Things to do
The Tunisian port town of Monastir is never short of activity, but it is heralded mostly for its never-ending stretches of soft, golden beaches with crystal-clear waters. Water-sports are thus aplenty, with jet-skiing, water-skiing, boat-trips, and scuba-diving the highlights. The beach itself is however the perfect spot to indulge in some serious sun-bathing, or even as a base from which to embark on a horse-riding adventure with all the family!
Monastir is also home to some historically-fascinating attractions, and the Rubat of Hartema is its most famous attraction of this kind. An ancient monastery, it had been remarkably well-kept over the centuries and any explorers will get to grasp its Moorish architecture, vibrant mosaics and stone-carvings strewn along its walls, adjoined to which is an on-site museum that holds stunning artefacts and treasures from a bygone era. The attraction has a great historical merit but also offers fine views of Tunisian’s sumptuous coastline. In addition to the Rubat is the famous Medina, brimming with small, labyrinthine streets and souks that delight in history and architecture. Finally, all museum-goers simply must check out the Bourguiba Museum, an homage to Tunisia’s founding father and a palace of Islamic architecture and regal tributes to name but a few of its characteristics.
Monastir’s cuisine is well-received, and its sprawling restaurants, cafes, local hostelrys and food stalls catering to every conceivable taste. Highlights include Birk – a tuna-filled pastry dish – and Makroudh, a honey cake coated in syrup and stuffed with dates.
Monastir is great place to shop, with all sorts of souvenir items and local goods such as copperware, carpets and herbs and spices. Practise your haggling skills and find that perfect gift!
There are few bars around Monastir, but in keeping with the rest of the country, they usually close by midnight. As such, night-owls are better off sampling the in-house entertainment back at their hotel, where there may be nightclubs or discos that are open till the early hours.
Day Trips and Excursions
The Sahara desert is a prime location for some unforgettable desert trips on the back of a camel, of which you can visit the glorious Atlas Mountains, finishing off a long day’s saunter with a cultural Bedouin feast. Other recommended excursions from Monastir are the old souks, or bazarrs in Hammamet and Souisse, El Jem (the Roman ampitheatre) and also to the bustling capital, Tunis.