destinations / France

What to do in the Bay of Arcachon for the weekend?

what to do in the arcachon basin

Article mis à jour le 24 Jan 2023

What to do in the Bay of Arcachon? Itinerary for a 3-day weekend

Located about 1 hour from Bordeaux, the Bay of Arcachon is a multi-faceted destination that will appeal to all travellers! Whether you come to visit the Bassin d’Arcachon with family, friends or as a couple, you will find many things to do and places to visit. ?

So what to do on the Bassin d’Arcachon for a 3 day weekend? I propose you a complete itinerary with activities for your holidays on the Bassin d’Aracachon!

? Weekend on the Bassin d’Arcachon : what to do ?

How to prepare your holidays / your weekend on the Bassin d’Arcachon?

? When to go for a weekend on the Bay of Arcachon?

In my opinion, the best period to visit the Bassin d’Arcachon is from April to June, then from September to October. You are likely to have good weather.

In the summer, the weather will also be favourable but this destination is very popular in July/August. As a result, prices will be higher, places will be much busier and roads will be congested. So I would recommend going outside the summer season for more peace and quiet.

? How to get to the Bassin d’Arcachon?

Depending on your city of departure, there are several possibilities to get to the Bassin d’Arcachon.

? By train, either by arriving directly at the Arcachon train station from Paris (for example), or by making a connection in Bordeaux
? By car, of course
✈️ By plane, landing at Bordeaux Mérignac airport. From there, you can reach Bordeaux station and then Arcachon by train.
Please note: if you are only planning a weekend on the Bassin d’Arcachon, I advise you to rent a car at the airport or train station to save time in your travels. Book the best car rental prices on Skyscanner. On the other hand, if you stay 1 week or 2 weeks on the Bassin d’Arcachon, you can take the time to get around by boat shuttle or by bike.

♥️ Our good travel plans :

To find good prices on our flight tickets, we always use the Ulysse comparator (get 10€ off your first booking with this link). We have written an article dedicated to this subject with more information.
To book your airport parking: You can save 10% on your booking through OnePark.

what to do in arcachon

Weekend : What to do on the Bassin d’Arcachon during 3 days?

Let’s get to the heart of the matter! I’m going to tell you my itinerary to visit the Bay of Arcachon in 3 days.

Of course, it is possible to stay much longer without getting bored. That’s why, at the end of the article, I list other places to see that I haven’t yet visited myself, so that you can extend your stay if you wish.

Day 1: The South of the Bay of Arcachon

Lunch on the beach 

To start your weekend on the Bassin d’Arcachon in the best conditions, go to the Club Plage Pereire for lunch with your feet in the sand! The setting is very pleasant and the service friendly. Reservations are more than recommended if you want to have space.

If the Club Plage Pereire is full, you can go to the restaurant Le Bikini, also in Arcachon. You won’t have your feet in the sand, but it’s still by the sea and the view is also magnificent.

restaurante plage Arcachon

Relaxation at the Cabane Zen

A 30-minute drive from Arcachon lies a haven of peace on the edge of a lake. The Cabane Zen is the perfect place for a relaxing break. It was created by Laura, who is adorable!

On site, you will find a private jacuzzi (50€ for 2 for 1 hour). It is possible to taste sweet or savoury treats, as well as champagne. A real relaxing moment to do as lovers! ?

Laura also offers treatments (facials, scrubs, mother-to-be…) and massages.

Sporty alternative to the Cabane Zen

For those who couldn’t agree on a programme, or if you want to combine sport and relaxation: everything is possible! Indeed, La Cabane Zen is located on a leisure base where you can go wake-boarding, paddle-boarding, an aquapark and yoga (with Laura).

spa bassin d'arcachon

bassin d'arcachon que faire

Picnic and sunset at La Dune du Pilat

If you’re wondering what to do on the Bay of Arcachon, you can’t miss the famous Dune du Pilat. A true symbol in France, it is the highest dune in Europe, reaching a height of over 100 metres.

For your picnic, go to Tekoa Café which is located at the car park that I indicate below. You can enjoy their bowls or their aperitif boards, while admiring the sunset.

How to get to the Dune du Pilat?

? Access: you have to park on this paying car park (6€). All the money will be used to rebuild the reception area. From there, count less than 10 minutes walk to the foot of the Dune du Pilat.

You can take advantage of your visit to the Dune du Pilat to have a drink at the Coorniche, which has an incredible view!

visiter la dune du pilat

accès dune du pilât

Where to sleep on the Bassin d’Arcachon (in the South)?

I spent my first night in a local institution: the hotel La Guitoune, in Pyla-sur-Mer. The vintage decoration makes us travel in another time, I loved it!

? Book your stay at La Guitoune

hotel la guitoune


Drinks at Club Paradiso

If you want to continue the evening, I highly recommend a trip to Club Paradiso. It’s a tapas bar, not a nightclub, but there’s still music and a place to dance. The atmosphere is great!

In the summer, a courtyard terrace opens up with petanque courts, to complement the terrace in front. ?

Day 2: Weekend on the Bassin d’Arcachon, what to do?

This day will be under the sign of water, as we will visit the Bassin d’Arcachon off the mainland.

Boat trip on the Bay of Arcachon

After a good breakfast, I propose to take you on board a barge (traditional oyster boat) to visit the Bay of Arcachon. You will see the most beautiful villages and landscapes of the surroundings (the Bird Island, the “cabanes tchanquées”…).  As a bonus, a lunch with a seafood platter and charcuterie/cheese boards to be enjoyed on the boat ?.

que faire sur le bassin d'arcachon

week end sur le bassin d'arcachon

itinéraire week end bassin d'arcachon

Kayaking to discover the fauna and flora

From now on, we’ll take the direction of the Nord Bassin to discover the variety of landscapes that this destination offers. Let’s head to Andernos-les-Bains for a 2 hour kayak with Dorian, for a privileged moment.

If you are looking for an authentic guide and an intimate activity, you should not miss this outing. It is rare to find people who put people and nature before everything else, and this was the case here! Dorian also offers river descents, which I will try on my next trip around the Bassin d’Arcachon. ?

? Booking on Kayak Trip

week end sur le bassin d'arcachon que faire

bassin d'arcachon que faire

Where to stay in Andernos-Les-Bains?

I had the chance to stay at L’Anderenis Boutique Hotel, a magnificent establishment whose layout was imagined as a seaside villa. The decoration was 100% thought by the owner and it is really successful! The hotel faces the beach and some rooms have a view of the Bassin. The heated swimming pool is very pleasant.

I recommend the brunch formula at breakfast which is delicious, with local and organic products and small home-made dishes. ?

? Reservation by clicking here

ou dormir à andernos les bains

Dining at Le Pitey restaurant

If you are looking for a refined place to dine near Andernos-Les-Bains, I recommend the restaurant Le Pitey. When the weather is good, you can eat in the restaurant’s garden. The menu changes regularly according to the seasonal products and the chef’s inspiration! Reservations are recommended.

For those who prefer, there are also many oyster huts in Andernos-Les-Bains to eat some seafood and drink white wine.

What to do on the Bassin d’Arcachon: continuation and end of the itinerary

Day 3: Cap Ferret

Food tour in the villages of the Bassin d’Arcachon

I suggest you start the morning with my favourite activity of this weekend on the Bay of Arcachon! This is the food tour organised by Alain, in the heart of the villages of Canon and Herbe, on the Cap Ferret peninsula.

If you are looking for a peaceful, timeless and authentic place, this is THE visit not to be missed when visiting the Bassin d’Arcachon. Here, the pace of life is slowed down, and you can get around on your bike or on foot in the small alleys of the villages.

Alain from Cap Gourmand will make you taste the flagship products of Cap Ferret (oysters, the White Dunes…) and will take you to the best local addresses and visit the most beautiful viewpoints. He also knows the history of this little corner of paradise by heart, so you’ll be able to leave with a wealth of anecdotes!

? Book your food tour in Cap Ferret

visiter le cap ferret

visiter le cap ferret

que faire au cap ferret

food tour cap ferret

⛪️ The Algerian Chapel of Cap Ferret

With Alain, I went to visit the Algerian Chapel of Cap Ferret, which has an incredible history. It was built on the initiative of the great gentleman Leon Lesca, who is the founder of Cap Ferret (no less!). Returning from Algeria in 1863, he bought a large estate on the edge of the Basin and built his Algerian Villa (now destroyed), a chapel, a school, a pier, a vineyard and accommodation for his staff.

This is how the history of Cap Ferret began! This chapel is not only unusual because of its oriental architecture, but also because of the elements representing the 3 main religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

chapelle du cap ferret

Lunch in an oyster hut

Oyster huts are emblems of the Bassin d’Arcachon! I therefore order you to eat there at least once ?. The menu is simple: oysters, shrimps and other seafood depending on the season, pâté, bread, butter and white wine. For those who don’t drink, there are of course other drinks.

I tried the La Canfouine hut and I loved it. The setting is beautiful (overlooking the Bassin of course) and the staff are lovely.

la canfouine cabane à huitres


Rent a bike to tour the Cap Ferret peninsula

The cycle paths around Cap Ferret are very well developed, making it an ideal place for a bike ride!

You can rent your bike at Cycloland Piraillan, which is a 12 minute walk from La Canfouine. I invite you to go for a ride around Cap Ferret to see the lighthouse, go to the tip and tip over to the ocean. On the way back, go through the pine forest to enjoy different landscapes again. ?

What to do on the Bassin d’Arcachon: other cool activities for your weekend

If you still have time, here is a selection of activities to consider:

A helicopter flight over the Bay of Arcachon, to admire the Dune du Pilat and the landscapes from the sky. There is also the more ecological option of a microlight flight.
A surfing lesson to have fun in the waves on the ocean side: book your lesson here
A paddle in Biscarosse, in the heart of nature
An exceptional experience: a paragliding experience at the Dune du Pilat

I hope you are now ready for a 3-day weekend on the Bay of Arcachon! I am at your disposal if you need any further information! See you soon ?.

? To go further, discover our travel guide on Brittany

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  • Natali - She's abroad again
    18 May 2022 at 15 h 40 min

    I recently moved to Bordeaux and I’ve visited Arcachon once just to walk around. Now I see there is so much to do there, and I am already planning my next weekend!

    • Amoureux du Monde
      31 October 2022 at 12 h 07 min

      Enjoy your life in France ?


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