The city of Sfax is the capital of the Governorate of, you guessed it, Sfax. And it’s a pretty big place, so you’ll never be short of views to admire, activities to try your hand at, and general things to go get doing.
Now, wherever you are in the world, you’ll see shopping is a worldwide pastime. In New York there’s Barney’s, Saks, and Bloomingdales. Milan is the home of exclusive boutiques, while Paris and London don’t fare too badly either. But shopping isn’t just reserved for the glamorous West. Sfax offers a unique experience bound to keep you on your toes. Haggle with the market sellers, get yourself some thrifty finds, then enjoy a local tea at an atmospheric coffee shop. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a frothy latte or herbal mint – shopping is universally thirsty work!
Speaking of traditions, we can’t miss out the Medina. One of the most noticeable sights within Sfax, the Medina’s richness in history means you’ll enjoy an unforgettable day – or two – because there really is so much to digest. Its ancient architecture showcases the city in all its glory, and it’s also the perfect place for a spot of people-watching if you’re of a curious temperament. It’ll transport you way back to bygone days, while remaining rooted to the ground in a literal sense.
Tunisia is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s a good starting ground when it comes to mixing tourism and education. Whether you’re a Muslim yourself or actually know very little about the religion, visiting Grande Mosque is the perfect way to discover more, not just about Islam in general, but about how it unfolds within Sfax and throughout the eras. It certainly tells a tale worth listening to, and you’re bound to meet some individuals with a lot of wisdom to their name.
Known in the less-exotic sounding English as City Hall, it’s probably best to avoid English here, because Musee Archeologique is in fact one of the most exotic locations in the whole of Sfax. Make the most of what the friendly staff have to offer – the highlight being a guided tour. It’s fine to explore at your own pace, but you won’t learn as much as if you take part in a tour. This specialty museum is widely unspoiled, and its small size is certainly not a hindrance – it just makes the contents and culture seem all the more fascinating in comparison. The mosaics are especially stunning, and, captivatingly, each seems to tell its own story.
Another specialty museum, but fear not – touring Sfax can never even come close to boring. With roots spanning to as long ago as the 10th century, the location of Tunisia’s largest fishing port, and links to Europe (mainly France and Spain), plus its own independence (which was granted in 1956), Sfax isn’t predictable either. This museum dates back to the 17thcentury, belonging to the renowned Jellouli family. It has a courtyard and displays the period’s artifacts – even costumes. We won’t spoil it for you, so we’ll end on this note – go and experience it for yourself!
La Kasbah enjoys a name as one of Sfax’s grandest points of interest. Which is little wonder, considering its beauty on a sheer aesthetic level – and that greets you before you even delve into its deeper meaning. It’s also very close to the ocean, so you can enjoy the nautical theme of Sfax and soak up the sun as well. Its incredible authenticity mean visitors travel far and wide to catch a glimpse.
Traveling to Tunisia, you’ll probably expect chances to soak up the sun and relax on clean, white sand that overlooks turquoise stretching as far as the eye can see. Happily, Sfax offers this in abundance. Proving the city isn’t solely formed of historical sites, although this would be no bad thing, Sfax beach is one of Tunisia’s proudest oceanside offerings. Walk for miles across the shore, or simply enjoy the simpler things in life.
Set within the roaming landscapes Sfax plentifully offers, Site Archeologique Thyna is exceptional. The ruins are often crumbling, really bringing to life that it’s real – there’s nothing artificial or concealed about this long-lasting site. This makes a refreshing change against the mass commercialism that threatens to ruin so much of the world’s natural beauty. Thankfully, this site is immune to that! Take your camera, walking shoes, and a bottle or two of water, because history lessons outside the confines of the classroom tend to need them.
Don’t let the fact that Assallemi is one of Sfax’s lesser-known mosques put you off. It actually works in its favor, as it lacks the frenzy of other areas, which can actually detract from what you take from the overall experience. Religion has been a driving force of the planet almost since civilization began, and this mosque is a fine place to get to grips with this history. A lovely landmark to visit.