The Mediterranean: Jerba

Off the beaten path

WHY GO Jerba, off the coast of Tunisia, in North Africa, has a long, colorful history. Berber, Phoenician, Roman, Jewish, Spanish, and Muslim cultures have all left their mark. The main town of Houmt Souk is on the touristy north coast, so head inland, or to the south's unspoiled fishing villages.

WHERE TO STAY Jerba has the first proper boutique hotel in all Tunisia. Dar Dhiafa, in Erriadh, blends in chicly: one story, white-and-butter-cream walls, with honeysuckle vines pouring out of terra-cotta pots. There are 14 rooms around five courtyards, all with beamed ceilings and stone platform beds. Some have paw-footed baths, and there are two plunge pools flanked by shady loggias and quiet alcoves. Ask for Suite Calife. Rooms, $135-$195; 216-75-671-166.