tunisia's cultural heritage and marveling at its intricate details, including intricately carved wooden doors and beautiful tile mosaics.
The serene ambiance of the interior courtyards and surrounding greenery provides a peaceful retreat, inviting visitors to pause and absorb the timeless atmosphere. The Kasbah is also an excellent place to shop for authentic Tunisian handicrafts, as the adjacent market showcases local artisans' work, including ceramics, textiles, and traditional jewelry.
With its historical significance, architectural grandeur, and stunning medina views, the Kasbah of Sousse is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, culture lovers, and anyone seeking an unforgettable experience in Tunisia. Embrace the journey through centuries of heritage and immerse yourself in the captivating allure of the Kasbah and its surroundings.
Get Glimpse from History in the Archaeological Museum of Sousse:
The Sousse Archaeological Museum, located in the Medina of Sousse within the 18th-century Dar Essid mansion, is a captivating display of Tunisia's rich historical heritage. This diverse collection features Roman mosaics, statues, and sculptures depicting daily life and mythology, as well as Phoenician, Punic, and Islamic artifacts.
The museum provides valuable insights into the artistic achievements and cultural influences of various civilizations that shaped the region. Informative displays and explanatory panels enhance the visitor's understanding of each exhibit. From the vibrant colors of Roman mosaics to the intricate craftsmanship of Islamic art, the museum offers a remarkable journey through time.
For history enthusiasts, art lovers, and curious travelers, the Sousse Archaeological Museum presents an opportunity to immerse themselves in Tunisia's captivating past. Exploring this treasure trove is a must for those seeking to understand and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of this coastal city and the wider context of Tunisia's historical legacy.
Visit Zaouia Zakkak for a Spiritual & Cultural Experience
The history of Zaouia Zakkak dates back centuries, with its foundation attributed to Sidi Ali Zakkak, a revered Sufi saint and religious scholar who lived during the 13th century. Sufism, a mystical Islamic belief system, is deeply ingrained in the culture of Tunisia, and Zaouia Zakkak played a crucial role in its dissemination during medieval times.
Over the centuries, the zaouia became a center of spiritual learning and a place of pilgrimage for Sufi followers seeking wisdom and guidance. Sidi Ali Zakkak's teachings and contributions to the community earned him great respect, and his tomb within the zaouia became a place of veneration after his passing.
Visiting Zaouia Zakkak will immerse you in a profound spiritual atmosphere of such a sacred site. The warm hospitality of the caretakers and locals adds to the authenticity of the experience. While exploring the zaouia, visitors can learn about Sufism's significance in Tunisian culture and the teachings of Sidi Ali Zakkak that continue to inspire devotees to this day.
Have a Coffee at El Kantaoui Port
Whether you prefer a classic espresso, a frothy cappuccino, or a refreshing iced coffee, these coffee spots in Port El Kantaoui offer a perfect blend of coffee, atmosphere, and seaside charm to enhance your overall Tunisian experience.
The marina area is dotted with cozy cafés that offer picturesque views of the harbor and yachts. Relax on outdoor terraces, enjoy your coffee while watching boats pass by, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the marina.
We highly recommend Hard Rock Cafe Port El Kantaoui with an American-inspired decor. The quality of service is guaranteed here. We also recommend Café Boulevard, which is located along the picturesque boulevard, offering a prime spot to enjoy coffee while watching the world go by.
Buy some souvenirs from the Souk (the traditional market)
Buying souvenirs from the Souk District in Sousse is an enchanting and vibrant experience that immerses visitors in the heart of Tunisian culture and craftsmanship. The bustling marketplace, known for its lively atmosphere, offers an array of unique and authentic souvenirs, making it a must-visit destination for tourists seeking to take home a piece of Tunisia.
The friendly local vendors, adorned in vibrant traditional attire, create a warm and inviting ambiance. They take pride in showcasing their products and are eager to share stories and insights about the cultural significance of each item. Bargaining is a common practice in the Souk District, and haggling with the sellers adds to the excitement of the shopping experience.
Take a Look in The Grand Mosque of Sousse
The Great Mosque of Sousse, resembling a fortress, holds a rich history dating back to 851 CE, when it was constructed a few years after the town's re-foundation by the Aghlabids. Inspired by the Sidi Oqba Mosque in Kairouan, the mosque initially featured two defensive towers guarding the harbor, while the minarets' domes were added later. An intriguing external staircase leads from the courtyard to the minaret, a unique feature. The courtyard's battlement walls are adorned with an elaborate Kufic frieze, and the surrounding colonnade boasts tall horseshoe arches supported by massive piers.
In 1675, an arcade was added in front of the 13-aisled prayer hall. Originally consisting of three barrel-vaulted bays, the prayer hall expanded with three higher groin-vaulted bays on the side with the qibla wall in the 10th century. The Aghlabid dome, beautifully decorated, was repositioned over the fourth bay, originally located in front of the mihrab. While non-Muslims can enter the courtyard, the prayer hall remains off-limits.
Nonetheless, the prayer hall doors are usually open, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse inside and appreciate the mosque's remarkable architecture and historical significance.
Where to Eat in Sousse
Budget-Friendly Restaurants in Sousse
For budget friendly options, we recommend three restaurants in different locations. Le Petit Bistrot is a charming eatery in the heart of Sousse, offering a mix of Tunisian and French dishes at reasonable prices. The friendly staff and relaxed setting make it an excellent spot for a delicious yet affordable meal.
Chez Chouchou, located in the heart of the Medina, is a popular choice for budget-friendly dining. This family-run restaurant serves traditional Tunisian dishes, including couscous, tajine, and grilled meats, at affordable prices.
Restaurant Sahloul is also a great option offering a laid-back atmosphere and a diverse menu of Tunisian and Mediterranean cuisine. From fresh seafood and kebabs to salads and vegetarian options, this restaurant caters to different tastes while maintaining budget-friendly prices.
Mid-Range Restaurants in Sousse
For those who want to spend more on their culinary experiences, there are a few options worth considering.
La Villa Bleue is an elegant restaurant located in a beautifully restored mansion near the Medina. With a fusion of Tunisian and French cuisine, the menu features a selection of seafood, grilled meats, and gourmet dishes. The charming courtyard setting adds to the dining experience.
Housed within the Sousse Archaeological Museum, Dar Essid Restaurant combines history with gastronomy. The restaurant offers a mix of traditional Tunisian dishes and international cuisine, and its historic surroundings add a unique touch to your meal.
Chez Lamine is a well-known restaurant in Sousse, serving a variety of Tunisian specialties and seafood dishes. The restaurant's seafront location offers picturesque views of the Mediterranean while you enjoy a delightful meal.
Upscale Restaurants in Sousse
For an upscale dining experience, some restaurants offer a myriad of options and menus.
Located within the Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa Sousse, Le Méditerranée is the place to be for Mediterranean and international cuisine. The restaurant's elegant setting and attentive service make it a top choice for a special occasion.
Set along the harbor of Port El Kantaoui, La Daurade provides a luxurious dining experience with a focus on fresh seafood and gourmet dishes. The restaurant's waterfront terrace offers stunning views and creates an intimate atmosphere for a memorable evening.
Nestled in the heart of Port El Kantaoui, Le Cap offers a sophisticated setting with a menu that highlights French and Mediterranean flavors. The restaurant's chic ambiance and refined dishes make it a premier choice for a fine dining experience in Sousse.
Where to spend the night
Whether you're traveling on a budget or seeking a luxurious experience, Sousse offers a range of accommodation options to suit every preference. From budget-friendly hostels to upscale beachfront hotels, you can find the perfect place to spend the night and make the most of your stay in this beautiful coastal city.
Budget-Friendly Accommodation in Sousse
Hostel Riad Sousse: Prices for dormitory-style rooms start at approximately $10 to $20 per night. This budget-friendly option is perfect for backpackers and solo travelers seeking affordable accommodation in the heart of the Medina.
Hotel Paris Sousse: Prices for rooms at Hotel Paris Sousse range from around $30 to $50 per night. This mid-range hotel offers comfortable and well-appointed rooms, making it a great choice for travelers seeking a cozy stay without exceeding their budget.
Mid-Range Accommodation in Sousse
Marhaba Palace Hotel: Prices for rooms at Marhaba Palace Hotel start at approximately $70 to $100 per night. With its beachfront location and luxurious amenities, this mid-range hotel provides a relaxing and enjoyable stay for guests.
Jaz Tour Khalef Sousse Hotel: Prices for rooms at Jaz Tour Khalef Sousse Hotel range from around $80 to $120 per night. This upscale hotel offers a range of facilities, including swimming pools and access to a private beach, providing guests with a delightful and indulgent experience.
Upscale Accommodation in Sousse
Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa Sousse: Prices for rooms at Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa Sousse start at approximately $120 to $200 per night. This luxurious beachfront resort offers elegant rooms, world-class dining, and a rejuvenating spa, ensuring guests have an unforgettable and opulent stay.
Please note that the prices mentioned are approximate and can vary based on the season, availability, and specific room types. It's always recommended to check with the accommodation directly or through online booking platforms for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information.
Also remember to check how socially responsible your accommodation pledge to be.
Day Trips from Sousse: Exploring Fascinating Nearby Destinations
While staying in Sousse, Tunisia, you have the perfect opportunity to embark on exciting day trips to nearby destinations. Each place offers its unique charm, history, and cultural significance, making your journey beyond Sousse truly memorable.
Visit the Amazigh Village of Takrouna
A short drive from Sousse lies Takrouna, a picturesque hilltop village with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Known for its historic significance during World War II, Takrouna's hill was a strategic location during the Battle of Takrouna. Explore the village's narrow streets, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, and take in the panoramic vistas from the hilltop, making this trip a memorable cultural and historical experience.
Enjoy the Tranquility of Hergla
A peaceful fishing village just a few kilometers away from Sousse, Hergla offers a serene escape from the bustling city. Enjoy the laid-back ambiance, stroll along the pristine beaches, and admire the charming white-washed houses. Hergla is the perfect place to unwind, savor fresh seafood, and bask in the beauty of the Mediterranean coast.
Check WildyNess Experience: Walk by the Coast in Hergla, Tunisia
Don’t Miss a Visit to El Jem Amphitheatre
Step back in time with a visit to El Jem, a town renowned for its Roman heritage. The crown jewel of El Jem is the impressive Amphitheatre of Thysdrus, one of the largest Roman amphitheaters in the world. Explore this ancient colosseum, which once hosted gladiator contests and grand spectacles, and marvel at its well-preserved architecture. El Jem offers an enriching glimpse into the Roman past of Tunisia.
Visit the filming site of Indiana Jones in Kairouan
Known as the "City of 50 Mosques," Kairouan is one of Islam's holiest cities and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located a short distance from Sousse, Kairouan is famous for its stunning Great Mosque, an architectural masterpiece. Wander through the winding streets of the Medina, visit historic madrasas (Islamic schools), and experience the spiritual ambiance of this ancient city.
The mosque served as a filming site for Indiana Jones.
Sousse, Tunisia: A Journey through History, Culture, and Beauty
Sousse is a city of contrasts, seamlessly blending tradition and modernity, where ancient landmarks stand tall amidst contemporary wonders. It's a place where relaxation meets exploration, and where the timeless beauty of the Mediterranean coast meets the vibrancy of a bustling city.