Perched on top of a cliff and surrounded by views of azure waters, you'll find Sidi Bou Säid.
With its blue and white color scheme, it bears a certain resemblance to Santorini, Greece, but Sidi Bou Säid is actually in Africa, located about 12 miles north of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.
The village has become synonymous with art and creativity and its cobbled streets are lined with bohemian art shops, souvenir stalls and quaint cafés.
I was lucky enough to be able to stay in a friend of a friend's property, which has over 200 years of history. It was the formerly the family home of my acquaintance, but is now available to rent via Airbnb. This place is right smack in the middle of the pedestrian area of the village and offers five bedrooms with 11 beds, a library, two kitchens, a living room with a huge bay window, a dining room, a patio and a rooftop with breath-taking views of the Gulf of Tunis. It has all the charm of an old dwelling but has been modernized and decorated impeccably.
Start your day by filling your belly at bleue! cafe. They offer delicious hot breakfast options, cakes/pastries and tea/coffee.
Then, have lunch at Au Bon Vieux Temps, a romantic restaurant featuring Mediterranean and Tunisian classics. The food is complemented by mesmerizing ocean views and attentive service, and the wine list offers a chance to try local Tunisian vintages.
I only went for a drink, but you could also try Dar Zarrouk for a meal. Also, there's The Cliff, if you fancy a fine-dining experience.
The most fruitful way to spend time in Sidi Bou Säid is to stroll through its winding passageways, taking photos of all the doors and visiting art galleries/restaurants at your leisure. Even with the crowds, Sidi Bou Säid somehow manages to feels both touristy and undiscovered at the same time.
Once you've explored the tangle of narrow streets (maybe 2-3 hours if you inspect every nook and cranny), have a wander over to Carthage for a bit of culture and history.
Carthage was strategically built on the Tunisian coast, to influence and control ships passing between Sicily and the North African. Rapidly becoming a thriving port and trading center, it eventually developed into a major Mediterranean power and a rival to Rome. From the middle of the 3rd century to the middle of the 2nd century BCE, Carthage was engaged in a series of wars with Rome, which ended in the defeat of Carthage and the expansion of Roman control. When Carthage finally fell in 146 BCE, the site was plundered and burned. The archaeological site of Carthage was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1979.
After visiting Carthage, walk around the corner to the Baths of Antoninus (10 DT entrance fee) - ruins of the largest Roman baths outside Rome itself. Only the foundations remain, but they are substantial enough to give an impression of the complex’s size and opulence in its heyday. *Note: It is illegal to take photographs in the direction of the presidential palace. Doing so may land you in jail for up to three years, though the guards don't appear too concerned.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
I had barely any mobile service whilst in Tunisia, and WiFi was scarce.
The currency is the Tunisian Dinar, but you can also use Euros. Credit cards can be used in some places, but AMEX is not accepted anywhere.
European plugs are used.
When you fly out of Tunis-Carthage International Airport, you will need to have a paper boarding pass; they cannot accommodate mobile boarding passes, even though the airline will allow you to check in online and download them.
Bolt operates in Tunisia and is the best way to get around, although you can't pay through the app; you must have cash.
Smoking is allowed everywhere - even in restaurants.