How to Visit Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Sidi Bou Said is a gorgeous, well-preserved village in Tunisia that is now an exclusive place to own property as well as a popular attraction for residents of Tunis and foreign travelers. It is an easy half-day trip from Tunis.
Getting to Sidi Bou Said
Getting to Sidi Bou Said is easy. From anywhere in Tunis take the metro to Tunis Marine and transfer to the commuter rail. The commuter rail runs from Tunis in about 30 minutes and costs 700 millime (.7 TD) which is about 25 cents (.25 USD).
My First Impression
When I got off the train at Sidi Bou Said station and saw all the traffic in the little streets I thought it was way too crowded for a little village. Lesson learned. Unless you want to battle with weekenders from Tunis, go on a weekday. My negativity continued when I followed the large numbers of people walking up the main street into the prettiest parts of Sidi Bou Said past annoying souvenir hawkers who had goods spilling out their front doors onto the street.
All this had me wondering why I came to such a touristy locale in the first place. But I kept pushing up the hill, ignoring the salesmen. At the crowded Café Hadj Amor, with its many tables and chairs set up on the pedestrian street, I took a left and the situation got considerably better. There were fewer people but more of the pretty blue and white painted buildings as well as a view over the town and out to the sea. Here I started to feel the allure of Sidi Bou Said. Further on I was rewarded with a stunning but simple view of a minaret rising above the crowded market street.
What to do in Sidi Bou Said
Most locals come here to spend a weekend day strolling at an easy pace and sitting for a couple of hours at one of the two main cafes. Or there’s plenty of browsing at the souvenir shops and vendors that line the main street. Young couples go on dates here and twenty-something girls work on their perfect Instagram shot in front of one of the many brightly colored doors. Café des Délices is undoubtedly the most popular place to drink coffee with a view — and the view is spectacular. By local standards it is expensive but as a foreigner it’s affordable.
I enjoyed walking around Sidi Bou Said taking photos of the architecture in the late afternoon sun. If I wasn’t alone I would have spent time relaxing at one of the cafes.
If you’re wondering what I was doing in Tunisia in the first place, read: Why I Went to Tunisia