A promontory pointed towards Sicily, the Cap Bon region is a vast garden where orange and lemon trees put out their flowers in the middle of winter. Its beaches of fine sand are among the most beautiful in Tunisia. The principal town of Cap Bon, Nabeul is famous for its pottery, its rush mats and its flower essences. The fishing port of Kelibia, the thermal springs of Korbous, the falconers of El Haouaria are just a few of the curiosities found in the region.
What to see ?
Souks and panoramas
In Nabeul, stroll through the souk surrounded by arcades and boutiques. In the Artisanal Village, experienced artisans will astound you with their ingenuity; ironwork, rush mats, embroidered clothing, engraved copper… In the pottery stores, choose a beautiful vase in multicoloured ceramic, the local speciality. The covered market will make your mouth water with its collection of spices, fruits, vegetables and fish: Cap Bon is a major agricultural region. If fortresses fascinate you, visit Kelibia to see its medieval fort, the largest in Tunisia. Drink a mint tea in the nearby Moorish cafe which overlooks the sea, then stroll along the fishing harbour. In El Haouaria, at the extreme tip of Cap Bon, take a deep breath of fresh air and wild nature, and visit the mysterious caves dug by the Romans to extract stone for construction. Or visit Korbous, a spa town with quaint charm, surrounded by beaches and rocky coves.
What to do ?
Beaches or Ecotourism
From Nabeul to Korba, the fine sandy beaches and beautiful hotels promise the holiday of your dreams. Bask under the parasols or take advantage of the sporting and recreational activities: jetski, parasailing, pirate ship cruise… Indulge yourself in a spa treatment, play golf in Hammamet, practice scuba diving in Kelibia or Hammamet. All along the coast, the marvelous seascapes enchant sailors (rings available in the port of Kelibia). Cap Bon, with its hills, its orchards and its forests, attracts hikers, while hunters go there to hunt wild boar. It’s also a great place to observe the birds who gather in the coastal lagoons and close to the Strait of Sicily. If you love history, discover the exceptional archaeological site at Kerkouane, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Carthaginian houses).
Additionally, admire the 12th century Fort of Kelibia, the mosaics in the museum of Nabeul and the Roman roads of El Haouaria.
What to eat ?
Chilis and seafood
Réputé pour son art de vivre et ses produits agricoles, le Cap Bon est assurément une région où l’on mange bien. Vous trouverez de nombreux restaurants au centre-ville de Nabeul et à proximité des grands hôtels. Ne manquez pas de goûter la harissa, une préparation de piments (1) broyés et assaisonnés, appréciée en apéritif avec un peu de pain et d’huile d’olive : un condiment haut en saveur ! Les piments, poivrons et tomates des vergers du Cap Bon servent aussi à préparer la salade méchouia : grillés et concassés, ils se dégustent frais avec un filet d’huile d’olive. Ponctuée de ports de pêche, la côte fournit de savoureux poissons qu’on vous servira en garniture d’un couscous (2) ou simplement grillés et accompagnés de tastira – un mélange de légumes et d’œufs frits et hachés. En entrée ou en plat de résistance, régalez-vous de seiches, calamars, crevettes … Sachez que la région est également connue pour ses fruits, et plus particulièrement ses succulentes oranges. Well-known for its way of life and agricultural products, Cap Bon is definitely a region where good food is the order of the day. You can find several restaurants in the town centre of Nabeul and close to the large hotels. Don’t miss tasting harissa, made from shredded and seasoned chilis (1), best appreciated with an aperitif and little bread and olive oil: a flavourful condiment! Chilis, peppers and tomatoes from the orchards of Cap Bon also come together in the mechouia salad: grilled and crushed, they are eaten cold with a splash of olive oil. Punctuated by fishing ports, the coast supplies delicious fish which could be served to you with couscous (2) or simply grilled and accompanied by tastira – a mix of vegetables and fried and chopped eggs. As a starter or main course, feast on cuttlefish, squid, prawns… Don’t forget that the region is equally well known for its fruits, especially its grapes and succulent oranges.
Where to sleep ?
Clubs, boutique hotels and rural guesthouses
All along their superb sandy beaches, Nabeul, Kelibia and Korba offer a wide choice of coastal hotels and holiday clubs. From the simple to the luxurious, all season long they put a wide range of activities at your disposal. To keep your distance from the major tourist locations, choose a small hotel in the town or a guesthouse. Cap Bon has many: medina houses, seafront residences, farms and cabins in the countryside...
In the 4th century BC, the Cap Bon region was already «cultivated with vines, olive trees and a wealth of fruit trees» (Diodore of Sicily). It was thus under the dominion of Carthage: the archaeological site of Kerkouane bears witness to this era. In the Middle Ages, the coast suffered from attacks from the Normans of Sicily and then the Spanish. It was then protected by the great fortress of Kelibia. With the arrival of the Ottoman peace, the region was a haven for immigrants from the island of Djerba, from Andalucia, from Turkey, and later on, from Malta and Sicily. More recently, Nabeul is home to an important Jewish community closely mingled with the Muslim community.
The Archaeological Museum of Nabeul conceals a number of treasures: Roman mosaics, statues of the gods of Carthage. The museum of Kerkouane exhibits rare Carthaginian objects such as extremely finely engraved rings.
The ceramics of Nabeul
Stroll through Nabeul: you will see earthenware tiles everywhere, on the façades of houses, decorating the shops, adorning public buildings. Meanwhile a giant jar, decorated with traditional motifs and circling a tree, adorns the town centre. Impossible to ignore that ceramics are a speciality of the town. Thanks to a seam of good quality clay located nearby, the inhabitants of Nabeul have been potters since time immemorial. They traditionally make jars, bowls, vases and pots in earthenware glazed with yellow and green, embellished with dark brown motifs. From the start of the 20th century, the potters of Nabeul specialised in multicoloured earthenware tiles, found in the decor of the old palaces and monuments of Tunisia. Today they offer a whole range of products, from ceramic panels in the Ottoman style to designer tableware, passing by vases with gleaming white backgrounds, decorated with brilliant colours. Visitors can also buy ceramic tiles with traditional motifs from the factories in Nabeul; an economical and original way to personalise your home decor after your holiday!
Good to know
Nabeul Tourism Board
Tel. 72 286 800 / 72 286 737 / 72 287 065
Monday: Kélibia. Tuesday: Menzel Temime. Wednesday: Menzel Bou Zelfa. Friday: Nabeul. Sunday: Korba.
Nabeul is served by Tunis-Carthage (65 km) and Enfidha-Hammamet (55 km) airports. A fast and comfortable coach service can be taken from the bus station in Tunis (motorway and dual carriageway). To get around town and the nearby areas, hail a taxi.
Many boutiques selling crafts and souvenirs can be found close to the hotels and in the souks in Nabeul. The shopping centre and boutiques of the town centre offer a wide range of products often at reasonable prices: fashion and leather garments, shoes, precious or costume jewellery, culinary specialities...