Travel Tunisia: El Djem City

El Djem in Tunisia – a place with a rich history

The small town El Djem was once a major settlement in the Roman Empire. Now it is one of the most visited tourist sites in Tunisia, attracting travelers from all over the world with its grandeur and rich history.

Where is it found?

The city is located 40 km southwest of the resort town of Mahdia and is part of the vilayet of the same name.

On the map

Advantageous tours and packages

You can see the prices on the website of hypermarket tours Travelata and buy tickets online. The cost of the tour includes: airfare, transfers from the airport to the hotel and back, accommodation and meals at the hotel and medical insurance.

What is it famous for?

On the site of the city since ancient times in the history of the state was a small Berber village Tizdr . Later the Phoenicians settled here, and the settlement became part of the state of Carthage. After the fall of Carthage, the Romans founded a colony in what is now El Djem, where veterans of Julius Caesar’s legions settled.

During the heyday of Tizdre, a large amphitheater was built, which is probably the most spectacular attraction and one of the symbols of Tunisia.

El Djem in Tunisia - a place with a rich history

How to get there?

The nearest airports with charter flights from Russia are Enfidha airport near Hammamet and Bourguiba airport near Monastir. J. Bourguiba airport near Monastir. Scheduled flights during low tourist season are usually available at Carthage airport.

Minimum cost for roundtrip flight from Moscow to Tunisia in 2022 is 7000 rubles. Prices vary depending on the season and range from 14200 to 44800 r on average.

A good way to buy tickets cheaply on the largest search engine in Russia

You can get to the city from Monastir, Hammamet and Sousse by bus, train or cab. The train from Sousse costs 250 rubles and takes about 2 hours. There is a direct train from Hammamet to Edjam. It takes up to 3,5h by train from Tunisia: the trip takes up to 3,5h, the ticket price – from 350 rub.

You can book a cab or a transfer online at, which is an online system for searching cabs and booking individual transfers. The advantages are:

  • fixed price
  • meeting with a nameplate
  • 24×7 support
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To get to the city by bus you must first go to Sousse (350 rubles), then change to a shuttle bus (from 140 rubles). Travel time is almost an hour.

There is no direct bus from Hammamet, so first you take a bus or train to Sousse, then change to a bus or minibus to Al-Jam. From Monastir there are shuttles and buses, the fare is 140-210 p. A trip by minibus from Mahdia will cost 105 p.

Excursions in the city

City tours can be purchased directly from hotels, tour operators and “street” agencies. The cost of a tour with departure from hotels in Nabeel and Hammamet in 2022 is 1500 p. for adults, 770 p. for children, with departure from hotels in Monastir and Sousse – 1400 p. and 730 p. respectively. The duration of the tour is half a day.

We recommend buying tours here: – a service of unusual excursions from locals and guides who can tell you about the most interesting things in their cities.

A visit to El Djem is part of a full two-day trip to the Sahara, along with visits to Matmata, Douz, Tatooine, and Kairouan. As noted by tourists, there is not enough time to see the amphitheater itself as part of this tour, but there is time to see the museum and the archaeological area.

Cost with departure from Nabeel and Hammamet – 6300 p. for adults, 3500 p. for children, from Sousse, Monastir and Mahdia – 6100 p./ 3500 p.

It is advisable to get acquainted with the offers of different tour operators before buying a tour.

Best Hotels

The choice of hotels in the small El Jem is small. There are practically no suitable accommodations in the town itself that travelers could recommend to each other. There are only a few hotels with a modest set of amenities .

We recommend renting lodging on safe sites:

    – The World’s Leading Hotel Rentals – compare hotel prices from 70 booking agencies

The exception is the Hotel Julius 4*, which is located 1 km from the famous amphitheater. There are cozy rooms, a swimming pool, a sunbathing terrace, a garden and a place for barbecue. Guests note the convenient location near the railway station, good service.

Tip: The best solution would be to stay in hotels in nearby resort towns, such as Mahdia .

The current prices 2022

The average check in restaurants in El Jam in 2022 is 700-1400 p. per person. The cost of a cup of coffee with dessert in a local cafe is from 140 p. . Since the place is quite “promoted”, the prices for goods and services here are somewhat higher than the national average.

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One of the key attractions of Tunisia is the amphitheater, located in El Djem, often called the “African Colosseum. The building was erected in the 3rd century and was the third largest in the Roman Empire, after the famous Colosseum in Rome and the Amphitheatre of Capua. The amphitheater could hold up to 35000 people.

In difficult times for the settlement it was used as a fortress . It was a defence against the Vandals in 430 AD, against the Arab invasions in 647 and 699 AD, against the oppression of the Ottoman Empire in 1695 and against the troops of the Bey in 1850. In the XVII century, part of the structure was dismantled and the stone was taken away for the reconstruction of the Great Mosque of Kairuan. The structure was also damaged during the Second World War during the assault by British troops.

The archaeological value of the amphitheater was recognized only in 1881. When Tunisia became a French colony. Excavations began in 1904. Restoration works were carried out only in 1974-1980. In 1979 the amphitheatre was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The cost of visiting the attraction – from 220 rubles.

Archaeological Museum

In the southern part of the city, on the road to the town of Sfax, is the Archaeological Museum . Among its exhibits are household items, ceramics and coins. The greatest interest of visitors are the Roman mosaics, found on the sites of Roman villas. The most famous of them are the “Four Seasons” and the “Goddess of Africa”.


Behind the museum you can find the archaeological excavations of the villas of Tizdra. The best preserved are the “House of Sollertian” and the “House of the Peacock”, which also displays large mosaics.

Entertainment – what to do?

In the second half of summer the city hosts the International Music Festival . In the arena of the amphitheater on Saturday evenings there are concerts of folk and classical music.

Tickets cost from 220 to 650 rubles. On performance days there is a special train from Sousse, Hammamet and Tunis. There are no other entertainments in the city.

El Djem

El Djem used to be a large city in the Roman Empire, but now it’s a small town about an hour’s drive from Sousse. We went there in February, when it was warm enough and the sun was shining brightly. The road ran along the olive groves, promising an unforgettable trip. We left Sousse late, so we arrived in the city in the evening. And the majestic Colosseum El Djem appeared before us in the rays of the setting sun.

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It is an inexpressibly beautiful sight.

The town itself is small: small houses of typical white color clustered around the amphitheater, a few stores and souvenir shops near it, a mosque with a minaret proudly rising to the sky – that’s all El Djem. It takes less than a day to explore this city with its sights.

Of course, I remember the Amphitheater more than the town itself. It is the heart of this town, which, by the way, was partly built from the stones of the same Amphitheatre. Just as Hammamet or Sousse feed their luxurious beaches with comfortable hotels, so it feeds the whole town, allowing the inhabitants to earn some money.

How to get there

As you can guess, there is no airport in Sousse, so you can get there by car, bus or train from nearby Sousse, Hammamet or Monastir. Depending on which airport you are arriving at (Enfidou or Habib Bourguiba Airport), or which resort you are visiting.

By plane

The closest airports to the city are:

  • Enfida near Hammamet is a popular arrival point for many Russian tourists. Mostly people come here as part of tourist groups, which are taken by buses to the hotels. It is very far from Hammamet itself – almost an hour away.
  • The Habib Bourguiba airport near Monastir is less busy in terms of charter traffic, but still it is sometimes chosen as a place of arrival. It is only 20 minutes from the city.
  • In the off season, when tourists no longer come in large droves, it is possible to arrive in Tunisia by regular flights. In most cases they all end up at Carthage Airport, near the capital of Tunisia. By local standards this is a fairly large airport, which is 30 minutes from the city.

In this article of mine you can find out in detail how to get to Tunisia by plane, as well as the peculiarities of the country’s international airports. You can compare flight prices from different airlines here.

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By train

Trains go to El Djem from Sousse, Hammamet, or Tunis, so if you choose this mode of transportation, you must first get from the airport to one of these three cities.

In Hammamet the route from the airport to the city is possible only by cab (from 10 EUR); in Monastir by cab (5 EUR), bus or minibus (1-2 EUR); in Tunisia by cab (from 10 EUR) or bus (2-3 EUR).

From Monastir you can get to Sousse by train, bus or minibus. I wrote more about it in my article about Sousse. From Sousse to El Djem, the train fare will be 3.5 EUR and the time is about 2 hours. You can take a cab or bus to the station.

There is a direct train from Hammamet, the fare is 5 EUR, but the station is far from the city. Travel time: almost 2,5 hours.

From Tunisia there is a train, the ticket for which costs from 5-6 EUR. The travel time is 3 hours.

The train schedule can be found on the official Tunisian rail website. Keep in mind, trains can be late!

The train station in El Djem is opposite the Julius Hotel, about a 20 minute walk from the center.

Take the bus

Another option is to take a bus or shuttle bus (called louage here).

From Tunisia you can take a bus to Sousse (5 EUR) and then change to a minibus (2-2,5 EUR per hour).

From Hammamet there is no direct bus or shuttle bus to El Djem, so you should take a train or bus to Sousse first, then change to a shuttle or bus there.

From Monastir there are also buses or shuttles for 2-3 EUR, almost an hour+ trip.

If you have a rest in Mahdia, you can also take a minibus from there. It costs 1,5 EUR (50 minutes).

Stations of taxis are called station de louage. Their peculiarity: the driver does not move until all seats are filled. You must pay the ticket directly to the driver. There is no exact schedule of departure of minibuses. The principle is the following: the driver waits for passengers, and as soon as all 8 seats are filled she departs. Busses also do not have numbers. You have to ask for buses to Sousse or El Jam, and they will show them to you.

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As for the buses, they sell tickets in advance at the bus stops. You have to go there at least an hour in advance, buy a ticket, and take a seat in line in front of the bus. Buses run once or twice a day (morning and evening). Buses don’t have numbers either. On the front window they put a sign with the name of the city of arrival.

If you go by bus, you will come to station de louage, that is a stop of buses. It is about a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel Julius. It’s easier to take the bus because you can ask to be dropped off where you feel more comfortable.

By car

It is possible to rent a car for 25-30 EUR in off-season and 40 EUR in season. You have to show your passport, license (Russian or European) and money in a rent-a-car company. And the car is yours. By the way, you can easily find a car rental company in the city and compare prices here.

The roads in Tunisia are paid: from 0,50 EUR to 1 TND. But they are in good condition and guarded by police.

We just drove to El Djem, and I really liked the road there: there are olive trees along it, and you can also find small towns. There are signs everywhere, so you can easily find your way into town.


El Djem is an inland town, so there is no sea connection here.

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