Sfax and the islands of Kerkennah

A major commercial port, an old city surrounded by parchment-coloured ramparts… Sfax shows an authentic side of Tunisia. Facing it, the islands of Kerkennah offer poetic untouched landscapes and long sandy beaches. 

The city of Sfax

In the medina of Sfax, the stalls ring with the work of the small-scale craftsmen.

Take a tour of the picturesque fish market.

Stop to admire the Great Mosque and the Kasbah, the former citadel. 

Visit the Dar Jellouli palace, a beautiful 17th century house decorated with ceramic tile panels. Dar Jellouli is also a Museum of Folk Art and Traditions (currently closed for restoration).

Leaving the old districts, you will see stunning buildings dating from the time of the French Protectorate, of Arab-Moorish inspiration. 

The Kerkennah archipelago

Take a boat which will will carry you to the Kerkennah archipelago.

Contemplate the serene landscapes, the sway of the palm trees and the colours of the sun setting over the sea.

Enjoy the sandy beaches, deserted out of the summer season.

The water is so shallow that a mask and snorkel is sufficient to observe many fish.


Sfax is the “olive oil capital” of Tunisia. Don’t miss the occasion of visiting a traditional oil mill. Read more.

Bird lovers, get your binoculars: the Sfax and Kerkennah region is a major wintering site for migratory birds.


The medina of Sfax

Sfax is set apart by its magnificent medina dating back to the 9th century.

Its mighty walls, crenellated and punctuated with bastions, capture visitors. Enter through one of the doors and you will be plunged into another era, carried along by the flow of passers-by that crowd the souks.

The minaret of the Great mosque has remarkable carved decorations. Visit the Kasbah, a museum dedicated to historical architecture. 

Dar Jellouli

Built in the 17th century, Dar Jellouli belonged to a wealthy family of shipowners.

Its patio and rooms are decked with panels of ceramic tiles which interpret Turkish and Spanish influences.

It is a museum where beautiful objects that once accompanied the life of wealthy families are exhibited: feminine headpieces, toiletries, paintings under glass... (currently closed for restoration).

The ‘Arabisance’ district

The city centre of Sfax has many buildings built at the beginning of the 20th century by European architects who were inspired by Arab-Moorish traditions. This is called the Arabisance style.

Island Heritage Museum of Kerkennah

This small ethnographic museum offers a rich insight into the history and culture of the archipelago, particularly the world of traditional fishing.

Located in Dar El Fehri, village of Abbassia.

The ‘charfiyah’ of Kerkennah

Observe this original fishing device, made up of palm walls planted in shallow water, which allow you to trap fish.

Hotels and guesthouses

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The amphitheatre of El Jem

70 km away by motorway, don't miss the imposing Roman amphitheatre, one of the largest and best preserved in the world.

Shows of wild beasts and gladiators used to take place there. The arena still seems to resound with their furious fights!

The amphitheatre of El Jem has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Read more.

It is completed by a museum and a perfectly reconstructed Roman villa. Read more.

Also read: Mahdia and surroundings.

Useful information

Mahdia, Monastir, Sousse, Kairouan

Less than two hours drive northwards, discover superb seaside resorts and major historical cities:

Mahdia: former capital of the Fatimids, dream beaches and large fishing port;

Monastir: lovely beaches and a great fortress (the Ribat);

Sousse, a lively holiday resort and a medina declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO;

Kairouan, the first capital of Muslim Tunisia, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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