14 must-see things to do in Hyères

Hyères

What’s there to do in Hyères? Here are 14 must-do activities in and around this Var town!

Situated in the heart of the Var region, Hyères is a relatively tranquil town, best known for its islands and beaches. With Port-Cros and Porquerolles, Hyères boasts some of the most beautiful natural sites in France.

But a visit to Hyères also means discovering a pleasant city where life is good, with numerous historical remains, entertainment, good food and water sports on the Giens peninsula.

Want to discover Hyères and the surrounding area? Here are 14 must-do things to do in Hyères!

1. Old town ramparts

Rempart Hyères

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Margarita Hintukainen

Visiting Hyères means discovering a wealth of historical remains. These include the ramparts of the old town, the stone walls of the city’s ancient fortress dating back to medieval times.

The continuous extension of its boundaries led to the medieval enclosure being enlarged three times. The remains are mainly represented by a few towers close to the castle and lower gates, such as the Porte Massillon.

2. Château d’Hyères

Chateau Hyères

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Margarita Hintukainen

What would a medieval town be without its castle? Situated on the hill of Castéou, Hyères castle, whose construction began in the 11th century, dominates the city and was a favored vantage point in the Middle Ages.

Nowadays, the castle can be visited at any time of year and is one of the must-sees in Hyères. While the remains are not the most impressive, the view from the top of the hill, with the sea in the distance, is splendid.

3. Tour des Templiers (Chapelle Saint-Blaise)

Tour des Templiers

Photo credits: Shutterstock – severija

At first glance, you might think that the Tour des Templiers was part of the medieval city walls. On closer inspection, however, the strange shape of the tower, with its two superimposed chapels, makes it a unique building, far removed from the ramparts.

In fact, it’s all that’s left of the commandery of the Templar Order, which had a strong presence in Hyères in the 12th and 13th centuries. Completely renovated, the tower now hosts a number of temporary exhibitions and is open to the public.

4. Stroll through the city center

Vieille ville Hyères

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Margarita Hintukainen

It’s hard to visit Hyères without taking a stroll through its friendly town center. The ramparts and the Tour des Templiers can be seen on the same walk, where you can enjoy a drink on the terrace facing the tower.

The alleys of the old town are typical of the region: narrow, light-colored houses, colorful wooden shutters and local craft stores. For travelers from the capital or cities further north, it’s a complete change of scenery!

5. Villa Noailles

Villa Noailles

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Dan Tiego

With the Villa Noailles, it’s a change of style and era, a godsend for contemporary art enthusiasts! Located close to the château, this villa is one of the top things to do in Hyères.

Built by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in the 1920s, it is now an art center of national interest and one of France’s best-known modern villas. From the large garden, the panorama of Hyères and the sea is superb!

6. Olbia archaeological site

Site archéologique Olbia

Photo credits: Facebook – Site Archéologique d’Olbia

It’s possible to visit Hyères while observing remains dating back to Roman times. This is the case with the Olbia site, located near the Giens peninsula and beaches.

Founded by the Greeks in the 4th century B.C., Olbia was an important port that later became part of the Roman Empire. The ruins uncovered include streets, baths and shops. As the site is not very large, the visit can be combined with a beach outing.

7. Hyères gastronomy

Gastronomie Hyères

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Rrrainbow

It’s hard to visit Hyères without sampling the local specialties! More Var than Hyères, they include capon, a rock fish eaten in soup or roasted, and anchoïade, a mixture of anchovies, capers, garlic and olive oil, which is perfect as an aperitif.

If you’re looking for a true Hyères specialty, try artichoke à la barigoule, a mushroom that is rarely part of the modern recipe. Artichokes are now prepared with garlic, bacon and herbes de Provence. Desserts include brousse du Var, a sheep’s milk cheese, and pompe à huile, a dessert made with olive oil!

Also read in the Hyères guide :

8. A boat trip

Visiter et louer un bateau à Hyères

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Christian Musat

Visiting Hyères also means taking advantage of its coastline. In fact, there are many lovely excursions to be made by boat. It would be a shame not to rent a boat in this Côte d’Azur paradise.

Looking for destination ideas? Then read on!

9. Porquerolles Island

Porquerolles

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Valenti Renzo

When it comes to ideas for walks in Hyères, Porquerolles is often cited first. It has to be said that the island is a true paradise on Earth. With its Caribbean-style beaches, it’s a true haven of peace where you can recharge your batteries.

Porquerolles also offers a wide range of sporting activities, hiking trails, friendly villages and local fish restaurants. A real experience when visiting Hyères!

10. Port-Cros Island

Port-Cros, une des îles françaises d'exception

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Agent Wolf

If Porquerolles is still too noisy for you, head for Port-Cros, another must-do boat trip in Hyères. Here, there are no motorized vehicles, not even a bicycle. A soothing silence that lets you forget everyday stress for a moment of absolute relaxation.

Port-Cros is the perfect place for forest hikes, with the aim of reaching one of the island’s highest points to admire the superb panorama. The small village of Port-Cros and its wild beaches are also worth a visit.

11. Hyères Forts

Fort Saint Agathe

Fort Saint-Agathe in Porquerolles Photo credit: Shutterstock : Claude jullien

Including its islands, Hyères includes nine military forts used to defend the town several centuries ago. Most were built or renovated by Vauban, but some are well-preserved and will delight those who love military architecture.

Today, only two are open to visitors: Fort Sainte-Agathe on Porquerolles and Fort de l’Estissac on Port-Cros. The first, well restored, offers a magnificent view over the town of Hyères. The second offers a better view of the military defences and a beautiful panorama… and admission is free!

12. Tour Fondue (Pradeau battery)

Fort Hyères

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Michael Mulkens

Another military landmark, the Tour Fondue, is located at the tip of the Giens peninsula. The role of this fortress was to control passageways between the islands and the mainland.

Although the fortress is unfortunately closed to the public for security reasons, you can walk around it and discover a marvellous landscape. The Tour Fondue is also the departure point for a number of boats bound for Porquerolles.

13. Kitesurfing on the Giens peninsula

Kite Hyères

Photo credits: Shutterstock – Carl DeAbreu Photography

The five-kilometer Almanarre beach is THE kitesurfing spot in the region, and one of the best in France. The wind is regularly there, providing a perfect playground for beginners and experienced kitesurfers alike.

While the beach at l’Almanarre is crowded, kitesurfing is also possible on the other side of the Etang des Pesquiers. Those who just like to watch the sportsmen and women can also discover the beautiful landscapes of the peninsula.

14. Pesquiers saltworks

Salin des Pesquiers

Photo credits: Facebook – Conservatoire du littoral

To the north of the pond of the same name, the Pesquiers salt marsh is a paradise for both sedentary and migratory birdwatchers. Almost every day, you can take a two-hour guided ornithological tour that will delight young and old alike.

The price is €5 per adult (free for minors), and reservations must be made at the Hyères tourist office.

How to get to Hyères

By plane

Toulon-Hyères airport is served by Paris all year round. In summer, you can fly to Hyères from Lille, Brest, Strasbourg, Nantes and Corsica, as well as from a number of foreign cities. Don’t hesitate to consult a flight comparator like Ulysse to find the right combination.

By train

Between Paris and Hyères, there are numerous daily TGV lines, some of them direct. The shortest journey takes 4h17.

From Lyon, the journey takes between 3h06 and 3h30 and requires a change at Toulon. Finally, from Marseille, there are around fifteen TER trains a day, with a journey time of just over an hour.

By bus

In recent years, the bus has established itself as a safe and very inexpensive means of transport. If you’ve got some time on your hands and want to leave comfort behind for a few hours, the bus is for you!

By car

From Paris, the A6, A7 and A50 freeways take you to Toulon in an 8.5-hour drive for a toll of around €70.

From Lyon, the journey takes about 4 hours on theA7 andA50 motorways, with a €35 toll.

Finally, from Marseille, via theA50 motorway, the journey takes just over an hour and costs less than €5 in tolls.

Where to stay in Hyères?

First of all, it’s possible to stay in downtown Hyères, to be as close as possible to the places to visit and for those who appreciate urban centers.

Hyères also offers a wide range of accommodation options on the Giens peninsula, to the south of the town.

Finally, for those looking for a change of scenery, head for the islands of Porquerolles or Port-Cros!

To find your accommodation, don’t hesitate to consult a hotel comparator or book an Airbnb for a more authentic experience.

So pack your beach towels and hiking boots and set off to conquer Hyères!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Hyères,fr