Part 3 of 6
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Anyone who’s been to Morocco will be on familiar ground. As well as having the same languages of Arabic and French, the food, scenery and relatively liberal culture are all very similar. And if you’re dreaming of long, glorious summer days, postcard-pretty beaches and warm dips in the Mediterranean Sea, look no further than Tunisia. With 800 miles of beautiful coastline and a variety of sunbathing spots to discover, from family-friendly resorts to secluded beaches, you’ll love the variety that Tunisia has to offer.
Tunisia holds something for every type of beach-lover. These are the most beautiful stretches of golden sand, bathed by intensely blue waters and blessed with sunshine practically all year round. While relaxing on the beach is considered one of the best things to do in Tunisia, visiting the coast is about so much more than sunbathing: there’s plenty to do, from scuba diving and watersports to exploring pretty coastal towns and nearby cultural attractions.
Tunisia’s best beaches promise its visitors an infinite blue sky with a hot golden sun. You can feel the warm sand between your toes and serene water that allows you to spend hours on end swimming. If you are wondering what the sea is like in Tunisia, it will depend on the time of year you are visiting.
June to September is the best period for swimming on the best beaches in Tunisia. The water will generally be shallow, warm, and calm. The seawater will alternate in colors of light blue, dark blue, and turquoise. These beaches are typically free of sea creatures, making it easier to swim worry-free. If you come during the off-season months, you can get some days of clear water, and calm sea, but most of the time the sea will be rough and dark in color.
Some of the best beach holiday destinations are found in Cap Bon, in northeastern Tunisia. Here, you’ll find holiday hotspots such as Hammamet, Tunisia’s biggest resort, Nabeul, the ceramics centre of Tunisia, which also boasts a gorgeous beach, and Kelibia, which is an off the beaten track choice that is blessed with the pretty El Mansourah beach. Base yourself in Hammamet, which is full of luxurious hotels and resorts and from which you can easily explore the rest of Cap Bon’s stunning beaches. It’s also a great choice if you want to try watersports: here, you can try everything from scuba diving to jet skiing.
The east coast is also a great choice if you’re looking to soak up the sun on some of Tunisia’s best beaches. This region is home to Port El Kantaoui, Hammamet and Monastir, with plenty of popular beaches, and Mahdia, a gorgeous coastal town that’s an ideal choice if you’re looking for a quiet, calm retreat with beautiful sea views. The east coast is also where you’ll find Djerba Island, a picturesque holiday destination with luxury hotels, pristine sandy beaches and warm waters.
In our case, my boyfriend and I were only in Tunisia for a few days but we still managed to go to quite a few beaches. Below are the beaches we went to:
The town of Hammamet, just a one-hour drive from the capital Tunis, is a no-stress place full of charm, and it’s all about the beach. Hammamet’s superb stretches of fine white sands are among the best-known beaches in Tunisia, bathed by warm waters and a huge wealth of marine life. This breathtaking underwater world makes Hammamet beach the number one spot for a vacation filled with scuba diving and snorkelling.
When in Hammamet, make sure you also stroll through the Medina, an old and historic neighborhood by the water that’s surrounded by a wall built in the 15th century and climb up to the top of the Kasbah or fortress for spectacular views.
The beach of Nabeul, Tunisia’s oldest resort, is located on the Cape Bon peninsula on the north coast of the country. The coastline is covered with clean fine sand of a creamy hue. The sea is clean and calm. The descent into the water is long and gentle, the bottom is sandy. However, the beach infrastructure is not as luxurious as in Hammamet and Sousse. There are no mattresses on the sun loungers and tables in the café are not covered with tablecloths but the beach is not crowded.
If you’re looking for just a tad more adventure and action, Monastir beach will keep you going long after sunset. Its golden sandy shores and sparkling waves can be discovered by boat, by board and by camel. A thrilling ride on a banana boat, taming the waves on water skis and surfboards or exploring the alluring surroundings on camel or horseback; all of this and more is possible in Monastir.
When visiting Monastir, make sure to stop by the Ribat, one of the oldest Arab fortresses in Africa that’s been featured in films such as Jesus of Nazareth (1977). This old building was built in 796 AD, so it carries much of Monastir and Tunisia’s history.
Sidi Bou Said
Sidi Bou Said is a gorgeous white-washed town on the Gulf of Tunis. It was once visited by the pirates of Barbosa and is currently one of the jewels of Tunisia. This white and blue village is a paradise for artists and attracts visitors that enjoy the wonders of its beaches.
If you want a Tunisian beach vacation that highlights Tunisia’s Mediterranean ties, come here, as you’ll find a beautiful mix of North African and Greek island styles. And when you’re done soaking in the sun at the beach, this is one of the best Tunisian towns to relax in.
When it comes to beautiful white sandy beaches, few countries along the Mediterranean come close to Tunisia. But the North African country is so much more than just a beach destination. It’s filled with archaeological wonders (perfect for history-buffs) and the Southern Sahara offers endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure.
Of course, Tunisia is not only beaches and while there one should definitely visit the below to say the very least:
Tunis is home to a world-heritage medina
From the 12th and 16th century, Tunis was considered one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the Islamic world; and the medina in Tunis was also one of the first Arab-Muslim towns in North Africa. Take a stroll in the souks, while you discover some of the 700 monuments preserved in the medina, such as the Zitouna Mosque and the Kasbah Mosque.
It’s home to the historic archaeological site of Carthage
Founded in the 9th century B.C by the Phoenicians, Carthage is an incredible UNESCO archaeological site located on the Gulf of Tunis. Having played a major role in antiquity, Carthage engaged in the Punic wars against Rome. Destroyed, Carthage was rebuilt by Romans in 146 AD. The National Museum of Carthage and the 19th century Cathedral of Saint Louis are also not to miss.
Sidi Bou Saïd is Tunisia’s answer to the Amalfi Coast
The peaceful and picturesque white and blue village just outside of Tunis is an all-time favourite. One look at it and you’ll have no problem realising why painters like Paul Klee and writers like Flaubert and Simone de Beauvoir spent time there to get inspired. After strolling around the alleys and artists’ studios, get a mint tea and bambalouni (Tunisia’s local doughnut) on top of the hill.
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