Tunisians call Djerba with the expression “Djerba La Douce”, translated literally, “Djerba The Sweet”. The name comes from the bewitching impact the island has on people who visit it. The calmness and peace reigning in Djerba make it the perfect city for everyone looking for an escape to recharge and unwind.
Being one of the most visited places in Tunisia, you may be wanting to explore Djerba in an authentic and immersive way. And, this is what we are trying to do. Pushing every traveler to discover Tunisia far from the tourist traps.
WildyNess team walks you through the amazing activities you should do while exploring Djerba.
How to Get to Djerba from Tunis?
Located 530 km away from Tunis, 390 km away from sousse and 316 km away of Tozeur, the island of Djerba is not only the best beach destination but also the best cultural experience you can have.
Renting a car is a great idea if you’re planning more than a week exploring Tunisia. If you’re heading to the Sahara (Tozeur, Douz, or Djerid), we highly recommend getting a 4*4. If not, a comfortable car can be a great alternative to cater for your long road trips.
To access Djerba, you have to choose between two paths: either the Jorf to Ajim by ferry or El Kantra (bridge) that relates Djerba to Zarzis.
Louages or big taxis are a great mean of transportation when exploring the different regions of Tunisia. Even though you’re not able to book a louage beforehand, it’s not that complicated to show up in the louage station the day of your travel and buy a ticket.
From Moncef Bey, Tunis, you can easily get a louage to Djerba. Louages are usually available before 2 or 3pm. Sometimes, there is only one louage available for one day. So, we highly recommend going to the station at 7 am. This way you can buy your ticket and clear your mind. The cost of one ticket is around 39dt.
If you’re going to travel to Djerba without driving or flying, we personally prefer this way. There are two daily timings for buses to Djerba: morning bus and night bus. Night bus is more comfortable as you can avoid the heat and fight the 9-hour trip with a great nap.
You can book your ticket 4 to 7 days beforehand. Depending on the availability, you can also get your ticket before 1 or 2 days. The ticket is about 37dt.
If you’re prioritizing your comfort or your time, we highly recommend booking an internal flight from Tunis to Djerba. The flight takes approximately one hour and costs around 150 usd.
How to Get to Djerba from Abroad?
If you’re starting your travel itinerary from Djerba, you can add to your flight an internal one from Tunis to Djerba. This will save you a day of traveling as the island is a bit far from the capital.
If not, you can always plan your trip in a way that saves you time and energy. For instance, if you’re starting your itinerary from the southern part of the country, starting from Djerba or Tozeur is a good idea. You can fly to these cities directly from Tunis.
Things to Do in Djerba
Roam in Houmt Souk Streets
Houmt Souk is the heartbeat of Djerba. Hosting the artisan markets, the souk and the religious places, Houmt Souk is that place you need to explore meticulously in order to say “I’ve been there” proudly. Start with a breakfast or brunch in El Fonduk, so you can recharge your body while being immersed in a Djerbian Houch with modern touch. Then, take a walk in the streets of the marketplace. Try to make your stroll in the shops as insightful as possible. Ask artisans about the origins of aircraft or dress and know more about the story behind it.
After some shopping, it’s culture time. Remember, Djerba is the land of coexistence and tolerance. This means that it has many religious monuments you need to know about while you’re there.
In houmet el souk and in the vicinity of less than one kilometer, you can find three mosques, one church and one synagogue. Every monument has a historical story to tell. If you’re into history and tempted to know more, you can book a local guide to tell you all the hidden details of history books.
Visit the GHAZI MUSTAPHA TOWER
Known also under the name Borj El Ghazi, Ghazi Mustapha Tower is an old fort located in Houmet El Souk. It’s one of those historically-intriguing monument that testifies for the Hafsid rule. It owes its names to the Qaid El Ghazi Mustapha who came to Djerba in 1559 during the Ottoman era and helped in renovating it.
Nowadays, it’s a popular museum that welcomes tourists who are eager to know more about the history of Djerba.
Enjoy the Graffities in Djerbahood
Into street arts and graffities? Djerba hosts the finest open-air museum you can go to. The Medina Atiga, or Hara Sghira, is a very authentic place where you can find many handicraft shops and Tunisian cafés.
The project Djerbahood, which started in 2014, aims at pushing you strolling through the small paths to be surprised with the street art pieces painted in walls you will encounter.
Believe us, you will keep strolling till you see the graffities twice or thrice. There are more than 250 graffities throughout the Medina, all made by more than 150 artists from all over the world.
Don’t forget your camera to take amazing photos showcasing the diversity of these paintings.
Visit El Ghriba - the Jewish Synagogue
As we mentioned above, Djerba is a miniature of coexistence and tolerance. The island embodies the religious and cultural diversity of the whole country, and the Ghriba Synagogue is here to testify for this.
If you don’t know Arabic, let’s deconstruct the meaning of Ghriba. This Arabic word bears two meanings. The first one denotes "isolated", "lonely"or "abandoned", while the second one stands for "strange", "foreign", "extraordinary", or "wonderful".
Going back to history books, little is known about the cause or origin behind this name. However, old sayings believe that the Ghriba synagogue in Djerba is one of the three Ghriba synagogue built by three sisters respectively in Algeria (Annaba), Kef (Tunisia) and Djerba.
Every year, Jews from all over the world comes to Djerba for pilgrimage. It occurs every year on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer.
Discover the Jewish Neighborhood
After visiting the holy place, time for a stroll in the Jewish neighborhood to explore their daily lives and discover their handicrafts and delicious food. Mind you, you’re still strolling in Erriadh, which means you’re just getting to see all of these monuments and things in a scope of few kilometers.
In Hara Sghira, the Jewish community marks their houses with the fish that adorns their front doors. While walking and getting mesmerized by the calm colors of the walls and the vivid atmosphere of the hara, you will stumble upon many street food spots worth the try. Brik El Hara Ishak is one of them.
Speaking of food that believed to be of Jewish origins, we highly recommend spoiling your taste buds with Kefta, fried veggie balls, Fricassé, a mini sandwich stuffed with Tuna and Harissa and Ftira, a type of fried dumpling.
Have a coffee near Guellala Museum
Chill at a coffee near the Guellala Museum and contemplate the locals busy with the most mundane activities. You can never get tired of watching old women with their traditional “lehaf” and old men with their Djeba. It’s another world where traditions and culture are still cherished and nurtured.
The break will certainly do you well before heading to the Guellala Museum, and immersing yourself in the Djerbian culture. The Museum is dedicated to the folk art and traditions and the place where you can get a full picture of the traditional dressing, authentic handicraft and special ceremonies of the island.
Try a Beach-side Camel Caravan
When you say camel in Tunisia, the first picture that pops into your mind is a camel walking in the Sahara spoiled by the sun rays. This may entail in a mini shock when you know you can have a camel tour in the golden sands of the beach.
As an island, Djerba has several beaches. But, people usually prefer the northeast coast, or what’s known as “zone touristique”. As the majority of the area is private, you will need to pay to enjoy a swim and, of course, a camel caravan.
Enjoy the Sunset!
We live for sunsets and sunrises. While traveling, we tend to be always on the hunt of looking for the perfect spot to watch the sunset and enjoy some moments of peacefulness and cheerfulness.
In Djerba, there are a lot of spots where you can experience an immersive time contemplating the beauty of the changing sky colors.
If you like watching the combination of the colorful sky, the shy sun and the stretching sea, Sidi Yati and Sidi Jmour cater for the best sunset experience on the island.
As one of the finest beaches in Djerba, Sidi Jmour is located near Houmt Souk and filled with hidden gems, namely the Star Wars filming location. One stone, two birds? It’s maybe your time to explore it.
On the other hand, Sidi Yati with its white mosque caters one of the most magical sunset landscape. “Time machine, is that you?” You will be asking yourself when you’re there. But, believe us, the world is too surprising to get you back in time and make you cherish these heavenly moments.
Learn Diving and Explore Sea Life
To no one surprise, Djerba caters many diving nautical activities including, kayaking, diving and sea excursions. If you've always been tempted to dive the Mediterranean, look no more!
With its crystal clear water and unique underwater landscapes, come and soak your fins with the help of one of the well-established diving clubs in the islands.
We highly recommend Club de Plongée La Sirène - Djerba Diving Center, a center that we personally visited and enjoyed their services.
Kayak at Sidi Jmour Beach
Diving is not your cup of tea? Let’s do kayak, then! It’s always a good idea to embark in activities while you’re visiting a new destination. It will enable you moving your body and also enjoying the destination in a thrilling way.
And, while you’re in the Mediterranean, it would be a shame not to seize the opportunity and go for incredible nautical activities.
In Sidi Jmour, one of the most beautiful beaches in Djerba, you can go for a kayak to enjoy the waves and the clear water.
Bike the West Side of Djerba
Not a beach person? Or, you're always on the hunt for thrilling activities that keep you active while exploring hidden corners.
Exploring a new city through biking is one of the best ways to get your body to move while being always surprised by what you stumble on.
If you want to explore the west side of Djerba by bike, contact us here.
Where to Stay in Djerba?
A haven of peace in the heart of Erriadh, where Djerbahood is located. If you want to live next by the most artistic district in Tunisia, Dar Lily is the perfect accommodation. You can book one room or the whole dar, depending on how many people you’re traveling with.
Every detail in this guest house is designed with passion. You will be amazed by the harmonious combination of modernity and authenticity.
Our second pick is also located in Erriadh. In this very part of the island, you can enjoy the calm of the place and immerse yourself in the authentic Djerbian vibes. In Dar Bibine, everything is in white and blue. This will remind you of Santorini, if you’ve ever been there.
But, keep in mind that these colors are common throughout the Mediterranean coast.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
As a Mediterranean island, Djerba has a unique weather that makes it mild throughout the year. During summer, the island is warm, with temperature increasing to 35 °C easily. But, while the weather is hot, we can never get enough of the cold water. So, all you need to fight the heat is a nearby beach.
The best time to visit the island if you don’t bear heat would be during spring, from May to June, or during fall, from September to October. In summer, the island gets crowded with tourists and locals. As it’s the high season, it may turn into a tourist trap from july to august.
Travel Tips about Djerba
Visiting Djerba can be life-changing, especially in the low season. The slow rhythm of the island and the generosity of its inhabitant will contribute to pushing you to unplug and unwind.
The only tip, we know you may need, when you’re visiting the island in summer is to brace yourself to be sun kissed. Summer can be challenging when you’re not accustomed to heat. So, bracing yourself to deal with it would be great.
If you want to get the most out of your visit, we highly recommend renting a car.
What to Pack for Djerba
Packing for Djerba is not that different from packing to any Mediterranean city. But, as mentioned above, bracing yourself to deal with heat will make your trip easier and smoother.
Try to bring clothing made of cotton, as you will need to protect your skin while feeling cool. You may also want to consider a long sleeve button-up shirt, baggy pants and maxi skirts, so you can protect your skin when you feel the scorching sun is unbearable.
Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat. If you have a specific sunscreen brand you cannot do without, we also recommend having a refill with you. You will need to apply sunscreen every two or three hours.
Where to Eat and drink?
Okey! One brika and one fricassé, s’il vous plait! But, there is more into Djerbian food than these two Tunisian food staples. Here is where you can spoil your taste buds with typical Tunisian dishes.
Restaurants in Houmet Souk
Houmet El Souk is one of the must-visit regions in Djerba. It’s lively and full of restaurants and cafés where you can take a break to sip a cup of tea or eat a mouth-watering Djerbian rice or Kafteji Sandwich.
Here are some of our recommendations of the best restaurants we tried and approved. AL-Atik Restaurant offers a varied menu that includes typical Tunisian and Djerbian food.
If you’ve ever been to Safsaf La Marsa, you will feel the same vibe in Restaurant El Sofra Hmoumet Essouk Djerba. Thanks to its typical Tunisian decoration and well-coveted dishes, you will feel transported back to old good days.
No more couscous, rice or Spaghetti seafood? Le Baron Fast Food gets you covered. You will eat one of the most delicious Kafteji sandwich on the island.
Restaurants in Midoun
If you find yourself hungry or thirsty in Midoun, Houch Yamma is the place to be. It’s a typical Djerbian houch with cozy vibes. The founder of this restaurant got it on herself to offer Djerbian dishes in a very authentic way.
Restaurant Sidi Ali Chez Adel is likely to be the most famous restaurant in Djerba for those who know authentic spots. It’s a very cozy and simple restaurant that offers Djerbian food as if made at home.
Nawad is one of the oldest restaurants in Djerba. Liked by locals and tourists alike, the restaurant offers the most delicious pasta with beef meat. If you’re Italian, we invite you to discover how our moms used the recipe and turned it into a Tunisian staple.
Day Trips from Djerba
Nearby Towns and Berber Villages:
Depending on the season you’re visiting the island in, you need to explore the south part of Tunisia. You may know by now that the Southern Tunisia caters for many landscapes and a myriad of different experiences. In Djerba and Zarzis, you can live the best beach experiences, while you can head to Ksar Ghilane and other cities near Tataouine to experience the oasis life and explore the berber villages.
In Ksar Ghilane, you will have the opportunity to explore the Sahara oasis and the nomadic lifestyle. If you’ve never been to a hot water spring, this is your call!
150 km away of Djerba, Chenini caters for everything you wanted to see without knowing it. Chenini is a well-preserved berber village where you can explore history and culture.
When talking about calmness and peace, pictures of an empty beach or a remote forest would pop up. But, have you ever thought of troglodyte houses? They are the concrete embodiment of going back in time to recharge and re-connect with the virgin world.
We highly recommend walking in this town and explore it by foot. There are a few monuments you’d be thrilled to stumble on: the castle at the top of the hill to the mosque of the seven sleepers, the remaining traces of a river, etc.
Star Wars Filming Location in Mednine
64.57 km away from Djerba, Mednine is a nearby town that you can visit for a day trip. In the heart of the town lies Ksar Mednine, which is a Star Wars filming location. It’s where the story of the childhood of Anakin Skywalker took place. So, if you want to tick off one more filming location out of your list, you may want to visit this place.
Crystal Clear Beaches in Zarzis
Only 44 km away from Djerba, Zarzis hosts the best beaches in Tunisia. With its virgin beaches and calm atmosphere, you can hop for a day to explore the city and have a beach day.
If you’re looking for a secluded beach and enjoy the weather, Hessi Jerbi beach is a great remote beach not that far from Djerba. With its low level of water, you can have a swim and chill in the beach while putting your legs in the water.
Don't Settle for "Good" when "Amazing" Can Be Done
Exploring islands is one of the most exciting travel experiences one can indulge in. Djerba is one of the Mediterranean islands that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Whether you are looking to explore the Med region or go for a getaway where authenticity and history live up to your expectations, Djerba is the place to be.
Remember; always opt for experiences that nourish your soul and heal your body.