Ecotourism in France: which islands are best to visit without a car?

Which islands to visit without a car in Var?

To start, go to the Var department, where several islands can be visited without a car. Starting with the Iles d’Or – Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Ile du Levant – attached to the city of Hyères.

With 54 kilometers of trails, Porquerolles is the most important of the three, and it is also the one that lies most to the west, towards the Giens peninsula. To get there, several shipping companies cross between Hyères and Porquerolles throughout the year, but also between certain towns on the Var coast and the island, only in season.

Once there, you will discover a small Mediterranean paradise of 7 kilometers long and 3 kilometers wide, which we recommend you explore by bike. Several rental companies offer mountain bikes (electric or not), tandems and other vehicles to ride down paths lined with pines, myrtles and other heather that lead to heavenly beaches or sunny vineyards.

The island of Porquerolles can be visited without a car, but on foot or by bicycle. Pascal Fraboul / Eye Em

Between intimate beaches and steep cliffs, Port-Cros is the smallest and wildest of the archipelago’s three islands. Wooded with Aleppo pines and holm oaks, Port-Cros is considered a terrestrial and marine national park, especially for its exceptional marine fauna, which can be observed during a diving session along the underwater path from the beach of La Palud, or to the island of Gabinière, classified as an integrated reserve .

⋙ Diving: 10 breathtaking locations

East of the archipelago, the island of Levant is home to amazing arbutus trees! Despite the fact that a large part of the island is inaccessible because it is occupied by a military zone, one can discover the local fauna and flora along marked paths.

Then let’s mention the Paul Ricard Islands, starting with the island of Embiez, off Six-Fours-les-Plages, accessible all year round with a 12-minute crossing from the Brusc pier. Car traffic is strictly prohibited on the island, which is home to 90% of the Mediterranean’s natural species. Off the coast of Bandol, its little sister, the island of Bendor is currently inaccessible because it is under construction – the reopening is planned for 2026.

Which Breton islands to visit without a car?

The Breton coast is second to none when it comes to islands to visit without a car. On the Finistère side, the island of Sein and the island of Molène are two very beautiful islands that cannot be visited by car.

To travel on the island of Molène, forget the car and the bike and put on the right shoes: a marked hiking trail goes around the island!

⋙ 10 hiking routes within everyone’s reach

On the island of Sein, there is also no car in sight – only the fire truck is allowed to circulate. All year round you have to rely on your feet to get around, or choose to cycle, which is however prohibited in the summer. Good to know: on the island of Sein, hiking poles with metal tips are prohibited as they damage the paths.

In the Côtes-d’Armor, it is the island of Bréhat that wins all our favors: the first natural area to be classified in France – in 1907 – Bréhat, 3.5 kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide, is accessible by boat, and can only be visited on foot or by bicycle. Arriving via the landing stage, take the paths that connect the harbor with the Paon lighthouse to discover creeks and beaches, each more beautiful than the next.

Finally, don’t leave the Gulf of Morbihan without visiting the islands of Houat and Hoëdic! To discover the island of Houat, on the outskirts of Belle-Ile-en-Mer, the best way is to take the coastal path on foot, which allows you to go around the 17 kilometer route in a minimum of 4 hours of walking. It is then granite landscapes dotted with beaches and small bays that will be offered to you.

In Hoëdic, as in Sein, walking sticks with metal tips are prohibited on the island, where no vehicles circulate. Several walks are nevertheless possible on the developed coastal paths to discover the hundreds of bird species present here.

⋙ Top 10 of the most searched French beaches on the internet by holidaymakers

In the English Channel, no cars on the Chausey Islands

Departing Granville, embark for the Chausey Islands, the largest archipelago in Europe. On the Big Island, a little paradise 7 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide, the birdsong is not hindered by any engine noise.

In the course of an 8 kilometer walk you will discover the main sights of the island – the village of Blanvillais, the lighthouse and the semaphore, the Lambert tower, the fort and the old fort, but also the beaches of Port Marie and Port Homard as well as Grande Grève.

Visit the island of Aix without a car

Separated from the mainland by a small strait of 6 kilometers, the island of Aix in Charente-Maritime is accessible by ferry from Fouras-les Bains. East of the island of Oléron, near the famous Fort Boyard, this island, populated by only a few dozen inhabitants, can be discovered without a car. The Napoleonic Museum and the African Museum (which has just reopened) are worth a visit!

⋙ On the island of Aix, Napoleon’s last step on French soil

Discover the island of Saint-Honorat without a car in the Alpes Maritimes

Off the bay of Cannes, a small piece of land barely 1.5 kilometers long is a true oasis of peace, which pollution from cars cannot disturb: on the island of Saint-Honorat, one of the two islands of Lérins, almost 2,000 people come every year to live in Lérins Abbey, where about twenty monks live.

⋙ What is the difference between a monastery, a monastery and a monastery?

To discover the heritage of the island and its wines, no car is allowed, so you have to do everything on foot. Take advantage of a stopover on the island to visit the cloister tower, the Saint-Sauveur chapel and the Trinity chapel, as well as the two Napoleonic pellet stoves. Disconnection guaranteed!

Neither mountain bike nor car on the islands of the Frioul archipelago

Consisting of four islands off the coast of Marseille in the Bouches-du-Rhône, the Frioul archipelago is car-free and not much can be practiced other than on foot (if cycling is allowed in the village and on the road, mountain biking is prohibited!)

The only district of Marseille accessible only by boat is therefore revealed during walks, between streams, bays and beaches, not to mention the unmissable Château d’If on the island of the same name!

Also read:

The 10 most isolated islands in the world

The 10 most isolated islands in the world

The 15 islands in the world where it is pleasant to spend your retirement

The 15 islands in the world where it is pleasant to spend your retirement

Atlantic coast: top 10 of the most beautiful small French islands

Atlantic coast: top 10 of the most beautiful small French islands

Leave a Comment