Mahdia Hotels

Mini guide to Mahdia


Located on Tunisia's eastern coastline, Mahdia has quite a history beneath its beautiful façade. It is strikingly well preserved considering its prime location and the array of historical sites, resorts and beaches nearby.

The main historic attraction in town is the Central Mosque, rebuilt on the same site where the 10th century original was destroyed by Spanish troops in 1554. It stands mighty within the old town, and is guarded by the Skifa el-Kahla, a massive gate which is the only remaining structure of the original city. Stepping through the gate is like stepping back in time, and the Central Mosque is the timeless jewel within.

This interior area of the city, the medina, is a splendid area to explore. For the best views of the city, climb to the crest of the city gate. The main street is lined mainly with souvenir vendors, and continues down to the place du Caire, a lovely green surrounded by shaded cafés and the perfect place to stop for a rest. There is a minaret on the far side of the square which is worth a look; afterwards, follow rue Ali Bay east as the unmistakable Central Mosque comes into view. On the far eastern side of the medina are sights including: the 16th century fortress, Borj el-Kebir; a lighthouse that once served the old port; and a sailors' cemetery.

There is a comfortable distance between town and the beachside resorts which allows both to retain their identities. The local museum has a nice collection of artefacts and plenty of information about the town's history of weaving. Fine dining recommendations include Le Lido, Neptune and L'Espadon restaurants.

In nearby Monastir, the mausoleum built by the former president Habib Bourgiba is an impressive sight. The town also has a well-maintained beach and a top class marina. Farther north, Sousse features a beautiful medina and a huge 9th century mosque. Sousse also offers a nice, low pressure shopping environment.

Mahdia can be reached from Tunis, Monastir or Sousse, by local train (quite slow), taxi or bus. The train from Tunis takes 3 hours, 30 minutes; while the one from Monastir takes less than an hour. The main airports for international flights are Tunis-Carthage, Monastir and Jerba.

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Mahdia Hotels
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