Monastir is warm throughout the year, with average annual highs rarely dipping below 16 C. Temperatures peak around 34 C in July and August, with the warm weather continuing until November when daily highs hover at 22 C. Summer is the most popular, and thus most expensive, season, but due to the city’s accommodating weather, beach holidays can be equally as enjoyable during the less busy months. Monastir’s major annual event is Festival international de Monastir, and is held every August. Although primarily a music and dance festival, theatre pieces and street performers are also part and parcel of this colourful event.
Monastir has been at the crossroads of civilization since the dawn of time. Founded on the ancient Punic city of Ruspina, Monastir is one of the best places to see Carthaginian architecture, as well as Roman ruins outside of Europe. The city is also an excellent alternative to Tunisia’s more popular seaside resorts, with Al-Qurayyah beach and its fashionable resort complexes among some of the country’s best-kept waterfront secrets.
Be sure to visit the Old City and get to grips with all the smells, sights and sounds of street markets and food vendors. The Ribat, the medieval fortress made famous as a filming location in Monty Python’s Life of Brian is also worth exploring, as is the Mausoleum of Bourguiba. Alternatively, sharpen the cutlery and enjoy the city’s wealth of restaurants. Traditional Tunisian cuisine can be found in the medina, while port de plaisance offers a more formal dining experience. Fresh fish, mixed grills and aromatic salad dishes are among the local specialties, with a range of herbal teas on offer for lighter options.
Monastir is also an ideal location from which to mount explorations further afield. The popular holiday resort of Skanes is only 3.7 miles (6 km) away, and is famous for its professional golf courses, white, sandy beaches, clear blue sea and hotels that combine Moorish architecture with modern designs. Looking a little further, The Medina of Sousse, located in the city of the same name, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is only 12.5 miles (20 km) away. Alternatively, take an overnight bag and explore the country’s capital city, Tunis, 160 miles (258 km) to the north. Make sure to visit the ruins of Carthage, as well as the stunning Zaytuna Mosque.
Monastir boasts good public transport facilities that operate frequent services across the city. However, due to its intimate size, Monastir is also easily accessible on foot.
Monastir is served by Habib Bourguiba International Airport (MIR), and flights operate to major European cities on regular as well as smaller airports on a seasonal basis. A light rail station is located in front of the airport, and runs a service to Monastir city center every 30 minutes. Private hire taxis and car rental is also available.