Are you tempted by a getaway to a dreamy island in the South of France? If you are visiting or living in Provence or the French Riviera, this is the perfect stop to chill and adopt the French Art de Vivre. A small Provençal village, dreamy beaches, breathtaking landscapes, vineyards – welcome to Porquerolles Island.
You will love chilling on the blue lagoon beach and secret coves, or the black sand beach surrounded by pine trees and the songs of cicadas. Take this opportunity to go on an adventure with a bicycle to explore the island – dive into the Mediterranean beauties, and visit the vineyards…
Following my third visit to this beautiful “Ile de Porquerolles”, I am happy to share all of my tips and must-see places on the island with you.
Check below to see everything you need to know for the perfect day or weekend on the Porquerolles island!
Where is Porquerolles, this little piece of heaven
Porquerolles is one of the most beautiful French islands.
This Mediterranean Provencal gem is part of Hyere’s archipelago – with its two sisters, “Port-cros” and “Ile du Levant”, they are named the “Golden Isles”. These three islands are protected by the Port-Cros National Park and are maintained immaculately despite the number of visitors each year. Port-Cros is small and very natural, Ile du Levant is a nudist island (do not take the wrong boat…) and Porquerolles is the heavenliest place on earth.
How to get to Porquerolles, a Mediterranean boat cruise
Your beautiful day starts with a boat cruise from Giens’ Peninsula (departing from “Tour Fondue” with the TLV-TVM boat company, available all year round) to Porquerolles.
The boat is big and can welcome many visitors on board, however, I would recommend grabbing the earliest boat in the morning (before 10am) to avoid the peak in the high season (mid-June to end of august). The boat crossing starts at 7:30 am and runs every 30 minutes in high season (timetable and prices here). You can also book your tickets in advance online to save you time. Note that if you are travelling in the beautiful summer of 2020, a mask is mandatory in order to board the cruise – thank you Corona!
However, don’t worry, the journey only takes 15 to 20 minutes. The boat can also be accessed from Toulon and other neighboring towns on the coast during summertime.
+ TIPS: If you bring your bike, an extra fee of around 14,50€ per adult and 11,50€ per child will be applied. If it’s a regular bike or a mountain bike, I would recommend renting it on the island. Otherwise, you are better bringing yours if it’s an electric one.
My favorite dock to embark from is at the Tour Fondue on Giens’ Peninsula. The bonus of this place is the beautiful journey there – driving through the kitesurf sandy beach “L’amanare”, and the old salt marshes. I would recommend stopping by to admire the landscapes on your way back, and maybe for the last swim of the day at sunset!
+TIPS: The access to the embarkation can be by bus or car. However, if you are driving, there is a free street to park on the way to the dock at the roundabout. Otherwise, several car parks are available on a first come, first serve basis!
On Porquerolles Island, the port is in the village area, which is very convenient.
The Tourism Office is at the port and is easy to access upon your arrival to grab the island’s map (map also available at the rental shop). The restaurants, bakeries, bike rental shops are all at the same location – easy!
Where to eat and sleep in Porquerolles
After swimming, biking, riding… you will be starving! You might even think about your lunch before you enjoy the island life. All the food shops and restaurants are in the village but with few exceptions. You must consider that everything on the island is quite expensive, but it would be a shame not to make use of this opportunity… #touristicplaces. Buying a simple bottle of water is a luxury on the island.
Three options are open to you:
Restaurants are available in the village, but to be honest, I never gave any a try… As it sounds too touristic to me… In my opinion, when you have the chance to have so many spots with beautiful landscapes, it is a shame to eat a meter away from someone else.
The only place I would recommend is the “Mas du Langoustier” at its restaurant “La Pinède”, even the name sounds Provençal and beautiful! A fresh fish restaurant with a view of the pine trees, surrounded by the sound of cicadas!
Who wants to wake up to the songs of the cicadas?!
Away from the center, this hotel and restaurant is a lovely place to stay. This terracotta house merges perfectly with the landscape. The property offers a beautiful pine tree park with tennis courts, a pool, a private beach, a delicious fish restaurant, and helipad, and the house has the perfect access to beautiful natural beaches around (such as the black sand beach).
You can access the hotel by foot, bicycle, or the hotel shuttle – no luxury, nothing more than an old minivan that stops at the village and the vineyard. If you are not a big fan of cycling and you wish to be in this beautiful part of the island, you can enjoy a lunch at this restaurant and enjoy the shuttle service on both ways after enjoying the natural beauties of the area (book a table here).
In addition to the hotel “Le Mas du Langoustier”, flats, small hotels, and boats are also available for rent on the island.
In my point of view, the bakeries and snack shops are nothing to write home about. I would recommend finding a good bakery on the coast before you go.
If you have time, make your lunch and enjoy it with a breathtaking view in the middle of your own private cove! A great “Pan bagnat” or sandwich will do the job (check the easy bread recipe here).
Cycling is Porquerolles’ lifestyle
A bicycle in Porquerolles is a must!
Arriving in the village, you cannot miss the “bike rental shops”.
The Island is about 7 km, so cycling is very convenient and fun! I would advise you to rent a bike immediately upon your arrival to have more choice, because here, everybody is cycling!
3 options are open to you, the regular and most simple bike, the mountain bike, and the electric bike.
Trust me – go for the electric bike or at least the mountain bike … The island is made of hilly paths with many rocks… Unless you are cycling every Sunday in your hometown’s bicycle club, you will very much appreciate having a quality bike (your legs will thank you).
+TIPS: Do not forget to ask for a basket, it will be very helpful to carry your bag and stuff. Most of the rental shops do not accept credit cards, so have some cash ready – a bank is available in the village. They might ask for your ID as a guarantee, keep in mind to retrieve it when you leave …
To all the moms out there – if you have a toddler, they do rent sidecars with the adult bikes. And if you have a baby, your stroller can be used all around the village, beaches and coves in the area.
Beautiful paths are available, so I recommend grabbing the island’s map at the rental shop or download one on your mobile (telephone network can be very poor away from the village).
4 main paths are available by bike, and many others accessible by foot.
+ Couchant (2H)
+ midi (45min)
+ Levant (2H)
+ Mistral (1:45H)
The “circuit du Couchant” is beautiful and my favorite, although the ride there is difficult without an electric bike, the landscape is worth the pain! I made it with a mountain bike, so you can do it too! You will pass the vineyards to get to the forest and can admire the magnificent coast views the whole way to the “plage du Langoustier”, also called the black sand beach. From there, you can park your bike and enjoy the black sand beach, or the white sand beach located on the opposite side.
A few minutes away from those beaches are the “Pointe Saint Anne” – an amazing viewpoint located next to the “fort du Langoustier”. On your way back, a shorter, sloping road is available. You just need to follow the signs to the village. A stop at “La plage d’argent” could be a great idea to enjoy this beautiful beach and to refresh with a nice swim.
The “circuit du Midi” is a short trackway to the lighthouse.
The “circuit du Levant” keeps you mostly in the countryside.
And finally, the “circuit Mistral” guides you to one of the most beautiful and crowded beaches – “Notre Dame”. The access can be a little difficult with a bike due to the sand.
The most beautiful beaches in Porquerolles
What a better option on an island than chilling at the beach?!
Porquerolles island is a mix of countryside, vineyards, beaches, and coves. I cannot tell you about all the coves; I wish I knew them all…
However, I will tell you the top 3 must-see beaches on the island and give you my little tips to enjoy all of them.
A beautiful black sand beach protected by the bay, the perfect spot on a windy day. Accessible via the “Circuit du couchant” path, this gorgeous beach has a little sister – the white sand beach. The area is lovely, and the beaches are adjoining to the hotel and restaurant “Mas du Langoustier”.
+TIPS: I would recommend you go here first when you arrive on the island, as it will be fresher to cycle in the morning (the path is not that easy but worth it) and then move on to other spots in the afternoon (the opposite program of others visitors).
+TIPS: Do not walk barefoot on the black sand… otherwise you might feel like an Indian walking on the embers!
One of the most popular beaches near the village. The water is so clear, and you can walk and touch the bottom of the sea for quite a while out from the beach. Plus, the view is gorgeous.
+ TIPS: everybody goes to this spot upon arrival, and it can get full very quickly. I would recommend going in the afternoon when they move on to visit other spots on the island.
Awarded the most beautiful beach in Europe a few years ago… It is indeed beautiful and very popular in high season, but worth visiting. The bike access can be difficult with the sand but if they made it, you could do it! (Circuit Mistral)
While you wait for the embarkation, I am sure an ice-cream at “Coco Frio” in the village will make your mouth water!