These Mediterranean jewels represent a little piece of paradise for visitors. Each with its own character, these islands are undoubtedly enchanting. Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Le Levant offer stunning countryside, with enormous sandy beaches, and little coves – ideal for family outings and hikes in the wilderness.
The aptly-named ‘Islands of Gold’
Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Le Levant, offer beautiful countryside, filled with fine sandy beaches and little coves with turquoise water, cliffs and pine forests, interspersed with numerous forts and remains of a illustrious past. Both the land and sea, with its extremely rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, are protected under National Park status. There are a huge number of paths and trails, suitable for both hiking, mountain-biking or scuba-diving!
The legend of the islands
Legend has it that the 4 daughters of Prince Olbianus, lord of Olbia (Hyères), were unparalleled in their beauty. One day, as they were bathing in the sea, pirate sails appeared on the horizon. Despairing, their father begged the gods to divert their wrath. The 4 princesses suddenly felt their limbs harden, and they were transformed into islands. The three furthest away formed the Iles d’Or, whilst the one closest to the shore, her arms outstretched towards her father, became the Giens peninsula. It is said that these islands have preserved the breath-taking beauty of the princesses…
An island of dreams… a little piece of paradise, 7km long by 3km wide.
Land on a windswept quay with imposing Canary palm trees. A church with Mexican influences lords over the village square, hemmed with giant eucalyptus trees, café terraces and flower-covered houses. Perched on a headland, the squat silhouette of Sainte-Agathe fort stands guard. Next to it is the pretty ‘Moulin de Bonheur’, which has been fully restored.
Travel by foot or by bike along the paths lined with pine trees, myrtle and heather. Wild cliffs and coves, long and languid golden beaches at the edge of the pine trees, valleys fringed with vines, the babbling and migrating birdsong await.
Porquerolles is part of the Port-Cros National Park, and all of the plants and animals there are protected. To preserve the peace, driving is forbidden (except for hotel and vineyard professionals etc).
A forest island between intimate beaches and sheer cliffs.
Despite being the smallest of the 3 islands of the archipelago, it is the most mountainous. Both the island itself and surrounding waters have enjoyed National Park status for over 50 years.
Undoubtedly the wildest, Port-Cros seems to have existed since the dawn of time. Luxuriously covered in Alep pine forests and green oaks, the island has an exceptional diversity of aquatic wildlife. To find out more, put on your flippers and take the underwater path from the beach of La Palud! It’s absolutely unmissable! A mountainous and unspoiled island, Port-Cros has many small beaches, especially coves.
As for divers, they will adore the Gabinière islet, the whole of which is a protected site. There, you can enjoy a diving simulation amongst the fish in an aquarium.
The Island of Le Levant is situated to the east of the archipelago. It is covered in abundant vegetation, its strawberry trees being amongst the most beautiful in Mediterranean Europe. Visitors can follow sport and nature trails along marked paths.
Much of the island is a military zone and remains inaccessible: only the west side is open to the public. This area is occupied by Héliopolis, a world-renowned naturist commune extending for over 80 hectares. Nudity is optional everywhere, except in public places, the Port and the village square, where it is forbidden, and the Plage des Grottes and by the sea, where it is compulsory.
Port-Cros National Park
Created over 50 years ago, in 1963, it is the second-oldest natural park in France and the biggest aquatic reserve in Europe. Originally focused solely on Port-Cros, the Park has also included Porquerolles for several years. It offers a protected natural space, on both land and sea, providing a real haven for sea life and birds.
The park has various roles: to protect, but also to explain, educate and communicate, displaying the natural heritage through the fauna, flora and landscapes, as well as historical and architectural heritage. It has a considerable historical heritage: Roman remains, around 30 shipwrecks and around 20 forts and military batteries. It offers hiking trails and activities. On Porquerolles, the Maison du Parc and its garden are open to the public. Close by is the National Botanical Conservatory, tasked with protecting wild flora.
The Park also looks after various natural spaces acquired by the Conservatoire du Littoral (Coastal Protection), such as the Giens peninsula, the Hyères salt marshes, the Cap Lardier etc. Finally, the Park leads the PELAGOS Sanctuary for marine mammals in the Mediterranean.See everything offered by the National Park
The three islands offer an exceptional natural heritage, just like their little sister, the Giens peninsula. Its double tombolo with salt marshes is a haven of peace for migratory birds, including pink flamingos. See them alongside the islands!