Sousse Travel Guide
Overview *In June 2015, a terrorist attack took place at Port El
Kantaoui, near Sousse, in which a number of foreign tourists were
killed. Security has been dramatically increased at resorts in this
region and tourists are advised to pay close attention to travel
warnings and recommendations from official government sources
before travel to Tunisia.*
The captivating holiday resort town of Sousse lies on Tunisia's
east coast, about two hours drive south of the capital, Tunis. From
the 9th century onwards, the Phoenicians, Byzantines, Arabs, and
Romans all discovered the delights of this fertile spot. Dubbed
'the pearl of the Sahel' in ancient times, today its mild climate
and beautiful Mediterranean shoreline work their magic on
holidaymakers from all over Europe.
Sousse is also favoured by Tunisians as a getaway destination,
and locals enjoy mingling with visitors on the sandy beaches and
busy promenade. Thankfully, the proliferation of modern resort
hotels along the beachfront has not detracted from the charms of
the inner city.
Sousse is still regarded as having probably the finest old city
in Tunisia, even if is fairly small. A warren of narrow covered
alleyways nestling below the ribat (fort) hides hundreds
of colourful shops selling a myriad of local goods from carpets and
porcelain to leather bags and olive oil. Outside the medina, there
is also a vast modern shopping complex.
However, Sousse is not all just shopping and beach bathing. The
town's museum, situated in the old kasbah (castle), is
renowned for its collection of mosaics, masks, statues, and other
relics of the Roman occupation. There are also several miles of
well-preserved ancient Christian catacombs and marble tombs in the
Sousse offers its many package-tour visitors all the facilities
and surroundings of a relaxing seaside holiday, overlaid with the
undeniably foreign and exotic atmosphere of North Africa, all at
extremely affordable prices.
Sousse © Stephen Thomas
Shopping There are bargains to be had in the alleyways of the Sousse old
city for holidaymakers who can haggle successfully. Carpets and
leatherware are favourite buys for tourists, but there is also a
vast stock of cheap souvenirs on which to fritter away the holiday
Some visitors are intimidated and do not enjoy bargaining with
the souk shopkeepers, who usually begin negotiations with
inflated prices. These visitors would be better advised to do their
shopping in the adjacent modern shopping mall, which is crammed
with shops offering local goods and wares from all over North
Africa at fixed prices.
Restaurants Visitors to Sousse are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining
out, with a variety of options available like pizza, tapas, and
French cuisine. Couscous is a local staple. Most of the better
restaurants are located inside the luxury hotels; others are within
walking distance of wherever you are staying.
Nightlife Nightlife generally for tourists is confined to the apartment
resorts and hotels, offering dancing and entertainment. Young
Tunisians tend to gather on the beach promenade after dark.
Activities Most of the pleasurable and sporting activities offered to
holidaymakers in Sousse are beach-based, including fishing, scuba
diving, windsurfing, and water-skiing. There are also numerous
excursions on offer for those keen on exploring more of the
Tunisian coastline. In the town itself, delving into the ancient
Roman history at the excellent museum and shopping are interesting
Negatives Many visitors have complained that shopkeepers in the medina are
overbearing, and even frightening, in their persistence. There have
also been reports of pickpockets being active in the alleyways.