© ATTA / Rupert Shanks, Julien Cazaubon

Mahdia, Riding the Winds

25 November 2023

We are pleased to introduce the Adventure and Outdoor Tourism Development project in Tunisia (AOTD Tunis), executed by ATTA under the "Promotion of Sustainable Tourism" project, implemented by the Ministry of Tourism with the support of GIZ and jointly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and by the European Union as part of its program Tounes Wijhetouna - وجهتنا تونس.
Within the heart of this initiative, 12 exceptional enterprises hailing from Tozeur, Zaghouan, Mahdia, and El Kef have been carefully handpicked to craft innovative, one-of-a-kind experiences and to partake in dynamic market activation endeavors.

These four regions are the playgrounds where adventure and outdoor tourism flourish, driven by a commitment to diversity, top-notch quality, cutting-edge tourism offerings, and sustainability. Through a series of articles you will learn more about these regions and this destination.

The Tunisian Coast: Embracing Watersports and Slow Tourism

When we talk about the Tunisian coastline, the image that may come to mind is a row of all-inclusive hotels lining the beaches, and the mass tourism influx. Tunisians want to change this model and increase awareness of the treasures that surround them. They seek to offer more quality and responsible stays in terms of sustainable development along their coastlines. The Mediterranean Sea offers regenerative power throughout the year. The climate is pleasant and even mild in winter, the distances between tourist sites and the beach are not long, and the coastal resorts are welcoming in every season. It is also easy to rent a car and explore the roads along the coast to experience a lifestyle oriented towards the sea.

Sousse stands out among the most appreciated coastal cities. There is much to appreciate with its medina, alleys adorned with bougainvillea, its fascinating archaeological museum, and its gentle way of life. Heading towards the Sousse region, about halfway between Tunis and Djerba, where water sports are on the rise, you can escape from well-known areas to discover places like Mahdia, which are embracing this new style of tourism.

Along the Tunisian shores travelers may find hotels with beaches adorned with sunbeds. But some small towns have capitalized on the unique features of this landscape, such as the strong winds. Mahdia is one such town. South of the renowned Sousse, located about 45 minutes from Monastir airport, Mahdia has established a solid reputation for water sports. With particularly strong winds in May, September, and December, the location is ideal windsurfing, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding.

Tarek Limen, a native of Mahdia, opened Mahdia Surf to meet the growing demand from tourists who want to come to Tunisia to enjoy the sea and the beach while indulging in their favorite water sports. On the water since his childhood, he has been introduced to all water sports, from windsurfing to kiteboarding, including wing foiling and pump foiling. For beginners or to be on the water when the wind is not there, paddleboarding is done around the Medina. This is where the water is the "coolest" in summer (25°C instead of 28°C). For kiteboarding enthusiasts, the service includes marine weather updates; the Mahdia Surf team notifies as soon as the conditions are good, and clients appreciate it! Service in Tunisia is not an empty word; it is an integral part of the way of life for the local people. As with Sousse, after hours spent on the water, you can stroll through the Medina of Sousse, taste local flavors in small restaurants or markets, or go meet artisans.

To learn more about this region and the AOTD Tunis project, visit Adventure.Travel.

© ATTA / Rupert Shanks, Julien Cazaubon