Whether you’re taking the Louage, riding the railway, or self-driving, here’s everything you need to know about travelling from Tunis to Sousse.
It’s around 140 kilometres from Tunis to Sousse. I’ve made the journey from the Tunisian capital to the beachside city of Sousse both ways, braving the Louage system on the way there and taking the train on the way back.
As far as public transport goes, the Louage – a type of shared minibus that leaves when full – was surprisingly fast, it was comfortable and it was cheap. The train was excellent value, but given the Tunisian rail network runs old French hand-me-downs, it wasn’t exactly on time. Either way, you can expect your journey from Tunis to Sousse to take a minimum of two hours, but probably more.
In this article, I explain how to travel from Tunis to Sousse by public transport. Keep reading, to find out more!
Table of Contents
How to travel from Tunis to Sousse
Tunis is the Tunisian capital, and for me, the city’s international airport has always been the starting point for my journeys around the North African country. Tunis-Carthage International Airport has great connections to the United Kingdom, and the rest of Europe, and the capital is of course well connected to the rest of Tunisia.
After seeing the sights in the Medina of Tunis, visiting the Bardo Museum and making a day trip to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said, you can head down to Sousse and spend some time on the beach. Sousse’s coastline is lined with hotels and resorts (you can score great deals on all-inclusive hotels if that’s your thing) but there’s plenty of history waiting for you in the Medina of Sousse, too, which is UNESCO World Heritage-listed.
If you’re travelling from Tunis to Sousse, there are several options available, including the train, Louage, or bus. Of course, you can always drive if you’ve got a vehicle and are willing to take on Tunisia’s hectic roads (watch out for stray camels).
Here’s a quick overview of each option. Scroll further down for more detailed, step-by-step guides for each one.
- By Train: Tunisia’s train network, operated by Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT), offers a comfortable and efficient way to travel between Tunis and Sousse. The journey typically takes about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the type of service. First and second-class services are available, but don’t expect too much difference between them, especially given the carriages are all quite dated.
- By Shared Taxi (Louage): Louages are an incredibly popular form of shared long-distance taxi in Tunisia. They are faster than buses but less structured in terms of scheduling. Louages depart when they are full, which usually doesn’t take long. Standards can vary, but on the route between Tunis and Sousse, the Louages were nice modern minibuses.
- By Bus: Buses in Tunisia are a cost-effective option for long-distance travel. The bus journey from Tunis to Sousse will take longer than the Louage, but the buses do keep to a more rigid schedule. Various companies operate on this route, with most buses departing from Bab Alioua Station in Tunis. You’ll need to rock up and book a ticket on the day, but don’t worry, because buses depart regularly for Sousse.
- By Car: If you prefer a more flexible schedule, renting a car could be a good option. The distance between Tunis and Sousse is about 140 kilometres, and the drive usually takes around 2 hours via the A1 motorway. This option allows you to explore at your own pace and make stops along the way.
Given that the closest airport to Sousse is Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport – which is almost as far away as Tunis! – there’s not much point in taking a flight between the two cities; indeed, there aren’t many operators for this route anyway, unless you’ve got a private jet!
Let’s take a look at the public transport options that I took (the train and Louage) in more detail.
Read more: 18 Best Places to Visit in Tunisia
Tunis to Sousse by train
Tunisia’s rail network was built by the French, and sometimes, it feels as if the inter-city trains haven’t had an upgrade since independence in 1956! Of course, that’s not true, and although the carriages are faded and cracked, the chairs are comfy and the seating layouts spacious. There’s plenty of luggage space, you’ll have a seat reservation and there are onboard toilets.
Given the low cost of a ticket, it costs almost nothing to upgrade from economy to First Class, not that you can notice much difference. Here’s a step-by-step guide to taking the train from Tunis to Sousse.
1. Check the Schedule online
Visit the official website of the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT), Tunisia’s national railway company, to check the latest schedules and any service updates. I found the timetable to be accurate, at least when it came to scheduled departures. Don’t rely on the trains being on time though.
Typically, there are four departures a day from Tunis to Sousse, at 06.05 am, 09.50 am, 15.15 pm and 21.15 pm. There seems to be an extra return journey from Sousse to Tunis each way. The five departures are typically at 04.35 am, 05.00 am, 07.25 am, 13.15 pm and 15.50 pm.
2. Purchase a ticket at the Gare de Tunis
Inter-city trains depart from the Gare de Tunis, the main central station in Tunis. You can catch a taxi here, but you’ll need to haggle hard for the best price. I’d recommend using a ride-hailing app like Bolt if you’ve got phone data, as the prices are much, much better.
I’d recommend arriving early so you can verify the online timetable is correct, and purchase your ticket. If you can, you could even try and buy a ticket the day before if you’re staying nearby. Prices are low, and you can expect to pay about 10 Tunisian Dinars for a one-way ticket (approx £2.50). You may need to speak some French to order your ticket!
Gare du Tunis has about 14 platforms, and it’s quite large (compared to Sousse, anyway). Check the information boards for the platform number from which your train will depart. You may have to wait around in the station if the train is delayed, so be prepared for this.
3. Enjoy the journey from Tunis to Sousse
The train journey from Tunis to Sousse takes about 2 to 3 hours. My train was delayed by about an hour, largely thanks to its late arrival. The train stops at several other stations along the route.
I’d recommend stocking up on water and snacks for the journey, as there wasn’t much available on the train I was on. During the journey, sit back and enjoy the Sahel passing by as you trundle down to Sousse. Keep your ticket, as the inspector will want to see it.
4. Arrive in Sousse
I don’t remember there being any announcements, or if there were, they were in French and Arabic. Keep an eye on your mobile maps to see where you are and track the journey. You’ll notice when the train arrives in Sousse, though, as it stops in a few of the suburbs before it reaches the central station.
The station isn’t far from the Medina of Sousse, and outside, you’ll find plenty of yellow taxis. You’ll need to haggle (there’s no Bolt in Sousse, at the moment), but expect to pay around 10-20 Dinars, depending on how far away your hotel is. If you’re visiting El Jem later on in your trip, you catch the same train that came down from Tunis.
Read more: 15 Things to Do in Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis to Sousse by Louage
A Louage is a type of shared taxi that’s popular in Tunisia, and it’s a surprisingly fast and efficient way to get around. Size and quality vary, but the route between Tunis and Sousse features fairly modern, comfortable minibuses that hold around eight passengers. The journey time is around two hours, making it a faster option than the train.
Here’s how to take a Louage from Tunis to Sousse:
1. Understanding Louages
Louages are essentially shared taxis operating on fixed routes but without strict schedules. They depart once all seats are filled, which usually doesn’t take long, especially on popular routes like Tunis to Sousse. Inter-city Louages are easily recognisable by their white body with a horizontal red stripe, there’s typically going to be air conditioning and there will be some space in the boot for luggage.
2. Head to Moncef Bey Louage Station in Tunis
There are several Louage departure points in Tunis, as far as I’m aware, but you’ll need to make your way to Moncef Bey Louage Station. I’d recommend using a Bolt if you’ve got the app, as this will save you haggling and explaining where you need to get to. The station isn’t in the city centre, so save plenty of time for the journey.
Get dropped off outside, then walk through the non-descript doors and you’ll find yourself in what is effectively a huge, and hectic warehouse. There are Louages everywhere, queues of people jostling around and plenty of people trying to sell you things.
3. Find the Louages to Sousse
Amidst the chaos though, you’ll see there’s some order. Don’t bother queuing at what look like ticket offices, instead, look around or ask around for the ‘Sousse’ section. All the Louages driving to Sousse will be parked up in one section of the warehouse, and you’ll be directed to the next one that’s departing.
It’s important to remember that you don’t hand over any money in advance. Everyone pays for a ticket when they are boarded. You literally just take a seat, put your luggage in the back and then wait for it to fill up. There’s no schedule, but you shouldn’t have to wait long on the Tunis-Sousse route.
The Louage system has set prices, so make sure you’re not overpaying. Ask your fellow passengers if in doubt. I paid 12 Dinars for my ticket, which is slightly more than the train, but it’s a much quicker journey. You might want to get an early start, as this is when more people travel. The later you leave it, the more difficult it could become to fill the Louage – but I doubt that when you’re travelling to Sousse!
4. Arrive in Sousse
Around two hours later you’ll arrive in Sousse, but that depends on how fast your driver goes and what the traffic is like. As you near Sousse, the Louage will start dropping people off at various places. I’d recommend just staying on until you reach the Louage station at the end of the line.
The name of this station is (I think!) Al Lawajat Station. Sousse’s main Louage station isn’t quite as large as Tunis but it’s still chaotic. It’s just out of town, too, so you’ll want to go out the main entrance and flag down a yellow taxi to get to your hotel.
Read more: 13 Things to Do in Sousse, Tunisia
How to get around Tunis and Sousse
Getting around in Tunis and Sousse can be an interesting and times, frustrating experience. Public transport is getting much more efficient, but the yellow taxis are a nightmare to haggle with. I’d recommend using Bolt in Tunis, but in Sousse, you’ll need to take taxis.
Here are the options for Tunis and Sousse:
Getting around Tunis:
- Light Metro (Tramway): Tunis’s light metro system is a convenient way to get around the city. It’s efficient and covers many key areas, including the suburbs. The trains are frequent, and the network is quite extensive. It’s the best way to reach Carthage or Sidi Bou Said on a day trip.
- Taxis and Ride-Hailing Apps: Taxis are abundant in Tunis. They’re metered, but the driver won’t use them. Haggle for the price before the journey. If possible, use Bolt, it’s so much easier.
- Buses: The bus network in Tunis is extensive and can take you to most parts of the city. Buses are an economical way to travel, though they can be crowded during peak hours.
- Walking: In some areas, especially in the city centre and the Medina (old town), walking is a great option. Many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of each other.
Read more: 14 Best Historic Sites in Tunisia
Getting around Sousse:
- Taxis: Like Tunis, taxis are readily available in Sousse. They are an efficient way to get around, especially for shorter distances within the city. Taxis in Sousse did use the metre, at least when you hailed them down in the city centre. The taxis waiting outside hotels were a different story, and they shamelessly tried to overcharge on every journey and refused to put the metre on.
- Metro leger (Light Rail): Sousse’s light rail system, the Metro leger, connects Sousse with the neighbouring towns of Monastir and Mahdia. It’s a good option for longer distances within the city and to nearby areas.
- Buses: The bus system in Sousse can get you to various parts of the city and is quite affordable. However, it might be less comfortable and more time-consuming than taxis.
- Walking: The city centre of Sousse is compact and many attractions, especially around the Medina and the beach areas, are within walking distance.
- Train: You can use the same train you arrived on from Tunis to make a day trip to El Jem.
Map: How to travel from Tunis to Sousse
Here’s a map detailing the stations you might need when you’re travelling between Tunis and Sousse:
There you have it, the best ways to travel from Tunis to Sousse, and from Sousee to Tunis! Please let me know in the comments if you have any tips or updates to share with other readers planning their Tunisia trips.