This Tunisian wonder is so much more than a beach getaway: it’s a wellness paradise, a place of enchanting Arab markets, and an island where three religions have lived together for centuries. From its souks, or markets, to its historic mosques and synagogues, there’s always something around the corner in Djerba.
Djerba is a thalassotherapy destination par excellence – where spas offer treatments based on the curative properties of seawater and beachside vibes. Yet even outside of its immaculate hotels and spas, there’s something special about this island. The towns scattered around the island are bustling with traditional markets that boast unique local handiwork from beach towels to leather slippers.
The island is also a testament to diversity, with Arab and Berber populations, as well as Christian, Jewish and Muslim places of worship existing side-by-side – the oldest synagogue in Africa is here, decorated with palm mats woven by Muslim craftspeople. For visitors, this means an unparalleled array of architecture and cultural sights on display – from historic mosques and synagogues to groves of date palms and olive trees, and even some of the original sets from the first Star Wars films, which were filmed on the island.
Come and see this oasis for yourself when you book your flight from Zurich to Djerba with SWISS.
What local customs should I be aware of when travelling to Djerba?
Since Djerba has been welcoming European tourists for decades, it is unlikely that Western visitors will cause much of a fuss as long as they behave respectfully. Attire-wise, normal beachwear is fine in the resorts and main beaches. However, if you plan on visiting some of the less frequented markets or especially mosques, make sure to dress conservatively. This goes for men as well as women - long sleeves and trousers or skirts should be worn when entering mosques. In the markets, haggling is welcome and expected, the initial price quoted may be up to four times higher than the vendor expects to receive.
What is the currency in Tunisia?
The currency in Tunisia is the dinar, often abbreviated to TD or by its Arabic letters. You can exchange foreign currency once you arrive or withdraw dinars from ATMs using your bankcards. What you cannot do, however, is pick up currency before you leave, as the export of the country’s currency is forbidden by law. This also means that you will need to exchange all your dinars before leaving the country. While in Djerba, it is always good to have some dinars on you, since credit cards are not universally accepted.
What language is spoken in Djerba?
The most common languages spoken in Djerba are Tunisian Arabic and French, with some Berber thrown in. While many workers in the tourism industry do speak English, don’t expect taxi drivers or market vendors to speak much more than a few words – so if you don’t speak French, it’s probably a good idea to coordinate an airport pick-up with your hotel.
Attractions of Djerba: Palm-lined beaches and more
Most tourists in Djerba begin their trip along the Sidi Mahares beach, a white-sand stretch where flamingos and dolphins congregate, especially between the months of November and March. The hotels in this area offer thalassotherapy spa experiences that are a major draw for tourists to the island. Some of the best seaside attractions are listed below:
- Ras Ramel Peninsula
- Sidi Yati beach and mosque
- La Seguia beach
Get lost in Djrba’s down town
Next to Sidi Mahares, the island’s main market town, Houmt Souk, is a great place to get a feel for life on the Tunisian coast. The heart of the city is the qaysarriya, a network of alleyways that makes up the souk, or market. The city’s major fort, the Borj el Kebir, is a thirteenth-century construction that features relics from the many conflicts it stood through. Nearby, you can learn about the history of the island at the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions, featuring a reconstruction of a pottery workshop and jewellery from the island’s Jewish community.
Visit the set of Star Wars
For a taste of authentic island life, travel to the west coast, far from the tourist crowds and home to isolated rocky beaches. Enjoy a drive or bike ride through the landscape used in the desert scenes in the original Star Wars films – some sets have even been kept intact. Or head inland to the market town of Midoun, an easy bus ride from Houmt Souk. It features a raucous Friday market and nights of music and dancing once a week.
Djerba is an island famous for its beaches, spas and flamingos, with villages, pilgrimage sites and traditional markets to discover. All you need to do is book your SWISS flight from Zurich to Djerba today.
Immerse yourself in Djerba’s cuisine
With its date palms and olive trees, and a seaside location that provides a wealth of marine delicacies, the Djerban cuisine is one to be admired. Langoustines and grouper are served on beds of couscous or riz djerbien, a mix of rice, peas and vegetables. Italian and French cuisine is also available, with local ingredients and spices providing a change from what visitors may be used to. Local cafés serve up coffee with sweet delicacies including baklava and other pastries.
Beat the Djerba heat with iced wine
Unlike some of its neighbours, Tunisia does allow alcohol, though the largely Muslim populace tends to avoid it, and bars generally close by 8 pm. However, those looking to beat the heat are sure to find refreshment. The country’s vineyards, which suffered in the years following independence, are now producing decent rosé wines that are served over ice, a perfect treat to enjoy by a saltwater pool.
Shopping: Explore Djerba’s souks
Every corner of Djerba has its small family-run stores selling crafts or fresh produce, but for the greatest variety of unique finds you’ll want to head to the narrow streets of Houmt Souk. The town, whose name literally means “market neighbourhood”, is your best bet for handicrafts, spices, or anything else you may desire on your Tunisian sojourn. Head to the narrow streets of the qaysarriya and discover unique products like fashionable yet casual babouche slippers or beach towels made from fouta cloth, simple cotton cloth that is also made into attire, tablecloths, and more. Woven palm hats or bags are another local speciality. The markets are raucous affairs where haggling is encouraged, but don’t let that scare you off – you’re sure to find something you like.
Zurich - DjerbaFlight duration: 02:35 hrs total, Frequency: Sat
Departure ZurichTerminal: 1 / 3Counter opening time: 24 h prior to departure
Airbus A320-214Height: 11.80 mLength: 37.60 mSeats: 136-168
Crew:Pilots: 2Cabin crew: 4
Arrival DjerbaDistance to city centre: 25 km