Hergla is a hidden gem, a gorgeous working village in North-eastern Tunisia that is unspoiled by tourism, yet rich with things to see and explore. Hergla’s centre hosts a weekly market that’s a refreshingly relaxed experience after the bustle of the larger towns.
Browse the Markets: Visit on a Thursday and you’ll be able to browse food, spices and ceramics alongside traditional and modern clothing. There are also useful items like houseware and toiletries that you may struggle to find in tourism-focused commercial districts. When you arrive it’s simple to follow the flow of people down the main street until you come to the walled market area.
Even at this weekly peak of activity the crowds are small and the flow relaxed, and you won’t be hassled into sales. Though the market mostly serves locals, communication in English was never a problem. In this atmosphere it feels rude to haggle too aggressively, but can still easily talk your way into a small deal.
You will find a good variety of shoes, new and used clothes, traditional robes, cloth, scarves, fruit, vegetables, spices, confectionery, toiletries, cosmetics, containers, toys, ornaments and more. The market begins to end around noon, though some stalls will linger until much later.
Getting around: Travelling from Sousse or Port el Kantaoui in the morning means a short journey and plenty of time to shop, eat and get pleasantly lost and to return for your evening meal and city nightlife. ‘Louages’ or share taxis are the ideal way to travel to Hergla. Half bus and half taxi, not only is there the flexibility to get on and off anywhere, but at 1.5 Dinar from Kantaoui to Hergla you could be quoted ten times as much in a regular cab. Look for a yellow minibus with a blue stripe, they can be flagged down anywhere but there are also points at which they collect along the main road. If you want slightly more reliability there is a regular bus service, but there is an incomparably lively atmosphere in a louage as you press up against chatting locals and feel every lump and bump on the road.
Eat, stroll & marvel! After the market you can head down to a beach-side café to have some lunch and prepare for an afternoon of backstreet wandering. The residences of the town contain some truly breath-taking architectural features, the traditionally shaped doors being a highlight. This area is even quieter than the shops, and even on the beach life is going on as usual, seaweed being harvested and long grasses being picked for weaving. A small warning – once you start taking photos you may find it hard to stop!
Everything in Hergla has a beauty stemming from the sense of authenticity, of real Tunisian character. In the rush to see and do everything in such a rich and varied country it’s easy to forget that holidays were meant to involve rest! Visit Hergla for just one day and you’ll find time to relax, quiet to think, and real beauty to marvel and explore.
‘The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.’ -Gilbert K. Chesterton