When you do the common traveling search: ‘Things to do’ for Tunis. The little town of Sidi Bou Said is the first to pop up on your search results. I recently had a flight to Tunis and got to spend 48 hours in this vibrant city. Sidi Bou Said was the first thing on my mile long list of ‘to do’s’. This little town perched on a hill, is located about 20 km from Tunis city centre and could easily be confused for the famous Greek Island, Santorini. The little white washed houses with contrasting shades of blue trims, adorned with vibrant Bougainvillea, makes this one of the most ‘Instagram-worthy’ spots of Tunis. Although this town can easily become a tourist trap it is still worth a visit! Here’s some tips on how to explore Sidi Bou Said in one afternoon.
Avoid the heat and go late afternoon
Tunis can get overwhelmingly hot during summer. Visiting Sidi Bou Said in the late afternoon will give you more than enough time to explore the town AND relax while watching the sunset touching the turquoise waters. Sidi Bou Said can easily be reached by train or taxi.
Save your shopping for the medina
The main street is lined with little restaurants and shops selling traditional crafts from Tunisia. The displays are extremely enticing, as only the best goods are offered here. However be mindful that that is the tourist hotspot and you will pay an extra bit. If you are planning on visiting the Medina of Tunis, I would recommend saving your money for the souks. With a little more effort and haggling you will be able to find great deals.
Get of the beaten path and explore the smaller streets
Browsing the main street could be as quick as 20 minutes (Depending on how much time you want to spend on exploring the finer details) and it’s usually bustling with people. We decided to split from the group and ended up exploring the smaller alleyways. With fewer people, these streets were better for taking pictures and just admiring the detail. Every single doorway of this town differs from the next, with Bougainvillea and potted plants adorning the cobbled streets.
Eat a Bombalouni
This Tunisian sweet treat is a delightful fried ring of dough dusted with sugar, giving it a soft yet crispy texture. Its oily and should be eaten while still hot. This treat will cost you about 0.700 dinar and due to its popularity lines might get long. Luckily, every second stand sells them!
Drink Mint tea
No visit to Tunis is fulfilled without copious amounts of mint tea. This tea traditional to the Greater Maghreb region is also known as Moroccan , Touareg and Sahrawi tea and is made from Green tea, Spearmint leaves and a lot of sugar. You will find a bustling tea bar around every corner with people mingling over seisha. At first I found this tea a bit too sweet for my taste, but through out my visit I found myself keeping an eye out for tea bars for a sit down.
Dress for the occasion
Although not very big, Sidi Bou Said is perched on a hill. The initial climb to get to the main street would require comfy shoes. Keep an eye out for the weather and perhaps keep something light, but warm with you as the coastal evening might get chilly. For really great pictures do dress up in vibrant colours. I decided on blue and yellow and found the colour scheme to be perfect for the Mediterranean surroundings…