Located in the north of Tunisia, about 20 minutes from the bustling capital of Tunis, is the charming seaside town of Sidi Bou Said. Known as the “Artist’s Village’ it is easy to see why Sidi Bou Said has been a popular bohemian getaway since the late 19th century.
With its winding cobblestoned streets, hidden courtyards and gardens and endless alleyways, Sidi Bou Said is the perfect place to spend the day exploring and taking in the views from the cliffs out to the Mediterranean below.
It is also a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. The ruins of ancient Carthage are nearby, and it is an easy trip into town to explore the sprawling maze of the Souq lined Medina in Tunis.
Getting there: from Tunis take the TGM Metro (known locally as the “Blue Train”) which departs every 20 minutes or so. There are also several day tours running from Tunis to the village. Cars are banned in the village centre.
Where to stay: La Villa Bleue – A beautiful boutique style hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. Hotel Dar Said – Set in a traditional merchants house Hotel Dar Said is an authentic and relaxing small hotel.
Where to eat and drink: Au Bon Vieux Temps – French, Mediterranean. With stunning views overlooking the Mediterranean this is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down while enjoying your meal. Restaurant Dar Zarrouk – Tunisian. With plenty of tables both inside and out and views over the Marina, this is another great option for evening dining. Cafe des Nattes This iconic traditional cafe perched above the village, is a great spot to people watch while enjoying the traditional sweet mint tea, or local coffee.
Shopping: Sidi Bou Said is a great place to pick up souvenirs of your trip to Tunisia. Carpets, colourful pottery, leather goods, and jewellery are amongst some of the things on offer.
Street vendors sell sweetly scented Jasmine flowers.
The maze of narrow cobblestoned streets provide much needed shade from the heat of the day.
In the late afternoon the village shimmers in the sunlight. It is a good time to take advantage of one of the villages courtyard cafes. Relax in the shade and enjoy a glass of the local sweet mint tea.
Everywhere you look in the village you’ll find elaborate iron latticework, and colourful studded doors.
Archways give glimpses of the glistening Mediterranean below.
In the balmy afternoon air, music floats out onto the streets from behind the doors of iron gated villas. This was one of my favourites. I can definitely see myself living here!
Read more about Tunis and Sidi Bou Said in my next post here.