With its mild climate and quality facilities, the Tunisian island is a popular destination for travelers, summer and winter, for a seaside holiday with the family or a romantic break.
Montpellier - Djerba
From 31/10/2021 To 26/03/2022No direct flight from Montpellier for this season
When they set foot on Djerba, do travellers seeking sunshine know that the Tunisian island has been a popular destination for thousands of years? According to mythology, Ulysses is said to have been the first "tourist" to set foot on the island and taste the lotus, fruit of the lotus tree whose honey flavour engulfs you in sweet amnesia. As if to perpetuate the myth, Djerba has become the symbol of holidays that rhyme with relaxation and idleness.
It's not easy, among the 160,000 inhabitants of the island located in the south of Tunisia, to find someone who does not live off tourism. Whether in the dozens of hotels along the 150 km of coastline, in the restaurants or souks. The road along the northern beaches sets the tone. Everywhere, parasols brighten up the azure sky, and deckchairs are lined up in the shade of palm trees.
Admittedly, in winter, the Mediterranean is a little cool. You'll have to wait until spring to dip a toe in it. But on the long stretches of blond sand, the thermometer reads up to 20° in winter, ideal for recharging your batteries and having fun. Because in Djerba, you don't just sunbathe. Camel drivers tirelessly roam the beaches to offer rides on the back of their humpbacked companions. In spite of the competition from jet-skis and parasailing, the "desert ship" still has a long way to go!
Lapped by the clear waters of the Gulf of Gabès, Djerba is also a paradise of well-being. The thalassotherapy centres and spas are ever more voluptuous: palaces of a thousand and one nights overlooking the sea, hammams with oriental flavours, flowered patios and solariums... And, to top it all off, expert hands to pamper you. Which is only fitting when you consider that the word "massage" comes from "mass", which means "touch" in Arabic!
One could almost forget the hidden, peaceful countryside of Djerba. Its size (25 km by 22) and level terrain allow all the options. All you need to do is go on an excursion by bike or scooter, rent a car or hail a taxi, to discover a joyful and endearing island. Certainly, the land is arid, planted with prickly pear trees. But the scenery is enhanced by the dishevelled palm trees, gnarled olive trees and almond trees, and the menzels, the traditional houses with their whitewashed domes.
Civilizations have succeeded one another: the Phoenicians set up a trading post, the Romans built a 7km long road linking Jerba to the continent, once paved and now tarred. Today, Arabs, Berbers and Jews live in peaceful harmony, as evidenced by the tiny synagogue of El Ghriba, the oldest in North Africa. When exploring the countryside of Djerba you will also come across Tunisians who are proud of their island; an old man guiding a stubborn donkey or a camel loaded with merchandise, a woman driving her herd of goats...
A far cry from the hustle and bustle of Houmt-Souk, the capital. Fruit and dates vie with tourist trinkets on the stalls of the souks. Bargaining is the bottom line! The few dinars exchanged will be spent in the cafés that liven up the little squares or line the tiny port with its picturesque fish market. Lovers of Tunisia prefer El-Kantara, in the very south of the island. There, away from the crowds, you can enjoy a little black coffee on the terrace of a Moorish café, lulled by the mixture of spicy flavours and scents that make Djerba so sweet...
Sites et monuments
- The capital Houmt-Souk, to do some shopping in the souks or in the market (Monday and Thursday mornings)
- Midoun, the second city of the island, starting point of some beautiful excursions into the Djerba countryside
- El Ghriba Synagogue. Behind its walls of blue or green tiles, rabbis have prayed in silence for centuries
- Sedouikech, one of the picturesque villages of the island, famous for its underground mosque
- The country mosques, built between the 10th and 16th centuries, some fortified, places of prayer and formerly of defence: El-May, Sidi-Jmour, Mogzel, Jamel-Fadhloun...
- Traditional Heritage Museum of Djerba (in Houmt-Souk) - collections related to agriculture, fishing, handicrafts...
- Dar Jilani Arts & Crafts (in Houmt-Souk) - instructive workshops (weaving, basketry, calligraphy...) and an exhibition of beautiful objects
- Guellala Museum - featuring ancestral traditions, from pottery to weaving
- Djerba Explore - a leisure complex that includes the reconstructed village Djerba Heritage, the Lalla Hadria museum (Arab-Muslim arts) and Crocod'île (600 crocodiles)
- January 14 - Revolution and Youth Day commemorates the events of the Arab Spring 2011
- 20 March - Independence Day
- 9 April - Martyrs' Day, in homage to the demonstrations against the French protectorate (1938)
- May – El Ghriba Pilgrimage
- End of July - Ulysses festival in Houmt-Souk, with dances, folklore performances...
- 25 July - Republic Day
- 31 July - Eid al-Adha (feast of the sacrifice). Variable date (20 July in 2021)
- 29 October - Mawlid (birth of the Prophet Muhammad). Variable date (October 18 in 2021)
- Join the continent via the Roman way, during an excursion. Opposite Djerba, the town of Zarzis has retained its ancestral charm. It is famous for its hundred-year-old olive trees, its Jewish quarter and camel market.
- Rent a car to discover the desert landscapes of the south, in the region of Tataouine (120 km from Djerba). You will discover the most beautiful ksour (fortresses) of Tunisia: Douiret, Ouled-Soltane, Chenini, Guermessa...
- Re-enact Star Wars, treating yourself to a night in a troglodyte house in Matmata (100 km from Djerba). Scenes from the first part of the saga (episode 4), but also from Attack of the Clones (episode 2) were shot at Sidi Driss Hotel. Fans love it!
- Mechouia salad - tomatoes and peppers, grilled and then marinated in oil and garlic
- Brick - this fried pancake is a Tunisian classic. It can be garnished with an egg, tuna, stuffing, cheese...
- Tajine - in Tunisia, this is an omelette au gratin that mixes chicken, cheese and potatoes
- Couscous - a fine semolina drizzled with broth (harissa), served with lamb, chicken or fish
- Gargoulette - lamb simmered in a terracotta jar
- Mtabga - a kind of pizza, a speciality of southern Tunisia, topped with onions, tomatoes and spices.
- Dates - to be eaten fresh from October onwards
- Gazelle horn - a speciality of Tataouine, this crescent-shaped rolled pastry is flavoured with almonds and orange blossom
- Baklava - a cake filled with hazelnuts or almonds
- Makroudh - a Berber semolina cake flavoured with almonds and orange blossom
- Mint tea - a must! Almonds or pine nuts are sometimes added.
- Orgeat syrup – barley water made with almonds or pistachio nuts
- Wine - excellent wines (red or rosé) can be found, mainly in the Cap Bon region, about sixty kilometres from Tunis.
- Thibarine - a liqueur (40°) prepared with dates and herbs
- Palm juice - very popular in Djerba, it is fermented and very alcoholic!