Djerba Island Holidays
Djerba Island – Tunisia’s island paradise
In a land of myths and legends, Djerba (or Jerba) Island boasts the most exotic of them all. When Ulysses sailed from Troy, so the story goes, he reached a desert island where the locals lived happily on lotus flowers. Real history starts with the Romans, then the Vandals and Byzantines. Its flat sandy beaches made Djerba Island an ideal pirate’s stopover, but throughout all this Djerbans continued their traditional life amongst the olive, orange and palm groves that blanket the island.
Still today, Djerba Island feels cut off from the mainland and its cosmopolitan ways, making it perfect for relaxing holidays where disconnection is high on the agenda. Its eighty miles of beach cradles some of Tunisia’s most exclusive resorts, but in-between fisherman trawl the warm waters using artisan methods. Picturesque Houmt Souk is the island’s sole urban centre, and beyond the Zone Touristique there are simple white-washed mosques and fortified villages to explore. Kids and Star Wars fans will enjoy seeing the locations where much of the film was shot, and there are plenty of tour operators who will take you there!
When to go
Like most island destinations, Djerba Island is busiest (and in terms of accommodation, most expensive) in July-August. If you are planning to go peak season, book well ahead as Djerba’s hotels are much in demand. But being situated in the south of the country, Djerba has longer summers, and you’ll find beach weather remains right up until late October and even as early as April. Djerba is a popular family destination, particularly with Germans, and you may also find it difficult getting a hotel during the school holidays. The key is to book as far ahead as possible.
The weather on Djerba Island
The climate on Djerba is Southern Mediterranean. It generally has hot, dry summers (May-October) and mild to cool winters. From November to March, the weather can be unpredictable so bring some warm-ish clothes. Rain is rare (fresh water on the island is actually a scare commodity, always drink the bottled variety) and the daily average of sunshine is eight hours in winter and eleven in summer. Average daily temperatures range from a hot 32-33 in July-August, to a pleasant 22 degrees in November and April and 16 degrees in January. Night temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler except in the summer when you’ll have balmy nights.
Getting the best deal
Despite the abundance of hotels on Djerba Island, they are all much in demand – a search on a well-known booking site showed some hotels booked up for dates a year in advance. Unless you are set on an all-inclusive holiday in Djerba, you may find better deals (and a more authentic experience) away from the coast and in one of the villages, where there are a sprinkling of boutique hotels set in old traditional homes.
Fly and hotel package holidays can often work out better value and will include transfers and often meals (although do explore the local eateries, which excel in fresh fish). Check out what’s on offer in our late deals then do the maths.
Airport and transport need to know
Djerba has its own small airport with some basic amenities, though flights from the UK, which are highly seasonal, tend to be expensive (another reason to book a package holiday with flight included) and often include codeshare. Tunisair offer flights from Tunis-Catharge airport to Djerba-Zarzis airport (flight time one hour) or you can get a train as far as Gabes then a louage (shared taxi) and you’ll also find louages to Djerba from Sousse and Sfax.
Djerba Island is connected to the mainland via a causeway or ferry service, though the latter gets very crowded in high season and you may have to wait. Taxis are the best way to get around the island itself.
The Beaches at Djerba Island
Long powdery stretches of sand and warm, turquoise water are trademarks of Djerba Island. Most hotels have their own private beach with parasols and sun beds, which you can always pay to use if you are not a guest. The main public beach is Aghir Beach, which is generally thronged by locals. Services at Djerba’s beaches include watersports facilities and camel rides!