Largest Sand Dune in Europe near Arcachon

One of the most impressive natural points of interest in Aquitaine made the Lonely Planet list of the 14 unmissable places in France, and it must have been really difficult to narrow it down to less than 100! The Dune du Pilat in Pyla-sur-Mer is the highest sand dune in Europe.

Located just west of Bordeaux, between the Landes pine forest and the Atlantic ocean, the mighty dune du Pilat is a great place to view both land and sea! It is almost 3km long, just a little over 106 meters high and more than 600 meters wide. Each year the measurement has to be recalculated, as the dune is still in movement and it continues to advance inland, through the forest from one to five meters per year.

There has been a century of confusion and spelling mistakes since the creation of the seaside resort with an exotic flair, Pyla-sur-Mer, just at the feet of the dune itself that owes its name to the word, ‘pilat’ which in the local dialect of Gascon means ‘heap‘.

The Dune du Pilat is a great destination all year long, during bright days and cloudy ones, with a beach hat or one for winter. Once you have reached the top, being exposed to the breeze that blows from the Ocean is great to clear the mind and reinvigorates the spirit. Rolling back down, both towards the Ocean or the forest is an adrenaline booster for kids of all ages (or your furry friends as it’s dog friendly!).

Bring a bottle of wine and a picnic to take in a sunset or to celebrate New Years Eve. It’s perfect for a romantic moment or one among friends and family.

Even French Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, currently on #MissionAlpha, gifted us less than two weeks ago with a photo taken from International Space Station.


There is paid parking at the base of the dune, but you can also ride your bicycle from Arcachon or take a local bus.


by Simona PALENGA, who never misses a chance to take friends or clients to the Dune!

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