The Island of Djerba
There are many legends and contrary opinions Djerba: some people consider it to be a paradise because of its mild climate which is similar to Sicily (Italy), but other people criticize the island for strong winds and abundance of jellyfish. So, what is Djerba really like? Let’s figure it out!
Location and main cities
Djerba is located in North Africa in the south of Tunisia in the Gulf of Gabes and it is the southernmost seaside resort of the country. Thanks to Djerba-Zarzis International Airport, which is situated right on the island, transferring guests to their hotels takes quite little time (always up to one hour). This is explained by the fact that the area of the island is only 514 km2, the cities are located next to each other, the entire infrastructure is at a glance.
Djerba is divided into several cities:
- Houmt Souk is the administrative center of the island, famous for the variety of shops and a weekly bazaarм базаром;
- Midoun is the region with the most developed tourist area featuring lots of cafes and walking routes;
- Guellala is a pottery village hosting many private craft workshops where ceramics is produced;
- Ajim is the main port of Djerba. The streets of the city were used as natural scenery during the filming of the first episode of the Star Wars series.
Coastline and accommodation facilities
The length of the Djerba coastline is 120 km. The coast of Midoun city is considered to be ideal for a beach holiday: here, in the second largest city of Djerba, there are the best gently sloping beaches with snow-white sand.
Because of the convenient location, most of the island’s hotels are located in Midoun. There are three, four and five-star hotels suitable for any budget.
Here are some good hotels in Midoun (the description of services and accommodation facilities is provided on the official websites of tour operators):
- First coastline: Royal Garden Palace, Fiesta Djerba Beach;
- Second coastline: Djerba Resort.
The climate of Djerba
It is no secret that the weather is warmer here in comparison to the mainland. If you come to Djerba in October or November, be sure that the sea water will be warm, you will get golden suntan and have a good holiday. But take into account the fact that it is almost always rather windy on Djerba due to its location.
The tourist season on the island lasts from the end of April to the beginning of November. It is a well-known fact that many tourists prefer going to the island in autumn, as at this time of the year the burning heat is replaced by the real «velvet» season, when it is especially pleasant to go for strolls along the coast, go on excursions and take thalassotherapy courses.
What is the average monthly temperature in autumn?
• September: daytime – 31ºC/ nighttime – 22ºC, the sea – 27ºC.
• October: 27ºC/ 19ºC, 25ºC.
• November: 23-24ºC/ 15-16ºC, 22ºC.
Winter is mild here, but featuring constant cool winds. During the period of bright sun, a great opportunity to sunbathe is provided. The average temperature in December, January and February is 17-18°C, at night it is 9-11°C, water is 14°C.
The average daytime temperature in March or April is about 21-23ºC, at night it falls to 11-14ºC, while the sea water temperature is 16ºC. May brings joys with warm weather: 27ºC in the daytime and the sea is about 20ºC.
During the whole summer season the weather on Djerba is warmer than on the mainland:
• June: 29-30ºC/ 21-22ºC, 23ºC.
• July: 32ºC/ 25ºC, 25ºC.
• August: 35ºC/27-28ºC, 28ºC.
Thalassotherapy in Tunisia is very popular among Europeans, because they know that thalasso centers on the Mediterranean coast are the best.
Thalassotherapy is not quackery, it is an alternative route in medicine that guarantees a visible improvement in the general condition of the body through the beneficial effects of marine environmental factors: therapeutic mud, algae and healing air.
There are many thalassotherapy centers in Tunisia, but still professionals distinguish the resorts where this type of therapy is especially developed. The island is in this list: here there are some of the best centers in North Africa, and possibly in the whole world. They are located on the territory of 4 and 5-star hotels, but anyone can use their services.
Jellyfish on Djerba
There are jellyfish in the sea in July and August. Since the places of their accumulation depend on the direction of the undercurrents and the water temperature, there are very few jellyfish in the northern part of the coast, but much more in the southern resorts, which certainly include the island of Djerba.
The best way to protect yourself from a jellyfish sting is prevention. During the period of jellyfish appearance, ask for the cream Médusyl in the pharmacies of the island.
Algae on the island
Algae on Djerba is a necessity to prevent erosion of sandy beaches, so it is not recommended to remove them to preserve protection. According to the official regulation, vegetation that is washed ashore should be removed from the middle of the beach for the subsequent absorption by the sea in a natural way. Marine vegetation on the beach is an indicator of a healthy ecological situation.
How to get to the island and how much time will it take?
You can get to the island by ferry, the pier of which is located in the city of Ajim, or using the Roman road, which is the only land connecting the mainland and the island, as well as by plane from the capital’s airport to Djerba-Zarzis.
The distance from Tunis (the capital of the country) to Djerba is 530 km. It will take you 6-7 hours to get there by bus or by car and 1 hour by plane.
Transportation on the island
Unlike the mainland, where locals and foreigners have the opportunity to choose between several means of transport, the main means of transportation on the island is a taxi.
For active daily travelling around the island, you should plan a budget for transportation costs. A trip from Midoun, the main tourist area, to Houmt Souk will cost 15 TND/ 5.5 USD per car one way. The maximum occupancy of a taxi cab is 4 people.
What are the things to do on the island?
For the lovers of outdoor activities there are all kinds of water sports on the island, such as snorkeling, diving, surfing. Djerba is also one of the richest areas for fishing, about eighty-six species of fish live in the coastal waters of the island. It is difficult to find a place along the coast that would not be suitable for amateur and even professional fishing.
For golf lovers, the island offers the Djerba Golf complex, which was constructed in 1995 and is currently one of the leaders among the clubs of the Mediterranean coast. The complex features 3 fields with 9 holes each.
Shopping on Djerba
As gifts from Djerba for relatives and friends tourists often bring themed souvenirs (camels, sauce boats, aroma lamps), traditional ceramic dishes (plates, cups, saucers, bowls, pots, jugs and small tanks for storing wine, olive oil and spices), silver jewelry, olive oil, canned tuna, olives, foutas (beach towels), etc.
Bio and thalasso cosmetics Lagune has recently become one of the most perfect gifts from Tunisia. You can find the stands of the brand in 3 shopping centers and 2 shops of the island.
• shopping center Le Bon Choix near the hotel Club Palm Azur;
• shopping center The Best Choice near the hotel Four Seasons;
• shopping center in the Cedriana hotel;
• shop in the Magic Iliade Aquapark hotel;
• shop in the Baya Beach Aqua Park hotel.
Restaurant prices on Djerba
On the island, as in the whole country of Tunisia, Mediterranean and Tunisian cuisines are the most popular. Let’s consider the most popular dishes on Djerba and their cost, taking the example of dinner in two different restaurants.
A night at the Tunisian cuisine restaurant, which is located in the city of Houmt Souk ≈ 100-150 dinars / 35-55 dollars
• soup «Chorba» – 12 TND (4 USD);
• salad «Mechouia» with tuna fish – 9 (3);
• tuna brik – 8 (3);
• chicken and vegetable couscous – 24 (8,5);
• dry white wine – 34 (12).
A night at the Mediterranean cuisine restaurant, which is located in the city of Houmt Souk ≈ 150-200 dinars / 55-75 dollars
• seafood pasta – 36 TND (12,8 USD);
• grilled gilt-head bream – 40 (14,3);
• king prawns, 7 pieces – 48 (17,1);
• dry white wine – 34 (12).
Telephone calls and Internet
Usually in 2- and 3-star hotels, free Wi-Fi is provided only in the lobby bar area and at the reception. Such Wi-Fi often fails or provides a very slow connection, especially during the so-called “busy hour”, when guests come down to the lobby to contact family and friends.
It will be convenient for the tourists on Djerba to use local mobile network and Internet. The price of issuing a SIM card starts at 5 dinars. You can buy it in a mobile communication shop, but don’t forget to take a copy of your passport. Payment cards can be purchased at any food store on the island — just tell the seller the name of the operator: TunTel, Ooredoo or Orange. Also, a SIM card can often be purchased from a representative of your tour operator.
To sum up, Djerba is perfect holiday destination from the end of April to the beginning of November. Almost all categories of guests will feel comfortable here: families with children, young couples and elderly tourists. We do not recommend buying a tour to the island for groups of friends (nightlife is not active, there are few clubs) and fastidious tourists who cannot stand jellyfish and vegetation in the sea.