HammametHoliday-geared Hammamet has long attracted international vacationers, a fact to which the glorious decades-old Yasmine resort complex serves as testament. The town itself offers just the right dose of thrills to culture enthusiasts looking to break the lethargy of an all-inclusive respite with some sightseeing and shopping – all within the ancient walls of a cream-colored, low-rise Medina.
The CityThe first touristic center to be established in Tunisia, Hammamet preserves a lasting attraction to visitors (since it was first discovered by the beau monde in the 1920s) - perhaps, much due to the abundance of luxury resorts and affordable upmarket hotels in and around the area. Beaches in this part of the country are of particular appeal - apart from bits of the coast occupied by big hotels, boundless beaches stretch sandy miles north and south of town. Hammamet's location at the start of Cap Bon peninsula makes it a great vantage point for exploring the area further, traveling up to the Tunisian capital or the settlement of Nabeul (known for its vibrant Friday market), or even all the way up north - to the peninsula's very tip, with places like scenic Kelibia or the Roman Caves of El Haouaria. If you choose to venture south, you might want to consider towns such as Sousse and Monastir.
Do & See
While urban life might not exactly be Hammamet's main draw, its cream-colored Medina is an attractive oriental maze of windy alleys emblematic of the region, and a definitive must-visit for holidaymakers. Tourist infrastructure in Hammamet is ever-evolving, with vacationer's paradise of Yasmine occupying multiple acres of land south of town. Around Hammamet, multiple archaeological sites and coastal settlements serve as excellent field-trip destinations to those willing to venture elsewhere.
Eateries in and around Hammamet (and the Yasmine resort complex) cater to a plethora of different tastes, given that the city regularly receives large numbers of foreign visitors. Seafood features prominently on local restaurants' menus, and so does lamb. One local specialty not to be missed is couscous, a dish containing the grain itself along with meat and/or vegetables. Meals often come with a side of harissa - a spicy peppery paste, to be mixed in with food or used as a spread.
Leisurely afternoons at local cafes are a staple pastime in Hammamet. Their open-air terraces are good sites to people-watch, all while sipping on a glass of traditional Tunisian mint tea or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Some of the best views are to be had from atop the Medina walls, especially so at sundown.
Bars & Nightlife
Nightlife entertainment primarily centers around Hammamet Sud, while the Yasmine marina area is more known for its low-key, lounge-type bars. In the drinks department, Tunisia boasts some quality locally-produced wines (stocked in most places that serve alcohol) and a fig-based brandy variety (boukha). Celestia is a popular non-alcoholic beer. Do mind that not all local establishments serve alcohol, so it might be a good idea to enquire beforehand. Alcohol sale is restricted on Muslim holidays.
A trip to the souks may prove to be slightly disorienting at first, but do persevere - once the initial confusion passes, there are lots of bargains to be had on quality hand-made goods. Some pieces to look out for are silver jewellery typical of the region, leather goods (bags and belts), clothing, carpets, and traditional ceramics (pottery from Nabeul enjoys a particular popularity, and is distinguished by recognizable patterns featuring geometric shapes, floral and animal motives). Olive oil and spices are another idea for items to bring home with you.