i visited Tunisia, with my husband, teenage daughter and her friend.
we were staying in skanes about 5 mins from tunis airport.
The hotel we stayed in was the Hotel Primasol, Golden Beach.
we stayed on an all- inclusive basis for 1 week.
It was enough.
Tunisia is hot as it is on the north african coast. the hot desert winds are unbearable when they arrive.
there are some nice places in Tunisia but there is also some dumps. Skanes is a dump. fortunatly taxis are very cheap and readily available.
siestas in the afternoon are a must due to the heat.
the hotels are ok. some are vey nice. ours was not too bad but get outside of your hotel and there is nothing but a long and dusty road. no shops , no bars, nothing.
being so close to the airport is not a problem as you hardly hear the planes if at all.
flies however, can be a problem.
"hotel primasol golden beach reception area."
reception area of hotel was nice and had an authentic tunisian setting.
you could pick up instantly, the morrocan influence.
comfortable seating, air conditioned and rich colours in abundance.
unfortunatly not as relaxing as it appears as there are a couple of shops inside and one of the owners badgers and hassles guests constantly for trade at extortinate prices and often shoddily made goods.
even haggling you won't get a good deal. the goverment shops are the only place to buy from really. no haggles, the price you see is the price you pay. better quality and very reasonable.
"anyone for a dip in the sea."
just outside the hotels at the back there is usually a private beach area.
sea is warm, shallow and often has benches and tables just inside the water. stray from the private beach areas that are combed and cleaned daily and you will find rubbish and not so sparkling sand.
sunbeds on the beach were not free even though we were all inclusive and they belonged to the hotel.
Near some gorgeous beaches
I stayed in Skanes' resort, which is half way between Monastir and Sousse. Access to both places was easy and quick (and cheap).
It was worth seeing the real life of people of Tunisia, in both towns.
Monastir is more modern, and one big attraction is seeing the resting place of the president of the nation, Bourgiba.
Wonderful Sunny Tunisia
"Port El Kantoui"
If you are going to visit Tunisia from Ireland on a package holiday, Port El Kantoui is to place to visit.
It is a wonderful resort/location with a marina which has some of the most fantastic yachts ever moored.
There is miles of beach and lovely sea.
I have tried Skanes and Hammamet/Yasmine and I'm afraid they do not have the location that Port El Kantoui is.
Obviously some hotels are better than others and having stayed there 11 times I can give you an idea of which ones are better.
The hotels all offer a bed and breakfast or half board basis, some do full board and even all inclusive.
Most of the 5 star do not do the full board or inclusive....
The food is buffet style and there is something for everyone. If you like salads (like myself) then this is your thing.
In the 'Port' there are two restaurants worth mentioning. The Mediteranean and there is one in an old re-furbished ship (can't think of its name) but both are well worth a visit even if you are on a half or full board basis.
The Tunisians are very friendly people, especially the ones in the hotels. There are always bad apples and you mostly find them in the towns/cities trying to make a 'fast buck'.
Keep away from anyone who tells you that they recognise you from the hotel you are staying in, they have probably been tipped off by the taxi man who has just dropped you off. They offer to show you around and then loose you and make you pay to bring you back to civilisation.... Only a few though.
For us Irish, they love us. They even have the 'cupla fochail'....
Watch out for the chap that does the wonderful sand castles in fromt of the Golf course (on the beach), he deserves a few dinar when passing...
One week in Tunisia, 2 days in a coach
"2 Day Safari/Coach Trip - Day 1"
On the 2 day Safari (haha what safari?? it was a coach trip!!) where all the meals, entrance fees and accommodation was included - we only had to pay for the camel ride and "carriage" ride as extra but these worked out less than £5 each. The first stop was the colosseum at El Jem which (just as an aside - if there is something in Tunisia that they have elsewhere in the world of course the tunisian version is a million times better and they will always give you a reason why) is the best preserved colosseum in the world, even better than Rome's. If you didn't go there with a guide you just have to guide yourself. Apprently they either filmed Gladiator there or used the colosseum as the backdrop for the movie. Then stopped at Mahres ("h" sounds like a "ggg" like in afrikaans or "r" in French) for a sandwich. Apparently Mahres is world renowned for its annual outdoor modern sculpture exhibition where artists from around the world come and build something in the rown. Then on to Matmata where we visited a very nice berber lady's trologdyte house (house built into the rock i.e. cave) where they had electricity and tv but no plumbing or other electrical appliances. Then went just up the road for a traditional tunisian lunch which not many people ate and then a short walk up the road to see the trologdyte house which they used to film Star Wars. You wouldn't even know they were there except that they had once upon a time had wire fences put up around the "hole" to mark out where they were. Also, when you enter one of the "buildings" which is now a "hotel" there was what looked like a duvet cover with star wars pictures on it. There were no star wars souvenirs to be seen and no commericialisation of the site at all. You don't even pay to go in and walk around!!
Then on to Douz on the edge of the Sahara desert for an hour long camel ride just in time to watch the sunset. We stopped at the hotel to change into our traditional outift (no idea what it was called) but it was great fun! (Another thing about tunisia - they haven't heard of Health and Safety yet!!) If you didn't feel up to a camel ride they suggested a horse and carriage ride which looked to me like more bouncing and excitement than the camel ride because the minute you had taken your seat, the galloped off into the desert whizzing through the camels as if they were on an obstacle course race!! Quite amusing to watch! Anyway, only two people fell off the camels in our group of 55 and none fell off the carriages so I guess the odds of staying on are still high. we were in a group of 4 - Calvin and I and a young couple who were sitting near us on the coach. I was amazed at how well trained the camels were! Our guide just spoke to them in arabic and they did whatever it was he had told them! amazing! Unfortunately he didn't speak much english but we managed to have a conversation in broken french where he explained how old the camels were and their names which I couldn't pronounce so forgot them immediately. Also he told me what to say to stop and go but I forgot those as well.
We stayed the night in a lovely 4 star hotel (handy tip: at dinner and breakfast save all of the paper serviettes you can lay your hands on, they will always come in handy)
"2 Day Safari/Coach Trip - Day 2"
a 4.30am wake up call so that we could drive out to the middle of the salt marsh in time for sunrise. It was freezing cold and the wind was blowing but we got out anyway and watched he sunrise which was not particularly spectacular. Presumably it is better in summer because this was meant to be the highlight of the trip. The salt marsh we stopped at was pink, but I noticed different shades of blue and purple further along the road. The road from Douz to Tozeur through the salt marshes was built by the army (I think the guide said in 1985) as it was too dangerous to attmept to cross by driving on the salt. There was an abandoned vehicle that you could see in the distance which had apparently been stuck there since the 1960's when some tourists attempted the crossing and failed. In the distance you can see the Atlas mountains and the beginning of the date plantations in the oasis.
Our next stop was Degache just near Tozeur for a carriage ride into the date palms and a short wander around in the oasis. I was expecting an oasis to be a few palm trees around a little pond of rancid water, but instead it was an enourmous area of mostly date palms, but also jasmine, roses, citrus trees and hibiscus. The irrigation system in use today is centuries old (of course invented by a tunisian) where each well has it's own amount of water which is channelled through the irrigation canals which feed different sections of the plantation. We bought some desert roses there - got one big one (the size of my fist) and about 8 little ones for about 90 pence (!).
Once again there was chaos during the carriage ride back to the town (which is more like a race than a gentle trot through the palms) when one of the horses decided to perform an illegal u turn just as the throng of ponies and carts took off and bunched up like racehorses in a sprint!
We had time for a toilet break and snack in Degache where I experienced the most disgusting toilet I have ever seen in my life and actually had to use. It was revolting, but luckily I had some serviettes in my pocket and a bad cold resulting in a blocked nose.
Then off to Metlaoui for a ride on the Red Lizard train into the Thelja gorge/canyon. The train has been very well restored and each carriage has different types of seating so you can sit on a fairly uncomfortable wooden bench, or on a padded bench, or a private compartment with comfy sofa, or on a leather sofa in the bar, or an overstuffed armchair in the lounge. You can even stand outside and admire the canyon and muddy stream.
The train stops at various stages along the journey so that you can get off and take photos or stretch your legs, until it reaches a very strange place to take foreign tourists. It was a phosphate loading station! Yes, a great heap of sand on the side of the tracks being loaded on to a cargo train via great big conveyor belts for transport to the coast. The Red Lizard engine turns around and goes to the other end of the train , and returns non stop back to Metlaou on the same route. Look out for the children running and waving alongside the train on the outskirts of the town, hoping for a few coins to be tossed to them.
No time to waste, we were on our home stretch now and off to Gafsa for lunch at a beautiful hotel at the foot of the mountains. Each room we passed through in the hotel had handpainted ceilings, there were huge wall hangings decorating the rooms and beautiful stained glass windows.
Then straight after lunch we continued on our journey to Kairouan via Jelma (toilet stop - my goodness there was toilet paper and they flushed too!).
At Kairouan we had a very brief stop at a ... mausoleum/temple ? and then back to Skanes via Sousse. You can tell we were tired by this stage of the journey...!
All along the route, every village or town we passed through was decorated with banners of the tunisian flag and pictures of varying ages of the president, sheep in various stages of the butchering and cooking process, and vintage mopeds and Peugots wherever you looked. Of course we also passed numerous miles of olive trees (in the northern areas) and scrubland (in the southern areas).
Also something that you will notice if you travel around Tunisia is the number of police check points. We even had a police escort on the Red Lizard train. Our guide told us they were checking drivers licenses and possible smuggling from neighbouring countries.
Outside the airport enjoying the last sun!
Tunisia, Monastir, Ribat
Tunisia - Skanes
I am travelling to Skanes in June, staying at Royal Mirimar Thassala Hotel. I was wondering if anyone had anything to say about the area, hotel, beach, restaurants, etc that I would find useful.
Also, is it cheap/expensive out there?
Sahara Beach Skanes.
Has anybody been to the Sahara Beach In Skanes?
Im going in March with son 13, and daughter 11. Am I likely to get hassled by local men? went to Gambia in April and got hassled 24/7, really spoiled our hol coz I was nervous of going places. Will it be possible to organize camel rides anywhere nearby. Thanks xx
Transfer from Monastir-Skanes aiport
I need to get from Monastir-Skanes airport to Hammamet. My flight arrives 01:20 in the morning. Is there any public transport available then or what are my potions?
Re: Transfer from Monastir-Skanes aiport
I am not sure what to say, hopefully somebody else will give you a better answer than mine. Nonethless I am gonna tell you what came to my mind as I was reading your post.
Taxis generally work 24 hours a day in Tunisia, but they are very expensive at night. The day cost (before 9 pm) is multiplied by 1.5 after 9pm. And from Monastir to hammamet is relatively a long distance. So it will cost you alot. Louages don't work that late, but they start at a very early hour in the morning. As early as 4 in the morning I think. Trains however work late, mostly the ones that cross all Tunisia, north to south. I am sure that they pass by Sousse but don't know about Monastir. So you might want to go to Sousse and take the train from there to Hammamet. Sousse is at 33 kilometers from Monastir. If you have a travel agent, he/she may inquire this point further for you. Hotels do provide transportation for organized trips in groups. But I feel like you are not travelling with a group. Try to find out how to go around this tricky situation before you travel so you won't get stuck later. If all fails, I suggest you wait 2 or 3 hours tops at the airport, then take a taxi to a louage station at 4 or 4:30 in the morning, and take a louage from there to Hammamet. The cost should not ecceed 10 Tunisian dinars per person.That is safer than getting lost at night. I wish you good luck. Tunisia is a very beautiful country.. Have fun.
Re: Transfer from Monastir-Skanes aiport
you will not have any probleme, but, it will take you much time. You take a taxi from the airport to the " LOUAGE" station, those are commun cars ( not really bad). If you can go to SOUSSE ( 24km - 30mn) and change an other one to HAMMAMET ( 110km - 1 h) , if their is no one direct to HAMMAMET so, you have to go to Tunis ( 160km 1:45mn) and from their you`re sure that you can find one to HAMMAMET (50km 40mn). good luke! and enjoy you`re self in HAMMAMET it`s really a very good city ( especially in Summer), and don`t forget to visit Tunis.