If you’re looking for a place that sums up island living, it’s Djerba. Just 5 km of Tunisia’s southern coast, this peninsula’s gently sloping sandy beaches and perfect climate has made it a popular stop for travelers. The idyllic villages and scenery make delving deeper into Tunisian culture and exploring the sightseeing attractions a must. Here we explore the 10 unmissable thins to do in Djerba.
Houmt Souk medina
The old town area of Djerba’s capital Houmt Souk is a quaint maze of alleyways lined by picturesque whitewashed houses, and therefore is perfect for a beautiful day of strolling around, while buying loads of hand-painted pottery, traditional jewelry and carpets with colorful prints. The purple bougainvilleas growing on the houses’ white facades against the backdrop of a clear blue sky is an image you will never forget.
Watch out for: Houmt Souk’s general charm that will blow you away
Address: Houmt Souk, Djerba, Tunisia
The best beaches of Tunisia are to be found in Djerba. It’s incredible to just enjoy the sun, get that tan you always wanted and go for a relaxing and refreshing swim in the incredibly turquoise waters surrounding the so-called ‘island of the thousand palm trees’. Djerba is a prime tourist destination for a reason, and if you’re looking for the picture-perfect beach escape, this is it. The white powdery sands of Plage Sidi Mahrez and Plage de la Séguia are perfect for sun-bathing while the best seafood dishes await you here as well.
Watch out for: a good sun screen factor 50 to protect you while tanning for hours
Address: Djerba, Tunisia
Ras Rmel (Flamingo Island)
Ras Rmel is a peculiar almost surreal scenery. Not really an island but more consisting of enormous wetlands, it is an eco-reserve where thousands of flamingos flock together. The combination of the birds’ neon-pink color and the azure blue of the ocean is magical. From Houmt Souk you can take a boat to the island, snorkel and swim, go for a siesta in the available hammocks or just try the divinely fresh oysters and coquilles caught by the local fishermen.
Watch out for: the dazzling colors of sea and flamingos
Address: Ras Rmel, Djerba, Tunisia
When you buy some beautiful painted pottery in Houmt Souk, chances are high it has been made in the village of Guellala, Djerba’s main pottery centre. Some 450 potters live and work here, and visiting one of their workshops is a mind-boggling experience; the manner in which the clay is edited into these magnificent amphoras or storage jars is a true form of art. Many of Guellala’s inhabitants are Berbers, and their traditions and culture is to be felt and spotted everywhere, which makes Guellala one of the most real and authentic villages in Tunisia.
Watch out for: the beautifully handcrafted tajines
Address: Guellala, Médenine, Djerba, Tunisia
The El-Ghriba synagogue is a fine intermezzo when discovering the village of Er-Riadh, located in central Djerba. It is the most prominent reminder of the island’s vibrant Jewish community, who have lived in Er-Riadh since 586BC, and is still an important place of pilgrimage for Jews from all over the world. Although not very impressive from the outside, El-Ghriba’s interior is a rich mix of blue tiles warmed by sunlight streaming in through colored glass windows. The Torah scrolls kept at this synagogue are amongst the most important and valuable in the world.
Watch out for: the peaceful, religious atmosphere
Address: El-Ghriba, Hara Sghira, Er Riadh, Médenine, Djerba, Tunisia
Being the largest crocodile farm within the Mediterranean area, you can’t miss out on gawping at larger-than-life crocodiles, especially when having children out on vacation too. Over 400 of these creatures have been imported from the Nile River and Madagascar, and are living in a tropical zoo-like environment beautifully designed with exotic plants, ponds and papyrus trees. Make sure you’re there at feeding time; scary moments and excited kids are assured.
Opening hours: 9am – 8pm
Watch out for: crocodiles!
Address: Crocodile Farm, Midoun, Djerba, Tunisia, +21 6 75 74 52 77
Midoun is one big market town, Djerba’s largest and famous for its buzzing Friday market. Surrounded by fruit orchards and date-palm groves, Midoun’s medina is made up of skinny alleyways and gorgeous houses with the typical Arabian doors, and lush with flowers hanging from the balconies. The town also has an excellent restaurant scene, with cuisine inspired by a myriad of cultures, including Spanish, French, Moroccan and Sudanese.
Watch out for: the different colors and shapes of Midoun houses’ gorgeous doors
Address: Midoun, Djerba, Tunisia
Sleep in a traditional Tunisian houch
To experience the real Tunisian life, passing the night in a traditional houch is a must. Mostly part of a bigger menzel or shared house, these cave-like rooms are comfortable, charming, and typically Djerbian, and make you feel peaceful and rested immediately. You will find these menzels mostly in the countryside just outside of the cities or towns, surrounded by orchards, olive trees and swaying palm trees. In one word: a dream.
Watch out for: the soothing calm of the houch’s thick walls, patio and environment
Address: Everywhere around Djerba
Watch the sunset in Borj Djillidj
Close to the village of Ajim – where some of Star Wars’ scenes have been shot – is Borj Djillidj, where the most beautiful sunsets can be watched. The quiet little port where traditional fishermen return home after catching octopus and fish is the most quiet and serene place, perfect for observing the beauty of this world.
Watch out for: the pure serenity of a stunning sunset
Address: Borj Djillidj, close to Ajim, Médenine, Djerba, Tunisia
The International Ulysse Festival of Djerba
French and Arabic speaking visitors will have the time of their lives at the Ulysse Festival in Djerba, every year from July till August. Theatre plays, music performances and film screenings in the busy streets and on the cozy squares of Houmt Souk make for a real party atmosphere. Don’t worry if you don’t have that knack for languages; you will feel the vibe and enjoy it nevertheless. Just mix with the crowd and go with the flow.
Watch out for: the performances by Djerba’s art students
Address: Houmt Souk, Djerba, Tunisia