Hammamet, Tunisia is a long stretch of sandy beaches and all-inclusive resorts one hour south of Tunis. With its focus on large-scale sun and sea tourism, it might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of slow travel in Tunisia. But recently I had a different experience when I pushed pause on what could have been a hurried itinerary and wandered the narrow streets of the Hammamet Medina and relaxed at a local cafe. It reminded me that slow travel can happen even in the most unlikely destinations.
Slow Travel in Tunisia: A Mindset
Slow travel is often defined as the mindset of the traveler — not the things they do. It means that instead of filling your itinerary exclusively with site-seeing, you leave space to absorb the culture and engage at a deeper level.
With so many sites to see, I can often get wrapped up in checking items off my trip wishlist. Most of my favorite experiences in travel have come when I took the time to engage at a deeper level.
It is our experience that not everyone prefers to travel the same way. We each have our own preferred style of travel. Check out our post all about discovering your own travel style.
Slow Travel in Hammamet, Tunisia: My Experience
My friend and I were planning to go for a hike in the hills outside of Hammamet, but we decided to take a couple of hours to just enjoy the picturesque old Tunisian city. As we walked the narrow streets, we tried to capture the perfect image to sum up the essence of the medina.
We explored the exterior walls and imagined the generations of Tunisians who’ve walked around them, since a settlement has existed since the 1st century.
After an hour or so exploring the Hammamet medina, we walked along the shore to Sidi Bou Hdid. This local cafe has a great view of the sea and a walking path to the medina, making it a perfect spot for people watching. As we sipped our delicious coffee, we noticed more people than usual out walking in the heat of the day. Many of them greeted one another warmly with eidik mabrook, meaning “blessed holiday.”
This was the second day of the Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, which takes place at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Many of the people we saw had probably been fasting during daylight hours for the past month. They were now enjoying daytime food and drink with friends for the first time since the end of Ramadan. The sense of joy, celebration, and familial love was tangible.
As we hiked the hills of Hammamet later that afternoon and saw the city from a distance, I felt thankful for the time we invested to take in this special place. I love taking unhurried time for exploring and soaking in the unique attributes of each location. It gives me a glimpse of real life and a chance to travel deeper into local culture. Experiencing this in a location I didn’t expect made it even sweeter.
Tuning In With Engaging Cultures Travel
So how have you “pushed pause” and taken an opportunity to tune into local culture? We would love to hear from you!
And if you’re thinking about traveling to Tunisia, contact us today to let us know how we can help you craft the perfect itinerary!