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Tunisia's first purpose-built tourist resort, Port El Kantaoui was established in 1977 and is situated in east-central Tunisia in the Sahel region of the country. Around 80 miles south of the capital, Tunis and 6 miles north of the popular resort of Sousse, Port El Kantaoui is easily reached via Skanes-Monastir Habib Bourguiba airport, 15 miles to the south. The resort enjoys an enviable location on the Gulf of Hammamet in the Mediterranean and the picturesque white and blue complex offers visitors laid back luxury with all the modern facilities you would expect from a thriving resort town. Thanks to the carefully chosen location, the resort enjoys year round good weather, with over 300 days of sunshine annually. The summer months are hot and dry and winters mild, with most guests visiting between the months of May and October, although even in winter the temperature rarely drops below 18 degrees Celsius.
Built in an Andalucian style around an attractive, modern marina, Port El Kantaoui has been thoughtfully designed to reflect the traditional architecture of a classic medieval medina. The cobbled streets, pavement cafes and craft stalls add an air of old world charm, whilst the many contemporary hotels offer up-to-the-minute luxury and top notch service. For those keen to experience a traditional Tunisian souk you can put your haggling skills to the test in the resort's replica marketplace; however the prices here tend to be somewhat higher than elsewhere in the country.
For those that want to keep fit during their holiday there are a number of activities on offer in the resort, including an attractive PGA approved 18-hole golf course. Horse riding is also offered in Port El Kantaoui and a trek along the beach is a lovely way in which to see the sights from an unusual perspective. Riders of all levels are catered for, including beginners. The resort is an ideally situated base from which to explore many of Tunisia's attractions and several excursions can be easily organised, including shopping trips to Tunis and evening visits to the desert to spend time with the Bedouins. Ask your hotel staff for advice as to the best place to arrange any trips.
Although there is plenty to keep you entertained within Port El Kantaoui itself, visitors interested in experiencing the 'real' Tunisia should plan to take at least one or two day trips into the surrounding areas. Just a short drive down the coast is the older and more traditional resort town of Sousse, which you can reach in just a few minutes on the electric tourist train. Sousse is well worth a visit to explore the fascinating history of Tunisia's eastern coast and there are a number of pretty beaches to stop at along the way. Once in Sousse, visitors should head for the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is packed with interesting museums, magnificent monuments and unique shops and stalls. Also worth a look is the fortified monastery dating from the 8th century and the imposing Great Mosque.
If you are travelling with children, there are a number of great family-friendly activities on offer in Port El Kantaoui. A popular place to spend a day is Aqua Palace, a water park full of slides and wave pools set in an attractive garden complex. Alternatively, Hannibal Park is a well-designed amusement park with rollercoaster and rides suitable for children of all ages. Boat rides make a lovely day out for all the family and there are a number of different trips from which to choose; to explore the colourful world beneath the waves without getting wet, try a glass-bottomed boat trip. Various vessels are on hand to whisk visitors out to deeper waters for swimming or fishing trips so just head for the marina and chat to the operators to find out what excursions are available.
Many visitors choose to eat in their hotel and most of the main hotels have some excellent dining options that are by no means restricted to their own guests. The waterfront area around the marina is home to a number of good quality restaurants and this is a lovely spot for a pre-dinner stroll. Traditional Tunisian cuisine is fresh and delicious so do be sure to sample some local dishes during your visit. Cous cous is a popular accompaniment and lamb dishes also feature heavily in Tunisian menus. There is a fantastic cous cous restaurant in the main square that serves up a range of tasty dishes bursting with Tunisian flavour. For those that enjoy fish and seafood there are some excellent restaurants in Port El Kantaoui offering mouth-wateringly fresh dishes.
Whilst the nightlife in Port El Kantaoui is fairly low key, most visitors will be able to find evening entertainment to suit their tastes. Several hotels in the resort have nightclubs attached offering a range of live music, discos and family entertainment. For those looking for something a little livelier, there are many more clubs and bars just a taxi ride away in Sousse playing all the latest sounds until well into the night. For a quieter evening you will find a number of cafe-bars by the marina serving drinks until late and some may even have live music.
Whatever your tastes, most visitors to Port El Kantaoui will find plenty to keep themselves occupied both by day and night so no matter how active or relaxing your want your holiday to be, this purpose built resort is an attractive base from which to explore Tunisia's eastern coast.