Skanes Holidays - Tunisia’s premier resort town
Skanes is a modern tourist resort 10 kms (six miles) from Monastir where Moorish-inspired hotels with lush gardens and oversized pools skirt an endless and well-maintained sandy beach. If you are leaning towards an all-encompassing package holiday in Tunisia, there may be very little reason to leave, as you will find pretty much everything at your doorstep, from golf to water sports, camel rides to folklore displays and discos. Skanes is connected to Monastir and its ancient fort and incredible mausoleum by a tourist road train, taxis are cheap and plentiful and it has good shared taxi connections to Sousse. As most visitors here have booked an all-inclusive holiday, meals are generally eaten in the hotels, though more authentic cuisine for the gastronomically curious can be found in Monastir’s medina or Skanes’ back alleys.
Like most coastal destinations, Skanes is busiest (and in terms of accommodation, most expensive) in July-August, when daytime temperatures are plus 30 degrees and they rarely drop below the low 20s in the evening, though sea breezes cool down the high humidity. April, May and June are the most enjoyable times, and although great Skanes package holiday deals can be found at Easter, the water is generally too chilly for bathing (though fine for water sports). Being a popular destination with the British, school holidays can get busy but no more so than other holiday destinations in Europe. Also be aware that services (such as water sports and entertainment) maybe in first gear out of season (roughly October to Easter) and that the choice of food in many hotels at these times is scaled down too.
Skanes’ weather is very close to other destinations along the Tunisian coast such as Sousse or Hammamet. Expect hot, often-humid summer days with and average temperature of 30-plus degrees and cool to mild autumns and winters where the water temperature would be too cold except in a wetsuit. May and April sees the most rainfall so bring a waterproof jacket and something light for summer evenings as sea breezes cool things down considerably. November is a great time to come for some winter sun, with daytime temperatures in the low to mid-twenties.
Major providers provide flight and accommodation package holidays to Tunisia and Skanes is high on their radar, and most hotel-only booking portals return around 50 hits. (These are often bunked together with hotels in Monastir, so search for both destinations). In both cases, do check what they include (meals, entertainment, transfers and other services) before choosing. Hotels range from three to five star though many traveller portals report poor standards at the lower end of the scale, with lack of amenities (and even air-con) post October.
The modern and efficient Monastir – Habib Bourguiba International Airport is a mere 3kms from Skanes, making it convenient for short trips. In the unlikely event you’re your Skanes package holiday doesn’t include a transfer, there are plenty of taxis that will whisk you to your Skanes hotel for about TND 10. Otherwise, take a train or bus to central Monastir and from there the road ‘train’ that services Skanes hotels.
The airport is mainly used by Tunisair and Eastern European carriers. Unless you on a charter, many regular airlines from the UK fly to the larger Enfidha-Hammamet airport, an hour or two (depending on traffic) by road to the north from where you can catch a louage to Skanes.
Facilities at Enfidha-Hammamet include duty free, money exchange facilities and car rental services. Avis is the only international car hire operator in the airport should you choose to drive. Some travel forums have good reports on driving in Tunisia (except for the capital Tunis) and roads between the major resorts tend to be acceptable. Plenty of motor scooter traffic, lack of traffic lights, (roundabouts are used instead) and pedestrians crossing roads at any point are the main pitfalls.
Skanes has several miles of soft sandy beach, all of it annexed by the hotels and all providing parasols, sun beds and water sports facilities, such as jet ski and paragliding. Monastir has a smaller beach, which is more local, but touts can be problematic.
The beaches at Skanes are popular with families thanks to its endless sweep of golden sand. You also have your pick of the nearby beaches such as Sousse, Port El Kantaoui or Hammamet. All of the beaches are perfect for water based activities such as snorkelling, diving, paragliding and wind-surfing.
Skanes is a suburb of the historic port town of Monastir, which centres on a modern marina and a shop and restaurant filled medina. The ancient fort in Monastir has been used as the setting for many films such as Raiders of the Lost Arc and The life of Brian. A visit to Monastir is not to be missed.
Try your hand at haggling with the vendors to get the cheapest prices on leather goods, carpets and antiques. There are excellent shopping complexes and covered alleyways full of local stores in both Skanes and nearby Monastir.
As you would expect from a resort based by the sea, there are plenty of boat excursions from the nearby marina. Try your hand at fishing, or spot the marine life on the glass bottom boat tours. You can sail up and down the coastline and spot the dolphins that swim alongside the yachts. If you are feeling energetic then take a camel ride into the surrounding country and view some of the breathtaking scenery. There are desert safaris that venture out into the Matama, Kebili and Douz areas. This is a great way to get to see some of the areas stunning natural beauty, as well as experience a piece of traditional Bedouin culture.
Golfers will be in heaven with the two 18-hole golf courses nearby. You can choose from either the Palm Links or the Flamingo, or head to Port El Kantaoui and test your skills on the spectacular 36-hole championship course.
Restaurants and Nightlife
The resort and its surrounding area have enough nightlife to keep any night-owl happy. You can visit the bars, discos and restaurants of Monastir, Sousse or Port El Kantaoui, or enjoy the in house hotel entertainment every night. Try one of Tunisia’s largest casinos in Sousse at least once before you leave.