Just a short half hour drive from the capital of Tunis, lies the small port town of Sidi Bou Said. Named after a religious individual who lived here by the name of Abou Said ibn Khalef ibn Yahia Al-Tamimi Al-Baji, the town has a passing resemblance to San Torini. Sidi Bou Said is a Unesco World Heritage since 1979. The town is located on a steep cliff that gives a commanding view into the Mediterranean Sea. Just like San Torini, the houses in the old city, are painted in bright white and blue. On almost all of the houses, you will find enchanting vines with beautiful flowers dotting them.
Getting In Sidi Bou Said
The best way to get in is in a car. It is just 20Km from Tunis and shouldn’t take you more than an half hour. If you don’t want to get behind the wheels then get a ticket on the TGM Light railway. Get off at station Sidi Bou Said.
This town is known for its Mediterranean climate. However, it gets a huge influx of mostly local tourists during the warmer months. The best times of the year to visit are, as a result, March to early April and then in October to November. Tourists are down to a minimum and you can enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the place at leisure.
The white and blue village of Sidi Bou Said
Walking is the best option if you want to really explore and soak in the atmosphere of the white and blue village of Sidi Bou Said. You would not miss the vibes.
Beautiful flowers bedecking almost each and every wall of the town gives it a beautiful look. The bright white walls and blue windows add to the feeling of a cheery, happy place. It is almost picture perfect. No wonder, Sidi Bou Said is the home of a number of artists. Some of the world renowned artists, musicians or writers that visited this town are: Chateaubriand, Gustave Flaubert, Paul Klee, August Macke, Alphonse de Lamartine, André Gide, Colette and Simone de Beauvoir and Michel Foucault. Sidi Bou Said have inspired them.
Best restaurants and cafes in Sidi Bou Said
Some of the interesting restaurants and cafes to not miss are The Bambalouni shop, Café des Délices, Dar Zarrouk, Kahoua el Alia (Café des Nattes), Au Bon Vieux Temps. The Bambalouni shop sells sweet Tunisian donuts that you definitely should not miss. Café des Délices is from where you can get the nicest view of Sidi Bou Said. The French Singer Patrick Bruel performed a song about that Cafe. The video clip was filmed from that cafe. Dar Zarrouk and Au Bon Vieux Temps restaurants will let you taste the delicieous local Tunisian cuisine.
For the shopper there are a number of souvenir shops in the main market. Take your time to check out some of the art shops as well.
Hotels with a Tunisian feeling
In the heart of Sidi bou Said, there are 2 nice hotels that I highly recommend namely, Villa Bleu and Dar Said.
Do not miss the ancient Roman ruins of Carthage!
Near Sidi Bou Said, there is the ancient Roman ruins of Carthage which is as well a must see. Tunisia boasts of some of the best preserved monuments and relics of the Roman era outside Rome. It would give a student of ancient history or any history buff goose bumps to stand in the midst of these ruins.
Sidi Bou Said in few words
Sidi Bou Said is an amazing mix of a picturesque laid back port town, ancient roman history and an unique mix of African culture all poured into a cauldron and melted together. It is one of the finest examples of European and African culture meeting together. Great food, great ambience and sights to discover. A must visit place for every traveler who ever wanted to visit Africa.