Tabarka

  • Ask any diver or golfer that you know if they have already heard of Tabarka and several hours later, they will still be talking about it... Tabarka is a little-known region of Tunisia, providing a challenging and picturesque 18-hole golf course set between the sea and a pine forest, perfect for golfing enthusiasts, but not for beginners. Tabarka is also a unique diving spot, comparable to Malta or ...
    © Jarozde / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Tunisia

Ask any diver or golfer that you know if they have already heard of Tabarka and several hours later, they will still be talking about it... Tabarka is a little-known region of Tunisia, providing a challenging and picturesque 18-hole golf course set between the sea and a pine forest, perfect for golfing enthusiasts, but not for beginners. Tabarka is also a unique diving spot, comparable to Malta or Corsica: seabeds visible at 50 ft, red and black branching coral, sea fans, many Mediterranean fish and crustaceans (groupers, sea breams, lobsters, etc.). There are about twenty diving sites off the coast of Tabarka, along Coral Coast, and near the Galite archipelago. Some are accessible to beginners, others are full of surprises, such as the tamed grouper rock (groupers come and eat sardines brought by divers), or, if you're looking for big thrills there is always the Old Harbour's ship wreck.

Even if you are not a golfer or a diver, you will still have a nice holiday in Tabarka: especially if you like landscapes similar to those found in Greece or in the Balearic Islands. The surrounding nature is green (pine, cork oak and eucalyptus forests), flowery (oleander, bougainvillea), fragranced with thyme, sage and mint scents, and very different in Khroumire from everywhere else in Tunisia. This is a good reason to visit the region of Tabarka (if you don't know it yet), and explore, from one excursion to another, the Genoese fort, the Aiguilles rock formation at one end of the creek which goes by the same name, the rugged hills of Aïn Draham, the ancient site of Bulla Regia (with semi-buried Roman houses for a cooler environment in the summer, with stunning mosaic flooring, -see, for example, the Venus of the Hunting House - and remember to take some water with you so that you can see the bright original colours of the mosaic. 340 mi of marked hiking paths are also available for you to explore on foot, horseback or a mountain bike.

Tabarka: what to do?

From March to November, go diving (while still avoiding windy days at the end of August and in September). Tabarka holds a total of 6 diving centres, with departure points from the harbour, including diving for first-timers (no deeper than 33 ft). Try Tabarka's golf course (open to holders of a 'Carte Verte' - 'Green Card' issued by the French Golfing Federation) which is open all year round, except in the case of a heatwave in July and August, and practise on Tabarka Beach's practise course. Go quad biking (even though it creates noise pollution as well as regular pollution...), on a mini-cruise, horse-riding or mountain-bike riding on the paths of Khroumire.

The interior of Tabarka fort (built by the Genoese in the 16th century) cannot be visited, but the viewpoint from the top of the promontory is definitely worth the 15-minute climb from Aiguilles creek. It is also possible to drive up, however. Once at the top, take the little pathway to the right-hand side which opens onto the green vegetation: another 500 ft and you will have a panoramic view of the Fort, then the Bay of Tabarka, after you have passed another steep rocky slope. See it in the morning preferably (around 9:00 am) or when the sun is setting. The sea is crystal-clear, the coast is visible all the way to the end of the tourist zone and as far as the town, built at the back of the harbour and on the hills.

Tabarka: what to visit?

Reminders

Currency exchange is available at the hotels (no commission), cash can be withdrawn at cash machines (at the airport or in town): do not throw your receipts away! When you go home, if you want to change all your remaining dinars (it is compulsory as the Tunisian currency is not exportable), you will have to present at least one exchange slip or a cash withdrawal receipt. If you've only got one remaining 20 dinar note, just have a drink at the boarding lounge of the airport (roughly 2 dinars), and your change will be given back to you in euros.

To avoid

Tabarka airport still doesn't have any more than a small shop in the check-in zone (where you can pay with dinars): here you will find a few earthenware pots (made in Nabeul), fluffy camel toys, spices and herbs in sachets, a few bottles of olive oil and postcards. After the police controls, you will have to pay in euros at the duty-free shop (only the tobacco is cheaper, with alcohol and perfume being as expensive as in the UK).

Tabarka: what to eat?

Lobster, slipper lobster, American lobster, all of which are fished off the coast of Tabarka and the Galite archipelago. Grouper, mullet, tuna, sea bream, which are abundant in this part of the Mediterranean Sea (known as the coral coast). Specialities include starters presented as tapas (prawns and grilled calamari), which will remind you of Italy (because of the Genoese occupation from the 15th to the 17th century), whereas fish, served with steamed potatoes, is a reminder of the French presence at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Mint tea, flavoured with pine nuts, Tunisian coffee, which you should drink at Café de France (also called Café des Andalous), Tabarka's most famous, on Habib-Bourguiba avenue.

Tabarka: what to buy?

Red coral comes from formations off the coast of Tabarka and the Galite archipelago. As its decorative use (jewels, rings, earrings) reduces the natural coral clusters, you shouldn't buy more than 1 or 2 items (a bracelet and a pendant for example). As for storks, they have become used to setting up their nests in the surrounding areas of Tabarka. Take one home, in the fun shape of a figurine planted on a piece of local cork-oak, one of the trees present in the forests of Khroumire (Tabarka's backcountry, the town itself being located on Coral Coast). Prices are negotiable in the shops and at the handicraft market on Promenade des Aiguilles, opposite the Genoese fort.

Tabarka Reviewedhotels
  • 7.75 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    SentidoTabarka Beach Resort
    Tabarka - Tunisia
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    A beautiful hotel with comfortable rooms, and a well-designed ...

  • 7.6 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Dar Ismail
    Tabarka - Tunisia
    Hotel Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    Well located on the sandy part of the coast, at the beginning ...

  • 7.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Abou Nawas Montazah
    Tabarka - Tunisia
    Hotel Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    This is a hotel to keep in mind due to its central location in ...

  • 7.1 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Yadis Morjane
    Tabarka - Tunisia
    Hotel Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    A simple hotel located next to the natural sand dunes of the ...

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