If you’re looking to treat your family or your partner to an affordable slice of the high life, then book your holidays to Port El Kantaoui. While it might be a purpose-built complex, this isn’t just your average, run of the mill resort. Constructed around a man-made marina, you’ll find that this town has been built with the you in mind. From the cobbled streets and the medieval-style medina, to the chic hotels and swanky restaurants, it’s been designed to deliver stunning surroundings with modern amenities.
It’s easy to spend a day on either of the resort’s spectacular beaches or you can enjoy a drink in one of the upmarket, beachside bars and watch the million-dollar yachts coming into the harbour. With some superb attractions nearby and access to some of the most breath-taking sunsets you’ll ever see, holidays in Port El Kantaoui are a chance to see how the other half live, and grab a slice of the high life for yourself.
16°C to 33°C °C
Part of North Africa, Tunisia tends to enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with cool winters and long, hot summers. During July and August, the nearby Sahara Desert sends warm air to the whole of the country, which can send the mercury soaring into the 40s. For cooler, but still hot conditions, book your holidays to Port El Kantaoui in the shoulder months of May to June or September to October.
Flights land at Enfidha International Airport, which is about half an hour’s drive from the centre of the resort.
If you want to unwind and relax on your holidays to Port El Kantaoui you won’t have far to go. With two beautiful beaches just a stone’s throw away and a stunning marina lined with quiet bars and bobbing boats, your days and nights are practically taken care of.
If you want to get some serious bargain-hunting done, the resort’s medina feels as authentic as any in Tunisia. Among the labyrinthine network of cobbled streets and secret squares, you’ll find rows of quirky shops selling handmade goods and local produce. Be prepared to put your haggling head on; it’s part and parcel of the traditional Tunisian shopping experience.
When the sun’s hot and the beach just doesn’t cut it, the Acqua Palace Water Park is the best place for the kids to burn off some energy and cool down at the same time. Tunisia’s first and largest waterpark, you’ll find two hectares of watery rides and slides, with something for children of all ages.
Teenagers and adults can test their nerves on a variety of thrilling rides, such as the Kamikaze Toboggan, the vertigo-inducing Drop Slide, and the kaleidoscopic craziness of the Black Hole. Younger visitors can also join in the fun, with age-appropriate attractions such as the slow-paced Lente River, the Aqua Baby mini-slides, and the Wave Pool. The waterpark has its own onsite restaurant and snack bars, and there’s free parking for customers.
Located in neighbouring Sousse, Hannibal Park is one of Tunisia’s oldest theme parks, which continues to attract visitors in their thousands each and every year. Covering 15,000 square meters, the park offers entertainment for everyone, from toddlers and teenagers to grown-ups who can’t quite get to grips with adulthood.
This is Tunisia’s answer to Alton Towers, and it’s packed with rides and slides for visitors of all ages. The ‘7-D’ cinema ride is a must and for younger guests there’s an onsite zoo. The haunted house, the log-flume and the dodgems are always popular, so it’s worth going early to avoid any queues.
With its own restaurants and stalls, selling fairground-style trinkets, it’s an easy way to spend a day with the family. Just outside the park, you’ll also find a selection of shops and a supermarket.
If you want to take a trip into Tunisia’s past on your holidays to Port El Kantaoui, set some time aside to pay a visit to the Sousse Archaeological Museum. Located in what was once Sousse’s main fortress, it offers exhibits and relics that date back as far as prehistoric times. The Roman mosaics are particularly beautiful, having retained their colour and lovingly been restored to their former glory. You’ll find serene statues and commemorative funereal steles, carved from stone and wood. The museum itself is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a fascinating day out for those with even a passing interest in history. During the summer months, it also doubles as a live music venue, hosting evenings of classical music and traditional dancing, performed by artists from all over the world.
While there are restaurants representing most corners of the world here, don’t pass up the chance to sample some of the local cuisine. Among the Italian restaurants and Mediterranean-style tavernas, you’ll find some superb ‘matams’ (pronounced ‘mat-tam’, where you can dine on authentic Tunisian dishes. Influenced by Arabic, French and Italian cookery, you’ll find dishes that look familiar, but that might not taste as you expect them to. Look out for lablabi, which is a velvety soup made from chickpeas and garlic. Then there’s Merguez, a spicy sausage made from beef or mutton and spiced with cumin and fresh harissa paste.
Wines are produced locally and are served in most restaurants. If you’re feeling brave, try a drink called ‘bouka’. This is a clear spirit, made from dates, figs and lemon liqueur. However, if you want to do as the Romans (or Tunisians) do, finish your meal with some strong, Arabian coffee, or a thick, fragrant mint-tea, sweetened with plenty of sugar.
Beach Lovers: Port El Kantaoui boasts two pristine, purpose-built beaches, located to the north of the harbour. Expect golden sands and sapphire-blue seas, with plenty of activities for those who want them. Water sports are plentiful and pirate ships take families along the coast or into deeper waters to have a swim in the clear ocean. Diving fans can take advantage of the scuba schools and excursions that operate along the coast, and there’s always the opportunity to see shimmering shoals of fish from the comfort of a glass-bottomed boat.
Golfers: Fans of the five-iron will find there’s plenty to do on their holidays to Port El Kantaoui. The resort has a golf club right on its doorstep, which happens to be home to the annual Tunisian Golf Open. With 18 holes to challenge even the most seasoned of swingers, and with a spectacular backdrop, it’s ideal for golfers of all abilities.
Couples: The resort’s quiet beaches are perfect for couples looking to enjoy some quality time together. Once the sun sets, the waterfront is an ideal romantic retreat, lined with some excellent restaurants and a good choice of bars in which to enjoy a leisurely drink.
Language: The main language spoken here is the local Tunisian dialect, which is a mixture of French, Arabic and Maltese. Tunisians seem to be very language-flexible and most of the locals have a good grip of English. Pack a phrasebook or download an app, just to show willing.
Currency: As with the rest of Tunisia, the official currency used in Port El Kantaoui is the Tunisian Dinar.
Local time: There is no time difference between this part of Tunisia and UK/GMT time.
Fly to: Flights to Port El Kantaoui land at Enfidha International Airport, which is approximately 35km from the centre of the resort.
Flight time from the UK: Between three and three and a half hours, depending on where you fly from.
Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at http://www.cometotunisia.co.uk/.
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tunisia for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Port El Kantaoui.
Departure tax: You can pay this at the airport or at your hotel reception. The cost is around 30 Tunisian Dinar per person (including infants).
Thanks to its position on the north coast of Africa, the weather in Tunisia is almost consistently hot and sunny. Winters are cool, with temperatures dipping into the mid-teens, while summers tend to peak in the low 30s. However, during July and August, warm air is blown from the Sahara Desert and can send the mercury into the 40s, making it very hot.
If you’re looking for good sightseeing weather and the chance to catch some rays, book your holidays to Port El Kantaoui between May and June or September and October. Rain tends to fall between January and March and from September to December, although it can be over as quickly as it starts.
By Noddy train: Noddy trains are a fun and laid-back way to see the sights. They run regular services between Sousse and Port El Kantaoui, with scheduled stops along the way. In total, the journey should take around 40 minutes, but you can hop on and off, according to the attractions you want to visit. During the summer, the Noddy trains can take on something of a party atmosphere, with local drummers and singers catching a lift and entertaining the passengers. While it might not be the fastest way to get around, it’s ideal for families with younger children and anyone who fancies a leisurely trip from A to B. Tickets are bought from the conductor.
By louage: Tunisia’s answer to car-sharing, louages are mini-vans that carry groups of people all headed in the same direction. Cost-effective and something out of the ordinary, they’re a good way of getting about, but you’ll have to wait until the louage is full before it’ll set off.
By taxis: Taxis are in full supply at the resort and can be hailed from the roadside or booked in advance. It’s worth agreeing the fare before you travel or checking that the meter has been reset to zero, as it can save arguments once you’ve got to where you’re going.
Sousse International Festival: Book your holidays to Port El Kantaoui between July and August and you might catch the Sousse International Festival. Famous for being home to the most elaborate floats in the entire country, this is a celebration of all things African. Expect to hear live music, see traditional dancers strutting their stuff, and to sample delicious street food. In addition, this event coincides with the Sousse Carnival, which is a colourful explosion of art and music. Expect to see military bands in all their pomp and ceremony, rubbing shoulders with outstanding artists selling unique works in the streets.
Classical Music Festival: Just an hour’s drive away, El Jem is home to the International Symphonic Festival, which draws fiddle-fans and violin-lovers from across the globe to see international musicians at work. Book your holidays between June and August and head for El Jem’s coliseum, which is the setting for the nightly recitals. Atmospheric, romantic and dramatic, it’s the perfect festival for soaking up some international culture.
Olive Tree Festival: Take the two-hour drive to the small town of Sfax in the last few days of January and you might stumble upon the Mediterranean Olive Tree Festival. For visitors, there’s an open-air market, where local producers showcase their best offerings and a dedicated area for craftsmen to sell their wares. The highlight of the festival is a horse race, which thunders its way around the olive trees.