Travelers to Sfax often describe its walled city as the most authentic medina in Tunisia. Indeed, it’s easy to understand why as the Sfax medina has been mostly untouched by tourism. It continues to play an important role in everyday life for locals, as it has for centuries.

If you’re the kind of traveler who likes experiencing authentic local life and learning about fascinating history along the way, consider making these 7 stops in the Sfax medina a part of your Tunisia itinerary: 

The Sfax Medina: Bab Diwan Gate

Gates were an important aspect of walled cities as they regulated the comings and goings into the city. And crucially, the city could close the gates to protect against invasions. Bab Diwan was one of the early gates of the medina, and it’s a great place to start a walking tour. Note the large defensive ramparts. Bab Diwan Sfax Medina

The Sfax Medina: Dar Jellouli Museum

Dar Jellouli is in a quiet, residential area off one of the main streets that runs through the Sfax medina. This traditional courtyard home is now a museum that highlights the history and culture of life in the medina. Walking through the house’s rooms and seeing the displays really gives a sense of what life was like for the residents of Sfax for centuries.   Dar Jellouli Sfax Courtyard Home

The Sfax Medina: Funduq des Forgerons

The next stop is Funduq des Forgerons (literally, “the Blacksmiths’ hotel”). This was a traditional hotel for merchants who came to Sfax with their caravans. There was plenty of room on the ground floor for travelers’ animals in the large courtyard and stalls, while travelers lodged in the rooms above.Funduq des Forgerons Sfax Medina

The Sfax Fish Market

Although not actually in the medina’s walls, a visit to the medina wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the fish market. Sfaxian cuisine is known for its various seafood dishes, and the variety of fish and other seafood in this market makes it easy to understand why. This fish market is among the most popular for Sfaxians to shop. Sfax Fish Market

The Medina’s Spice Shops

Heading back to the medina through Bab Jebli, make a stop at one of the spice shops nearby. The spice trade was once one of the most important and profitable in the world. Spice sellers played (and still play) an important role in the medina to provide flavor for food and ingredients for traditional medicine. Spice Shop Sfax Medina

Relax with Cafe Kemour’s Great Panorama

By this time, you’ll probably appreciate time to sit down for a coffee or mint tea at Café Kemour. Here you can sit on the roof and get wonderful views of the Great Mosque and surrounding rooftops, or sit inside and enjoy the traditional decor. Sfax Medina Tunisia Cultural Tour Cafe Stop

The Sfax Medina: Souq des Etoffes

The nearby Souq des Etoffes is a colorful covered market where sellers display a variety of traditional clothing and rugs. This is a great place to buy traditional clothes or rugs because sellers usually start off at reasonable prices. Souq Des Etoffes Sfax Medina

Enjoy Local Tunisian Cuisine

Last but not least, it’s now time for lunch. I recommend one of the seafood restaurants not far from Bab Diwan. Choose from a variety of fish and seafood, and you’ll get salad, soup, and a choice of starter. They also have chicken and lamb if you’re not into seafood. Sfax Seafood Restaurant

The Sfax Medina: Culture and History

In the Sfax medina, there’s a sense of culture and history at every stop. A walking tour of the medina is sure to be a memorable part of any Tunisia itinerary! 

For more information on building a custom Tunisia itinerary that includes the Sfax medina and other authentic places like it, contact us today! 

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