A taste of North Africa
Tunisia offers a great introduction to North Africa. All over the country, medinas, souks and mosques freckle the towns and villages, while ancient cities give way to salt lakes and citrus groves. And down in the south, the mysterious Berber tribes dwell in the caves that edge the Sahara Desert.
Hammamet and Port El Kantaoui
Tunisia’s coastline has the full spectrum of resorts. If there was a competition for the prettiest, Hammamet would be a strong contender. Its whitewashed houses tumble down towards a pale band of sand, which stretches along the coast for 10 kilometres. Head south and you’ll come to Port El Kantaoui. This place has a more cosmopolitan feel, with a yacht-filled marina edged by seafood restaurants and jewellery shops.
Sousse and Skanes
A little further down the coast are Sousse and Skanes, both of which are fronted by cushiony sweeps of sand. The ancient medina in Sousse is the real showpiece in these parts. Delve beyond the stone walls and search the backstreets for hand-woven rugs, intricate jewellery and leather handbags.
Djerba is a little island off the south coast of Tunisia. With its pearly beaches and ancient medinas, it’s like a miniature version of the mainland. That said, it tends to attract fewer holidaymakers, which means peaceful surroundings are a given.
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Hammamet has long been Tunisia’s number-one beach town. It became popular in the Twenties with European artists and writers, and since then everyone from Wallis Simpson to Sophia Loren has visited its golden shores. Its popularity remains as strong as ever, but Hammamet has managed to hold on to that Moorish mystique which made it so popular in the first place.
On the east coast of Tunisia, Sousse is a place where history and culture collide. This is the country’s second biggest city, with more than 3,000 years of history to its name. The first thing you’ll notice is the medina, a UNESCO-protected site that’s home to a holy mosque and a Medieval kasbah, or fortress. Fanning out from the medina is the new town, with the port to one side and long, modern avenues to the other. They’re filled with a stream of yellow taxi cabs and locals chatting in the street.
Yasmine Hammamet is an up-and-coming town along Tunisia’s beautiful northern coast. It’s a bubbly place, with a trio of boulevard, marina and sandy beach. There are elegant modern restaurants and shops dotted around. What’s more, you’ll find a trace of old Tunisia in the tea rooms and colourful markets of the quaint medina quarter.
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