The island of Djerba is a unique destination within Tunisia, offering travellers golden sandy beaches, whitewashed architecture, and a melting pot of ethnic and religious groups. The island was historically a haven for groups evading persecution, such as the Berbers and different religious sects. Today, Djerba is home to one of the few remaining Jewish communities in North Africa, and also home to the Ibadi sect, an offshoot of the Shia branch of Islam.


Many travellers feel that Djerba’s main town, Houmt Souq, is the island’s main attraction. It is a bustling market town, with its own souq district that has countless narrow alleyways and streets where one can stroll through and get lost, and appreciate the distinctive whitewashed architecture prevalent in the area. Aside from the hustle and bustle of the market, there are also some Islamic monuments spread around the town, including mosques and tombs of saints. A final site worth visiting in town is the old fort, scene of a 16th century massacre when the Turks invaded.

Vying with Houmt Souq as the main tourist attraction are Djerba’s beaches, the best being concentrated in the Zone Touristique along the northern and eastern coastline. Sidi Mahres is perhaps the most well known of the area’s beaches, but there are countless others stretching across the coastline. Most are privately owned by hotels and will ask for a small fee if their sun chairs and parasols are used, though it is possible to find some smaller public beaches.

Perhaps the most intriguing attraction on the island is the El-Ghriba Synagogue, the pillar of Djerba’s Jewish community, which is located around 7 km south of Houmt Souq and easily accessed by bus or taxi. It is North Africa’s oldest place of worship, and though the present synagogue was built in the last century, the site itself was founded in the 6th century BC. One important point to note is that the synagogue complex was subjected to a terrorist attack in 2002 that left a number of foreign tourists dead. As a result, security around the site is heavy, one must bring their passport with them to visit, and all belongings will be searched. Nonetheless, once inside the complex one can look forward to a warm welcome.


Apart from a few tourist souvenirs available in the Zone Touristique, Djerba’s shopping hub is Houmt Souq, more specifically the souq district. There one can find every sort of good, including ceramics, shoes, fabrics, and carpets. Unlike in other tourist centres in Tunisia, due in part to shopkeepers not being used to people bargaining aggressively, prices may be quite high.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Seafood is unsurprisingly the speciality of the island, and one of the highlights to try would be octopus cooked in its own ink. Standard Tunisian fare such as couscous and briq (stuffed pastry) are available everywhere, and there are restaurants and cafés catering to all budgets. In the Zone Touristique one can find more upmarket restaurants that will serve both Tunisian and international cuisine.

For nightlife it is best to head to the Zone Touristique, where one can find bars and nightclubs that serve alcohol, which are mostly located within hotels. Another choice would be Djerba’s casino, also located in the Zone Touristique, though to enter one must carry their passport, as gambling is banned for locals, and only foreign currency will be accepted.

Tourist Information

Office National du Tourisme Tunisien, Boulevard de l’Environment, Houmt SouqTelephone: +216 75 650 016Website:


The airport is located in the northwest of Djerba, and there are a number of charter airlines from Europe that bring in tourists to the island. Tunis Air, the national carrier, offers flights to domestic destinations, including the capital Tunis. For those entering Djerba from the Tunisian mainland, there are ferries that run 24 hours a day between Jorf and the port of Ajim on the island, with the journey taking approximately 15 minutes.