Sousse, a beautiful city located on the eastern coast of Tunisia, is known for its rich history and stunning Mediterranean beaches. It is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world with its well-preserved medieval architecture, vibrant markets, and delicious local cuisine.
The city is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Medina of Sousse, which is a maze of narrow streets, filled with historic buildings and bustling souks. Additionally, Sousse is also a modern city with a lively nightlife, luxurious hotels, and a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy.
For those looking to relax, the beaches of Sousse offer pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal destination for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Moreover, the city is also a gateway to explore other fascinating regions of Tunisia, making it a perfect starting point for adventurous travelers.
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Attractions & Things to do in Sousse
1. Medina of Sousse
The Medina of Sousse is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encapsulates the rich history and culture of this coastal town. Stroll through its narrow streets and alleys to discover colorful markets, charming shops, and historical landmarks. The architecture alone, characterized by its white-washed walls and blue doors, is a feast for the eyes.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes, as you’ll be exploring on foot. Always negotiate prices when shopping at the local souks.
2. The Ribat of Sousse
The Ribat is a medieval fortress that stands as a testament to the Islamic history of the region. Located in the heart of the Medina, the Ribat provides panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea from its watchtower. It’s a fascinating place for history buffs and those interested in architecture.
Travel Tip: Make sure to climb the watchtower just before sunset to catch breathtaking views of the town transforming into its nocturnal glory.
3. Sousse Archaeological Museum
Housed in the Kasbah of the Medina, the Sousse Archaeological Museum is one of the most important museums in Tunisia. It boasts an extensive collection of mosaics, statues, and other artifacts from various periods, including Roman and Byzantine eras.
Travel Tip: Give yourself at least two hours to explore the museum. Photography might be restricted in some areas, so check the rules upon entry.
4. Port El Kantaoui
Port El Kantaoui is a modern marina located just a few kilometers north of Sousse. Designed to emulate the style of a traditional Tunisian village, the port area is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants overlooking luxurious yachts and the open sea.
Travel Tip: The area can be a bit pricier than the rest of Sousse, so plan your budget accordingly if you intend to dine or shop here.
5. Sousse Beach
The city is blessed with a stretch of sandy beaches along the Mediterranean Sea. Sousse Beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the promenade, making it easy to spend an entire day by the sea.
Travel Tip: Go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the intense midday sun.
6. Great Mosque of Sousse
The Great Mosque is another must-see historical site located in the Medina. Unlike many other grand mosques, this one is known for its simplicity and austere design, which speaks to the deeply religious nature of its original builders.
Travel Tip: Non-Muslim visitors are generally welcomed but may be restricted from entering certain areas. Dress modestly and respectfully when visiting.
7. Boujaafar Beach
Located near the city center, Boujaafar Beach is another lovely stretch of sand where you can relax and take in the views. It’s a popular spot for both tourists and locals, with cafes and restaurants lining the beachfront.
Travel Tip: Watch out for vendors selling souvenirs and services, as they may charge higher prices for tourists. Always negotiate the price beforehand.
8. Catacombs of Sousse
The Catacombs in Sousse offer a slightly eerie but incredibly interesting historical experience. These underground tunnels were used as Christian burial sites and contain thousands of graves.
Travel Tip: The Catacombs are not recommended for those who are claustrophobic or uncomfortable with the concept of ancient burial sites.
9. Friguia Park
Located about 30 minutes from Sousse, Friguia Park is a zoological park that is home to a variety of African wildlife. It’s a great place for a family outing, and there are even opportunities to feed some of the animals.
Travel Tip: Bring a hat and sunscreen, as much of the park is exposed to the sun.
10. Dar Am Taieb
This is a private museum that showcases Tunisian art and culture. The museum features a variety of sculptures, paintings, and other forms of artistic expression. It’s an ideal spot for art lovers and those interested in Tunisian culture.
Travel Tip: Check the museum’s schedule ahead of time, as they often host temporary exhibitions and events that you might find interesting.
Unique Activities in Sousse
1. Private Horseback Riding Trip
Embark on a unique horseback riding experience in Sousse and Monastir. Enjoy the serene landscapes and get a chance to ride along the beautiful beaches. This private trip ensures personalized attention and is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.
2. Sousse Artistic Tour
Unleash your creative side with the Sousse Artistic Tour. Dive into the local art scene, meet local artists, and get inspired by the city’s vibrant artistic community.
Day Trips from Sousse
Just a short train ride from Sousse, Monastir offers a blend of history, culture, and beautiful beaches. The Ribat of Monastir is a must-see, and the Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba is another interesting attraction.
Travel Tip: Try to use the local train service as it’s convenient and offers a scenic journey along the coast.
Kairouan is one of the holiest cities in the Islamic world and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s known for its Grand Mosque, Medina, and the Aghlabid basins.
Travel Tip: Dress conservatively to show respect to the city’s religious significance.
3. El Djem
Famous for its Roman amphitheater, El Djem is just a day trip away from Sousse. The amphitheater is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world and could once hold up to 35,000 spectators.
Travel Tip: The amphitheater can get quite hot, especially in the summer months, so bring water and wear a hat for sun protection.
Where to stay in Sousse
Sousse, a vibrant city in Tunisia, offers a plethora of hotel options catering to various preferences and budgets. From luxurious resorts to budget-friendly stays, the city ensures a memorable experience for its visitors. With its rich history, beautiful beaches, and warm hospitality, Sousse has become a favorite destination for many travelers. Here are six hotels in Sousse that cater to different needs:
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Sousse Pearl Marriott Resort & Spa (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located 400 metres from Bou Jaafar, this hotel offers accommodation with free bikes, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool, and a garden. Guests have praised the wonderful staff and fantastic rooms.
- Price: €80 per night
- Rating: 8 (Very good)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa Sousse (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Situated in the heart of Sousse, this resort provides access to a private beach and boasts saltwater outdoor swimming pools, as well as a well-being and fitness centre.
- Price: €80 per night
- Rating: 7.3 (Good)
3. Budget Hotel
- Description: Located in Medina de Sousse, this hotel is a mere 5-minute walk to the beaches. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and views of the old town.
- Price: €13 per night
- Rating: 8.1 (Very good)
4. Hotel for Families
Marhaba Royal Salem – Family Only (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Surrounded by 7 hectares of garden and forest, this hotel features a private beach area, two pools, and several sports facilities.
- Price: €70 per night
- Rating: 8 (Very good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Hotel Marhaba Beach (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: This hotel, located just 2 minutes from the beach, offers two swimming pools, a spa with massage treatments, and a thalassotherapy centre.
- Price: €126 per night
- Rating: 7.7 (Good)
6. Hotel for Solo Travellers
Le Monaco Hôtel & Thalasso (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Situated in the heart of Sousse, Le Monaco offers a beachfront location with a snack bar, shops, and cafes. It provides free Wi-Fi, free on-site parking, a swimming pool, and a thalasso centre.
- Price: €27 per night
- Rating: 6.4 (Pleasant)
Did you know? Facts about Sousse
- Sousse is a city in Tunisia, located 140 km south of the capital, Tunis. It is the capital of the Sousse Governorate and has a population of 271,428 inhabitants as of 2014.
- The economy of Sousse is based on transport equipment, processed food, olive oil, textiles, and tourism. It is home to the Université de Sousse.
- Sousse is located in the center of Tunisia, on the Tunisian Sahel coast and on the Mediterranean Sea bordering the east of the country.
- The city has a hot semi-arid climate, with the seaside location moderating the climate, making it an all-season resort with hot, dry summers and warm, mild, wet winters.
- Sousse is an important tourist resort. It has a capacity of 40,000 beds extending 20 km from the old city (medina) north along the seafront to Port El Kantaoui.
- The medina of Sousse was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, citing its preservation from modern development.
- The Kantaoui Port, a touristic station in the form of a port, was built in 1979 specifically as a tourist center.
- Sousse is represented by Étoile Sportive du Sahel, a large multisport club. Football is the city’s most popular sport.
- The city contains the University of Sousse, formerly known as the University of the Center, including its Ibn El Jazzar, Faculty of Medicine, the Sousse National School of Engineers, and the Higher Institute of Music of Sousse.
- On 26 June 2015, a lone gunman opened fire on tourists sunbathing on a beach near the Riu Imperial Marhaba and Soviva hotels, killing 38 and wounding 39, before being shot dead by the police.
FAQ about Sousse
What is the best time to visit Sousse?
The best time to visit Sousse is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and not too hot.
Is it safe to travel to Sousse?
Sousse is generally considered safe for tourists, but it is always advisable to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
What are the must-visit places in Sousse?
The must-visit places in Sousse include the Medina of Sousse, the Great Mosque of Sousse, the Ribat of Sousse, and the Port El Kantaoui.
What is the local cuisine like in Sousse?
The local cuisine in Sousse includes traditional Tunisian dishes such as couscous, brik (a thin pastry filled with tuna, egg, and parsley), and tajine (a slow-cooked stew).
What is the main language spoken in Sousse?
The main language spoken in Sousse is Arabic, but French and English are also widely spoken and understood.
What is the currency used in Sousse?
The currency used in Sousse is the Tunisian Dinar (TND).
Are there any local customs or traditions that I should be aware of?
It is advisable to dress modestly in Sousse, especially in religious sites and rural areas. Women should avoid wearing revealing clothes, and men should avoid wearing shorts.
What are the transportation options in Sousse?
Sousse is well-connected with the main Tunisian Railways network, and there are also intercity buses and microbuses (louages) that connect Sousse with many cities in Tunisia. Urban transit in Sousse is served by routes of articulated and conventional buses, blue-strip louages, and taxis.