Sidi Bou Said (Tunisia) Travel Guide in Photos

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    Cobbled Streets of Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Sidi Bou Said typically steep, cobbled streets, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Sidi Bou Said typically steep, cobbled streets. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia -- Where to stay, eat and get around.

    Sidi Bou Said is a lovely town just north of Tunis, located on top of a steep cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. The cobbled streets are lined with art shops, souvenir stalls and cafe's. Brilliant blue doors are framed with white-washed walls, draped in fragrant, cascading flowers. It's just a beautiful place to explore. Sidi Bou Said has inspired artists like Paul Klee and writer André Gide.

    Sidi Bou Said has one of the best boutique hotels in Tunisia, the Dar Said. It's a good place to base yourself if you want visit Tunis and explore the Roman ruins of Carthage. There are also some very nice restaurants with excellent views.

    Tour groups visiting Tunis from the busy beach resorts farther south stop in Sidi Bou Said, so it's quite busy during the day, but still charming.

    Find out more about Sidi Bou Said by entering the gallery below. You'll find information about restaurants, accommodation, transport, how to avoid the...MORE crowds and much more.

    The steep cobbled streets of Sidi Bou Said are wonderful to explore, and the town is small enough so you won't get lost for long.

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    Typical Blue Door in Sidi Bou Said

    Typical Blue Painted Door, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Typical Blue Painted Door, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Brilliant blues are not just pretty, but apparently the color helps repel flies. Blues are commonly used in North Africa on doors, benches and trellises.

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    The View from Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Overlooking Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Overlooking Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Walk through cobbled streets up to the lighthouse in Sidi Bou Said and enjoy these wonderful views of the Gulf of Tunis on the Mediterranean.

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    Flowers in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Flowers everywhere, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Flowers everywhere, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sidi Bou Said is draped in sweet smelling flowers, cascading off walls, wrapped around gates and tumbling down the cliffs.

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    Sidi Bou Said, popular with local tourists.

    Sidi Bou Said street scene, family afternoon stroll, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Sidi Bou Said street scene, family afternoon stroll, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sidi Bou Said is very popular with local tourists as well as foreigners. Families come for the day to admire the beautiful streets and gorgeous views.

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    Tour Groups in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Tourist Groups, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Tourist Groups, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sidi Bou Said is filled with tour groups during the day, but at night, peace returns and you'll be even more charmed by this lovely town. More below ...

    Sidi Bou Said is a popular stop for any tour group taking a day trip to Tunis from some of the beach resorts further south. You certainly do not need to take a tour if you're visiting Sidi Bou Said, it's small, safe and fun to explore. Tour groups tend to go along a specific route to take in all the sights with their limited time, so they're easy enough to avid. Just go in the opposite direction or duck into any small street and you'll feel like you have the quiet village to yourself again.

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  • 07 of 12

    Jasmine Seller, Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Selling Jasmine, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Selling Jasmine, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sweet smelling jasmine is sold to tourists and makes for a nice, cheap little gift as well as providing a good photo op.

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  • 08 of 12

    Shopping in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Shopping in Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Sidi Bou Said Shopping Shopping in Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sidi Bou Said is filled with stalls selling tourist trinkets as well as small art shops. Bargain hard here to get a decent price.

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  • 09 of 12

    Sidi Bou Said Hotels

    Sidi Bou Said Accommodation, Tunis, Tunisia - where to stay in Sidi Bou Said
    ••• Where to stay in Sidi Bou Said Sidi Bou Said Accommodation, Tunis, Tunisia - where to stay in Sidi Bou Said. © Anouk Zijlma

    Sidi Bou Said has one of Tunisia's best boutique hotels as well as other unique accommodation. Find out more details about where to stay, below.

    Sidi Bou Said is a great town to base yourself when visiting Tunis and Carthage. It offers some excellent accommodation and it's much quieter than anywhere in Tunis. The best perk is you get to enjoy the town without the crowds of tourists early in the morning and at night.

    I stayed at the Dar Said for three nights, it's reputation as one of the best boutique hotels in Tunisia is not entirely accurate. The grounds are certainly lovely, the pool overlooking the Gulf of Tunis and the sparkling blue Mediterranean is the perfect place to eat breakfast. Its location is also fantastic, right in the heart of the old part of Sidi Bou Said and steps away from two world class restaurants. But the hotel looks like it needs an update and the breakfast could certainly be improved.

    The Dar Said has 24 rooms each furnished with traditional Tunisian crafts and...MORE tastefully done but somewhat sparse. As with many traditional homes converted into hotels, (like Riads in Morocco) the rooms can be a little small and dark since they're built for keeping cool, rather than letting sunlight in. Opt for a room with a view and you'll feel like royalty. If you get a smaller room off one of the little internal courtyards you may be disappointed considering the rates are quite steep, starting at $300.00 per night.

    If you can't afford the Dar Said, Sidi Bou Said has a wonderful mid-range option with a similar feel -- the Hotel Sidi Bou Fares. The rooms are small but gorgeously tiled and all face a courtyard that is blooming with flowers surrounding a huge fig tree. A beautiful place to start your day and with more character than anything you'd find in Tunis.

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    Courtyard of the Sidi Bou Fares Hotel, Sidi Bou Said

    Courtyards, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Flowering Courtyard in Sidi Bou Said Courtyard of Hotel Sidi Bou Fares, Sidi Bou Said. © Anouk Zijlma

    Courtyard of traditional home, now a hotel, Sid Bou Fares. More information about accommodation below.

    Sidi Bou Said is a great town to base yourself when visiting Tunis and Carthage. It offers some excellent accommodation and it's much quieter than anywhere in Tunis. The best perk is you get to enjoy the town without the crowds of tourists early in the morning and at night.

    I stayed at the Dar Said for three nights, it's reputation as one of the best boutique hotels in Tunisia is not entirely accurate. The grounds are certainly lovely, the pool overlooking the Gulf of Tunis and the sparkling blue Mediterranean is the perfect place to eat breakfast. Its location is also fantastic, right in the heart of the old part of Sidi Bou Said and steps away from two world class restaurants. But the hotel looks like it needs an update and the breakfast could certainly be improved.

    The Dar Said has 24 rooms each furnished with traditional Tunisian crafts and tastefully done but somewhat sparse. As...MORE with many traditional homes converted into hotels, (like Riads in Morocco) the rooms can be a little small and dark since they're built for keeping cool, rather than letting sunlight in. Opt for a room with a view and you'll feel like royalty. If you get a smaller room off one of the little internal courtyards you may be disappointed considering the rates are quite steep, starting at $300.00 per night.

    If you can't afford the Dar Said, Sidi Bou Said has a wonderful mid-range option with a similar feel -- the Hotel Sidi Bou Fares. The rooms are small but gorgeously tiled and all face a courtyard that is blooming with flowers surrounding a huge fig tree. A beautiful place to start your day and with more character than anything you'd find in Tunis.

    Continue to 11 of 12 below.
  • 11 of 12

    Restaurants in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Sidi Bou Said, dining out, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Where to eat in Sidi Bou Said Dining out in Sidi Bou Said. © Anouk Zijlma

    There are a coupe of good upscale restaurants in Sidi Bou Said along with coffee shops and lunch cafes. See below for details.

    My favorite place to eat in Sidi Bou Said is at Au Bon Vieux Temps (71-774-322). Au Bon Vieux Temps is not cheap, but it's worth splashing out for the excellent service, romantic ambience and good food. Its location is also excellent, with a nice garden with views of the Mediterranean. I always stick to traditional food wherever I go, and their fish Kabkouba did not disappoint, in fact I went back a few nights later just to have it again. Tunisian wine is quite delicious as well, a bottle of Selian Vin Blanc will set you back 20 Dinar. This nice fresh white wine pairs perfectly with the spicy appetizers. And of course every meal starts with some Harissa, a fiery little condiment made primarily from red peppers much beloved by Tunisians, served with crusty french bread.

    Sid Bou Said's other upscale restaurant is affiliated with the hotel Dar Said. The Dar...MORE Zarrouk (71 740-591) is a little more expensive than the Au Bon Vieux Temps but it doesn't have nearly the same intimate atmosphere. Large groups dine here, so you have to book a few nights in advance. The service isn't so great but the food is good and the menu offers a good selection of Tunisian and French fare. For starters I had the Tagine, which is a pastry pocket with a tasty combination of meat (usually chicken or tuna) and a lightly cooked egg. This will surprise you when you cut into it, as the yolk basically explodes over your plate. I had the chicken couscous for my main meal, which was very tasty.

    Both the above restaurants will set you back around 80-100 Dinar for two, that includes appetizers, wine, main course, desert and coffee.

    For a quicker, cheaper dinner, try Tam Tam or any of the kebab/pizza places closer to the center of town, near the train station. Coffee and ice-cream is available at numerous little places dotted around town, check out Cafe de Nattes for excellent people watching.

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    Getting to Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    Getting to Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisia
    ••• Sidi Bou Said Transport The TGM from Tunis to Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. © Anouk Zijlma

    You can get to Sidi Bou Said by TGM, a commuter rail system that's cheap, efficient and easy to use. More about getting to Sidi Bou Said below.

    Sidi Bou Said is on the Mediterranean coast not far from Tunisia's capital Tunis. While most people get to Sidi Bou Said on a tour bus, as part of a whirlwind tour of Tunis, it's easy to get to using public transport. A regular commuter train, called the TGM, travels from central Tunis through the suburbs of Carthage and up to Sidi Bou Said. The fare is minimal (less than 1 Dinar) and the journey takes about 25 minutes. The TGM stop is at the bottom of the hill, so be prepared to walk up for about 10 minutes to get to the heart of the quaint, cobbled street part of Sidi Bou Said.

    Taxis are also readily available everywhere, the fare from central Tunis to Sidi Bou Said shouldn't cost more than 15 Dinar. The drive will take you about 25 minutes.

    The Tunis International Airport is about a 20 minute taxi ride. The port where ferries arrive from France...MORE and Italy (La Goulette) is right on the TGM railway line and will take about 15 minutes, head north towards Sidi Bou Said.