Tunisia’s second largest city, Sfax is a bustling city that (even not including the sandy attractions) is still a top place for sightseeing and diving into the local Tunisian culture. Featuring a vast range of wonders such as the unique architecture of Matmata in the south, the tranquil Kerkennah Islands, many beautiful mosques and several beaches, the Mediterranean port, located 270 kilometers (167 miles) from Tunis, it is a great place to visit and to enjoy refreshing and pleasant sunny holidays. In this article will look at 8 top things to do around the city and its surroundings to make the most out of your Tunisian journey.
1. Folk Museum (Dar Jellouli)
Based in the Dar Jellouli area, Sfax’s excellent folk museum (Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires) is an 18th-century mansion, surrounded by horseshoe arches and beautiful traditional architectures, that once belonged to a wealthy Andalusian family. You’ll enjoy strolling along the exhibits inside including a wide range of everyday objects, furniture, traditional costumes, jewelry and Arab calligraphy. This is an unmissable place for curious travelers of any kind.
Dar Jellouli Museum
Address: Rue Sidi Ali Ennouri, Sfax 3047, Tunisia
Website: Dar Jellouli Museum
2. Sfax Archaeological Museum
Exhibiting Punic, Roman and Byzantine antiquities, the very interesting Archaeological Museum is located on the ground floor of Sfax’s Municipalité (Town Hall). Its mosaic collection (featuring mosaics from the excavation sites of Thaenae (Thyna), Taparura and La Skhira) will blow your mind while you’ll fall in contemplation gazing at the 5th or 6th-century “Daniel in the lions’ den” mosaic and the 3rd-century “Ennius surrounded by the muses” mosaic. History lovers; check this out!
Sfax Archaeological Museum
Address: 9 Ave Habib Bourguiba, Sfax 3000, Tunisia
Website: Sfax Archaeological Museum
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3. Sfax Kasbah Museum
A Kasbah is an official fortified residence, often defended by armed guards. In fact, all North African towns have their Kasbah. Sfax’s Kasbah is a monument flanked by two towers and an artillery bastion dating from the 16th-century. Located at the southwest corner of the city’s Medina, the area particularly houses the Museum of Traditional Architecture that most visitors looking to dive into the traditional Tunisian culture and history will like.
Sfax Kasbah Museum
Address: Beb El Kasba, Boulevard Farhat Hached, Tunisia
Website: Sfax Kasbah Museum
Star Wars fans, get ready! If you haven’t heard about Matmata yet, then you definitely have to go there. Why? Simply because this troglodytic village in Tunisia was the setting of the Star Wars “A New Hope” beginning and still features some of the authentic background and places of the movie, such as Luke Skywalker’s home. The village’s unique underground homes and the cratered landscape here will please all the science fiction fans (as you’ll feel like you’re in another world) but also every other visitors looking for surprising and mesmerizing locations. This curious architecture was used to seek shelter from the sun, the inhabitants there first excavated huge circular pits in the land to live there. Even though many of these old homes are now uninhabited, some of the traditional houses now function as very simple hotels and museums that can be visited by tourists and sightseeing travelers.
5. Kerkennah Islands
Consisting of seven islands on which only Gharbi and Chergui are inhabited, the archipelago beauty most know as “Kerkennah Islands” is located on the Tunisian coast, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Sfax. Easily reachable from Sfax (where you can get one of the daily car ferries to the islands), you’ll love resting on these little heavens lost in the sea. From diving into the crystal clear sea, enjoying a sun bath on the mainly unfrequented sandy beaches and appreciating the inhabitant’s fishing and sponge diving traditions, here, travelers of all kind will find peace and relaxation.
Website: Kerkennah Islands
The most south-easterly outpost of the Carthaginian territory was the site of ancient Thaenae (Thyna), located 12 kilometers (7 miles) south of Sfax. There you’ll gaze at The Fossa Regia, a Roman construction from 146 BC, remains of various buildings from the 4th and 5th centuries including baths, dwelling houses, necropolis, a mausoleum and a Christian church. This is the perfect place for visitors to travel back in time.
7. Sfax's Great Mosque
While walking through the beautiful Sfax’ Medina, you’ll discover in the center of the area, the impressive Great Mosque. Founded in AD 849 and rebuilt several times through history, the richly decorated building is open to Non-Muslim visitors who can enter the inner courtyard to contemplate the nine-aisled prayer hall with its antique columns and the graceful minaret. A recommended place for those looking for an atmospheric and spiritual walk.
Sfax's Great Mosque
Website: Sfax’s Great Mosque
8. Plage de Chaffar
Plage de Chaffar is a beautiful local beach (situated in Mahres, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Sfax) much frequented by the population of Sfax. If you’re looking for a quiet and calm place on this strip of sand, you had better go during the week as the weekends on this beach are vibrant and full of families going there to have fun. Here, you’ll have your dose of sun and water for a perfect holiday break!
Plage de Chaffar
Address: Route vers la Plage, Le Chaffar, Tunisia
Enjoy the Tunisian beauty
In and out of the vibrant city of Sfax, these 8 great attractions will definitely make you discover Tunisia in a totally different way. From the local culture, to the historical sites, to the natural wonders that surround the city, your stay in the area will be a mesmerizing time that’ll transform your holidays!
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