The seaside resort of Hyères was built in Greek times under the name of Olbia. Over time, it became an important city, a protective bulwark defending the coast of Provence, which explains the large number of forts and medieval castles that can still be admired.
A seaside town particularly renowned for its mild climate and palm trees, Hyères has a charming old town clinging to the hillside, surrounded by more than 20 km of enchanting beaches, suitable for bathing, water sports and diving.
Hyères enchants with its medieval character, which can easily be discerned in the narrow streets of the centre, and with its Provençal atmosphere, which you will find among the artisans’ workshops, markets, small shops, fishmongers and the many bars that enliven the centre.
From the Mediterranean essences on the market stalls to the preciousness of the ancient stones, Hyères is a true concentrate of the Côte d’Azur. Famous throughout Europe for its paradisiacal islands and stretches of pristine white sand, the town is also a small oasis of peace in which to stroll.
Hyères stretches out on the Giens peninsula, between sky and sea. Its double tombolo, a remarkable geological formation, surrounds the ancient salt marshes and is now an ornithological reserve hosting more than 200 species of migratory and resident birds. Observation posts are available to hikers.
The two sand tongues offer long beaches for swimming or board sports. You can dedicate yourself to cycling, following the cycle paths laid out along the sea or explore its seabed, which offers enchanting places for diving, discovering a rich and diverse flora and fauna, as well as the presence of the most beautiful shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.
To discover all the ancient and colourful charm of Hyères, we recommend you follow the Parcours des Arts, not to be confused with the Rue des Arts in Toulon. This is a route established by the municipality, which brings together the most important places to see in the old town.
In the form of a signposted circuit, you will discover the historical heritage and architecture of Hyères. Starting from Place Saint Paul, you will then reach Lavoir and the church of Saint Louis, admiring along the way the numerous workshops of creative artisans dedicated to painting, sculpture, woodworking and sewing. Don’t miss the Peñiscola, a blue-roofed arcade topped with turrets, the beautiful 19th-century residences such as the Villa Godillot and its sublime glass roofs, the exotic Tunisian villa or the Moorish villa.
Then take rue Portalet and exit at place Massillon to admire the Templar Tower. The circuit then takes you to the collegiate church of Saint-Paul and then to Sainte-Claire and Saint-Bernard parks. At the top of the hill, the remains of the Château de Hyères will reveal themselves to your eyes.
The walk takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes for 2 kilometres. It can be done independently or, in the summer months, by guided tour, the Parcours des arts en fête.
On the hill of Casteou, at an altitude of 200 metres, the Old Castle dominates Hyères. Classified as a historical monument, it was one of the most important strongholds in Provence before Louis XIII dismantled it.
Stroll through the remains still standing today and climb to the top of the fortifications for a splendid view over the city of Hyères.
The city was fortified with ramparts and walls. Five gates and nine towers are still visible today, all of which are classified as historical monuments.
While in some cases all that remains of the gates is the vault and its curved arch, in others you can still admire the towers that have been converted into dwellings, as well as the grooves of the portcullises.
We recommend you take a stroll through the city centre, discover its narrow cobbled streets of undeniable charm and walk through its gates, letting your gaze linger on their architectural details.
Witness to the golden age of the Templars, the Saint-Blaise Tower fulfilled two functions: a religious one, with a chapel on the ground floor, and a military one, with its guard room accessible only from the outside via a removable staircase.
Listed as a historical monument, the Templar Tower now hosts temporary exhibitions, giving you the opportunity to visit it and discover this vestige from the time of the Templars.
It is the largest market in the city. Every Saturday morning, 120 exhibitors transform Avenue Gambetta and the pedestrian streets into an array of colours, flavours and scents of Provence.
Black or green olives, spice sachets, sun-dried tomatoes, bunches of thyme and rosemary, basil, garlic and other herbs flank bouquets of peonies and roses along with freshly caught mullet and redfish.
Everything here is an explosion of colours and scents. The freshness of the produce will leave you speechless, and at every street corner you can also smell the influences of neighbouring regions: Corsica and its charcuterie, Italy and its extra virgin oils, Calabria and its fresh pasta or Nice and its anchovy variants.
Perched on a promontory and overlooking the Mediterranean, the archaeological site of Olbia has survived over the centuries, bearing witness to the city’s ancient past. To visit this ancient fortified settlement is to take a journey back in time, when the city was populated by fishermen, farmers and soldiers.
The remains dating back to the 4th century invite you to imagine how it must have looked in antiquity: a settlement with baths, shops and alleys that once made up the city.
Many towns were later built on its ruins but Roman and medieval remains still remain, testifying that the place was an important seaport.
Built by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in the 1920s, a stone’s throw from the castle, Villa Noailles is a veritable concentration of curiosities, a hymn to cubism and modern art.
You can follow in the footsteps of Giacometti, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau or Salvador Dali, who stayed in the villa, a jewel of modern architectural heritage. Within these walls, exhibitions and festivals of fashion, design, photography and architecture take place throughout the year.
Not to be missed is the International Festival of Fashion, Accessories and Photography, as well as the Design Parade and its interior design competition.
To conclude your visit to the villa, stroll through its superb garden, which offers a spectacular view of Hyères and the Golden Islands.
At nightfall, go out for an evening under the stars. Overlooking the Giens peninsula and the golden islands, the Pic des Fées Observatory is the ideal refuge for lovers of the celestial vault: it offers the opportunity to contemplate the sky in the best conditions.
Like real budding astronomers, try out the telescopes and cameras at your disposal: a whole team of experts will accompany you on your first steps, every Friday evening from October to June. Planets, constellations and the Milky Way await you and the sky will have no more secrets. Appointments must be booked in advance.
On the Costebelle hill, you can admire the Chapel of Notre-Dame-De-Consolation. Destroyed by bombing in 1944, during the Provence landings, only the statue in the bell tower survived.
The city of Hyères then decided to rebuild the chapel and turned to a master glassmaker and renowned sculptor. The result is fabulous and atypical: the large glass roof of Costebelle, signed Jean Lambert Rucki, is a true work of art on coloured glass, but so are the many sculptures that trace the history of this sanctuary.
The Château de la Clapière houses a museum dedicated to Queen Victoria of England, who, during her stay in Hyères, fell in love with this château with its park and its incredible scents.
Recently restored, the building stands at the heart of a 55-hectare estate and houses jewellery, crockery, statues and many objects that pay tribute to the Queen in its museum.
The standard guided tour is free, but you can also opt for a paid visit, commented by the owner of the premises in person, with a final tasting of one of the castle’s grands crus.
The salt pans of Hyères can be divided into 2 parts: the Old Salt Pans, which run along the coast and cover 350 hectares, and the Salin des Pesquiers on the Giens peninsula.
They are very interesting from a landscape point of view, for example because of the grid structure of the Salin des Pesquiers, typical of Mediterranean salt pans, but also from a biological point of view.
Although salt extraction has now ceased, this unique wetland delights visitors with its remarkable flora and fauna. This is precisely why it has become a habitat with an extraordinary configuration, which is home to a great variety of bird species: herring gulls, black-winged stilts, flamingos, migratory and resident species.
You can also admire beautiful wild orchids, the sand lily or even the famous maritime panicaut, which dot the paths.
The Giens peninsula is a strip of land that juts into the sea, a rare example of a double peninsula, formed by two 4-kilometre-long strips of coastline in the middle of the water that will provide you with splendid views. While the right-hand side is always passable, the route du sel, or left-hand arm, thins out at certain times of the year, remaining inaccessible from November to April due to the weather.
The Pesquiers lagoon: a privileged spot to admire flamingos, ideal especially for families with children. Then don’t miss Giens, a small seaside resort from whose château you can take extraordinary pictures of the peninsula thanks to the breathtaking panorama.
On the Giens peninsula, 20 km of white sandy beaches and wild coves surrounded by vegetation await you.
This long beach of almost 5 kilometres is located along the salt route, one of the two sites that mark the exceptional character of the Giens peninsula.
With the mistral wind, the beach attracts a large number of top-level windsurfers and kite surfers. Depending on the strength of the wind, the sea can therefore be rough and present a superb wild character. The sand is white and the consistently low water level allows children to swim safely.
Normally swept by the easterly wind, this beach is sheltered and the calmness that reigns reveals the colours of the idyllic water. Nearby are the old salt pans and a few metres away you can see many wild birds, especially flamingos.
It stretches along the eastern side: it is an arm of sand that connects the mainland and the Giens peninsula, near the pretty village of La Capte, where you will find many small shops.
The beach is almost 4 kilometres long and the water is shallow. It offers a breathtaking view of the entire bay of Hyères. It is well sheltered from the mistral and is therefore quite crowded in summer. It is much more solitary on sunny spring days, when it offers a different face out of season, making it a favourite spot for a nice picnic.
Pesquiers beach is little known, but offers good shelter when the mistral blows. It is bordered by the hippodrome pine forest and is certainly less crowded than La Capte beach, which is more frequented by locals.
Les Pesquiers is the ideal place for an off-season picnic, when you will be accompanied only by the sound of the sea.
This Hyères beach, located along the Almanarre road, is rather small but offers an incredible view of the Giens peninsula, despite being very little known to tourists.
Easy to find, you can leave your car in its small car park and walk down to reach it.
It is one of the largest beaches in Hyères, nestled between the small salt marshes and the Lond: with a huge car park, it is easy to access and divided into three parts.
Its first part is bordered by a small stretch of fine sand with clear water, a truly enchanting spot. As you continue walking, a second part opens up, delimited and reserved exclusively for naturists.
Finally, you will find a cove surrounded by pine trees, ideal for a shady rest by the sea.
A magnificent sandy beach, where you can find shade for a good part of the day, thanks to the pine trees planted nearby.
The water here is shallow and enchanting. La Badine offers a superb view of the Giens peninsula and the islands of Hyères. It is reached by a 200-metre dirt road at the end of the Boulevard d’Alsace Lorraine.
Here, we recommend a walk around the peninsula to the port of La Mandrague: 18 km of beautiful nature!
This beautiful beach, sheltered from the winds and facing south, is only accessible on foot, unless you come from the restaurant of the same name, which has a private car park.
You then have to follow a coastal path from Port Auguier, a few minutes from the Tour Fondue pier. The water is turquoise and the sand quite fine. All propeller engines are banned in season to preserve the bathing area.
The islands of Hyères are perhaps the most famous islands of the Côte d’Azur, thanks to their unspoilt nature and crystal-clear turquoise sea.
The three islands, Le Levant, Port-Cros and Porquerolles , are so picturesque that the ancients called them the Golden Islands because of the golden reflections on the rocks at sunset.
They can be reached from the Giens peninsula or from the town of Hyères: connections are 20 minutes to Porquerolles, 30 minutes to Le Levant and one hour to Port-Cros.
Strict rules apply on all the islands to preserve this wonder of nature: it is therefore forbidden to light fires, camp, collect plants, stray from marked paths, collect shells and fish.
The islands are a true paradise not only for diving enthusiasts but also for sailing regattas: it is also possible to go on sea excursions in glass-bottomed boats to admire the beautiful sea bed full of life.
Of the three islands, Porquerolles is the largest and also by far the most fascinating, characterised by its clear sea in which to enjoy pleasant afternoons.
While the northern coast is rich in sandy beaches and scented with myrtle, strawberry trees and pine trees, the southern coast is decidedly wilder and rockier and therefore less suitable for those travelling with small children.
If you hire a bicycle, it will be a wonderful experience to cycle through expanses of pine and eucalyptus trees in search of the quietest cove.
Don’t miss the small village of Porquerolles, the Fort St. Agatha and the wonderful walk to the lighthouse at the southern tip, which offers a superb view.
This island has been turned into a national park and is a unique protected reserve in the Mediterranean in terms of flora and fauna with no less than 700 hectares of land and 1800 of sea. For nature lovers, it is a true paradise despite being much wilder and rougher than its ‘sister’ Porquerolles.
Port-Cros can only be visited on foot and we recommend that you bring water supplies with you as water is scarce on the island. Port-Cros has plenty of footpaths for hikers that start from the landing stage.
The Ile du Levant is almost entirely a military zone: only a small part, on the west coast of the island, is open to the public.
This small portion is also mostly dedicated to naturism. In fact, the island is home to a naturist village called Héliopolis: here, nudity is practised as soon as temperatures permit, with the utmost respect and tolerance. It is a lifestyle that attracts many tourists, especially in July and August. In fact, naturism is permitted everywhere on the island, except in the public areas around the harbour and in the town square. We also remind you that naturism is compulsory on the Grottes beach, the only one accessible on the island, and along the entire coast.
For those who do not practise naturism, but wish to visit the island, a nature trail has been created to accompany hikers from the entrance to the estate, at the top of the village, to the Cirque de la Galère and then, along the sea, to the port. The duration of the trail is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
We also warn those who intend to stay in Le Levant that the roads have no lighting. At nightfall, it is therefore essential to bring a torch.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The town of Hyères is surrounded by 39 km of unpaved coastline, dotted with fine sandy beaches and coves, as well as lush green countryside.
Apart from the beach, discover the historical and cultural wonders of this town, from medieval castles to avant-garde buildings and masterpieces of 19th-century English architecture.
Depending on your needs, you will be able to find a hotel in the centre of Hyères, which encompasses most of the city’s historical heritage and is characterised by a small village atmosphere. Sumptuous monuments, splendid residences and picturesque streets will reveal themselves before your eyes in this district with a unique charm.
The streets in this part of the city are very lively and will be ideal for those who love nightlife and shopping . The luxury hotels in the old quarters clinging to the hillside of Castéou guarantee a memorable stay with a splendid panoramic view of the modern city.
Hyères is home to magnificent beaches, some of which are among the most beautiful in the region. To treat yourself to an unforgettable holiday with family or friends, you could choose a hotel by the sea. Simply locate your favourite beach.
You will undoubtedly be seduced by the soul of the Ayguade quarter and its ancient atmosphere, with its boules players taking refuge under the trees of the main square. The Salins district, on the other hand, will seduce you with the calm of its beaches, which gives it its secluded location.
To the east of the Giens peninsula is the village of Port Saint Pierre, a world reference in recreational and competitive sailing. All kinds of nautical activities can be practised here, from kitesurfing to wakeboarding and diving. Its beach stretches along the coast opposite the islands of Porquerolles, Port Cros and Le Levant.
On these you will find a lively day and night life and the atmosphere is always upbeat, with typical shops, bars and restaurants, as well as the colourful Sunday market.
The island of Porquerolles is the largest and most visited. Here, the village of Porquerolles has retained its typical character and offers all the services a tourist needs, as well as a high concentration of hotels.
The island of Port-Cròs, on the other hand, is largely occupied by the national park, accommodation is therefore concentrated almost exclusively around the marina. On the island of Port-Cròs, there is little hit-and-run tourism; it is common to rent holiday homes and flats for several days.
From hotels to B&Bs and holiday residences, Le Levant offers a fine selection of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Please note: most of them include naturism. The Heliopolis village, in particular, is a completely naturist residence with several shops in addition to accommodation.
The village of Hyères is located about 100 km from Marseille Airport. After renting a car directly on site, you can drive to the town in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can land at Nice Airport, which is 145 km away, to be covered with a rental car in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Several ferry companies connect the mainland with the Hyères Islands.
To go to Porquerolles, one most commonly departs from the port of Tour Fondue, located at the end of the Giens peninsula. It only takes 15 minutes to reach Porquerolles with the TLV TVM company, which operates all year round.
TLV-TVM also makes regular connections with the islands of Port-Cros and Le Levant from the marina of Saint-Pierre. Consider in this case about a 1-hour journey.
In addition to the regular TLV TVM ferries, there are also daily connections from other ports on the Côte d’Azur, but only in the high season. For example, it is possible to take a ferry to Porquerolles from the port of Toulon: the crossing in this case, however, takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
For those coming from Saint-Tropez, it might instead be a good solution to leave from the port of La Londe or the port of Le Lavandou. For more information on routes, timetables and prices, we refer you to the operators Videttes and Bateauxverts.
In all cases, you can also take your own bicycles, which are useful for getting around the islands, for a small extra fee.
What's the weather at Hyères? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Hyères for the next few days.
Hyères is located in the south of France, on the Côte d'Azur, and stretches over the Giens peninsula.