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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Quintessential to the mystique of the Provence region, La Camargue – the enormous Rhone delta just south of Arles – is Western Europe’s largest river delta and home to an important range of flora and wildlife, including nearly 400 species of bird. Almost 140,000 hectares are declared a national park.

Local tour operators in Arles and les Saintes-Maries offer 4WD drive wildlife safaris and zodiac river safaris into remote areas; in winter, sand yachting on the long empty beaches is also possible.

There are a number of cycle paths into the Camargue from the little coastal town of Les Saintes-Maries, where you can also find bikes to rent.

Other visitors come for the wild beaches by the picturesque seaside town of Les Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, dominated by its famous fortified Romanesque church.

Gardians of the Camargue (French cowboys) 

The Park is also home to Provence’s famous gardians, local herdsmen who raise local breeds of bulls and horses. Gardians live on manades (ranches), many of which offer horse riding excursions.

You can visit a traditional manade: bulls are raised on these ranches for their meat and the Courses Camarguaises bull races. A good one to visit – with English speakers – is the Manade Gilbert Arnaud.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The Camargue is vast, and although you can get a taste of it by car (the park boundaries begin 5km southwest of Arles), it’s best to get off the roads and explore on a guided tour, either by land or water. You can download a map from Arles Tourism’s website.

The Pont de Gau Ornithological Park is good for spotting some of the Camargue’s 400 species of birds, while the Marais Vigueirat has nature trails and offers guided wildlife excursions.

When to do it

You can go year-round, but spring and autumn are the best times to spot birds and other animals. August is the driest month, and can be very crowded, hot and the mosquitoes will be at their worst.

Who to go with: organised tours

5

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

Camargue 4x4 Safari 2 hours Saintes Maries de la Mer

Provence

Camargue 4x4 Safari 2 hours Saintes Maries de la Mer
Discovery of the Camargue on a 4x4 safari accompanied by a guide passionate about Camargue cultures. Discovery of horses, bulls, birds, ponds, marshes, rice fields ...

Price: €50

Min age: 2

Rating 4.28 / 5 [96 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Arles and Camargue Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Avignon

Avignon

Arles and Camargue Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Avignon
Enjoy a small-group tour from Avignon to discover Arles and Camargues with an experienced guide. During this half day tour you will visit Arles, where art and history meet in perfect harmony, and then the Camargue, where you will see pink flamingos, white horses and black bulls in their natural habitat and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

Price: €75

Min age: 0

Rating 4.62 / 5 [37 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Camargue Small-Group Day Trip from Avignon

Avignon

Camargue Small-Group Day Trip from Avignon
Choose this full-day tour to have plenty of time to discover the different faces of one of the most fascinating regions of France. The Camargue being one of the widest river deltas in Europe, it takes time to explore it! This tour will allow you to observe iconic animals as well as discover local legends, traditions and historical monuments. Your guide will stop along the road to give you opportunities to photograph Camargue horses and bulls. We include the entrance fee to the Bird Park, the best place in the region to see pink flamingos from close. Saintes Maries de la Mer and Aigues Mortes are lively little towns with century-old monuments, rich gastronomy and lovely shops. This tour is a real digest of the Camargue!

Price: €110

Min age: 0

Rating 4.83 / 5 [37 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Camargue 4x4 Safari Day

Provence

Camargue 4x4 Safari Day
At the heart of the Camargue Park, discover the Camargue Fauna & Flora thanks to a passionate guide! Passage in manades, breeding of bulls, ponds, marias, rice fields .... In a 4x4 vehicle discovered for magnificent shots

Price: €130

Min age: 2

Rating 4.33 / 5 [9 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Safari 4x4 Camargue 2 hours - Saintes Maries de la Mer - Private Tour

Provence

Safari 4x4 Camargue 2 hours - Saintes Maries de la Mer - Private Tour
Discover the Camargue in a 4x4 Safari with a guide just for you! Come and take advantage of this private tour to discover the riches of the Delta Rhône, in the heart of the Camargue Regional Natural Park. You can discover horses, bulls, birds, rice fields ... in 4x4 discovered for magnificent shots!

Price: €399

Min age: 0

Rating 4.77 / 5 [9 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

3

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Arles

Provence, France

front view of facade at sunset

Fascinating Roman, and medieval monuments and memories of Van Gogh, plus a winsome shabby-chic charm.

Avignon

Provence, France

Exterior photo of the Palace of the Popes lit up at night

A lively medieval town bursting with art and creativity, and centrally located for sightseeing in Provence. Host of the superb Avignon Festival.

Provence

Provence, France

Field of bright purple lavender in front of an old church

Gorgeous landscapes peppered with beautiful villages, sunflowers and lavender, art-filled towns, lively cultural festivals and exquisite food and wine. Provence is everything you imagined it would be.