Savor Five-Star Luxury And Amenities At Our Djerba Hotel ResortArrive at our stunning Riu Djerba hotel and the first thing you will notice is a surprisingly green landscape, surrounded by the blue sea and dotted with white buildings. The beaches are long, sandy and have crystalline waters. They are perfect for sunbathing or splashing around.
The "island of the 100 mosques" has many of them scattered throughout its geography. Like everything here, their dimensions are adapted to the surroundings and are not at all ostentatious, reflecting the delicate simplicity of Mediterranean Islam. The hospitality of its inhabitants and its rich souks will beckon you to discover the alleyways of the towns.
A Shimmering Jewel Among Djerba Resorts
Marvel at the stunning architecture of our Djerba resort hotel in Tunisia. Gracing 35 acres of lush gardens with its exquisite "half-moon" shaped silhouette, the Hotel Riu Palace Royal Garden is located within walking distance of one of the most beautiful Mediterranean beaches.
Sidi Mahres beach200m from the lush gardens of the Hotel Riu Palace Royal Garden you will find this beach, which stretches for kilometres with its golden sand. The majority of the hotels on the island are located here; so don’t expect solitude. This is a place to enjoy the sea and the tourist infrastructures it has to offer. Children will love to splash around in the warm Mediterranean or ride on a banana boat. Anyone looking to windsurf, sail or water ski will find what they want here, as its calm waters are ideal for these activities.
Djerba Explore Park
In the heart of the tourist zone stands this complex that houses a crocodile park, a museum and a local cultural centre. The traditional-style buildings integrate into the landscape well, although its streets do lack that Arab essence. But since it is so close to the hotel zone and has different attractions, it is an interesting place to visit:
Crocodile Park: The numerous lagoons contain an important collection of Nile crocodiles, which can measure up to 7m. The facilities are of very good quality and focus on the enjoyment of the whole family as well as on the comfort of the reptiles.
Lalla Hadria Museum: The museum’s 15 rooms house an interesting and colourful collection of Islamic art in its different forms: calligraphy, ceramics and fabrics. The creation of this museum has given a cultural boost to the island, which needed a centre like this to satisfy the needs of its growing tourist sector.
Le Village: Literally “the village”, its design recreates the typology of a traditional town. In its unpolluted streets and small white houses you can sit down and drink a juice or a mint tea, or purchase craft objects. Visually, a stroll here is very pleasant, although it lacks the atmosphere of the real villages.
The capital of the island is also its commercial centre, as its name, which literally means ‘market’, indicates. The intricate network of streets hides interesting markets rich with products and with that Arab essence that awakens the senses. The aroma of spices mingles with the hustle and bustle of the merchants and tourists avid for oriental treasures. If you are overwhelmed by the persistence of the sellers don’t hesitate to explore its labyrinthine streets at night, when the commercial activity dies down, and is replaced by the provincial charm of the town.
The elegant uniformity of its whitewashed buildings makes it one of the most picturesque towns in Tunisia. One outstanding feature is the ‘fondouks’, former boarding houses on two levels that fulfilled the double purpose of being inns and warehouses. Nowadays many have been restored and converted into tea shops, guest houses or private residences.
Another big attraction is the town’s mosques, which have hardly any decoration and low minarets. Their modest construction, void of opulence but full of character, is the best reflection of the island’s particular way of perceiving Islam. The most outstanding ones are those of Sidi Ibrahim, which houses the tomb of the 17th-century saint; the Mosque of the Foreigners, with its multiple domes; and the Mosque of the Turks, in the same walled style as the former ones, but with a single, typical Ottoman minaret, that reveals its origin.
The town also has aformer Spanish fortress, as well as numerous Byzantine mosaics with that speak of the sea. On entering the Borj el Kebir, a fortress that was once Spanish but was conquered by the Turks, it is interesting to reconstruct history through its Roman statues and observe the Islamic seal added by the Ottomans.
On the seafront lies the fish market, where the fishermen auction off strings of fish in front of their customers. Unlike in the souk, the sellers here will not approach you. Tourists do not play a main role here; they are merely spectators of a parallel industry.
Although the population is almost exclusively Muslim, the island also houses one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. In Hara Seghira, of old an important Jewish town that has dwindled due to emigration, the El-Ghriba synagogue still stands. Whilst its structure is recent, the site goes back to 586 BC or 7 AD, depending on the different versions. Its ornamented, colourful interior contains one of the oldest Torahs in the world.
Every year, during the month of May, faithful locals and foreign pilgrims organise processions where they carry the community’s sacred books through the village streets.
Whilst relations between Muslims and Jews have been relatively peaceful throughout history, the attacks against this place of worship in 2002 weakened what was already a fragile Jewish community on the island, calculated at a few hundred souls.
The inland towns cling onto their traditions and know-how, perfected by years of struggling against a difficult environment. Leaving the tourist centres you will come across a Mediterranean garden dotted with palm, olive, fig, pomegranate, apple, orange trees and others. Amongst all the green are white houses and their fertile gardens.
Of the numerous mosques spread around the countryside we should highlight that of Cedoukech, built underground, of which only its white domes emerge.
The multiple wells that penetrate the island have allowed for a very singular agricultural development, like the Cedghiane oasis: a refreshing landscape where the palm trees provide enough shade to enable the citric fruit trees and other crops to subsist.
Ras Remel Peninsula
The main attraction of this northern zone is the important colony of red flamingos that visit it in winter. When they come, these birds add a touch of colour to the landscape which is otherwise dominated by the blue of the sea, delighting tourists and the odd ornithologist.
Explore the islandDjerba is flat and very easy to discover by bike, on foot or with any motorised vehicle. The small trails of the interior will lead you to places not usually visited by tourists and help you discover the island’s traditional way of life.
In contrast with the locals in the coastal towns, the people here have nothing to offer you except their generosity and hospitality. Don’t be surprised if, as you are walking around a quiet village, one of the locals invites you into their house for a mint tea.
GolfDjerba Golf: Bordering with the Riu hotel, it actually has an 18-hole course and a 9-hole one. The longest one is more appropriate for experienced players whilst the smaller one is ideal for beginners. Both of them run between dunes, lagoons and palm trees, and offer beautiful views of the sea. RIU guests will receive a discount on the green fee.
Djerba’s cuisine is very similar to that of the rest of Tunisia, but with a few singular touches. Barley is added to the fish, dried anchovy or meat couscous, as well as the typical wheat semolina. Octopus and squid are also common, either plain or stuffed with vegetables and spices. And the traditional mint tea can also be drunk with leaves of a local geranium variety.
You will also be able to find the typical dishes common in the rest of the country:
Couscous: Tunisian couscous consists of a combination of vegetables, (potatoes, onion, tomato, carrots, pumpkin, etc.), wheat semolina and lamb or beef, merguez or fish.
Tajines: The succulent tajines, different to the Moroccan ones, are an egg loaf with lamb, vegetables, potato, maluska leaves and cheese, cooked over a low flame.
Condiments: The tajines, couscous and other local specialities are accompanied by harissa, a spicy pepper paste that adds a little more flavour – if indeed that is possible – to the dishes.
Desserts: The patisserie highlight is the small, extremely sweet cakes made using natural products such as dates, almonds, pistachios and sesame. Many of them have honey and lots of sugar sprinkled on them.
Mint tea: As in the whole of North Africa, this aromatic drink served with plenty of sugar, delights both locals and tourists.
Juices: Get ready to try some excellent juices made using fruit from this region. The orange juice, and above all the fig juice, are outstanding.
Houmt Souq: Every corner of this city’s souks is used to exhibit colourful carpets, ceramics, jewellery and many other items. The influx of tourists has made prices shoot up, so you will have to make the most of the art of bargaining. The areas destined to local consumption focus on the sale of spices, clothes and food products.
Guellala: Many prefer the market of this town, a great ceramics producer. Whilst it may not have the atmosphere or variety of Houmt Souq, you can find cheaper and sometimes, better quality products here.
Djerba Explore Park: This cultural and shopping centre combined contains craft objects from the whole country. Bargaining is less frequent here and as you can imagine, the atmosphere has nothing to do with that of the traditional souks. This is a quieter option, but also a more diluted one.
Go to the casino
Casino: A casino on an island that clings to its Muslim traditions may seem paradoxical, but its games rooms, fruit machines and nighttime shows form part of the enchantment of this place.
Discotheques: In the tourist zone, where most of the hotels are, you will find a good selection of clubs.