Exploring Tunisia’s Best-Kept Secret: The Island of Djerba

Tunisia is a beautiful country with a rich culture, fascinating history, and breathtaking landscapes. While most tourists flock to cities like Tunis and Sousse, there is a hidden gem located off the coast of southern Tunisia that is worth exploring – the island of Djerba.

But now the secret is out! On September 18, 2023, UNESCO officially added Djerba in Tunisia to its list of World Heritage Sites. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes the island of Djerba so special and why it’s a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Tunisia.

Location and Getting There

Djerba is located in the Gulf of Gabes, just off the southern coast of Tunisia. The island is accessible by plane or land. There are daily domestic flights departing from Tunis and flight time takes about 45 minutes. There are also international flights from European cities flying directly to the Djerba-Zarzis International Airport. If traveling by vehicle, you can take the ferry ride to Ajim or take a Roman causeway to the southeastern part of the island. The ferry ride from the mainland in itself is very short, but the wait time can be very long, so we recommend taking the Roman causeway to avoid potential delays.

Culture and History

Djerba is known for its unique blend of cultures, influenced by Berber, Jewish, and Arab traditions. The island has a rich history, dating back to the Phoenicians and Romans, and was once an important trading post in the Mediterranean. Today, visitors can explore historic sites like the El Ghriba Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Africa, and the Borj El Kebir fortress, which dates back to the 15th century.

El Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba Island
El Ghriba Synagogue
Fort Ghazi Mustapha Fortress in Djerba
Borj El Kebir (Fort Ghazi Mustapha) Fortress

Beaches and Natural Beauty

Djerba is home to some of Tunisia’s most beautiful beaches, with crystal clear waters and pristine sand. The island’s most popular beach is Sidi Mahres, which stretches for miles along the eastern coast. Other popular spots include Ras Rmel and Plage Seguia.

Beyond the beaches, Djerba boasts a stunning natural landscape, with palm trees, olive groves, and salt flats. Visitors can take a tour of the island’s nature reserve, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including flamingos and birds of prey.

Food and Drink

No trip to Djerba is complete without sampling the island’s delicious cuisine. Djerba is known for its fresh seafood, including grilled fish and octopus salad, as well as traditional dishes like Djerbien rice (rouz djerbi) or couscous. It is an incredible cultural experience to visit the Djerba fish market and purchase the fresh catch of the day. Take your fresh seafood and bring it to a nearby restaurant to be grilled into a delicious lunch. You won’t be disappointed with this meal!

Plan a Trip to Djerba

Djerba may not be as well-known as some of Tunisia’s other tourist destinations, but it’s a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed. With its unique culture, rich history, stunning natural beauty, and delicious cuisine, Djerba has something for everyone. So if you’re planning a trip to Tunisia, be sure to add Djerba to your itinerary!

Ivan works in the marketing department for Mosaic North Africa. He now lives in Tunisia with his wife and three children. Previous to this gig, he taught band & orchestra in a California public school.

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