On my most recent trip to Tunisia, I landed in more obvious resorts like Tunis, Carthage and Kairouan first, however we also made it to the less traveled destinations of Mahdia, Sousse, Teboulba and Monastir. But, it was the colors of the charming Sidi Bou Said that will probably live longest in my memory from our time in Tunisia.
Unlike the chaotic buzz of Tunis, Sidi Bou Said is a quiet village you can get to via TGM train from Tunis, a mere 5-10 minute walk from the Clock Tower on Habib Bourguiba Avenue. The train station is known as TGM Marine Station or Tunis North (which can be confusing as its more East than it ever will be North). TGM stands for Tunis – Goulette – Marsa and on this line, you’ll get off at the station called Sidi Bou Said and head up the hill to the village.
Here are the top 10 sights once you reach this oh so very blue village of Sidi Bou Said
Sidi Bou Said Marina – the harbour glistens over the Mediterranean on the east coast of Tunisia and the sun sinks its head reflecting off boats. Some of these boats are owned by rich people, some are wooden boats which are often used by escaping Africans heading to Italy and the promised land of Europe. Take in the views!
Sidi Bou Said Beach – Tunisian beaches may not have the cleanliness, golden sands or blue waters of the Caribbean and the South China Seas, but they certainly attract tourists and locals alike in the Summer months.
Beach and Marina at Sidi Bou Said
Sidi Bou Said Art Gallery – the art gallery in Sidi Bou Said provides a mix of African and European art, given its French influence.
Art Gallery in Sidi Bou Said
Blue and White Buildings – the sublime mix of these two colors is what sets this place apart from other cities, towns and villages in Tunisia. Wander the narrow streets and get lost — everything is blue and white.
Village Mosque – there are quite a few Mosques in and around Sidi Bou Said and on your walk through the narrow streets, you’ll see the village Mosque, nonchalantly nestled in beside a few houses.
Kahoua el Alia Cafe – there are a few cafes in Sidi Bou Said – there’s a charming on on the top of a hill called Kahoua el Alia Cafe and also Cafe Sidi Chabanne which offers scintillating views. Below, enjoying an afternoon snack and drink in Sidi Bou Said.
Coffee and crepes in Sidi Bou Said
Sidi Bou Said Market – on the walk through the village and up the hill, veer off to the left to find a market. You can find hand made products, ceramics and miniatures of the houses in Sidi Bou Said.
Ceramics in the market at Sidi Bou Said
Local House – take a guided tour of one of the houses – they’re charming and worth meandering through…
Stunning Views – there are a few fantastic viewpoints in Sidi Bou Said. If you walk all the way through the village, up and down again on the other side facing the beach, you’ll get a good viewpoint. Some of the cafes get packed around sunset and offer fabulous views as well.
Cafe for sunset with great views
Town Mosque – all the sights above can be found up and down streets of Sidi Bou Said, but this Mosque is the town Mosque and away from the tourist trail. It’s easy to spot though since it sits on the roundabout near the train station. Take your shoes off and go inside – non Muslims too. I was unable to find any official names of these Mosques on leaflets, outside or by asking people.
The town Mosque in Sidi Bou Said
Jonny Blair is a self confessed traveling nomad who founded and blogs at Don’t Stop Living. He sees every day as an adventure. Since leaving behind his home town of Bangor in Northern Ireland ten years ago he has traveled to all seven continents, working his way through various jobs and funding it all with hard work and an appetite for travel. Don’t Stop Living, a lifestyle of travel’ contains over 1,000 stories and tips from his journeys round the globe. He wants to show others how easy it is to travel the world, give them some ideas and encourage them to do the same but most of all he aims to constantly live a lifestyle of travel. He is currently based in Hong Kong and on Twitter @jonnyblair.