Hammamet is a well-known holiday resort in northern Tunisia. Apart from the beautiful, endlessly long sandy beach, there is a lot to discover in the medina (old town) of Hammamet and the surrounding area. Learn more about the best things to do in Hammamet, including the best time to go and practical info.
How do I get to the old town of Hammamet?
Within the old town of Hammamet, all the sights can be reached on foot. To get into Hammamet, it is best to take a taxi. The taxis are obliged to switch on the taximeter and transport you at the fixed rate. If the driver refuses to use the meter, you should get out and take another taxi.
Top things to do in Hammamet’s old town
The medina of Hammamet
The Medina is the old town of Hammamet – small but nice and a walk in the medina is the most beautiful thing to do in Hammamet. It reminds of the times when the town merely was a fishing village in the Gulf of Hammamet. It looks just as Europeans imagine an oriental old town: narrow, bustling alleyways, a hubbub of voices, time-honoured buildings, colourful markets redolent of spices and mint tea. Typical for Tunisian architecture is this wistful combination of blue and white, which constitutes the Mediterranean flair. The contrast of turquoise ornaments, colourful flowers and the play of light and shadow in the souk (the market) is made for a photo safari.
You should allow about 2 hours for a visit to the medina of Hammamet. If you also want to stroll around the shops and stalls in the souk, it will take longer. In any case, bargain hard. It’s best to bargain down to half the price or you’ll pay the tourist price. You can find the best tips for bargaining here.
Great Mosque of Hammamet
The Great Mosque is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and one of the most famous sights in Hammamet. It was completed in the 15th century after centuries of construction and renovated in the 1970s. The painter Paul Klee immortalised the rectangular minaret of the mosque in a painting.
Kasbah of Hammamet
The Kasbah is Hammamet’s fortress and one of the main things to see in Hammamet. It is located directly at the entrance to the medina, but I would advise you to visit the souq first. After all the impressions you will need a break. The Kasbah, dating back to the 9th century, is a good place to do this and a historical attraction not to be missed.
For centuries, the Kasbah was the city fortress of today’s Hammamet. The impressively thick fortress walls withstood many attacks, even from pirates. It completely encloses the medina and can be walked around. Fortunately, it is well preserved and definitely worth a visit. Come here for magnificent views over the old town of Hammamet and the sea. The café on the city wall, Café Sidi Bou Hdid, has a beautiful view of the sea.
Pupput: Origin of Hammamet
Many people do not know that before the Arabs, the Romans, among others, left their mark on Tunisia. This is also reflected in the things to do in Hammamet. Right in the city, you will come across the remains of the Byzantine and Roman eras. Pupput was the original settlement on the site where Hammamet now stands. The archaeological site of Pupput covers an area of two hectares and features ancient walls, ornate mosaic floors, sophisticated marble baths and many tombs. A must for history fans!
George Sebastian Villa
The artist’s house originally belonged to the Romanian artist George Sebastian, who bought a plot of land in Hammamet after the end of the First World War. There he built a whitewashed villa surrounded by a spacious park. Everyone who was anyone back then met here: Paul Klee, Wallis Simpson or Coco Chanel – they all liked to party with the playboy George. The villa in Tunisian-Andalusian style architecture attracts many visitors year after year as a cultural centre, especially through exhibitions, concerts and events. The beautiful villa gardens host Hammamet’s biggest event of the year: The International Festival of Music and Drama in July and August. Even if there is no event taking place, you should pay a visit to the park of the artist’s villa, as it is one of Hammamet’s top things to do.
Best thing to see in Hammamet: the kilometre-long beach
Beach time! The reason why holidaymakers come to Hammamet is not the Medina or Kasbah, but the kilometre-long golden sand beach. It is Hammamet’s top thing to see and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Tunisia. You can stroll along the beach promenade past luxury hotels, boutiques and elegant restaurants. The beach consists of very fine sand and is 14 kilometres long! The crystal-clear waters are great for snorkelling and diving to explore the marine life, or glass bottom boat trips in calm waters in case you don’t want to get wet. 😉
Looking for a 5-star All-inclusive Hammamet resort? Check out the TUI BLUE Oceana Suites.
Amusement Park Carthage Land
In the Yasmine Hammamet hotel zone, south of Hammamet’s medina, an extraordinary family-friendly theme park awaits you. “Carthage Land” is themed around Hannibal and his crossing of the Alps with elephants. From white-water slides to elaborate shows, all friends of amusement parks get their money’s worth here. There is also a water park and a museum about Tunisian history on the grounds of “Carthage Land”. It was actually the first there park in North Africa. A thing to do in Hammamet for young and old.
Things to do and see around Hammamet
Almost more top things to do and see are located outside Hammamet just a short drive away by rental car or an organized trip. In the tourist centres, pretty much every hotel offers the possibility of renting a car even for just one day. The north of Tunisia is unexpectedly green and varied compared to the desert south around Djerba. I’m only listing a few of the excursion options in Hammamet’s surroundings here, so Tunis, the clifftop village Sidi Bou Said or El Djem are also missing, for example. The amphitheatre in El Djem is well worth seeing, but it’s a 2-hour drive from Hammamet. It is more suitable if you are on holiday in Sousse.
A day trip to the village of Takrouna, about 50 minutes drive from Hammamet, is definitely one of the best things to do around Hammamet. The Berber village is situated on a rock, surrounded by fields and olive groves, like in a fairy tale from 1001 nights. Here you can learn more about the culture and history of the Berbers, who settled here before the Arabs. In the narrow alleys you will get an impression of the everyday life of the people. The excellent view towards Hammamet, the sea and the Sahel alone is worth the trip to this attraction in Hammamet. On the way to Takrouna on the motorway, you will pass Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport, where you will probably arrive by plane.
Very close to Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, you will find the most famous ancient ruins in the country. Carthage is known to everyone through Hannibal, who rode elephants across the Alps. Ancient Carthage was once one of the most powerful empires in Europe and fiercely resisted the Romans. The remains of this warlike empire are one of the main things to do in the Hammamet area and a must-see when visiting northern Tunisia. The central city of the past empire, Carthage was founded in 1446 BC and destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC and the Arabs in 698 AD. The excavation site with many contemporary testimonies is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Sahel region between Hammamet and Sfax further south consists of long sandy beaches, fertile valleys and olive groves. The lovely landscape invites you to hike and marvel. Numerous forests and national parks, such as the dune and lagoon landscape south of Hammamet with soft sands, are among the best things to see in the Hammamet area.
To put it in a nutshell: Friguia Park also hosts dolphin shows and demonstrations with sea lions. Since these are very controversial, everyone must decide for themselves whether they want to support this. Otherwise, Hammamet Zoo is beautifully embedded in the landscape. Here you can observe native animal species such as the desert fox or the hyena up close. The Friguia Park is also home to other animals such as lions in a spacious area. The ratings for the zoo are very mixed. The zoo is located south of Hammamet’s hotel zone and is a 20-minute drive away.
Aqua parks around Hammamet
In summer it gets very hot in Hammamet and what is more worthwhile than a day at the aqua park? According to Google Maps, Aquapark Flipper and Funwater Hammamet no longer exist. Instead, the Dreamy Sea Waterpark north of the centre of town attracts visitors with bouncy castles and slides in the sea. And then there is Carthageland in Yasmine Hammamet, which has an aqua park. If you’ve had enough of Hammamet’s historical attractions, you can let off steam here.
Golf Course “Golf Citrus”
Just a few kilometres from Hammamet’s medina and the Yasmine Hammamet hotel zone lies one of the most famous golf courses in the area: the Golf Citrus. The 45-hole course offers beginners and passionate golfers a varied course with palm trees, olive trees and agaves. If you’re into golf, it’s also a top thing to do in Hammamet.
What can you buy in Hammamet?
The most interesting place for typical souvenirs and handicrafts is the souk. From inexpensive silver jewellery to ceramic works with oriental patterns and decorative items like ornate cushions, you’ll find many likeable and useful souvenirs to take home. Spices are also a great souvenir of a holiday (“Ras El Hanout”). The traders are trying to gain an advantage. Join in the game of trading, it can even be fun if you engage in it uninhibitedly.
Tip: Unfortunately, my ceramic fruit bowl did not survive the return flight. Buy smaller items if they are fragile. If necessary, you can transport them in your hand luggage.
Where to stay in Hammamet?
Hammamet has accommodation in every price range. The selection of hotels south of Hammamet on the long sandy beach is particularly large and luxurious (yet still affordable). There is also the 5-star TUI BLUE Oceana Suites hotel, which I recommend. There are even suites with a private pool!
How do I get to Hammamet?
The nearest airport (approx. 50 km) to Hammamet is Enfidha Airport (abbreviation “NBE”). Further away are Monastir Airport (100 km) and Tunis Airport (70 km). The direct flight time from London to Enfidha airport is about 3 hours.
What are the culinary specialities in Hammamet?
Tunisian cuisine is famous for couscous and brik. Of course, you can also eat Italian or French food in Hammamet, but the Tunisian cuisine is something you should definitely try. Local specialities with fresh produce in Hammamet include seafood, prawns with pineapple and tuna. The couscous from the tajine is available with vegetables, chicken or traditionally with mutton. Tunisian wine is also available, and it’s not bad at all!
Ideal time to travel: When is the best time to go to Hammamet?
The best time for a beach holiday is between April and November. Then you can expect temperatures between 20 and 31 degrees. There is little rain in the summer months. July and August can be very hot. However, with a hotel pool and the sea, the Sahara temperatures are perfectly bearable. In winter, the temperature in Hammamet averages around 15 degrees. For a wellness holiday with sightseeing and long walks on the beach, this is a welcome change from the European winter – and cheap, too.
Thank you Miri for an excellent, informative and fun article.
Thank you Tony! 🙂