By Jimmy Pons
This is what my wife asked me when I told her that I was going on a Content Trip to Tunisia with a small group of influencers (Diego Pons, Anibal Trejo and Jose Luis Sarralde). We already knew Tunisia as we’d gone there on our honeymoon back in 2002. One of my best friends was working for a hotel chain in Yasmine Hammamet at the time, so we paid him a visit. It was a memorable trip and an experience I’ll never forget, not just because it was our honeymoon but also because Tunisia seemed exotic, fascinating, and different. It was my first trip to Africa and to the Arab world, but with the advantage of having a Spanish friend living there to help us discover a very local and authentic Tunisia.
Obviously, things have changed a lot since 2002. The Arab Spring, the geopolitical situation in the area, and the constant barrage of misinformation did nothing to calm my wife’s nerves.
Today, after travelling the length and breadth of the country, I can assure that I never felt in the least bit unsafe or vulnerable. What’s more, it was exactly the opposite; I’ve never felt so safe in a foreign country. Naturally enough you notice more police and controls, but this is something we’ve also seen in Europe and Spain in recent years. So, my final thought is that travelling to Tunisia is as safe as visiting any other European or North African destination.
But, how was our trip?
We took a Tunisair flight from Madrid to the airport in Tunisia, with a complete itinerary for the entire week of our trip. We decided to start by visiting Sidi Bou Saïd first, an amazing coastal town known for its whitewashed houses with blue doors and also has something of a reputation as a spiritual haven for artists, painters and musicians. For a moment, the blue and white transported me to a Mediterranean village on the Greek islands. Our guide Mohamed told us the relationship with Greece is because of Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger, who settled in the town after having lived on the Greek islands and wanted to maintain this unique style in his new house in Sidi Bou Saïd. Such was his influence that little by little all the townspeople started to copy his style and created an extremely unique setting that today is a popular tourist attraction in Tunisia.
From this vantage point located at one end of the Carthage peninsula of you can enjoy incredible views of the entire bay. I’m a big sea lover, so views like these always bowl me over. The quaint cobbled streets are also worth a visit and make sure to take the time for a tea in one of the many cafés in the old quarters as it’s an ideal way to really get a feel for the country. There’s also no shortage of souvenir shops to pick up some gifts to take back home, but believe me, Tunisia has a whole lot more to offer, and this was just the first day.
After the visit, we made our way to the Le Royal Hammamet Hotel*****, a five-star hotel with elegant Arabic-style decor that’s extremely impressive from the moment you arrive and see the hotel lobby. I’m not used to the luxury of all the marble and the staircase, but I have to recognise that the grandeur is pleasantly surprising and looking at the hand painted crafts truly takes you back to the times of Arabian Nights.
Le Royal Hammamet Hotel***** is very close to the beach and boasts all the modern comforts of a resort, but it’s also perfect for combining sun and beach with cultural activities and sports – golf, horse riding, watersports, etc. It’s close enough to the city for you to go shopping and has lots of Tunisian adventures close at hand. It also has a broad range of dining options with restaurants serving local specialities, Italian and Mediterranean dishes specialising in seafood. It’s definitely up there with the best resorts in the Mediterranean and is topped off with one of the best spas in Tunisia.