What to do in Mahdia?
Mahdia is a coastal tourist town located 200 km from Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. It is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and historical monuments such as La Skifa Kahla, El Jem and the Great Mosque. It is also known by its marine cemetery by the sea and by its fishing port, very animated. This is your first visit to Mahdia and you have a lot of questions ? What to see ? What to do ? Where to go out ? Prepare your trip to Mahdia in Tunisia. Organize your stay with our activity ideas and practical informations. This compilation of the top places to visit will help you to have a great stay in Mahdia.
Places to visit
Mahdia is a city with many architectural masterpieces thanks to its rich past. There is the fortified gate of Skifa Kahla, the old port, the big Bordj El Kebir and the museum of Mahdia. It is also known by the Great Mosque, the old ramparts, the marine cemetery and the amphitheater El Jem.
Skifa el Kahla
Skifa El Kahla is a huge gate dating back to the beginning of the 10th century. It is still one of the access points to the historic center of the city of Mahdia and one of the few remains of the old city walls, located in the center of the ancient citadel. The Skifa is part of the system of ramparts rebuilt by the Turks at the end of the 16th century. Fortified city gate, Skifa el Kahla was the main tower of the 2nd line of defense to block access to the city.
Bordj el Kebir
More original than the Great Mosque, its bare architecture and the absence of a minaret make it more like a fortress than a religious building. This imposing tower of the tenth century was the watch tower of the Fatimids. Every Friday she watches the traditional women’s silk and jewelry market unfold. The embroiderers of the city come to present their works. Thick velvet, gold thread, fine pearls, all for the refinement of the costume.
Built by Obeid Allah el Mehdi between 909 and 934, it is the first Fatimid mosque. No minaret, the imam’s call is from one of the two towers. It is transformed under the Spanish occupation into a sanctuary. The only part dating back to the 10th century is its northern part. It has been reworked according to the original plan as part of the major restoration work initiated by President Bourguiba in 1964, on land won by the sea.
The museum returns to us, objects dating back to Libyan-Punic antiquity and Romano-African and legacies of Byzantine and Islamic times. The Greek civilization is represented by two marble columns from a Roman wreck loaded with war booty wrecked off Mahdia. The museum also sells a large amount of handicrafts from the city, some of which date back to the Fatimid dynasty.
Cairo Square is right in the center of the Mahdia Medina with outdoor cafes under the generous shade of trees and vineyards. This place is ideal for relaxing and contemplating the ornate arched door and the octagonal minaret on the south side of the square. They belong to the mosque of Mustapha Hamza, built in 1772 while the square was the center of the rich Turkish district of the city. There are also wonderful old houses of Mahdia to admire.
Cimetière marin de Mahdia
At the end of the peninsula and opening directly on the sea is the moving marine cemetery. Thousands of white graves are scattered along the coast of Cape Africa where we see the ancient Phoenician port excavated in the rock in the tenth century and the arch of the “gate of the sea”. Sea, history, spirituality and nostalgia make this place the second most beautiful marine cemetery in the world. The Mahdois walk there and even bathe in this magical place.
Port de Mahdia
The large port of Mahdia is one of the most important ports in Tunisia. It has a very well developed infrastructure and has state-of-the-art freezing equipment. The fleet of Mahdia port is very diversified with rowing or motorized coastal boats, mixed trawlers and tuna boats. This diversification of the fleet allows a diversification of production (fish and seafood).
The amphitheater El Jem is one of the most emblematic architectural contributions of ancient Rome. The large amphitheater of El Jem is undoubtedly the most elaborate of the Roman monuments of its kind. Impressive by its massive architecture and its beautiful state of conservation, it had from the Middle Ages retained the attention of Arab authors. Even European travelers have spoken of this monument.
Mahdia overflows with many activities within the reach of all: History, heritage, archeology, culture. These activities await you with family or friends for busy days. We offer here a compilation of the best activities to do in Mahdia that may interest you and embellish your holidays.
Restaurants & Cafes
Restaurants & Cafes
Make the most of sunny days and hot evenings to discover the culinary flavors of Mahdia’s many seafront restaurants. We have chosen for you a selection of the best restaurants and cafes that will seduce you.
Are you looking for a luxury holiday accommodation and close to the beach in Mahdia? The apartments at Mahdia Place Apartments have received several awards from the two best vacation rental sites, Airbnb and Booking. These apartments have the best quality / price ratio.
El Jem Music Festival
Every year, the prestigious Roman amphitheater Thysdrus resurrects to the sound of enchanting melodies. The program of the festival includes the biggest orchestras of the world such as the famous Vienna Opera, the Sinfonica di Roma or the 100 gypsy violins.
The Sea Festival is held every year in the month of July. We can celebrate with gala evenings, plastic art, sports competitions and tournaments (petanque, beach volleyball, beach soccer, swimming …). You can also attend exhibitions and cultural activities such as sea excursions.
The festival is held every two years in May. There are exhibitions of artisan silk products such as finely woven scarves and sublime hand-embroidered silk chiffon tunics. There are also lectures and a parade of traditional costumes.
Festival the nights of Mahdia
The festival is held every year between July and August. It features rich programming to meet different artistic tastes, music, folk art, theater, screenings and dance.