Known for its wonderful sky-blue wooden doors and photo-perfect whitewashed buildings, Sidi Bou Said is a charming town in northern Tunisia located on top of a steep cliff about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the capital, Tunis. Easily reachable by the TGM train, which runs from Tunis to La Marsa, the picturesque Sidi Bou Said is Tunis’s bohemian seaside suburb where you’ll enjoy wandering through the shore and to taste the relaxed ambiance. Sidi Bou Said also has the reputation of an artists’ village (told to have inspired famous artist Paul Klee and famous writer Andre Gide) featuring absolutely phenomenal views of the Gulf of Tunis, Carthage, La Goulette and Tunis itself. As a matter of fact, since it is located very close to Tunis, there is plenty of things to do in and around the town and this is an excellent “base of operations” for your trip to Tunisia. In this article, we’ll look at 9 great things to do to take part in inside and out Sidi Bou Said for a wonderful holiday time.
1. Historical center
The beauty of Sidi Bou Said comes from its architecture: a crystal clear white and blue combination of buildings that fits perfectly with the rich nature here. The historic center of the little town might be the place where all the specificity and traditions of the place come together creating a mix of atmosphere worth experiencing. You’ll like walking through the Souk markets in the streets, passing by the mosques and enjoying the fresh and tasty food of the local shops while gazing at the picturesque buildings all around.
Sidi Bou Said
Address: Avenue 14 Janvier, 2026 Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
2. Museum Dar el-Annabi
Built at the end of the 18th century, El Annabi House has been improved as a summer resort during the 20th century and is now a local museum featuring the atmosphere of a Tunisian family with wax figures wearing traditional clothes of festivities and an exposition of recent craft objects (paintings and antique relics). The space Dar El Annabi offers the possibility to visitors to truly dive into the Tunisian daily life, arts and traditions. This authentic Arab’s house is an interesting place for travelers willing to discover the roots of the country.
Address: Rue Habib Thameur, 2026 Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
3. Palace Dar Nejma Ezzahra
Ennejma Ezzahra (“Star of Zahra”) is a palace built and used by the Erlanger family during the 20th century and it is now preserved by the Tunisian government as a museum with many of its original furnishings, including paintings, a treasure chest, a collection of historical musical instruments and other beautiful objects. The palace also houses the Centre des Musiques Arabes et Méditerranéennes (Center for Arabic and Mediterranean Music) where you’ll appreciate the beauty of the traditional music of the country.
Dar Nejma Ezzahra
Address: Palais Ennejma Ezzahra - 8 rue du 2 mars 1933, 2026 Tunisia
4. Carthaginian ruins
Carthage is a commune just a few miles away from Sidi Bou Said. The town is world known for having been one of the biggest Roman ports of Mediterranea in the past. Nowadays, this wealthy suburb of Tunis features many archaeological sites of the old mighty Carthage and a vast range of old ruins worth a sightseeing trip to discover the rich history of civilizations in this part of the world in a beautiful setting backed by the sea.
Address: Route de La Goulette, 7016 Tunisia
Website: Archaeological Site of Carthage
5. Baths of Antoninus Pius
Built between 146 and 162 AD, the Baths of Antoninus Pius and the Archaeological Park might be the most important remains of Roman Carthage today. Lying between Avenue Habib Bourguiba and the sea, the 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) of the baths made them the largest in the Roman world outside Rome. This is a great place to wander and lose yourself in the rocky remains of this great testimony of Roman civilization.
Baths of Antoninus Pius
Address: Carthage Présidence قرطاج الرئاسة, Tunisia
6. Saint Louis Cathedral
The central feature of the old Punic settlement, this 70-meter (230-foot) high Byrsa hill was the main part of the old Carthage town and the later Romans built their imperial buildings over there. Today, the hill is crowned by the Cathedral of Saint Louis (also known as the Acropolium of Carthage), a wonderful building from the 19th century located beside the Carthage Museum, where you’ll enjoy stunning views across the entire Carthage area and the surroundings.
Acropolium of Carthage
Address: Colline de Byrsa, BP 33, 2016 Carthage, Tunisia
Website: Acropolium of Carthage
7. Carthage National Museum
Part of the incredible Carthage historical site, the Carthage National Museum, along with the Bardo National Museum, is one of the two main local archaeological museums in the region. Sitting atop Byrsa Hill, the museum features a vast and very interesting collection of material coming from the Carthage’s excavations. You’ll find a model of what was once the Punic Carthage but you’ll also discover Punic and Early Christian antiquities, jewelery and ornaments, everyday objects, clay masks, funerary stelae, sarcophagi, mosaics and many more historical objects. Along with the museum gardens, the place is worth spending an afternoon to discover all the secrets kept in the area in a beautiful and quiet atmosphere.
Carthage National Museum
Address: Colline de Byrsa, Site archéologique de Carthage, Tunisia
Website: Carthage National Museum
Tunis is the capital of Tunisia. Half an hour away from Sidi Bou Said, it is a town worth visiting for its numerous activities and interest. You’ll find a vast choice of things to do over here from its centuries-old medina to the Bardo passing by its many museums, mosques, shops, and restaurants. You’ll for sure find yourself busy for quite awhile in this lively capital.
Website: Tunisian National Tourist Office
9. El Marsa and the beaches
No need to say that staying on this side of the Mediterranea is a privileged place to be as you’ll be a few steps away from the clear blue and warm sea all the time. Consequently, spending time on the many beaches of the area is an obligation! El Marsa, for example, is a coastal town just around the corner from Sidi Bou Said and is a popular vacation spot for many wealthy Tunisians and visitors coming from all over the place where you’ll enjoy spending time in the rich and luxurious city center while tasting the magnificent sandy beaches where you’ll have plenty of occasions to appreciate the Tunisian “chillout.”
Discover the unspoiled beauty of Tunisia!
With these 9 things to do around Sidi Bou Said and greater Tunis, you’ll get plenty of occasions to discover Tunisia!
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