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In the early part of the twentieth century a Romanian millionaire called George Sebastian discovered Hammamet. It was love at first sight and Sebastian had a villa built on the beach for his own private use. The house was described as being the most beautiful house in the whole world and soon became a refuge for writers and artist friends of Sebastian. Hammamet had been discovered and its secret was out. With a superb climate and stunning beaches, the area later became part of a large tourist development in the 1970s with its medina at the heart of the town.
Today Hammamet attracts Europeans as well as native Tunisians. Summer is too hot for some but throughout the rest of the year there is an excellent climate and the winter months are particularly popular with northern Europeans looking for winter sunshine. During school holidays families with children can enjoy package deals here which represent excellent value.
Throughout the summer there can be high humidity levels with daytime temperatures over 30 degrees centigrade. The ideal months to visit are May and October when a beach holiday can be thoroughly enjoyable. The days tend to be warm and sunny with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees. Although enjoying a hot climate, Hammamet is surprisingly green with a tree lined seafront and other areas of green in which to relax.
The town overlooks the Gulf of Hammamet with its sparkling azure waters. Inland there are rolling hills and agricultural land with numerous vineyards. Hammamet has excellent transport connections to Tunis, the country's capital and is approximately 60 miles from the airport at Monastir. The centre of Hammamet can be explored on foot and for trips further afield, the town's main taxi rank can be found just outside the medina. Half hourly buses run to nearby Nabeul, famous for its pottery, as well as to Tunis with its fine medina and Roman mosaics. There are regular buses to Sousse to the south and excellent road and rail connections to many other towns too. The railway station can be found just over a mile away from the town centre.
Tunisia is known for its beaches and Hammamet has some of the best in the country. To the north and south of the town are beautiful stretches where watersports such as water skiing and windsurfing can be enjoyed. Many hotels offer diving courses for those interested in discovering the delights of the undersea corals and brightly coloured fish for which the area is renowned. Most Hammamet hotels boast their own private section of beach.
There are many other attractions beyond the beaches themselves. The medina is a great place for a stroll. At one corner you will find a 15th century Kasbah and at the other end is the Folklore Museum. On the Avenue des Nations Unies is the International Cultural Centre which was formerly Sebastian's beautiful villa.
For family fun, Flipper Aquapark boasts a wide range of slides and pools whilst the Carthageland theme park has attractions and rides which have been inspired by the country's long and varied history. For those who enjoy a spot of golf, there are two courses near to the resort.
Any visitors who enjoy shopping will find a vast array of souvenirs such as pottery, jewellery and even carpets on sale at the medina. The Municipal market on the Avenue de la République is open every day and sells excellent fresh fruit and vegetables. At the entrance to the medina is Fella, a long established and rather chic boutique, which sells everything from exotic kaftans, fine jewellery and copperware to carpets. It is well worth a visit Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren definitely thought so!
At night Hammamet comes alive. The most popular nightclub is Oasis although there are many others including the Latino Club where salsa can be enjoyed. Many nightclubs are held in the open air, such is the confidence in the weather here. Evenings are balmy and pleasantly warm and visitors enjoy sitting outside the Café Sidi Bou Hdid at the foot of the medina sipping fresh orange juice whilst overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
There is an excellent choice of places in which to eat. The Avenue de la République has plenty of good quality fish restaurants. Head to La Scala di Milano for superb Italian cuisine. Tunisia also produces excellent wines, some of the finest come from the region of Cap Bon. Regional wines include an excellent Muscat from the region of Kelibia and Mornag which emanates from Grombalia, any of which may be an excellent compliment to the local cuisine.Ultimately, Hammamet is a lively year round beach resort with something to interest almost everyone.