VIEWS: 10 PAGES: 8 POSTED ON: 9/17/2010
HAMMAMET Hammamet is clearly among North Africa's finest beach resorts. Here the fine beaches turn the right way, to the south, allowing you to sunbathe and watch the sea at the same time. The result is that it is so much a tourist resort, that you can for long hours get a feeling that Tunisia has disappeared, and all that is left are zealous shop keepers. Hammamet has about 50,000 inhabitants and 40,000 hotel beds! German, French, Swedish are spoken at all sides of you. Silly European men walk around the streets in just shorts and sandals. Whole families eat ice cream at the same time and the same speed. Female tour guides in orange dresses talk without a stop while being followed by a crowd of camera-ornamented tourists, pretending to be specialists on Blue and white house Tunisian culture and history. And then suddenly a Tunisian Casanova changes the image, but just slightly, where he walks towards you with his hand around the waist of a ten years older Finnish woman confused by all the sudden attention she gets Most of the year, there seems to be more Europeans here than in Marseilles. This makes many travellers stay away from Hammamet, especially if they know a bit of the distinct charm that the city had just a few decades ago. But Hammamet is a well-adjusted port to Tunisia for many people. Many tourists go for comfort and fun, and then Hammamet is among the best choices of Tunisia. And if anyone would like to go on excursions, Hammamet is close to many things: Tunis, Kairouan, and many small towns out on the Cap Bon. The tiny medina The medina dates back to around 1500, when the Hafsids erected the present walls, allowing safe living and trade here. The site had earlier been an Aghlabid stronghold. Its condition is excellent, but few streets offer much authentic experience, since souvenir stalls fill most streets. But yet, there are some areas without, especially in the southern residential district. Some local economic activity is still visible, mainly dealing with small-boat fishing. The fish caught here, can be enjoyed in some of the many local restaurants. Should you wish to go S talls shopping, Hammamet is neither better nor worse than any other. Check our page on shopping in Tunisia to prepare. Market stalls Fishing nets Decorated door Shady street Plenty of beaches Hammamet's beaches go on for kilometres and kilometres, and there is virtually no point along the coast that doesn't allow swimming. That is, of course, with exception of the beach strips fenced off by the better hotels. Therefore, despite the many tourists coming here, Hammamet's beaches rarely becomes very crowded. And they are clean and inviting too. Long wide beaches Beach at sunset Cafe Sidi Bou Hdid Start by admiring this little zawiyya (shrine for a holy man) turned cafe from the Kasbah, then spend the last ours of the day in the cafe itself. If you find a free table. This is as good as commercial tourism gets in Tunisia! Zawiyya Shores of the medina Definitely easy to overlook for visitors without a good map in their hand, the walk along walls of the medina offers many nice views of white-washed houses mushrooming above you. Late afternoon is the time when colours cascades into yellow and orange, matched by the blue sea. Sea views City wall Sunset Kasbah The Kasbah of Hammamet is certainly best enjoyed from the outside, where it watches over the ocean and the beach. Even walking along its base in the medina is enjoyable, but inside there is sadly little to intrigue a visitor. The Kasbah dates back to the 12th century, and has been extensively restored. Head for the views, and take in the Golf of Hammamet and look down on the Kasbah of Hammamet beautiful Cafe Sidi Bou Hdid, one of the most used motifs in Tunisian tourism brochures. Modern town Hammamet's modern town is truly all about tourism, with pedestrian-friendly streets and boulevards lined with restaurants and shops. The centre is rather small, located along two avenues, which start right at the gates to the medina before they lead up the hill. There is nothing special to look out for, architecture isn't worth mentioning until you get out to the best hotels. Water fountain Avenue Restaurants Sebastian's villa The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright has allegedly said that the villa of George Sebastian from the 1920's was the most beautiful house he knew of. Today it is a cultural centre, and open for visitors. Most noted are the arcaded swimming pool and the baptistry-like bath which could seat 4 persons (second photo). The entire house was a perfect place for parties, and it was under such circumstances that Lloyd Wright came to Arcaded swimming pool see it. Entrance fee is 1.5TD, daily 8.00-18.00. It lies 3 km from town centre, and is best visited by a taxi. Baptistry bath Arches Roman ruins of Pupput The main reason for visiting Pupput is that it offers a little glimpse into the ancient lifestyles for those staying in Hammamet, but not wishing to much travelling. The site itself is truly modest, but not all without interest. It is noted for its fine collection of mosaics, and there are a couple of baths around as well as a residential quarter. The finest structure is the House of Figured Peristyle, where there are some columns still standing and almost all floors have their mosaics intact. Many do find the tomb mosaics displayed on the walls, dating back to Byzantine times. Opening times are 8.00 to 19.00 in summer and 9.00 to 17.00 in winter. Ruined columns Mosaic Building ruins Practicalities Restaurants and Alternatives There are m ore than enough places t o eat in a t own like Hamm am et. Y ou will hav e n o problem finding places with both charm and g ood food. Value for m oney is quite g ood. Nightlife Hamm am et has a select ion of bars and discos, where any trav eller, also fem ales, can go and feel sa fe. Change Money No pr oblem s. Banks, AT Ms and many sh op keeper s accept credit cards like V ISA and Ma sterCard. Hotels of 2 stars and up will n ormally be able t o change m on ey . Transport Hamm am et hav e OK connection s with other cities, but y ou will norm ally hav e t o take a taxi t o get t o the station y ou want. There are m ore than one station for sh ared taxis, the train station is about 1 ,3 km up from t own centre. The bu s station is in t own centre, n ext t o the station for taxis that g o t o Nabeul.
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