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Hammamet is Tunisia's main tourist destination - and is often named as the 'St Tropez' of the country. It is located in the south of Tunisia, on the Cap Bon peninsula just six miles south-west of Nabeul. The nearest airport in Tunis is forty miles away, however the connections are excellent by road and rail.
The location became famous with holiday makers after a Romanian millionaire became besotted with the little fishing hamlet during his travels in the 1920s. His beach village quickly became a refuge for cosmopolitan friends, artists, writers and bohemian types, all swayed and inspired by the beautiful scenery and views. Quickly, word spread and other wealthy European visitors made their way to Hammamet to soak up the sun, the balmy climate, gorgeous beaches and inspiring landscape.
The fishing village quickly grew to become a tourist destination in its own right and villas sprung up, ultimately growing into a large scale tourist development. However, the rapid expansion was not at the expense of taste and facilities. Nowadays the heart of the town still features the medina and the surrounding area is well catered for by a range of hotels and other tourist accommodation. Upmarket hotels are generally found just a few miles out of the town, in an area called Yasmine Hammamet.
The resorts attracts a large number of European and Tunisian visitors in the summer high season - although be warned, temperatures can be extremely high! During the other times of the year, the visitors tend to be Northern European, who generally prefer the slightly cooler weather and British tourists tend to visit in their greatest numbers either side of the summer season. In the later Spring and earlier autumn months, the temperatures tend to hover at a more bearable 25 degrees. Hammamet is also a good option for family package holidays in the school breaks and some good deals can be had on these.
The beaches are a huge draw, with the Gulf having some of the best in the country. Along both the South and North coastal stretches from the town there are a huge range of unspoilt beaches, with some private hotel beaches too - particularly by the International Cultural Centre. With transport, there are also wilder and undisturbed beaches for peaceful basking sessions and the locals will be able to direct you to good spots.
If you are a fan of watersports, you'll find there's pretty much everything you could need. Water skiing, jet skiing and windsurfing are all popular and there are diving courses and centres for those seeking their PADI qualifications or to simply dive for pleasure.
Head into the medina for a stroll and see the 15th century kasbah and local museum. The Cultural Centre is ideal for concerts and exhibitions and has a full itinerary. Yasmine Hammamet is also worth a visit, with a newer medina which is filled with souvenirs and craft shops. For families there are aqua and water theme parks, with shallow beaches which are ideal for small children and sports to entertain the older ones.
If shopping is your thing, then pack lightly, as you'll be in for a treat in the medina. Traditional souvenirs include pottery, carpets and jewellery and the market is also worth a visit for the experience alone. You'll see everything from belly dancing outfits to livestock for sale.
Hammamet has a buzzing and varied nightlight including clubs such as Oasis, the Calypso and the Latino Club, which combine European, Latin and Arabic music to a cultural crowd. The hotel bars are also popular, particularly for cocktail lovers, such as the Café Sidi Bou Hdid which is located at the foot of the medina walls and has a beautiful view of the Mediterranean - wonderful at sunset.
Tourists do generally eat at their hotels but there are a great range of restaurants in the town and along the seafront, particularly if you are a fan of freshly cooked fish. Enjoy some of the local Tunisian wines with your meal for an authentic experience - the local muscat and mornag are well thought of.
The town centre is ideally sized for exploring on foot, but for the resorts out of town you can take a taxi, a bus or a train. Public transport is competitively priced and your hotel can advise as to where to find your nearest pick up point. Some hotels also put on their own bus services to local hot spots and beaches.