Monastir: Vacation in the Homeland of the First President of Tunisia
Monastir is the administrative center of the wilayah of the same name and a fishing port located on a peninsula in the central part of the Mediterranean coast of Tunisia. About 100 thousand people live here, and for sure they love this wonderful place as much as the first Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba, who was born here, did.
Green streets, good roads – during the 30-years presidency of Bourguiba, serious funds were invested in the development of Monastir, and today it is a beautiful coastal city that has everything for a comfortable and truly high-quality holiday.
Weather & Beach Joys
The climate in Monastir is Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. From December to February daily temperatures range from +7°C at night to +15°C during the day. In summer, average night temperatures are around 20-25°C, daytime temperatures vary from +27°C to +30°C or more, especially in August, when the air temperature can rise several degrees higher.
You can swim five months a year, from June to October – at this time there is a major influx of tourists. By July, the water temperature reaches 23-28°C, that is, it literally reaches the state of fresh milk.
Monastir boasts magnificent beaches. The tourist area of Skanes, which stretches to the west of the city, is kilometers of light sand, a comfortable, slope entrance to the sea and cleanliness, which is monitored by the staff of hotels located along the coast.
Must See in Monastir
But, of course, the impressions that you can get at this resort are not limited just to beach joys.
Ribat Fortress & Its Defenders
Lovers of historical romance here should visit the Ribat Fortress, the main local attraction. The fort, which was built at the end of the eighth century AD, has undergone several reconstructions and over the centuries of its existence has become twice as large as its first builders had planned.
Massive walls, a watchtower, cells of warrior monks – definitely, there is something to see here. And to the north of the fort’s bastions, there are the stones of the Sidi El-Mezri cemetery, where the remains of Ribat defenders lie at rest. It was believed that anyone who had served in the fortress for at least a few days and was buried near its walls, secured a place in paradise.
Memory of Habib Bourguiba
The mausoleum of Bourguiba, a building decorated with white marble, an elegant colonnade and a golden dome – visitors and residents of the city come here to pay tribute to the first president of Tunisia, an ardent fighter for the independence of this country.
Also in Monastir you can get acquainted with the exhibits of the museum dedicated to the first president, which was opened on the site of his summer residence, and admire the minaret of the Habib Bourguiba mosque, that soars more than 40 meters high.
What Else to Do in Monastir?
After you have fully enjoyed swimming in the sea and admiring the wonderful view from the walls of Ribat, have visited the Museum of Habib Bourguiba and other interesting sights, you can go … of course, shopping!
Shopping: Old-Fashioned & Modern
First of all, it is worth visiting the Medina, the heart of Monastir and the ancient Arab city, on the curved streets of which there are many shops and stores with the products of Tunisian craftsmen.
Carpets, genuine leather goods, skillfully woven baskets, fine jewelry – and, of course, ceramics. The last is amazing in this country, featuring bright colors and unusual shapes – you can find out masterpieces that can please even the most discerning buyers. In addition, fairs are held here with spices, incense, sweet treats and other goods that are mandatory for purchase at a real oriental bazaar.
Those who prefer less exotic shopping can look into the Yasmina Center and Folla shopping centers. Also in Monastir there are supermarkets General and Monoprix, which sell drinks, food and other goods.
Not Just Shopping
Walking around Monastir is a special pleasure. It has its own embankment, yacht port and a variety of cafes with delicious seafood dishes and famous Tunisian couscous. Among the restaurants with a good reputation we can recommend “Pirate”. You can also have fun by arranging a high-rise photo shoot on a Ferris wheel or sailing a pirate ship leaving the harbor.
Also there are a golf club, a horse-riding school and, of course, hotel pubs, restaurants and discos with exciting night show programs.
Where to Go from Monastir
A railway runs through this resort town with trains starting every half an hour or even more often. It is easy to get from Monastir to Sousse and the largest Tunisian AquaSplash water park with its stunning wave pool, waterfalls and attractions. Or to tiny Mahdia with its unique Black Gates, which in the old days used to be a protection from enemies trying to enter the city.
It is convenient to go on excursions from Monastir, for example, to the Museum of Archeology and the amphitheater of El Jem, which is left from the ancient Romans, or to Carthage to look at the world-famous historical and cultural monuments. And if you want, from here you can go on a long journey to the sand dunes of the Sahara, and to visit the Berbers on the way. Such adventures will definitely be unforgettable!