Gammarth Holidays - Stunning beaches and upscale accommodation.
Situated a mere 15 kms (25kms) north of the country’s capital Tunis on the Bay of Tunis, Gammarth is an upmarket resort area that boasts some of Tunisia’s most breath-taking beaches, beautiful villas and luxury hotels, particularly in the adjacent enclave of La Marsa, the preferred holiday destination for many wealthy Tunisians. Nearby cultural attractions include the famous ‘blue and white’ village of Sidi Bou Said, the ancient ruins of Carthage and of course Tunis itself, and intoxicating metropolis of post and pre-colonial architecture, an exotic medina and spellbinding mosques and monuments. Gammarth offers a considerably larger choice of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants than many other Tunisia resorts and families will find an array of water sports activities and excursions on offer. Those seeking more nocturnal pleasures will see plenty of nightlife and café society action in La Marsa and the picturesque port of La Goulette.
Like most Mediterranean destinations, Gammarth is busiest (and in terms of accommodation, most expensive) in July-August, when daytime temperatures are plus 30 degrees, though sea-breezes cool down the evenings, May-June are the most enjoyable times, and although great package holiday deals can be found at Easter, the water is generally too chilly for bathing. Being a popular destination with the French, school holidays can get busy but no more so than other holiday destinations in Europe. Gammarth has been a tourist resort since the 1950s and you’ll find it open for business pretty much all year round. The exception maybe some smaller expat run establishments that close shop off-season and some hotels may not have the array of food and entertainment that they do in high season.
Gammarth enjoys a southern Mediterranean climate, with average temperatures ranging from 15 degrees in winter to a hot and humid 33 degrees in high summer, dropping to a balmy 20 degrees at night. October and even November are warm enough for beach activities, with temperatures in the low twenties, though bring a sweater for the evenings and light jacket for frequent late autumn rainfalls. December-February is better for cultural activities (or shopping in the medina in Tunis!) though winter sun is pretty much always assured.
Being largely residential (locally Gammarth is referred to as a northern suburb of Tunis), Gammarth has a small number of hotels on the major booking portals compared to other popular tourist resorts in Tunisia and most are in the four and five star bracket. A few more options can be found by widening your search to include La Marsa, and there are a few self-catering options (again widen your search to La Marsa and even La Goullette). Most Gammarth hotels offer all-inclusive accommodation. As it’s situated very close to the Tunis-Carthage International Airport, you may find that booking your own flight works out better than buying a Gammarth package holiday.
Many major airlines travel to Tunis-Carthage International Airport, a mere 10kms (6 miles) from Gammarth. A taxi from here should cost around 10-15 TND. There is also a train service from the airport to the northern suburbs as far as La Goullete.
Tunis-Carthage International Airport has a good range of facilities including duty-free (both luxury and local goods) ATMs, banks, and a post office. Car hire is situated in the arrivals hall and companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz and Sixt. From the UK, British Airways and Tunisair offer flights to Tunis.
If you take a charter flight, you may arrive at Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport. Situated 60 kms (25 miles) southwest of Tunis, it opened in 2009 to accommodate visitors to the coastal resorts. From here you’d be better off getting a louage (shared taxi) or train to Tunis’ main station and then a taxi to Gammarth.
Gammarth boasts 12 miles of superb sandy beaches along the Carthage coast, a stretch of coastline often likened to the French Riviera. There are plenty of watersports activities, including sailing, scuba diving, water skiing, paragliding and jet skis and the water is generally shallow, making it safe for children. Sunbed and parasol hire is also a plenty.
It is for good reason that the Carthage Coast is likened to the French Riviera, with its twelve miles of clean, soft sand, restaurants and colourful resorts. The beaches are safe for swimming, ideal for families, and there are plenty of water sports on offer, including sailing, scuba diving, waterskiing, paragliding and jet skiing.
Sidi Bou Said
This magical place, once the haunt of writers and artists such as Paul Klee and André Gide, is visible from the beach at Gammarth. Climb the cobblestone street to the top of this charming and beautiful village, with its whitewashed houses with blue shades and courtyards full of flowers, and you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views across the Bay of Tunis.
Tunis And Ancient Carthage
The French Ville Nouvelle, with its elegant boulevards and cafes, contrasts with the medina, a World Heritage site that is a maze of tunnels and alleyways. The Bardo, Tunisia’s greatest museum, should also make the journey worthwhile. Unfortunately, little of ancient Carthage is still above ground, but the Carthage Museum has a model of what this incredible city looked like before and after the Romans, as well as ruins, artefacts and superb views.
Carthage Golf course - the oldest in Tunisia - is little more than a sand wedge shot from the resort. It’s a small course but with panoramic views, and is shaded by pine, cypress, orange and 100-year-old eucalyptus trees. There’s a pro shop, tuition is available and there are also two tennis courts.
The healing properties of the mineral-rich seawater along this coast were appreciated by the Carthaginians and the Romans. Today, warm water, mud and seaweed treatments are available for all kinds of ailments in modern surroundings with medical advice. Although most visitors just enjoy the chance to relax and forget about the stresses of the modern world.
Should the heat of high summer get a little oppressive, visitors can always explore the Khoumirie Mountains – the ‘African Alps’ and the charming hill town of Ain Draham. With their forests of cork oak with wild boars roaming amongst them, this is where the French used to hunt and it is superb scenery for hiking.
Lake Ichkheul National Park
A listed UNESCO World Heritage nature site and the only one in North Africa, the lake and its surroundings are a haven for all kinds of wildlife – anything from wild boar and water buffalos to flamingos and shovelers, while the slopes of Ichkeul Mountain are a blaze of colour when the flowers come into bloom.