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Africa > North Africa > Tunisia > Northern Tunisia > Monastir

Monastir

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Not to be confused with Bitola, a Macedonian city historically known as Monastir.
Al Qurayyah beach in Monastir

Monastir is a city in Tunisia 160 km from Tunis. Set along a superb coastline with a blue sea and long golden sandy beaches, Monastir is a pleasant seaside resort, a historical town full of tradition and one of the best tourist destinations in Northern Africa.

Under the protection of its ribat, one of the most impressive fortresses of Tunisia, Monastir's medina, fishing port, marina and background of villages and orchards make it a lively and welcoming destination.

Understand[edit]

Situated halfway between Sousse and Mahdia, and in the intersection of Kairouan and El Jem, Monastir is distinguished by its location in the central coast of Tunisia. It is an ancient city dating from Phoenician times. Due to its strategic location, it shelters the oldest and the most important ribat in the Maghreb: a lovely fortress that is one of Tunisia's finest examples of Islamic military architecture.

Monastir is also known as a really beautiful and calm city.

Get in[edit]

Tunisair Airplane

By plane[edit]

Monastir is a three-hour flight from many principal European cities.

1 Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport (MIR IATA), Skanes (9 km from the city center), +216 73 521 300. Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport (Q666704) on Wikidata Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport on Wikipedia

Getting to the airport: the trip by taxi costs about 5 DT. Getting to the airport is also possible through train between Monastir and Sousse, since "Skanes-Monastir airport station" is 200 m from airport terminal.

By train[edit]

There are regular train services to Tunis and Sousse to the north and Mahdia to the south.

2 Gare Habib Bourguiba Monastir (in the city centre). Gare Habib Bourguiba Monastir (Q19749328) on Wikidata Gare Habib Bourguiba Monastir on Wikipedia

By bus[edit]

3 Gare Routière de Monastir.

Get around[edit]

Map of Monastir

The distances between the Medina, Ribat and Marina are small enough to be covered on foot. Taxis for longer distances within the city can be found everywhere and are very cheap (less than DT3 for a trip within the city).

See[edit]

Ribat
Great Mosque of Monastir
  • 1 Ribat. This fortified monastery is located next to the sea and provides a great visit with most of the ruins open to clamber over. It may be familiar as it has been used in several films as a stand in for Jerusalem, most notably Monty Python's Life of Brian. You can climb the tower and have a nice view over the coastline and city. 7 DT. Ribat of Monastir (Q3430097) on Wikidata Ribat of Monastir on Wikipedia
  • Ribat also houses Islamic Arts Museum of Monastir. Contains illuminated manuscripts, Coptic textiles from the fourth to seventh century, textiles from the ninth century, the Fatimid glass of tenth and eleventh centuries, Abbasid pottery, coins of gold and silver from the tenth and eleventh centuries and especially unique: an Arabic astrolabe made in Cordoba in 927 CE. Price included in Ribat entrance fee. (Q16127719) on Wikidata
  • 2 Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba, Skanes, +216 71 341 077. Enormous mausoleum, in the centre of a large cemetery. It holds the remains of former president Habib Bourguiba, the father of Tunisian independence, who died on April 6, 2000. Free. Bourguiba Mausoleum (Q3301839) on Wikidata Bourguiba mausoleum on Wikipedia
  • 3 Museum of Habib Bourguiba, Palais Presidentiel de Skanes. It's a house of Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia's first president, which was later turned into a museum. It's worth a visit only if you're interested in the modern history of Tunisia, otherwise nothing spectacular.
  • 4 Museum of folk arts and traditions of Monastir (Musée des arts et traditions populaires). Displays traditional Tunisian costumes: wedding costumes, adornments, woven domestic items and copper objects.
  • 5 The Old Port el Kahlia. Old port with excellent location and panoramic views.
  • 6 Marina. Admiring looks, enormous yachts, floating restaurants and luxury hotels. It's also a nice place for a stroll in the sun and for a coffee. Free.
  • 7 Great Mosque of Monastir. Built in the 9th century and then enlarged over the centuries. It now includes a prayer room and a minaret, and doesn't have a courtyard inside. Off-limits to non-Muslims. Great Mosque of Monastir (Q3114981) on Wikidata Great Mosque of Monastir on Wikipedia
  • 8 Zaouia of Sidi Mansour Ba Yazid. Mausoleum of 17th-century Muslim mystic.
  • 9 Ancient ruins, Ghdamsi island.

Further away[edit]

  • 10 Lamta Archaeological Museum, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Lamta. Tu-Su 9AM–1PM and 4–7PM. The ancient city of Leptiminus is located about 10 km south of Monastir. It was founded by Phoenician sailors around the 12th century BC. The modern city of Lamta was built on top of this ancient city, thus leaving almost nothing of it. Although some remnants from the times of Leptiminus can still be found in this museum. Lamta Archaeological Museum (Q3329440) on Wikidata Lamta Archaeological Museum on Wikipedia
  • 11 Ribat Lamta. 9AM–6PM.
  • 12 Museum of Moknine (Musee Archeologique de Moknine), Moknine. Tu-Su 9:30AM–4:30PM.

Do[edit]

  • 1 Bicycle rental. 3 DT/hour.
  • 2 Karting, Airport Road, Tourist Area (near Sahara Beach Hotel), +216 23400004, . 10:00 - 02:00 in summer and 09:30 - 19:30 in the rest of the year. The Palm Karting Monastir offers a great deal for those who are passionate for karting or those who want to try it. Two circuits (adults and kids), a coffee shop, a great Mexican restaurant and a nice party space. 15 minutes/20 DT and 30 minutes/30 DT.
  • Carriage. You can also go around Monastir with the famous and traditional carriages and of course for a good price.
  • Touristic train. It is a cheap and original means to discover the city.
  • 3 Flamingo Golf Course, Route de Ouardanine B.P. 40, +216 73 500 283.
  • 4 Palm Links Golf Course, +216 73 521 910. Designed by Californian architect.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Medina. Only a small section of the original Medina remains but it contains a bazaar selling the usual souvenirs, artisanal jewelry, pottery and carpets. Prices seemed to be generally lower than in nearby Sousse.
  • 2 Monoprix. 8:30AM–10PM. A large supermarket near the southeast wall of the Medina. You can buy everything here, including alcohol (wine/beer) at the back entrance. Next to Monoprix is a small local market for meat, vegetables, bread, etc.

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

The infrastructure of hotels is of a remarkable quality and continues to get even better. Classed hotels (from one to five stars) are beyond reproach for hygiene and facilities. Covered swimming pools, sporting facilities, mini-clubs for children and spa centers are very common.

  • 1 Amir Palace, Dkhila, +216 73 520 900, fax: +216 73 521 823. 4-star hotel. From 100 DT double.
  • 2 Dessole Bella Vista, Zone Touristique Dkhila Skanes, +216 73 520 555, fax: +216 73 521 477. 4-star hotel.
  • 3 Delphin Ribat Hotel Monastir (El Habib), Av Habib Bourguiba, +216 73 466750, fax: +216 73 466751. 3-star hotel. From 100 DT double.
  • 4 Marina Cap Monastir - Appart Hôtel, Port Marina Monastir, +216 73 462 305. Nice studio apartments in the Marina with sea view, private bathroom and small kitchen. You can get a bargain price when booking online through one of the common hotel portals. From 80 DT.
  • 5 El Mouradi Skanes Hotel. A great hotel close to the beach. It is not a cheap hotel but it is worth the price. From 100 TN.

Splurge[edit]

Go next[edit]


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