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Mahdia (transfer time from Monastir Airport 60 minutes)

South of Monastir is the coastal resort and port of Mahdia, ancient capital of the Fatamid dynasty. Situated outside the town along reputedly one of Tunisia's finest stretches of beach are several modern hotels. Mahdia is traditionally a place to stay in the summer and here you can relax free of commercialisation and enjoy a beach holiday just watching the world go by. At night you can take in the colourful procession of fishing boats carrying lanterns and by day enjoy freshly caught fish in the working port at one of the reasonably priced restaurants. Mahdia is now the most important port for sponge and blue fish.

  Featured Hotels
Iberostar Royal El Mansour
Golden Tulip Mahdia Palace
Residence Dar Sidi

What to see: A visit to the Medina is very worthwhile, for besides haggling for leatherware, silverware and carpets you can discover how impressive the fortifications are, including Borj El Kebir dating back to 1595, surrounding the old town. Islamics and Christians once fought over this almost impregnable fortress city and other invaders included the English, French and Spanish. There's a colourful market once a week of jewellers and tailors and afterwards you can enjoy a coffee in the town square Place du Caire. A short walk from the square is the Great Mosque a modern reconstruction of a thousand year old building. It's not often you see a cemetery by the sea, but you'll find one in Mahdia and it can be a pleasant walk, particularly in the Spring when the area is thick with flowers.

Where to go: The hotels in Mahdia can organise watersports and there's a good riding stable in the grounds of Hotel El Mouradi Cap Mahdia. A new diving school is also operational. From Mahdia you can make connections by train to Sousse, Monastir and Tunis. Close by is the amphitheatre of El Djem and further south Tunisia's second city Sfax.

Walking along the streets of the medina in Mahdia
Bab Skifa el Kahla, ancient gate to the city
Mahdia Beach
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