Porquerolles, true paradise of the Var region, is the largest of the three Golden islands in the Gulf of Hyères. 7 km long and 3 km wide, its beauty and climate, very much the same as that of Corsica, make it a popular destination. With 300 days of sunshine every year and very mild winters, it is attractive all year long. One can therefore enjoy it safely during the off-season without feeling cramped around tourist environments.
The Bay of Notre Dame in Porquerolles
Map of the island of Porquerolles
History has it that Ulysses himself spent the rest of his life there, and many pirates made it their home!
Overview of the port of Porquerolles
The shopping street in the village of Porquerolles
The village of Porquerolles is located in the port. There is a row of restaurants, bars, ice cream parlours and bike rentals along the main street. No risk of starvation! There are also hotels in the village and one at the tip of Langoustier.
The Bay of Porquerolles with, on the right the sandy beach of Notre dame
There are a couple of beaches on Porquerolles, from the small cove to the large stretch of sand. The nicest beaches are located north. Lined with scrubland and pine trees, its turquoise waters, including those of Argent Beach (this is the island’s only monitored beach in summer - it is also the busiest and the least wild), promise incomparable moments of relaxation.
Argent Beach is suitable for children with gently sloping swimming
Two other large sandy beaches accommodate visitors, Notre Dame Beach northeast (ranked most beautiful beaches in Europe in 2015) and Courtade Beach east of the port. The landscape is wilder to the south; cliffs plunge into the sea and creeks, gorges and capes take over.
Porquerolles: relaxation guaranteed amid green landscapes
One can easily get an idea of the diversity of the island’s many views from the lighthouse. The best way to stroll around the island is by bicycle, driving is highly regulated anyway (and prohibited to visitors). Once on the island, one can rent some in the port. After visiting the village and its nice church, do not miss Fort Sainte-Agathe where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the Moulin du Bonheur and the port. This Old Provencal windmill was built in the eighteenth century on a hill above the village.
Windmill in Porquerolles
In summer, it is difficult to find space for one’s bike near star beaches!
The island is large and hilly. The main trails are fairly well developed (especially to reach Notre Dame Beach). Outside the main axes, the roads are very stony.
It is difficult to make a complete bicycle tour of the island in a day(impossible on foot). It is advisable to rent electric bicycles (to save time and above all for easy uphill climbing). It is also possible to rent non-licensed electrically powered boats to discover the coast (trails pass clear of the coastline, which is quite a shame to enjoy the different points of view).
Remember to have water available in sufficient quantity (There is some in the harbour, the village and Argent Beach in season).
The vineyards of Porquerolles
Terroir lovers will be delighted to visit one of three wine estates of the island with "Côtes de Provence" designation. Many olive groves and lemon trees compose the rest of the landscape in the heart of the land. One can fully enjoy the shaded paths without fear of heatstroke. In spring, the scents and colours of heather, myrtle and cistus are enchanting.
The port of Port-Cros
Take advantage of your stay to visit the neighbouring island of Port-Cros, the smallest of the Golden Islands. The place, perfect for nature lovers, is best explored on foot, being a preserved and protected national park. There are beautiful strolls to be had in the forest, including one that takes you to the fort of Estissac. There is an underwater trail to discover the richness of the aquatic area, do not forget your mask and flippers! Off the department, Levant Island nearby is accessible from Toulon. Grottes Beach is paradise but very busy. This beach, covered in urchins and sharp rocks, is not child-friendly but adventurers will have the time of their lives!
The Peninsula of Giens, located just across the island fifteen kilometres from the city of Hyères, has 3 beautiful beaches. Pontillon Beach is nestled in a cove south. To reach it, one must take the coastal path. If the access is not easy, the reward is worth it. There are very few people here, and the mistral makes it a valuable place. Four à Chaux Beach has a pretty landscape with Chevaliers Park located just behind. Finally, Almanarre Beach west is wilder. Covered in sand and pebbles, it is well developed, ideal for families.
One can also choose to visit Toulon, the city with nine beaches, including the various beaches of Mourillon. Mitre Beach and its coves is one of the prettiest. Food lovers will be delighted to taste the local gastronomy, the land of cheese and anchovy in mind! For more information about Toulon, see our complete guide.