There are so many ways to discover the Arcachon Basin, and a whole summer to tour the must-sees. Here is a selection of things to do to get to know the wooded coasts and dunes of the Basin.

Activities between land and sea

Climb to the top of the Dune of Pilat, the highest dune in Europe which offers you a unique panorama over the entire Arcachon Basin! For the more courageous, climb the dune by wading through the fine sand. For the others, steps are installed between Easter and All Saints Day to facilitate the climb. You can go there for the 10th time, the view will never be the same. Continue your journey at sea and set off for Arguin in the middle of the Arcachon Basin.

Head for the Banc d’Arguin Reserve, one of the natural jewels of the basin! What if to end your day, you let yourself be guided by boat or kayak to the bird island and its famous tchanquées huts. From the simple discovery of the island, to a family outing or a sporting excursion, you will have plenty of possibilities to benefit from this spot in the open sea. You will feel like alone in the world and enjoy a privileged moment far from the downtown crowd.

Dune de Pilat, Arcachon, Bordeaux France - Photo by Asgeir Pedersen, Spots France
Dune de Pilat, Arcachon – Photo by Asgeir Pedersen, Spots France
Arcachon, Bordeaux France - Photo by Asgeir Pedersen, Spots France
Ville d’hiver

And what about the visits?

The neighbourhoods of the city of Arcachon are divided according to the seasons, so you will have the opportunity to visit the Ville d’hiver, the winter city of Arcachon. Far from the hustle and bustle of crowded beaches in summer, come and lose yourself in the alleys of the neighbourhoods in search of the typical houses of the basin and the most beautiful views. Take the opportunity to take a break at the Parc Mauresque, which links the summer city (Ville d’été) and the winter city.

Arcachon, Bordeaux France - Photo by Asgeir Pedersen, Spots France
Arcachon Basin – Photo by Asgeir Pedersen, Spots France

To end your visit to Arcachon in style, go to the top of the Sainte-Cécile observatory and admire one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Ville d’hiver.Let’s go to the Cap Ferret side! Direction the lighthouse to gain height over the city and enjoy the view. It is not possible to go to Cap Ferret and not visit this emblematic place. The 258 steps to the top may push some back but once at the top you can enjoy a 360° view of the beaches and the Atlantic Ocean, the oyster beds and the Dune of Pilat, just to mention a few.

Visiting Bordeaux and the Arcachon Basin?

Subscribe to our newsletter (in French!) and find out more about spots to visit in and around Bordeaux.

The French version of this article was first published in July 2020.
Written by Zoé Langlois.