The picturesque resort of Tabarka is located in the north of Tunisia, just 22 km from the Algerian border. Emerald hills covered with pine and oak groves descend to the coast, where wide white sandy beaches alternate with rocks – this is the characteristic landscape of Tabarka. Great diving, wonderful fish restaurants and coral souvenirs are the main tourist attractions in this resort. Here you can also play golf, go hiking in the mountains – along the valleys and relax in the thalasso centers. In general, solid splendor and unity with nature.
How to get to Tabarka
There are no direct flights from Russian cities to Tabarka. Landing at the airport of Tunis, Enfidha or Monastir, you can use the domestic flights of the national carrier Sevenair – it offers at least one flight a day to Tabarka. The flight time is about 40 minutes from Tunisia, 1 hour from Enfidha and an hour and a quarter from Monastir. Check 800zipcodes for other cities and countries as well as population and geography of Africa.
It is most convenient to arrive from the airport to the city center by taxi – yellow cars with a number on the roof are waiting – they will not wait for customers right at the exit from the arrivals hall.
Another option is to get to Tabarka by land transport: municipal buses or collective minibuses – “luages”. Direct communication is established only with Tunisia, in other cases a transfer will be required. The road from the Tunisian capital to Tabarka will take 4-4.5 hours.
From any Tunisian resort, you can also arrive in Tabarka by luage or bus. There is no rail connection in the northern region of the country.
How to travel around
Tabarka is conditionally divided into 2 parts: residential and tourist. The first is located to the west along the coastline, the second – respectively, to the east. Tabarka’s residential area is a port for pleasure boats, a marina, an isthmus leading to an island with a Genoese fortress towering on it, an old harbor and needle rocks, and a quarter of elite villas extending to the west, occupying the hillsides. Tourist Zone Tabarka is a dozen hotels located on the first and second lines along the east coast of the resort. There is no special entertainment here – everything is concentrated “in the city”, so taxis with tourists scurry between “rest” and “civilization”.
Transport in the city
The best way to get around the city and the tourist area of Tabarka is by taxi. Payment by meter, a trip within the city will not cost more than 4-6 TND, between the residential sector and the tourist zone – 6-9 TND. Also at your service are tourist “bells and whistles”: horse-drawn carts – “kalesh”, “tuk-tuks” and trains. The tax depends on the exotic nature of transport (horses, of course, are the most expensive) and on the ability to negotiate. “On a circle” coachmen take about 10-12 TND, drivers of “tuk-tuks” and steam locomotives – 4-6 TND. The prices on the page are for June 2021.
Diving in Tabarka is considered the best in Tunisia thanks to the 300-kilometer coral reef and the protected area around the La Galit archipelago.
Tabarka does not shine with a rich variety of options for living. There are about 15 hotels in the resort, of which two are very worthy “five”: Dar Ismail and Sentido Tabarka Beach with good spa centers and wonderful beaches. Among the “fours”, Mehari Tabarka and Itropika Beach are popular (the first one has a high-quality thalasso center); the rest of the hotels are three-star, with a standard set of services for their category. You can also stay in the urban area – there are fewer amenities, and you have to walk to the beach, but the prices for accommodation are simply ridiculous – 50-90 TND “from the nose”. Among the nice ones is Les Mimosas.
Sea and sun
Although the beaches of Tabarka are not as “hyped” as the coasts of Hammamet or Mahdia, however, the resort has something to be proud of: a wide coastline, a gentle slope into the water, the almost complete absence of algae and fine, almost white sand. The rocky coastlines that come across (for example, on the “Genoese Peninsula” and in the Eagle area) will diversify the bathing experience. Considering that Tabarka is located on the northern coast of the country, the sea here is a degree or two cooler than in the eastern resorts, and a little more restless.
5 things to do in Tabarka
- Admire the seascape and the majestic Genoese fort from the observation deck.
- Scuba dive to the largest coral reef in the Mediterranean, joining coral divers.
- Take a picture at the formidable 25-meter cliffs with the speaking name Needles.
- Hit the ball (no matter if it goes the wrong way) on one of the best golf courses in the country.
- Spin in the rhythms of salsa at the international festival of Latin American music.
Cuisine and restaurants
The fishermen of Tabarka regularly supply fresh fish and seafood to the restaurants of the city and the resort area. The best fish establishments can be found in the marina – walking along the piers, study the menu and showcases-refrigerators, choose the cold-blooded ones you like – and welcome to the table! In season, lobsters and oysters are served – the latter, by the way, are famous throughout Tunisia. Other local delicacies include game dishes and meat from wild animals such as hare or deer. Wild boar hunting is very popular in the region, but it is almost never served cooked due to religious prohibitions on pork.
Among other things, you can try national dishes everywhere: Tunisian salad and mechouya salad, brick, tagine, couscous, shorba soup, etc. Popular restaurants include Barberousse, Le Pescadou and Le Pirate.
In addition to lobsters and oysters, among the delicacies of Tabarka are game and meat of wild animals living in the surrounding forests.
Shopping and shops
Souvenirs and just cute little things can be bought in shops located in the port of pleasure boats. Coral decorations and home furnishings incorporating coral are sold in several shops in the residential area rising up from the marina. However, one should not expect a flight of fancy and richness of execution – the decorations are not too numerous, of the same type and rather modest.
From the original folk crafts, pay attention to the products from the mountains of Krumiri, surrounding Tabarka on all sides and extending south along the western border of Tunisia. These are lovely homespun rugs, mats, handbags and napkins made of wool and cotton dyed with natural dyes. Also in the shops of Tabarka are sold ceramic products from the neighboring Sezhnan of a characteristic “ultra-primitive” look, painted in white, red-brown and black.
You can also bring olive oil from Tabarka (a different variety than on the resort coast) – you should buy it at the market, handicraftly bottled in mineral water bottles. The oil is very fragrant, with a tart, slightly sore throat taste.
Entertainment and attractions of Tabarka
There are two main attractions in Tabarka – and they are located in close proximity to each other. The first is needle-shaped rocks 20-25 meters high, standing at the edge of the surf, an ancient formation of iron-bearing rock of the Miocene era. They are called so – Needles (Les Aiguilles). The second is the Genoese fort of the 16th century, which once stood on the island of Tabarka (Ile de Tabarka), turned into a peninsula by the efforts of the French. On a 1 km long causeway, you can quickly reach the foot of the fort, which occupies the top of a rocky mountain. But it will not be possible to inspect the fortress from the inside – it is occupied by parts of the Tunisian army.
A few architectural monuments are represented by the basilica – Roman cisterns, turned into a temple by the French missionaries of the 19th century. Massive quadrangular columns and no less ponderous arches form the basis of the building.
A little higher, on a hill, is the French cemetery, it is worth visiting not for the melancholy mood, but because of the magnificent view of the harbor of Tabarka.
Another place of eternal rest is located 14 km from the city – the Memorial Cemetery of those killed in World War II, where 500 soldiers of the Allied forces found shelter.
Diving in Tabarka is undoubtedly the best in Tunisia due to the 300-kilometer coral reef and the protected area around the La Galit archipelago. Thanks to the rocky bottom, the water here is transparent even at a solid depth, and a lot of cold-blooded representatives live in numerous underwater grottoes: here you can see pike perch, zubans and sea breams, eels and octopuses, red mullet, squids and shrimps, groupers, tuna of all sizes – from 50 to centimeter young to giants weighing 200 kg.
Six islands under the common name of La Galite lie 60 km from the coast. The surrounding waters have received the status of a protected area – fishing is prohibited here, and nothing disturbs the peace of marine life. In addition, the seabed itself is of interest – La Galite was formed under the influence of volcanic activity (this is the only archipelago of this kind in Tunisia). Wreck fans will be interested in a merchant ship that sank in the 50s of the 20th century, and naturalists will be interested in a colony of monk seals.
In local dive centers, you can not only rent equipment and organize a “swim”, but also get trained in the CMAS system – a course for beginners will cost about 220 EUR.
Golf in Tabarka
Tabarka Golf is waiting all year round for fans of this game on a magnificent 18-hole course, designed on an area of 118 hectares. Sea edge, oak, eucalyptus and coniferous groves, as well as open emerald hills make up the local landscape with a full route of 6400 m. The pleasure of driving a ball through 9 holes will cost 90 TND, a full course will cost about 150 TND per day. Subscriptions for 5 or more days are offered. Training is also offered – individual and group.
Despite the apparent remoteness from the main resort party, Tabarka boasts a remarkable cultural life – the city has two open amphitheatres, where theatrical and musical performances are held during the season.
In May, Tabarka hosts the Spring Festival, at the end of June the Latin American Music Festival and the Jazz Festival take place, in August-September – the water Coral Festival and the Neptune’s Trident.