A starkly industrial port which is within walking distance of the town.
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Gabes is something as strange as the worlds only seaside oasis. While the city is not that great, exploring the two parts of the oasis, the one between the city and the sea, and the one between the city and the desert, is fascinating.
The fishing port is best visited early in the day, when the boats come in and the catch is brought ashore. Later, the tempo goes down, and mending the fishing nets become the main activity.
The main attractions in Gabes are the Mosque and tomb of Sidi Boulbaba, the Prophet Mohammed's barber. It has a beautiful courtyard that's decorated with lovely tiles and intricate patterns and inscriptions.
The Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions is next to the Sidi Boulbaba Mosque. It displays artefacts that highlight the history of Gabes.
Gabes has some beautiful sandy beaches where you can relax and unwind. The most popular of these is the Lemawa or Lemaya beach.
Tip: a unique horse-drawn carriage tour of the oasis.
The most visited of the oasis villages is Chenini du Gabès (4km/2.5mi west of Gabès), which is famed for its beautiful basketwork. It is reached by leaving Gabès on the Sfax road, turning left just before the bridge over the Oued Gabès and thereafter following the signposts.
Tour operators eager to attract cruise ship visitors to the local tourist sites, compete in setting up a rich and varied program that take tourists respectively to Chenini that boasts the biggest maritime oasis in the world, the market of Djara famous for its "Henne", the handicraft shop as well as the Museum of customs and popular mores of Sidi Boulbaba.
The Regional Tourism Office also organizes several excursions to Matmata, known for its well-conserved its troglodytes and its Berber heritage and El Hamma famous for its thermal waters.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
Matmata and Djerba (Houmt Souk, the capital is at 108 km east of Gabes).
Baskets are a local product of Gabes, clearly reflected in the many variations for sale in the market area in the modern town. Few of them are designed for tourist purposes - Gabes doesn't see the large numbers of foreign visitors - which make them more of a true souvenir. And you might even well use your basket for carrying other souvenirs through the rest of your trip.
Gabes is also well known for its henna, the colour paste used by mainly women to create temporary tattoos. Henna for temporary body decoration is mixed up with water and is used as a paste. It is also part of the Tunisian wedding ceremony. Before the wedding the girl has a kind of body painting with the henna paste, especially on hands and feet. It's also used for coloring the hair.
The local currency is the Tunisian dinar.
Language: Arabic and French.
On Fridays most shops are closed in the afternoon.
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