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Dune of Pilat

Last updated: 10 February, 2024

Europe’s biggest sand pile, the Dune du Pilat (or ‘du Pyla’) towers near the mouth of Arcachon Bay.

Standing 107m high, stretching 6km in length and with a volume of 20 million cubic metres of sand, it’s an extraordinary sight.

The view from the top is breathtaking, too – on a clear day you can see all the way to the Pyrenees. After, cool off on Pyla-sur-Mer’s golden-sand beach.

While you’re there 

The Waggas School at Pyla Camping rents equipment and offers paragliding lessons and tandem flights. If you’ve ever wanted to try it – this is as spectacular a place as any.

The nearby Bassin d’Arcachon is famous for its oysters – stop and try them at one of the shacks in Gujan-Mestras, the area’s oyster capital.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The dune is an hour’s drive southwest of Bordeaux – or take the train to Arcachon station and the shuttle to the beach. There are snack bars and picnic spots near the dune – pick up a bottle of water for the climb.

When to do it

The dune is accessible all year round, but obviously the quality of your experience will be highly weather dependent. The views from the top are far less impressive on a rainy day, and the climb up is tough when its swelteringly hot. Pre-Covid, it attracted a million visitors a year, so expect crowds. Try to go out of peak season (July and August) or mid-week.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Bordeaux

I offer an unique excursion at the Arcachon Bay. Welcome to the tallest sand dune in Europe, you will enjoy the wonderfull view of Landaise Forest, Cap Ferret, Ocean and the Bay. The guide stay with you during the Dune and take time with each person to enjoy the best. After the Dune, Stop to the belvedere tour in Arcachon to enjoy the panoramic view of the birds island, oysters farmers and Arcachon town. A Professional guide and the driver are at your service. Finish to the La Teste-de-Buch port, it is a picturesque and authentic place protected from mass tourism You are all the time with a guide and during the Oysters Tasting you have a choice of 6, 9 or 12 Oysters per person and a glass of rosé or white wine. If you don't like Oysters we have some shrimps, porc pâté or winkle. It's a family atmosphere and professional.

Price €130

Min age 18

Rating 4.84 / 5 [32 ratings]

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