Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia


Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia.

Why now?

For a spectacle of blue and white that isn't Santorini, Sidi Bou Said offers a cultural getaway without foregoing that salty ocean breeze. An underrated alternative to Morocco, Tunisia tops the charts for combining city and beach, as well as diverse landscapes that take you from Sahara sands to a coast lined with Aleppo pines, Italian cypresses and lush palms.

Fabled ruins such as Carthage are juxtaposed with a progressive government who are reforming laws to address a gender imbalance. This contrast of old and new is amplified by the storied souks snaking through a city that's emerging as a creative hub.

Don't miss

For a white tablecloth tête-à-tête overlooking cerulean seas, make a booking at Dar Zarrouk, set in an ancient cliffside palace. The restaurant has a wide terrace set above the Bay of Tunis, with plenty of leafy garden areas perfect for enjoying an afternoon mint tea.

After lunch, head to the Roman baths of Antonius for some 2nd-century architecture. If you're more keen on air conditioning than continuing to sun yourself, take a trip to Ennejma Ezzahra, a hilltop palace that used to be the home of French baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger. The sprawling former abode now houses the Centre for Arabic and Mediterranean Music.

Who to take with you

Your other half - getting lost on cobblestone streets and locking yourself away for an afternoon snooze behind bright blue shutters is best done with a lover in tow.

When to go

April, May and June. The city is a tapestry of purple and red flowers in spring, and you'll also be there for prime apricot season.

Most likely to bump into

Watercolour painters.

Essentials to bring with you

A Zimmermann midi dress and SPF 100.

How to get there

Fly into Tunis-Carthage International Airport. From there, take the TGM light rail line from Carthage to Sidi Bou Said.