How nice to have a de facto resort town on the Mediterranean as a satellite suburb. This, in essence, is what Tunis has in Hammamet. The first beach resort in Tunisia was made to cater to old wealth, the nouveau riche and political class of the country and, indeed, infamous ex-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali spent many a weekend on the Cap Bon coast.
Hammamet was purpose-built with leisure in mind and despite the recent political turmoil in Tunisia and North Africa, performs the part of a top-level Mediterranean resort with aplomb. Come summer, the shores of the Gulf of Hammamet teem with Tunis tourists, international travellers and secretive celebs keen to bask in a curative climate made all the more seductive with the scent of jasmine. A one-time Roman colony with roots that go back thousands of years, Hammamet is a fun and welcome reprieve from the hustle bustle of Tunis, austerity of UNESCO World Heritage Carthage and Kairouan and the sleepy, tidy settlements that dot the peninsula coast.
Hammamet’s Top 10
10. Al-Zaytuna Mosque (Mosque of the Olive) dates back to the early 8th century and is a major landmark in Tunis.
5. Kairouan (75 mi/120 km from Hammamet) is a UNESCO World Heritage city and vital Islamic Cultural Capital.
9. Bardo Museum (Tunis) unfurls a major antiquity collection in a 13th century Hafsid palace.
4. Carthage is a paragon UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site.
8. Avenue Habib Bourguiba is the vibrant central axis of Tunis.
3. Hammamet Medina is a prominent pulse point and hive of activity.
7. Medina of Tunis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. Kasbah of Hammamet is the most venerable landmark in town.
6. Roman Ruins of Pupput display some worthwhile mosaics.
1. Hammamet Beach is the obvious flagship attraction for the holiday crowds.
- Great Mosque – Built in the 15th century, this architectural masterpiece is a beautiful example of both Turkish and Moorish design.
- The Fort (Kasbah) – Dating back to the 12th century, this fort is home to a small museum with exhibits on the town’s history.
- Medina – Encompassed by 15th-century walls, the magical medina showcases a delicate balance between history and modernity.
- Carthage – These Roman ruins offer tourists a glimpse into an ancient world of art, theatres, thermal bathhouses and temples.
- Pupput Roman Site – This site is a window into Tunisia’s Roman heritage.
Hammamet Art & Culture
- George Sebastian Villa (Dar Sebastian) – This beautiful 1920s villa was once the home of the wealthy but now has exhibits.
- Sidi Bou Said – This little town is the hub of Tunisian art and culture.
- International Festival of Hammamet – This annual event usually takes place around July or August and is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy local singing and acting talents.
- Musee Dar Khadija – This museum features arts and crafts on display.
- Dar Hammamet Museum and Gallery – This museum exhibits traditional costumes and art.
- Nabeul's Souk of Arts & Crafts – This store is home to a variety of great odds and ends.
- Bazaar (Souk) – No Hammamet experience is complete without a good haggling session at the bazaar.
- Workshops on Main Street – An assortment of workshops along the main street where you can purchase crafts and watch craftsmen hard at work.
- Fella – This boutique near the Medina is filled with exquisite embroideries, Tunisian djellabas, gorgeous jewellery and exotic kaftans.
- Yasmine Beach Resort – This resort is home to souvenir shops that have a number of souvenir trinkets for sale.
Gay & Lesbian Hammamet
- Eurobar – This is a cheerful, LGBT-friendly establishment owned by an amazing dancer.
- Le Hammamet Hotel Disco – While not exclusively gay, this disco certainly does not discriminate against same-sex relationships.
- Shakespeare Pub – If flashy drag acts are what you like for entertainment, this is the place to go.
- Hotel Dalia – This is an LGBT-friendly hotel in the city centre near the beaches.
- Oasis Club – This dance club is one of the best venues to hear house music and live DJs.
- Hammamet Beach – This peaceful stretch of beach offers relaxation and sunbathing.
- Friguia Animal Park – This park has a number of exotic Tunisian wildlife species.
- Cap Bon – This area showcases the Tunisian desert at its finest, with wild beaches and small villages.
- Carthage Land – This theme park is the first of its kind opened in Africa.
- Flipper Aquapark – This water park is filled with pools and slides.
- Play a round of golf at the championship course at the Yasmine Valley Club.
- Windsurf or jet ski in the Gulf of Hammamet.
- Explore the desert from the back of a camel.
- Go ice skating at Tunisia’s only ice skating rink, Blue Ice.
- Take a boat trip to get up close and personal with Hammamet’s friendly dolphins.
International Festival of Dance comes to Hammamet every July and August.
Carthage International Festival combines dance, theatre, music and other cultural events every summer.
Ichkeul National Park is the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tunisia and the only one in North Africa west of Egypt. About a 90 minute drive from Hammamet.
Yasmine Hammamet Beach is a suitable spot for water sports and less strenuous pursuits. The beach resort hosts a cultural festival every July.
A festival in the Medina of Tunis takes place throughout Ramadan.
When To Go
Hammamet has a most desirable and enviable Mediterranean climate, with clement weather throughout the year. Rainfall is sparse, summers hot but not oppressively humid and winters cool but not overtly frigid.
The zenith of the annual holiday season is, predictably, from June to September, when temperatures waver from 70°F (21°C) to 95°F (35°C).
In January, temperatures dip as low as 46°F (8°C) but seldom beyond. Overall, the best compromise may be to visit in the month of May or October, when the hordes thin considerably but the weather still shines for prime beach time.
On the doorstep of the national capital and only big city in the country, the way in to Hammamet is manifest. Tunis is the gateway and Tunis-Carthage International the central hub. The airport handles close to 4 million passengers a year and serves most of Europe, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
A private taxi from the airport is the most comfortable mode of transport to Hammamet hotels and well worth the expense. Trains do stop at Bir Bou Regba (Rekba) from Tunis on the main national line - mere minutes by cab to Hammamet.
Within the resort area proper, a pair of comfy trainers or sandals is all you need to get from one point to another.
While Tunisia may not make the cut of must-see mainstream tourist stops, the country is rife with culture, ancient landmarks, seaside resorts, diverse geography and hospitable people. As such, the affordable destination a mere stone's throw from Sicily deserves to be in the discussion with the likes of Morocco, Spain and other proximate neighbors in North Africa and the Mediterranean diaspora. Hammamet has fast become one of the most desirable locations within Tunisia, with a population that soars at the height of the peak tourist season every summer. The small town on the Cap Bon peninsula in the Gulf of Hammamet enjoys a near-perfect climate and is famous the world over for jasmine cultivation. Now a modern seaside resort town, Hammamet was once a Roman colony and the region has roots that date back thousands of years. As a result, visitors can enjoy UNESCO World Heritage gems like Carthage and Kairouan, in addition to scores of beautiful towns up and down the Gulf of Hammamet coast.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurant & Nightlife
Hammamet has a beautiful Mediterranean climate, with lovely weather throughout the year.
- Winter (December to February) 8-17°C
- Spring (March to May) 10-27°C
- Summer (June to September) 21-35°C
- Fall (October to November) 12-27°C
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