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.