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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 10 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

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: Any
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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Dune du Pilat and Oysters Tasting in only 1 hour away from Bordeaux ! What else?

Bordeaux

Dune du Pilat and Oysters Tasting in only 1 hour away from Bordeaux ! What else?
I offer an unique excursion at the Arcachon Bay. A Professional guide and the driver are at your service. 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]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Bordeaux

Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Bordeaux

A vintage wine and culture destination with delicious tastings, grand architecture, gourmet restaurants and a glorious coastline. 

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