The Tunisian spa
Hammam Zriba offers a rather different part of Tunisian life, with its popular spa. The village around the spa occupies the narrow space between the seasonal river and the cliffs and is really just a short one-street thing, with extremely narrow passageways between some of the houses.
Towards the end, the street opens up to the communal baths, where there is a male section and a female section. The interior is packed, almost claustrophobic, with at least twice too many visitors. The first section is a rest area, resembling a sauna with the oven turned off. The second section is no more than 1.5 metre wide, and contains a long pool, where visitors fight over the place. There is even a masseur here too, I hope he has a grand apartment to come home to in the evenings.
Behind this, there is a jacuzzi house, with circular baths that can take up to 4 persons at a time. The water is the same both places, but the latter may appeal more to most foreign visitors.
Behind this again, there is the gorge leading to the spring. Visiting this involves a short hike over the cliffs.
Hammam Zriba has a good hotel, which only has one drawback. It is pre-booked well ahead in time all through the year. Casual visitors should therefore rely more upon hotels in Tunis, Hammamet or Sousse.
Getting to Hammam Zriba should be fair. If you travel with public transportation from Tunis, go first to Zaghouan, then locate a bus or shared taxi going to Hammam Zriba. If you go from the south, you can catch a bus to Zaghouan, which usually passes Hammam Zriba. Note that the distance from the main road to the baths is a couple of kilometres.
If you have your own vehicle, note that Hammam Zriba can be easy to overlook, the signposting was not up to standards when I came along here in September 2005.
If you go for a day trip, you may toss in Hamamm Zriba with a visit to Takrouna, Jeradou, Sidi Khelifa, Zriba and perhaps even Oudna. Just note that this is a tight schedule, and if you want a long bath, you may have to leave some of the stops out.