The Dune of Pyla (Dune du Pilat) is the tallest sand dune in Europe. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, the Arcachon Bay and the luxuriant Landes forest, it stands 360 feet (110 meters) above sea level, and is over 1.68 miles (2.7 km) long and 546 yards (500 meters) wide. With more than 1 million visitors every year, the Dune of Pyla is consistently known as one of the most popular attractions in the region.
With such a unique and jaw-dropping setting, it’s no surprise that the dune is so popular, especially among those who take part in airborne recreational activities such as paragliding and extreme kiting. There are also several free on-site activities as well, including the sunset discovery tour in the summer months.
Visitors who prefer leisurely ascends should opt for the sturdy 160-step staircase, which is in place from April to November, while those in need of a good workout should definitely try and get to the top by trudging directly through the sand. Challenge guaranteed!
The Pyla Dune is located just 20 minutes away from Arcachon by car (via the D1250 and D259, or alternatively via the D218 for a ride along the sea). It is also possible to get to the dune by bus from the Arcachon train station via route 1 for €1. The site is open year-round, and there is no access fee for the dune itself. On-site parking costs €4 for four hours or €6 for the entire day during high season. Cyclists and pedestrians can enter the site completely free of charge.