Port-Cros National Park: from Hyères to Giens Peninsula
Basking between land, sea and sky, Port-Cros National Park unveils its many treasures during this 5-day tour departing from Hyères. On foot and by boat and bike… A plethora of exciting outdoor activities for lovers of nature, history and culture keen to discover this fairytale location.
Site archéologique d’Olbia
Presqu’île de Giens
Chapelle Notre Dame de Consolation
Step 1First stop in Hyères-les-PalmiersHot sand and chillin'
Here you are ready to set up home in your cosy holiday nest at the Hôtel Almanarre Plage in Hyères. A holder of the Esprit Parc National label, this intimate, welcoming and eco-friendly establishment is an ideal haven of peace for recharging your batteries in the following 5 days. What’s more, it’s located just 300 metres from the vast, golden sands of Almanarre beach, where you can hire all the gear you need. Whether you opt for a snorkelling trail, stand-up paddelboard, sea kayak or good old bicycle, you’ll soon be ready to get out and lap up some sunshine. You can even book a waterside « sunset picnic » for your first dinner, complete with local, organic artisan jams bearing the Esprit Parc National label. Just choose your pick: fig, melon or bitter orange…
Step 2From the depths of Olbia to the saltmarshes of HyèresAncient remains and expertise, between land and sea
The morning kicks off between land and sea at the Olbia archaeological site, acclaimed for its Greek and Roman treasures. This extraordinary site is the only fully-preserved example of a network of fortress-colonies founded by Marseille in 4 BC. Slip into your mask and flippers for the first part of the tour, in the company of an Esprit Parc National guide, and wind up this out-of-time experience on foot. A change of scenery awaits you in the afternoon with the Salins d’Hyères saltmarshes, a monument of ancient expertise and culture. This typical Mediterranean maritime environment, of priceless biological and scenic value, is also a birding hotspot. Opt for the Esprit Parc National guided tour entitled Le sel, source de vie et de richesse (Salt, a source of life and wealth) to gain an insight into the history of this Natura 2000 protected area.
Step 3The Golden Islands and Porquerolles Sailing into untamed territories...
Climb aboard Brigantin, a traditional sailboat skippered by Espace Mer, for a magical day out on the Golden Islands – an Esprit Parc National excursion. You’ll enjoy breakfast on board with Captain Stéphane and his one-man crew. After a brief introduction to the safety rules and programme, it’s time to raise the anchor and head to Pointe des Mèdes on Porquerolles island, just off the coast of Plage de Notre-Dame and Plage du Langoustier, still echoing to the memory of the island’s ancient trading routes and military heritage. A moving sight indeed. The natural diversity you’ll observe along the coast is key to understanding today’s challenges in terms of preserving the terrestrial and marine flora and fauna. It’s time for the must-do aperitif before a picnic moored off Grand-Ribaud. If you’re a keen would-be sailor, you can even try your hand at a few manoeuvres or simply enjoy a dip or spot of stand-up paddleboarding before sailing home cradled by gentle waves.
Step 4Exploring Giens Peninsula180° views from the clifftops
Venture into the exceptional environment of Giens Peninsula along Sentier Escampobario, nicknamed the « Jewel of Giens« in the early morning. This coastal footpath criss-crosses shale cliffs lapped by the waves, suspended between arid Mediterranean maquis, crystalline waters and typical maritime vegetation. Exceptional viewpoints await you at Ilot du Pain de Sucre, Pointe des Chevaliers and Calanque du Blé before tackling the last stage – Pointe des Salis set facing the magnificent Pointe d’Escampo-Barriou, at the far end of the peninsula. Enjoy hearing about how the peninsula was formed thanks to your guide before heading inland on the steep path. You can opt for a restful afternoon sunning in secret little coves or enjoy a walk along the quaysides of the little Port de la Madrague.
Step 5Perched on Notre Dame de ConsolationAn inspiring sanctuary and world-unique geological curiosity
Leave the hotel on your bike for this last day and cycle for 3 km to Chapelle Notre Dame de Consolation. Set on Costebelle hill, this sanctuary was destroyed in 1944 during the Allied Landings in Provence and rebuilt in a sober, modern style in 1952. Admire the immense bay and stained-glass windows signed by talented master glassmaker Gabriel Loire, and sleek sculptures adorning the facade. Climb up to the esplanade to gaze over the open sea and an extraordinary geological formation: the double isthmus leading to Giens peninsula. These two parallel strips of sand and sediment form long arms that embrace the ancient saltmarshes and Etang des Pesquiers. This precious and fragile area now harbours a remarkable bird reserve where pink flamingos come to nest: a magical moment to celebrate the end of your stay in style.