Djerba is an island in south Tunisia with beautiful sandy beaches and beautiful, peaceful and silent countryside. One from the best ecological destinations in the World, this island preserves its traditions and its unique architectural theme.
Djerba is known for its beautiful beaches and dramatic sunsets and therefore a popular tourist destination, particularly with French, German and Italian tourists. It is one of the few remaining places in Tunisia where a Berber language is still spoken. It is the largest island of North Africa with a total population of around 160,000.
Buses between Tunis' south bus station and Houmt Souk's centre ville in Djerba cost 26.750 dinars and take about 8 hours. The fare includes the ferry ride to the island. Night rides are common and fairly comfortable.
Djerba's only international airport for scheduled and charter flights is Djerba-Zarzis Airport (DJE). Tunisair provides schedule service from the island to some major European cities, there is also domestic service provided by Tunisair's subsidiary, Sevenair, between Djerba and Tunis. A few European charter airlines also fly to the island.
The train line ends at Gabes, 70 km to the North-West. From there, you must take a bus or lounge to El Jorf and then a ferry to Djerba.
Public transportation is limited but taxis are available for reasonable prices; it is possible to hire a bicycle or a motor-bicycle but be careful as most roads are narrow!
- Houmt Souk. With colorful markets especially near Place de Algerie, Borj El Kebir and the marina/port to the north, and Habib Bourguiba street (a charming replica of the giant one in Tunis)
- Guellala. A village where pottery has been made since the times of the ancient Romans and where you may watch a wonderful sunset. There is also a museum.
- Star Wars shooting location. The 1977 film Star Wars was filmed on Djerba. The infamous Mos Eisley Cantina, as well as the moisture farm where Luke Skywalker grew up, are still standing, and used as a residence in the case of the Cantina.
- Fadhloun mosque (on the Houmt Souk-Midoun road).
- El Ghriba Synagogue (in Erriadh village). This synagogue is only a bit more than 100 years old, but it serves a Jewish community that has been in Djerba for at least 2,000 years and possibly as long as 3,000 years, and there was a synagogue on this site some 1,900 years ago. This synagogue is a traditional place of pilgrimage for Jews throughout Tunisia on the Lag b'Omer holiday, 34 days after the start of Passover.
- Djerba Explore. Hosts the biggest Mediterranean Crocodile Farm (over 400 creatures imported from the Nile River since 1992) and the impressive Lalla Hadhria Museum, as well as an interesting interactive traditional village in the back. 12 dinars per person includes entrance to all three sections.
- Ras Rmel. Called the Flamingo or Pirates island is a peninsula where you can enjoy the virginity of nature. Flamingoes are present during October to ??. Ship cruises costing 20 dinars per person for walk-ons (and about 40-45 dinars per person for the hotel groups) are available at the Houmt Souk marina/port. The crews are energetic, passionate, and fun; the buffet lunch on the peninsula is wonderful, and the atmosphere of the day is unforgettable. The package runs around 9am to 3:30pm. Even for the most rough and ready traveler/backpacker, this is a cheap way to treat oneself to luxury for once. (for all that was included, I would easily have paid more, and I'm the hitchhiking type.)
Enjoy the sandy beaches, visit Ras R'mel peninsula, rent a bicycle and visit the small villages; enjoy a simple and typical architecture, a silent countryside and beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Eat fresh tasty fish; go to the typical fish market. Do not miss a Turkish bath. Visit the jewelers and admire bedouin silver jewelry.
A great place to watch beautiful sunsets is at the northwest side of the island is Borj Djillidj before turning left to Ajim. The quiet little port and lighthouse hosts the traditional fishermen who still catch octopus with clay pots and come back against sunset with their wins of the day. A most quiet and serene place sure to inspire.
Textiles, spices, dates, loofahs, traditional clothes, drums and pottery.
Eat fresh grilled fish, couscous with fish and lamb meat, try "brik à l'oeuf", Tunisian sandwich (casse-croute tunisien), lablabi (a chick-peas soup), salade mechouia (mixed grilled vegetables), tastira (mixed fried vegetables). Fricasse ( sandwich bread fried in oil and topped with various toppings). Gelato and pizzas from the souk.
- Le Petit Crustacé in Ajim has excellent fresh fish dishes and genuinely friendly staff. You can see and choose the fish you want to eat and watch it being grilled in front of you. The relatively expensive price (15-30 dinars depending on the fish you choose) contains starter dishes and fresh fruit dessert, you won't leave hungry. Located near the ferry dock.
Drink only bottled water, try fresh orange juice, mint tea, Turkish coffee, bokha (fig/date local alcohool), celtia (local beer), l'ban (liquid yougurt).
There are many hotels are available for all kinds of budgets, including of course deluxe hotels.
- Auberge de Jeunesse. youth hostel 10 minutes walk from the north fort and 15 minutes from centre ville, in the cool Place de Algerie. 6 dinars per person per night, includes a simple breakfast of bread, butter/jam, and coffee/tea. A charming place to stay.
From the bus station of Houmt Souk (gare routière) it is quite easy and cheap to get to the major cities in the mainland.