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Djerba

Photo © Ozac

Travel Guide Africa Tunisia Djerba

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Introduction

Djerba is, at 514 square kilometres, the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia. It has a population of about 160,000. Known for its beautiful beaches and dramatic sunsets, the island is a popular tourist destination, particularly with French, German and Italian tourists. It is one of the few remaining places in Tunisia where a Berber language is still spoken.

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Cities

Its largest city is Houmt-Souk, with a population of around 65,000.

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Sights and Activities

  • Houmt Souk - With colorful markets especially near Place de Algerie, Borj El Kebir and the marina/port to the north, and Habib Bourguiba street (a charming replica of the giant one in Tunis)
  • Guellala. - A village where pottery has been made since the times of the ancient Romans and where you may watch a wonderful sunset. There is also a museum.
  • Star Wars shooting location. The 1977 film Star Wars was filmed on Djerba. The infamous Mos Eisley Cantina, as well as the moisture farm where Luke Skywalker grew up, are still standing, and used as a residence in the case of the Cantina.
  • Fadhloun mosque (on the Houmt Souk-Midoun road).
  • El Ghriba Synagogue (in Erriadh village) - This synagogue is only a bit more than 100 years old, but it serves a Jewish community that has been in Djerba for at least 2,000 years and possibly as long as 3,000 years, and there was a synagogue on this site some 1,900 years ago. This synagogue is a traditional place of pilgrimage for Jews throughout Tunisia on the Lag b'Omer holiday, 34 days after the start of Passover.

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Weather

Djerba has a typical warm Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild but wetter winters.

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Getting There

By Plane

Djerba's only international airport for scheduled and charter flights is Djerba-Zarzis Airport (DJE). Tunisair provides schedule service from the island to some major European cities, there is also domestic service provided by Tunisair's subsidiary, Sevenair, between Djerba and Tunis. A few European charter airlines also fly to the island.

By Train

The train line ends at Gabes, 70 kilometres to the northwest. From there, you must take a bus or lounge to El Jorf and then a ferry to Djerba.

By Bus

Buses between Tunis' south bus station and Houmt Souk's centre ville in Djerba cost 26.750 dinars and take about 8 hours. The fare includes the ferry ride to the island. Night rides are common and fairly comfortable.

By Boat

Several ferries make the short trip from the Tunisian Mainland.

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Getting Around

Public transportation is limited but taxis are available for reasonable prices; it is possible to hire a bicycle or a motor-bicycle but be careful as most roads are narrow!

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Eat

Eat fresh grilled fish, couscous with fish and lamb meat, try "brik à l'oeuf", Tunisian sandwich (casse-croute tunisien), lablabi (a chick-peas soup), salade mechouia (mixed grilled vegetables), tastira (mixed fried vegetables). Fricasse ( sandwich bread fried in oil and topped with various toppings).

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Drink

Drink only bottled water, try fresh orange juice, mint tea, Turkish coffee, bokha (fig/date local alcohool), celtia (local beer), l'ban (liquid yougurt).

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Sleep

There are many hotels are available for all kinds of budgets, including of course deluxe hotels.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 11:13 on Jul 28, 15 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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