Shining out from the Gulf of Gabes like the much-prized tourist gem it is, Djerba is one of the most appealing holiday spots in North Africa. Although increasingly dominated by modern resorts, the history and culture of Tunisia’s ‘Isle of Forgetfulness’ cannot be washed away.
Ethnically, Djerba is a mix of Berber, Jewish, Maltese and Ibadi Muslim, and its many attractions – such as the holy town of El Riadh and the grand Bassi Mosque –reflect this diversity. The ancient town ofBûrgû contains a tomb with the remains of members of the Numidian Royal Family,and the medieval fortress that surrounds the town of Houmt Soukis testament to the ancient significance of the island. Add to that picturesque beaches, turquoise waters and some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see and you’ll start to get an idea of the unforgettable magic and majesty of Djerba.
Djerba’s Top 10
10. El Ghriba Synagogue One of the oldest synagogues in the world, it is the sight of a pilgrimage for many Tunisian Jews after Passover.
5. Midoun A smaller town than Houmt Souk, surrounded by gardens, fruit orchards and groves of date-palms, with plenty of historical swagger to keep you interested.
9. Bassi Mosque Soak up the strong Islamic culture of the island by exploring the history of this place of worship.
4. Zone Touristique Resort city, with most of the best beaches being owned by the hotels. Relax with a cocktail as you ponder the concept of someone ‘owning’ a beach.
8. Houmt Souk Markets Get lost, get enchanted and get a bargain!
3. Plage des 5000 Ans The ‘Beach of 5,000 Years’ is a pristine stretch of sand that – remarkably – is still free to the public. Hurry!
7. Houmt Souk Museum Discover the many influences and cultures that have contributed to modern-day Djerba.
2. The Museum of Popular Arts Showcases the cultural expressions of, among others, the Berber people of the region. You’ll be amazed at how intoxicating its beauty is.
6. Houmt Souk Casino Proof that money reigns supreme even in the most religious and remote of places. Try your luck at blackjack in Arabic.
1. Borj El K’bir Fort A medieval fortress on the waterfront. This is what North Africa is all about.
- Hara Sghira – A small community in Djerba and a holy place for more 1,400 years, it houses the historic Ghriba synagogue, the focal point of all Jews in Northern Africa.
- El May – Small, extremely picturesque and simply beautiful, this mosque is one of the most photographed spots in this small village.
- Borj Ghazi Mustapha – Built in 1289 by the Admiral of Sicily and later remodelled in the 15th century.
- Lonely Mosque – Located on the beach, this 500-year-old mosque is not situated traditionally in the centre of the city but surrounded by palm trees and the sea.
- Borj el-Kebir – A fort built during the 16th century by the king of Sicily where thousands of skulls of Spanish soldiers were housed in a tower.
Djerba Art & Culture
- Guellala – At sunset, enjoy this very picturesque village where creating pottery since the ancient roman is part of its heritage.
- Ajim – Visit the lighthouse in this small port of Djerba where fishermen still catch octopus in the traditional way, using clay pots.
- Museum of folklore and Popular Art – Enjoy the many displays of traditional jewellery and costumes.
- Midoun – The largest market town with a significant population of descendants of slaves brought from the Sudan, it boasts an old underground olive-oil press still used during the winter months.
- Guellala Museum – Built in 2001, it contains an impressive collection of pottery and an observation tower that offers a splendid view at sunset.
- Houmt Souk – A colourful market located near the Place de Algerie.
- Fatou – Visit this interesting market, where local artists display hand-woven rush mats and baskets.
- Sedouikech – Unique items, such as handmade camel muzzles, straw hats and fishing baskets are all for sale, depending on the needs of the many buyers.
- Supermarket Al Jasira – Looking for exotic spices, look no further than Al Jasira, as it is one of the many places you can buy spices in Djerba.
- Cattle Market – For a truly unique experience, stop at the village of Zarzis on Wednesday for the weekly cattle market; however, be wary if you are inordinately sensitive to the stimulation coming from your surroundings.
Gay & Lesbian Djerba
- While there are some gay-friendly hotels and establishments, there are no openly gay venues.
- Djerba Explore – A truly amazing crocodile park and artefact gallery, where at 5 pm the crocodile feeding is an impressive event.
- Ras Rmel – Also known as Pirates Island, visitors can explore the wonders of nature near Djerba.
- Aghir Beach – A beautiful beach, complete with a swimming zone and separated into public and private areas.
- Mahboubine – Walk throughout this village and enjoy the famous backyard gardens.
- Sahara Desert – A guided trek through the Sahara Desert is a truly unique and priceless experience.
- Rent a bicycle and enjoy cycling through the small villages that dot the peaceful countryside.
- Visit Stade Houmet Es Souk to see a local Pele in action.
- Learn to scuba dive with Blue Dolphin Djerba or any of the other dive centres on the island.
- At the Royal Carriage Club, both horse and camel riding are available.
- A day swimming at Djerba Beach is always a very pleasant pastime.
Lag BaOmer is a pilgrimage undertaken by thousands of Jews from around the world to the El Ghriba Synagogue each May.
August sees the Ulysses Festival hit the island, so brush up on your Homer and immerse yourself in the culture.
When To Go
With a pleasant Mediterranean climate, there’s no bad time to visit Djerba.
While Djerba experiences four distinct seasons, winter temperatures only ever fall to around 15°C (59°F), while summer averages around 30°C (86°F).
Make sure you pack the sunscreen and stay hydrated – the hot, dry climate and enticing beaches make for a melanoma party if you’re not careful.
Taxis in Djerba are cheap, with most having a set rate so you know you’re not going to be ripped off. But still try to get an estimate on cost before getting in.
One of the more novel methods of making your way around the island is to hire a quad bike. Feel the wind in your hair (and watch for old ladies crossing) as you zip around all the attractions.
20 hotels in Djerba
Benefiting from a truly magnificent location, the Iberostar Mehari Djerba is a smart modern property that offers comfortable accommodation and convenient facilities to make you stay in the city a... More
Caribbean World Hotel Djerba Thalasso has comfortable accommodation and friendly services for travellers in Djerba. It offers facilities and activities for guests to make their holiday a memorable... More
Located just 10 minutes from Houmt Souk, Jerba Sun Club is an all inclusive resort hotel with direct access to a private beach - half board is offered during low season. Its facilities include 2... More
Directly on the best beach of the dreaming island Djerba, the luxury Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Thalasso, Djerba is just 20 km from the airport, 10 km from the main city Houmt-Souk and close to a... More
Djerba Les Dunes is located 12 kilometers from Houmt Souk, the capital of Djerba and is only 300 meters from a fine sandy beach which is easily accessed by a paved road. Nearby you will find a golf... More
Djerba Holiday Beach Hotel offers luxurious accommodations for a great holiday experience. Featuring contemporary architecture and quality amenities, this property welcomes all its visitors with... More
Aparthotel Dar Said situated in Midoun Djerba offers well priced self catering accomodation for those customers looking for independance during the holidayEach equipped appartment offers a... More
Featuring modern accommodations nestled amidst 35,000 square metres of palm grove in a beachfront setting, ClubHOtel Riu Palm Azur makes for an ideal base for a vibrant holiday in Midoun. Apart... More
Escape the busy city life and go on a relaxing vacation at Riu Palace Royal Garden, an idyllic beachfront hotel offering elegant spaces and a host of top-notch leisure facilities set on the island... More