You don’t have to go to Santorini to experience beautiful cobblestone streets, bougainvilleas, white buildings, and blue roofs. Instead, you can visit picturesque Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia.
Sidi Bou Said, A Lovely Alternative To Santorini In Tunisia
Located about 12 miles from Tunis, Sidi Bou Said was first settled in the 12th century, but became a hotspot for the bourgeoisie during the Ottoman period, with many Turkish and Tunisian citizens building residences overlooking Tunis. It was not until the 1920’s that the city developed its iconic blue and white theme, with French artist Rodolphe d’Erlanger building a blue and white palace in the area and others mimicking it.
Today, it is a lovely Instagramable city with a fair number souvenir shops, but also lovely restaurants and cafés (I will publish a separate coffee post). The most popular is Café des Delices, a café with outdoor seating and soaring views of the Gulf of Tunis.
I felt like I was one of the only foreign guests present (and shopkeepers and baristas seemed to confirm this). Thus, unlike Santorini Sidi Bou Said represents a less-trafficked way to immerse yourself in some of the unique and most beautiful blend of architecture and natural beauty in the world.
You’ll notice the streets are lined with orange trees. Don’t neglect to try a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, one of life’s simple pleasures.
From Sidi Bou Said, you can walk into Carthage, which houses the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, my next stop.
Frankly, I came to Tunis with the primary goal of visiting the Bardo museum in Tunis, which houses one of the world’s greatest collection of ancient mosaics. But the museum was closed due to the pandemic, which gave me the unexpected opportunity to visit Sidi Bou Said. It turned out to be such a great experience that I look forward to returning to.
If you’re staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Tunis, Sidi Bou Said is only 10 minutes away by taxi.
It is a beautiful place for sure. Some really interesting Roman ruins nearby as well.
I saw those too!
Beautiful! Great tip, Matthew. Love this.
Glad you were able to visit this beautiful place. Sad the stupidity kept the museum close. I think science says the old mosaics can transmit Covid, right?
Dead bodies say people can.
Leave your cave. Are you those who drive alone in the car wearing a N95 mask? You need mental help.
Oh please. That line of dialogue is old and tired. One can leave one’s home and still be aware of the current situation and take actions to not be a selfish uncaring narcissist like yourself. To actually care about others. But hey, who cares how many people you may have killed, right?
Why are you bothered by someone who wants to wear a mask in their car? Does it impact you? Perhaps you don’t believe in freedom.
The problem is that fearful, irrational people are driving the pandemic response and imposing draconian policies that do nothing to help at best and can actually cause harm. Masks do not work against SARS-CoV-2, not N95s, and certainly not cloth ones. Vaccines that were promised to be 100% safe and effective have not stopped transmission and put an end to the pandemic, and yet millions of people are being forced to get them without a care for the long term ramifications. Folx who drive around alone while masked probably don’t believe others should be free to mitigate the pandemic as they see fit. You are free to swallow the lies from the government, but you are not free to force feed them to your fellow citizens.
Wonderful pics! I would have never thought of going to Tunisia but these reports have made me consider a trip.
Matthew, this is really excellent. Such a helpful post.
I did this trip back in December with my partner. Stayed at the Four Seasons, Tunis, in the same corner room where you stayed. lol Your posts are bringing back fun memories of Tunis. Thanks for posting.
Thanks for putting this on my radar. Looks beautiful. What was the quality of the beaches and water?
I’d say you don’t come for the beaches, though the water is beautiful (cold too, though).
Beautiful Sidi Bousaid
Thanks for sharing
Matthew – Is this recent? What month did you visit? (trying to figure out your comment that the water is cold)
Did you get to ancient Carthage? Incredible city & harbor.
Thanks! Looks gorgeous and is now on my wife and my shared travel ideas doc.
You had me until “instragrammable.” Then I threw up a little in my mouth.
If you notice, I didn’t post any pictures, let alone selfies, on Instagram! Just pointing out it is very picturesque!
Hi Matthew , i’m Tunisian but currently live in the US. Your post brought a lot of memories and reminded me how much i miss Tunisia.
I’m not sure when you traveled there exactly but Tunisia have some of the best beaches out there and summer time would be the best period to experience it
I proposed to my now wife in Cafe des Delices.
Sidi Bou Said is very beautiful, indeed!
Ahh, Sidi Bou Saïd…My favourite place in Tunisia! You should’ve visited “Au Bon Vieux Temps,” a restaurant somewhat hidden off the main street (rue hedi zarrouk) but with very good food, a fantastic view and service. They have this huge gallery when you walk up the stairs with all the prominent people that have visited over the years, including a few US secretaries of state and presidents.
I live there and it’s my home town. If anyone is interested or want to know anything about it I will be happy to serve!
Beautiful pictures. I lived in Sidi Bou Said for a year and loved it.