Known as the Garden of Tunisia, the Cap Bon peninsula
combines sleepy villages, rolling green fields and vineyards with the biggest
and most cosmopolitan resort in the country.
HAMMAMET: Situated 64km (Map
of the city) southeast of Tunis,
Hammamet has been attracting package holiday-makers since the 1960s. Known as
the Garden Resort for its eucalyptus trees, citrus groves and flowering shrubs,
a local bylaw prohibits hotels being built higher than the tallest surrounding
But a much more relaxed attitude has been taken towards the expansion of the
resort. It now extends almost as far as Nabeul in the north while 8km
to the south, a massive new sister resort
Yasmine Hammamet is being completed.
The focal point of the town is the
Kasbah which was first built in the
15th century but heavily restored since. It provides the main entry to
Hammamet’s small medina which is packed with souvenir shops selling leatherware,
clothes, pottery, stuffed camels and bird cages.
Hammamet is well served with restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets. Most of
the major hotels are set alongside the town’s sandy beach – with many also
offering indoor and outdoor pools.
Beach activities include sailing, windsurfing and parascending. Most evening
entertainment is hotel-based and includes discos and folklore evenings.
Hammamet is a popular centre for golfers with two major courses including the
Citrus Golf Complex which offers two 18-hole championship courses and a
9-hole practice course.
Among Hammamet’s few tourist sights is the
International Cultural Centre
located in a villa once described by Frank Lloyd Wright as the most beautiful in
the world – which perhaps overstates its charms. Guests have included Churchill,
Rommel and Anthony Eden. In recent years, it has been the venue for Hammamet’s
annual summer cultural festival.
Although overshadowed by Hammamet 10km further south
of the city), Nabeul has spent the last decade trying to exploit its own
tourism potential and now boasts a string of large beachfront hotels.
The town’s biggest claim to fame is as the centre of Tunisia’s pottery industry
which dates back to Roman times.
The distinctive and very collectable blue and white pottery can be bought all
over Tunisia but Nabeul offers one of the widest selections. Tourists who
dislike the idea of haggling can buy items at two official tourist shops in the
town where prices are fixed.
Every Friday Nabeul plays host to a so-called Camel Market which seems to draw
considerably more tourists than it does camels – but it is a good opportunity
for shopping and hunting for bargains.
EL HAOUARIA: (Map of the city)
Best-known for its annual June falconry festival.
On the outskirts of the village opposite the island of Zembra is a
spectacular series of Roman caves. The nearby caves,
Les Grottes des
Chauves-Souris, are home to thousands of bats.
Kelibia is a picturesque and thriving fishing port
which makes a good base for exploring the more rural parts of the Cap Bon region.
A massive sixth-century fort overlooks the town and offers spectacular views.