Sidi Bou Said is a village in Tunisia.
The best time to visit is early autumn or spring (March-early April/late October-November), before the assault of package tourists begins, when you can still walk alone on the narrow streets, around white-blue traditional houses, enjoying the views. If you are there during the summer months, it is advisable to visit not just the jam-packed tourist main street but also the emptier inner parts of the neighbourhood. Empty in the day during Ramadan.
You may drive by car. Traffic is OK. There is free parking (uphill, to the right), which may be overbooked on weekends.
The village is quite small, and you can visit every street of the village in no more than two-three hours. On the top of the hill there is a beautiful view of the surrounding bay.
- The white houses with blue roofs and windows, unique to this village, perched on a hill, with an amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Tunis.
- 1 Ennejma Ezzahra. Tu-Su July&August 9:00 - 15:00, rest of the year 9:00 - 13:00, 14:00 - 17:00. former palatial home of Baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger, now a museum. 5 TD.
- 2 Family House. An old house turned into a museum, showing the traditional life of an 18th century Tunisian lawyer. Privately owned and maintained by his descendants, it's well worth the visit. It's to your left as you enter the village. 4.5 DT.
Sidi Bou Said has stunning whites and blues all over the village - take plenty of photos.
On the street along café des nattes, a small path on the right with many steps leads you down the hill to the seaside (3 Port Plaisance), frequented by locals and seemingly unknown to tourists. A small beach, where swimming is possible, and a port with yachts that you can see from the top of the hill, with a small store and a telephone for taxis. When facing the sea, you can follow the road to your left back up to the top of the hill - a pleasant walk with a great view on the sea if it's not too hot, if you don't want to climb the stairs. Or take a taxi, they seem to stop by rather often by the beach!
- Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music, 8, rue du 2 mars (in the Ennejma Ezzahra palace), ☏ . Organises concerts and events taking place at the Ennejma Ezzahra palace.
Like many other Arab settlements around the world, Sidi Bou Said has a small souk year round, selling basic commodities for the locals. In addition, during tourist seasons, souvenir stalls litter the lower part of the main street of the village. A traditional product manufactured in Sidi Bou Said are bird cages, coloured in white and blue, like the roofs of the village. Don't forget to haggle.
Be sure to eat the locally grown dates.
- 1 Au Bon Vieux Temps, 56 rue Hedi Zarrouk, ☏ . Romantic, with great view from the terrace, but too often offering listless, bland food. Tastier food is on offer at the fresh doughnut stand nearby, on the same road. Mains are 20-45 DT.
- 2 Coste cafe, Avenue 14 Janvier. 9:00-23:00. Coffe shop with a large outside terrase.
- 1 Café des délices. Best view in Sidi Bou Said. Shisha for 4 DT, but be careful, if you don't know the price the waiters will attempt to scam you for more money. Drinks are very expensive here (5 DT per bottle of water!), essentially you are paying for the view.
- 2 Cafe De Nattes. Famous cafe where artist Paul Klee worked often. Located at the top of the hill from the TGM (train). Much cheaper than cafe delices and more traditional as well. Shisha for 7 DT, mint tea for 3 dinars.
There are a couple of places to stay in Sidi Bou Said. You can also easily find hotel rooms in nearby Tunis or Carthage. If really lucky, you might rent a room for a night or two in a house, from a village resident. However, this is rare, since the locals are quite rich and rarely have any interest in sharing their home with total strangers.
- Carthage — Phoenician colony, biggest trade metropolis of the antique world; famously razed by the Romans; remnants now encased in a museum; site easily reached by train from Tunis
- La Goulette
- La Marsa
- Quamart - a resort on Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast
- Tunis — the laid-back capital of Tunisia with a very authentic souk