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Skanes Holidays

This beautiful resort, situated on Tunisia's north east coast, is one of the suburbs of the popular port of Monastir. This port is almost entirely focused upon the tourist industry, with a large marina, numerous restaurants and souvenir shops.

However, behind its thriving tourism industry lies a city with a sacred past. Monastir was the country's holiest place and was once used in the Roman times as a base for the leader, Julius Caesar. Habib Bourguiba, the mausoleum of the first president of Tunisia, is well worth visiting and entrance is usually free of charge.

A few miles from the holy centre lies the ultra-modern tourist area of Skanes, which is a ten minute taxi ride. Here, the grand gardens, impressive architecture and stunning sandy beaches are very popular with tourists from western Europe who arrive to enjoy the long sunshine hours and sub-tropical climate.

Nightlife

Nightlife is primarily based at the hotels and may consist of karaoke and in-house discos. There is relatively little nightlife outside of the tourist zones, however most tourists prefer to stay at their hotel bar or indeed enjoy the evening on their very own balcony (many hotel rooms are equipped with bars as well).

Shopping

As in other countries in the region, such as Egypt and Algeria, the shopping experience involves a great deal of 'haggling'. In shops or at the market, tourists should be well aware that the prices of most items, especially ornaments and souvenir items, can be considerably inflated. The key here is to aim to get the price down to the lowest figure possible - if after serious negotiation there still appears to be a discrepancy, it is generally best to just walk away. From this point many shopkeepers will lower the price even further - because they are determined to make a profit from you, no matter how small it may be!

Sometimes people will approach tourists on the street asking them to buy jewellery or clothing. In these cases it is usually best to just walk away, regardless as to how appealing the items they are offering may be. Skanes and Monastir also offer excellent shopping centres which are generally aimed at tourists. Again, there are real bargains to be had, with local produce represented, in addition to international brands and merchandise, often at attractive prices.

Restaurants

In terms of eating out, a significant element of the dining experience here is in the form of good quality hotel restaurants. However, even in Monastir itself, the majority of the restaurants and cafes are designed to cater to the tastes of western tourists, offering a wide range of international cuisine. Popular restaurants nearby include Calypso, Le Chandelier and Le Grill. For more 'authentic' Tunisian cuisine, it is well worth heading off the beaten track to the city's alleys where you can enjoy authentic, spicy local dishes at incredibly cheap prices.

Beaches and Hotels

For sun worshippers, some of the popular beaches in the area include Neptunia Beach which is situated in the 'downtown' area of Skanes. Neptune Beach is generally pleasingly quiet and a good place at which to relax in an idyllic setting. The aptly named Neptunia Beach Hotel overlooks the beach with bars and restaurants that provide welcome respite from the hot sun.

Sahara Beach is a superb, long sandy beach which is overlooked by lush grassland. There are numerous water sports facilities in operation here, such as windsurfing and water skiing and for families, there is the welcome addition of a play area for children on the beach. Rosa Beach, located between the Palm Links and Flamingo golf courses and overlooked by the equally aptly named Rosa Beach Hotel is another stunning sandy beach with plenty of umbrellas for shade. Holidaymakers here can hire a pedalo and create their own mini Mediterranean cruise whilst toning up the leg muscles.

Climate

The climate of northwest Tunisia is typically subtropical comprising very hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Inland in the Sahara Desert is not uncommon for temperatures to reach 50 degrees Celsius in the summer. On the coast, however, a moderating sea breeze helps keep temperatures significantly cooler than this, although even here temperatures are regularly in the lower to mid 30's Celsius between the months of May and September.

This is also one of the sunniest regions in the world and Skanes receives an incredible 3,500 hours of sunshine a year - which equates to almost 10 hours of sunshine a day! To put this into perspective, this is over twice the average annual sunshine hours in the sunniest places in southern England.