Along the eastern coast of Tunisia, a two-hour drive from the capital Tunis, lies the resort city of Sousse. Rich in ancient history, it was a seaport named Hadrumet established by the sea-going Phoenicians in the 9th century B.C. It was later conquered by the Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines, until the Arabs seized the city in the 7th century A.D., and renamed it Sûsa. Today its mild climate, long golden beaches, and places of interest make it the perfect destination for a Tunisia holiday.
Most of the hotels are on the city outskirts, but there is a service called the “noddy” train that offers a relaxing ride into the medina, the walled inner city. Here lies a shoppers paradise of winding narrow streets packed with shops and stalls offering leather goods, local ceramics, and carpets, among other treasures. Don’t forget to bargain and haggle.
Get a sense of the history of Sousse at the Ribat, the oldest monument in the city and one of the finest examples of Islamic religious architecture. Climb up to the top of this ancient watch tower and get a spectacular view of the entire medina. Just a stone’s throw away is the Great Mosque. The inner courtyard is open to non-Muslims, and offers a glimpse into Tunisia’s incredibly rich history.
The Kasbah is an ancient fortification built in 859 on the site of an old Byzantine fortress. Its Khalef el Fata tower, named after its builder, rises higher than the Ribat. There is also an archaeological museum that houses an interesting collection of antiquities from the Punic, Roman, and early Christian periods.
Take a relaxing stroll along the bustling port area and watch the boats gliding in and out of the pier. There are restaurants and snack bars all over the city offering all sorts of food. The seafood is a must-try, as is the local ‘brik’, a crispy, triangular pastry filled with egg and tuna.
Sousse is the perfect place to lie about on the beach. The long coast is dotted by sunshades and sun lounges provided by the hotels, and some of these are free. Watersports are also popular, and there are facilities for paragliding and jet skiing.