The Iles d’Or
The islands of Levant (70% inaccessible to visitors due to occupation by the French Navy), Port-Cros and Porquerolles make up the famous Iles d’Or, named after golden light that hits the rocks at sunset. They are the most well known islands of the French Riviera, due to their nature and the crystal clear turquoise sea surrounding them. You can easily reach the islands by ferry, leaving from the beautiful Giens Peninsula which a refuge for migratory birds and pink flamingos. Crossings take 20 minutes to Porquerolles, 30 minutes to Levant and hour to Port-Cros (visited only on foot). The islands are a paradise for lovers of diving and sailing, and it is also possible to arrange excursions in glass bottom boats to admire the beautiful underwater world.
We recommend renting a bicycle to visit Porquerolles, which is the largest of the three islands and arguably the most charming. The port features a clay square, eucalyptus trees, several restaurants. Its varied coastline is full of sandy beaches to the north, and fragrant myrtle, arbutus and pine trees.On the wild and rocky south coast there is a lighthouse where visitors can enjoy superb views.
Port-Cros was transformed into a national marine park and is a protected reserve of the Mediterranean flora and fauna, with over 700 hectares of land and 1800 at sea. For lovers of nature this is a paradise to explore with a mask and fins. The island is also full of trails for hikers, with walks starting from the quay.
Hiking in Port-Cros
Vallon de la Solitude is the classic route tourists take when visiting the small island. The trail is not very challenging and runs under the coolness of the trees, offering stunning views overlooking the sea.
The Port-Man excursion on the other hand takes 4 hours to complete. The trail follows the coastal forest and historical tracks, eventually reaching the bay of Port-Man. Much of this route follows a paved runway.
Sentier des Plantes is a trail that can be completed in 35 minutes, and is located at the Plage de la Palud. Ideal for lovers of flora, this trail is more rustic and follows a path which is slightly uneven but charming nonetheless.
Circuit des Crêtes is steep and rugged, taking 3 hours to the reach beaches of the south coast amidst stunning views.