Arcachon is full of activities of all kinds, to help you prepare for your stay, here is a selection of the most beautiful places in this town.
A town for nature lovers
Every year, the city of Arcachon attracts many tourists, summer and winter, curious to discover the famous Dune du Pilat of course, but above all seduced by the attractiveness of the basin and the incredible number of activities to do there. Between boat trips, discovery of picturesque neighborhoods and relaxation on the beach, the leisure possibilities are as numerous as they are varied. Arcachon is the ideal destination for nature lovers. To discover all the things to do or see in the area, we have compiled a list of essential activities in Arcachon and its close surroundings.
L’Ile aux Oiseaux
In the middle of the Arcachon basin is a remarkably preserved place. L’Ile aux oiseaux (Bird Island) is known for its two cabins on stilts (from the Gascon “chancas” which means “mounted on stilts”). It also houses around fifty cabins without water or electricity, inhabited all year round or only for holidays. More than 150 species of birds can be observed on the site, for some 400,000 individuals! Visiting Arcachon and its basin by catamaran or fishing boat will naturally take you to the wonders of the Île aux Oiseaux.
If you are looking for what to do in Arcachon for a busy day, set sail on Cap Ferret ! This strip of land opposite Arcachon separates the basin from the ocean. Easily accessible by boat, Cap Ferret is full of activities of all kinds. Several beaches border its point, and you can swim with a view of the Dune du Pilat. Or simply walk along the coast and discover typical villages such as Le Canon, Piraillan or L’Herbe. Stroll through the flowery streets and let yourself be invited by the fishermen to a tasting of freshly picked oysters. To conclude your getaway, climb the 258 steps that lead to the top of the Cap Ferret Lighthouse. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama over the entire Arcachon basin. The Île aux Oiseaux, the Banc d’Arguin, the Dune du Pilat and the oyster beds are taking shape before your eyes.
At the Auction (La Criée), you will be immersed in the heart of the fish farming tradition, from the return of the boats at dawn to the tasting. Follow the course of the fish which will be landed, weighed, calibrated and then sold. Watch the pros scour the boxes for the best quality. Then let yourself be transported by the electric atmosphere that reigns in the auction room. Hake, bass, sole or turbot parade before your eyes according to a well-orchestrated mechanism.
A boat trip
Visiting the city of Arcachon also means enjoying its coastline. Indeed, very nice excursions are to be done by boat, allowing in particular to go to Cap Ferret or to go around the Bassin d’Arcachon ! It would therefore be a shame not to rent a boat in Arcachon, and thus miss the magnificent setting to get there.
The cabins on stilts
The famous huts on stilts originally had the function of monitoring oyster beds. Today, they are a major tourist attraction for their beauty and picturesque appearance. Accessible by boat or kayak and perched on stilts, they can only be visited outside. If you go there at high tide, you will get closer to the foundations on board your boat. At low tide, you will approach the constructions with your feet in the mud. In both cases, you can immortalize the moment with spectacular shots. A must to visit in Arcachon.
La Ville d’Hiver
This district perched on the heights is emblematic of the history of the town. You will stroll between 19th century villas with spectacular, sometimes even extravagant architecture. About 300 residences thus populate the hill. Don’t miss the Bremontier, Toledo, Alexandre Dumas, Bayard or Athena villas, each with a very particular style. The Mauresque park is an invitation to relax, and turns out to be a charming place for a picnic. Then climb to the top of the Sainte-Cécile observatory. You can admire a beautiful panorama of the Winter Town and the basin below.
The Pilat dune
An emblematic natural monument of the Landes region, this immense sand dune extends over nearly 3 kilometers in length. Like other travelers who have come to visit Arcachon, climb the dune by the fitted staircase or directly by the sand. Admire the 360 degree view of the countryside and the ocean. Guided walks, an interpretation trail, a permanent exhibition telling the history of the dune or even a treasure hunt are all activities to spend an unforgettable day alone or with family. For an exceptional moment that will remain etched in your memory, watch the sunset from the top of the dune. Let yourself be lulled by the sound of the wind in the sand, watching the colors change, while the star dips behind the horizon.
The bench of Arguin
When you come to visit Arcachon, it is possible to treat yourself to an exceptional excursion in the colors of the Caribbean. The Banc d’Arguin is a strip of white sand surrounded by translucent water, whose shape changes with the winds. At low tide, this desert island-like territory is nearly 4 kilometers long. Many day trips are offered to this little corner of paradise. You can swim in the clear waters, sunbathe or watch the birds. Indeed, the site classified as a Nature Reserve is home to many migratory species.
If you are looking for what to do in Arcachon for a busy day, set sail on Cap Ferret ! This strip of land opposite Arcachon separates the basin from the ocean. Easily accessible by boat, Cap Ferret is full of activities of all kinds. Several beaches border its point, and you can swim with a view of the Dune du Pilat. Or simply walk along the coast and discover typical villages such as Le Canon, Piraillan or L’Herbe. Stroll through the flowery streets and let yourself be invited by the fishermen to a tasting of freshly picked oysters. To conclude your getaway, climb the 258 steps that lead to the top of the Cap Ferret Lighthouse. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama over the entire Arcachon basin.