A true gem of the Var area, Porquerolles is the largest of the three Golden islands in the Gulf of Hyères. 3 km wide and 7 km long, this island’s climate and beauty is much similar to Corsica’s, making it a popular destination for vacationers. It has an impressive 300 days of sunshine yearly and often mild in winters but inviting throughout the year. To enjoy Porquerolles properly, visit in the off-season without feeling held back around tourist environments.
Thanks to the strict rules that prohibit the use of vehicles, smoking, and making disturbing noises, nature in Porquerolles and its beautiful beaches are well preserved. As a matter of fact, the only ‘noises’ you will hear in this stunning place are the relieving sounds of birds tweeting and of the waves striking the shore.
Other rules that should be followed on the island include no dogs on the beach, no camping, no bonfires, no pick flowers, and keeping the environment clean and not leaving any junk behind. Today, Porquerolles is the most popular and often visited among the three Golden islands. It attracts a large number of visitors from different parts of the world.
How to Get to Porquerolles
Find your way to the Hyères where ferries leave for Porquerolles all year. They leave from the La Tour Fondue harbor with the company TLV. And has earlier said, cars are not allowed on the island; park in the car park or the free parking lot just above. I advise that you get there early in the morning to secure space. Do not forget that boats can sometimes be canceled given unfavorable weather conditions.
The History of Porquerolles
In the 1820s, Porquerolles started as a village built up on the island with a lighthouse and a church built later on. A local man will buy the island in the early 1900s as a gift for his wife. He plants many vineyards that still produce some great wine. There will be a change of ownership in the 1970s as the French government purchase most of it. This allows the government to manage and protect it from major development. Recently, it became a National Park, and its natural ecosystem and plants are under the protection of different conservation societies.
Here Are Some Things to Do That Make Porquerolles Worth Visiting
Relax at Plage Notre Dame
Nestled in the northeastern side of the island, Plage Notre Dame is one of the most beautiful beaches around. Visitors can choose either to take 40 minutes from the central village and walk there or go by bike. If you decide to walk, do not forget to wear comfortable shoes and bear in mind that depending on your stamina, the hike might be demanding.
The sandy beach is a peaceful and lovely site with ravishing turquoise water. And because it is situated off the beaten track, Plage Notre Dame is rarely overcrowded and makes a perfect destination for a tranquil and relaxing time in the middle of nature.
Like an overwhelming number of beaches in Porquerolles, Plage Notre Dame is free. This means it lacks any facility. Ensure that you bring your own snacks, water, and lots of sun cream too.
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Explore Fort du Grand Langoustier
This 1600s eye-catching spot is another place to visit in Porquerolles. It is a French military fort situated at the island’s western end. It looks over the bay of Port Fay and faces Tour Fondue’s pier on Giens’ peninsula. A fortifying fence rings it while the interior bears a powder magazine and cistern.
Between 2006 and 2010, Fort du Grand Langoustier went through a total renovation. Today, it is shut to the public except during the European Heritage Days. This place is a strategic spot because you can watch the ships come and go in the direction of Toulon harbor.
There is another lovely beach on the northwestern end of Porquerolles- Plage d’Argent. In comparison with Plage Notre Dame, this beach is easier to access as it is situated less than a mile away from the village center. Consequently, it is a perfect spot for families with small children and visitors who don’t want to take the long walk.
The beach takes its name from the white quartz in the sand. It is a quiet bay with clear water and magnificent views. Other beaches in Porquerolles don’t have their own restaurant, but Plage d’Argent does. That means you enjoy a tasty local delicacy with a view of the sea and not worry about self-catering.
See the Brilliant Views from Fort Sainte Agathe
Built on the site of an ancient castle, Fort Sainte Agathe has been looking over Porquerolles since the 1500s. Actually, its strategic position makes it important in the defense and control of the island from the barbarian invasions over hundreds of years.
On the structure, there is a splendid terrace that offers an enthralling view of the Hyères bay and the island. Today, Fort Sainte Agathe is well preserved and hosts interesting permanent as well as temporary exhibitions about the underwater and terrestrial heritage of the Hyères Islands.
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Plage de la Courtade
From the center of the Porquerolles village, Plage de la Courtade is the closest beach to reach. It takes a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute bike ride to get there. The suiting location makes this beach the busiest one from the center of the Porquerolles village, with several people taking advantage of its warm sand and clear water. Fortunately, Plage de la Courtade is a great place to visit and a remarkable location for snorkeling, swimming, and admiring the boats and yachts moored close by.
Another spot of interest on my list of things worth doing in Porquerolles is the Fondation Carmignac. Made by Edouard Carmignac- a French businessperson, this is a special place and a delectable treat for every contemporary art lover.
Set in a strikingly expressive location, Fondation Carmignac is home to unique art installations, original sculptures, and fantastic paintings that will make them have a genuine cultural experience.
Several of the amazing exhibits are situated outside, while visitors will need to take off their shoes before entering the museum. A visit to this inviting touristy place will be an enriching encounter.
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Eglise Sainte-Anne de Porquerolles (Sainte-Anne Church)
A former military chapel, this is a Catholic church built in 1850. It is situated right in the center of Porquerolles village and is a significant point for both tourists and residents. You can adore the different Stations of the Cross and the gorgeous stained glass windows inside the church.
Le Moulin du Bonheur – Porquerolles Island Windmill
On the top of the village of Porquerolles and at the back of Sainte Agathe is the exceptional Moulin du Bonheur- Porquerolles Island Mill. In 2007, it was rebuilt in the ruins of an old mill from the 1700s, carefully remaking the mechanisms of cereal mills of Provence. Even though it takes a hike uphill to get here, it is worth the effort because both the mill and picturesque views of the island are compensating.
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Maison du Parc and Jardin Emmanuel Lopez
Another incredible place on my list of things to do in Porquerolles is Jardin Emanuel Lopez; the terrific garden with Maison du Parc. For those who want to spend time surrounded by ravishing plants and trees to discover different floral species from across the globe, then they should visit here.
While it is close to the public, for now, this place is an alluring sight to see and one of the most scenic spots on the island. Dating back to the 1800s, the lighthouse played a major role in Porquerolles. It ensures safe entries to the harbor and helps with navigation.
Is Porquerolles Worth Visiting? – Summary
Set off at Plage Notre Dame or proceed to one of the beach bar-restaurants at Plage de la Courtade or Plage d’Argent. Stroll the rocky cliff paths in the north end of the island or hire a bike, scuba dive or snorkel in the crystal-clear sea, or step into one of Porquerolles’ 1500s forts. Have a seafood lunch on the boat or proceed ashore to one of Porquerolles’ brilliant restaurants, and walk through the exotic cacti and palm tree at the botanic garden. It’s your call.
Porquerolles is the place worth visiting for anyone who wants to add a tropical tinge to their holiday in Southern France. It is regularly compared to the Caribbean for its delicate white sand beaches and a stunning turquoise sea. Blissfully car-free and sparsely inhabited, there is an unmissable ambiance of the exotic about this stunning island that every traveler should savor.
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