As you plan your Tunisia adventure, consider taking day trips from Sousse during part of your tour. There’s a wealth of sites to explore in the region. Plus, Sousse has a relaxing pace and plenty of accommodation and restaurant options, so it’s a great place to come back to after your days of exploration.
Whether you’re hoping to learn about history, explore nature, or engage local culture, here are 7 fantastic day trips from Sousse.
Day Trips From Sousse: El Jem
The El Jem Colosseum is an amazing site to tour. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best preserved coliseums of the Roman world. And the history behind its construction in 238 AD tells an important tale of Africa’s role in the Roman Empire.
To appreciate the colosseum’s exterior, grab a fresh orange juice from one of the cafes near the entrance and goggle at the beautiful façade. Then head inside and climb to the third story to imagine the scene of 35,000 spectators cheering to the games. Wander down to the eerie lower levels beneath the arena floor to view the rooms where live animals and prisoners were kept. Then head back up to the oval floor to view the arena from the gladiator’s vantage point.
After your colosseum visit, check out the El Jem Archaeological Museum that houses an impressive collection of Roman mosaics.
Day Trips From Sousse: Kairouan
Home to the oldest mosque on the African continent and a charming walled city, Kairouan is a trove of historic sites and traditional culture. The various sites are included in Kairouan’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kairouan was the capital of the Aghlabid dynasty in the 9th century. If you love history, the sites will occupy you for a good part of a day.
The people of Kairouan are proud of their traditions and culture. The city is known for its tradition of carpet-weaving, especially Persian-style rugs. You can learn about traditional weaving methods in any of the larger rug shops. These offer a mind-boggling array of rugs and designs. The shops are also your best bet for purchasing a Persian-style rug in Tunisia as they’re made locally and offer the most selection.
To get an overview of the styles of rugs and carpets available in Tunisia, check out our article here.
Last but not least, you’ll want to taste Kairouan’s traditional sweet pastry, maqroudh. You’ll see piles of these sweet semolina and date pastries at shops around the city. Enjoy a taste at one of the specialty shops in the medina, and buy a kilo for the road.
Day Trips From Sousse: Monastir
Just a few kilometers down the coast from Sousse lies the beach town of Monastir. This resort town has beautiful beaches and a relaxing pace.
But it’s the impressive Monastir ribat that makes the town worthy of any day trips list. This well-preserved ancient Islamic fortress towers over the nearby seaside. Touring the complex of rooms will awaken the adventurous child in you. And if you’re traveling in Tunisia with children, they’ll love it too. The tower offers terrific views of the sea and surrounding region.
It’s easy to see why the fortress has been used for a variety of film sets over the years, including most famously as Jerusalem in Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth.”
In addition to the ribat, Monastir is a great place to slow down and enjoy a relaxed meal at one of the lovely seafood restaurants, or a coffee at one of the seaside cafés.
Day Trips From Sousse: The Cap Bon Peninsula
The Cap Bon is the northeast-facing peninsula between Sousse and Tunis. Largely off the beaten path, the region beckons travelers looking for adventure.
Hiking Near El Haouaria
Firstly, there’s abundant nature to explore throughout Cap Bon. Check out the hot springs in Korbous, and hiking and bird watching in El Haouaria.
Secondly, there are great ruins sites to explore on Cap Bon. The most expansive Punic ruins in the country lie near the tip of Cap Bon at Kerkouane, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s more recent history to discover at the Ottoman fortress in Kelibia.
Lastly, the two larger cities on the peninsula, Nabeul and Hammamet, are worth visiting. Nabeul features local artisan pottery, and Hammamet’s quaint medina by the sea is a great place to relax at a café or over a nice meal.
There’s more to do around Cap Bon than a day allows, so choose your own adventure.
Hilltop Berber Villages: Takrouna and Zriba
Many travelers associate the Berbers in Tunisia with the rugged hills of southern Tunisia. But Takrouna and Zriba el Alia are two Berber villages just an hour’s drive from Sousse.
Hiker approaches Zriba Berber village
Just south of Zaghouan, Zriba is now a historical site as its residents left it to ruin long ago. Touring the village, including the Sufi-influenced mosque, gives insight into Tunisia’s Berber roots. There are also great hiking opportunities from the village.
Takrouna sits atop a hill north of Enfidha. With amazing views and traditional architecture, Takrouna’s few remaining residents are passionate about preserving its heritage.
Day Trips From Sousse: Zaghouan
Zaghouan has a bit of everything for the adventure traveler, from nature, history, and culture, to everyday small town life.
The town sits at the base of Djebel Zaghouan, a national park and Tunisia’s second highest mountain. The national park is a great place for short or long hikes.
Explore Zaghouan’s charming Andalusian influenced old quarter. Here you can visit the town’s historical mosque and taste the traditional pastry kaak warqa.
Check out the ruins of the water temple after sipping a mint tea at one of the outdoor cafes. The Romans tapped the mountain’s fresh springs in the 1st century and built their 70 km aqueduct to meet Carthage’s water needs.
Day Trips From Sousse: A Fantastic Way To Travel
Day trips are a fantastic way to explore a region without having to check out of hotels and repack often. I hope you enjoy your visit to a number of these day trip destinations from Sousse!
Whether you’ll be in Sousse for a couple days or a couple weeks, let us know how we can assist you with your Tunisia tour.