The largest of the North Africa islands, Djerba is much loved for its turquoise sea, colourful souks and year-round good climate. It has a history of being a crossroads for many cultures, which continues to modern times.
The island of Djerba, spanning 514km2, enjoys a warm climate year-round, and visitors can experience a bit of it all: from the ancient to modern, beach life to cultural hotspots.
A beach-lovers’ paradise
The southeast coast offers a number of quieter beaches between the towns of El Kantara and Aghir. Some of the island’s most stunning beaches, however, can be found along the island’s northeast coast. These beaches, while tending to be more popular, are often privately owned by resorts, many of which are family-friendly. Many of the resorts also offer water sports, so visitors can delight in paddle boating, windsurfing--even camel riding!
Tired of the beach? Houmt (El) Souk, translated as “the market neighbourhood”, is the island’s main town, located in the north. It developed on the ancient Roman city of Gerba (or Girba). The town has seen its fair share of visitors: from Arabs and Spaniards to Punics and Turks.
Indeed, it’s easy to get a feel of the old world while strolling the town, which has always been home to a wide variety of cultures, traditions and ethnicities. Visitors can stroll the souk- and shop-lined alleyways, where colourful rugs, pottery and spices contrast the town’s white-washed walls, or marvel at the architecture of Borj El K’bir fort (the once stronghold of Dragut, a Turkish pirate!), or a number of mosques and small synagogues.
Djerba’s heart and soul
Midoun is the second most well-known city on Djerba, site of the Guellala Museum which celebrates the island’s culture, costumes and traditions. It also includes an observation tower--great for catching the sunset.
Further inland is Djerbahood, in which international and local artists teamed up to create a true open-air museum with 250 original, vibrant works of street art. The project has completely transformed the village of Erriadh.
Although Arabic is the main language, with a Berber language spoken in some villages don’t worry: French is widely spoken, and English is spoken in most tourist areas. Most street signs are bilingual.