Exploring the island of Oleron by bike is an ideal way to discover the diversity of Oleron’s landscapes. The island is criss-crossed by bike paths, winding through pine forests, sparkling salt marshes and along beaches as far as the eye can see.
And that’s not all: in summer, when the roads fill up, cycling proves to be the best option for avoiding traffic jams and getting around more quickly.
In this article, we share with you our favorite itineraries to help you organize your stay on the island of Oleron. Get ready to fall under the spell of these roads we love so much.
- Why cycle on the Ile d’Oléron?
- Cycle route maps
- Our favorite routes
- Where to sleep on the Ile d’Oléron?
Why cycle on the Ile d’Oléron?
- The cycle paths take you almost everywhere and are a pleasure to ride, through forests and marshes, along the coast…
- There are plenty of bicycle parking facilities in town centers and near beaches.
- Please note that in high season, from mid-July to mid-August, we recommend you to travel by bicycle. To give you an idea, the island’s population has grown from 20,000 year-round to several hundred thousand in the summer season, and the road infrastructure is clearly not adapted to cope with so many people.
Cycle route maps
The cycle paths on the island of Oleron each have their own color. The on-site signposting is very clear, so you can’t go wrong.
Our favorite routes
From the south to the Chassiron lighthouse in the north
This trail (the blue one on the map) is a must-do in its entirety or in small sections. The start is at the magnificent Gatseau beach, lined with pine trees. Next, you’ll pass through the lovely village of Saint-Trojan, then the cycle path through the magnificent Saint-Trojan forest, skirting the entire west coast of the island.
We recommend stopping for a picnic on the immense sandy beach of Vert Bois, one of our favorites. It’s also the ideal beach for surfing or body surfing, and at low tide it’s perfect for families. After this short break, continue north towards the typical Oleron villages of La Cotinière, Domino and Chaucre. Before reaching the northern tip of the island, and thus the Chassiron lighthouse, the cycle path crosses the bird-filled marshes overlooking the ocean. It’s one of our favorite portions.
- Distance: Approx. 40 km (blue trail)
- Points of interest: Fort Boyard, Gatseau beaches, Cotinière, then Domino and Chaucre
- Start/Finish point : Saint-Trojan-les-Bains / Phare de Chassiron
- Type of route: Mostly forest and marsh cycle paths, with a few road sections
Between sea and forest – From Boyardville to St Denis d’Oléron
This route concentrates on the north-eastern part of the island, linking Boyardville to Saint Denis. The nicest part of this route is the crossing of the Saumonards state forest, just after leaving the port of Boyardville. This is one of our favorite trails. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to discover the lively marina of Le Douhet and the picturesque villages of La Brée Les bains and Saint-Denis. Along the way, you can take a well-deserved break on one of the magnificent beaches on the east coast, with views of Fort Boyard, the Ile de Ré and the city of La Rochelle.
- Distance: Approx. 17 km (green trail)
- Points of interest: Plage de la Boyardville, Plage de la Brée les Bains et la Boirie, village of La Brée and Saint Denis d’Oléron. Port du Douet and Boyardville.
- Start/Finish point: Port de Boyardville / Saint Denis
- Type of route: Bicycle path with direct access to beaches and road
Through the salt marshes and the oyster route
This route takes you through salt marshes, a guaranteed change of scenery. In Oléron, these maris are converted into oyster beds for maturing oysters. Leaving Dolus d’Oléron, head up towards Arceau and then Les Allards, passing through a number of vineyards – yes, there are winegrowers on the island of Oléron too. Then take the coastal path (shared road) to the picturesque village of Château d’Oléron, exploring the marshes.
These stretches of salt water are fascinating from an ecological point of view, where you can observe numerous birds (swans, egrets, grey herons…), as well as playing a crucial role in the local economy. Near the colorful cabins of the Baudissière channel, we recommend a stop at one of the oyster huts to savor the famous Marennes d’Oléron oysters, straight from the producer.
At Chateau d’Oléron, park your bike at the citadel and explore it on foot, ending with the port and its colorful artists’ huts.
- Distance: approx. 20 km (red, orange and green trails) – loop possible approx. 40km
- Points of interest: Marais aux Oiseaux, marshes, Bauddisière channel and Chateau d’Oléron
- Start/Finish point : Dolus – Le Chateau d’Oléron
- Environment: Marshes, protected natural areas
- Type of route: This route crosses departmental roads and consists of shared lanes.
Can you cycle around the island of Oleron?
For the more adventurous, it’s possible to cycle around the whole island on the various cycle paths (approx. 80 km). This itinerary will enable you to discover every facet of Oléron, from its tranquil beaches and picturesque villages to its shady forests.
We recommend this itinerary out of season, as some of the summer trails are very busy and you won’t be able to overtake easily.
Resources and tools for Cyclists
- A map of cycle paths is available from the island’s various tourist offices.
- The tourist office offers online itineraries on the Loopi application, featuring interactive maps. This tool will help you navigate the cycle paths and discover routes suited to your level and desires.
- Concerning rental s, we can’t recommend any, as we live on the Ile d’Oléron and have our own bikes to get around on a daily basis.
- A final word of caution: from mid-July to mid-August, the trails are very busy. We advise you to take your time and be careful, as many families with young children cycle at this time of year.
Where to sleep on the Ile d’Oléron?
On the island of Oleron, things to do and see are spread out over the whole island. We therefore advise you to choose a central accommodation to be able to go to the different points of interest easily.
The best place to stay is on the coast near La Cotinière, you can easily access one of the great beaches of the wild coast and you can enjoy the many night activities in high season.
If you really want to be in the center of Oleron’s life, we recommend the village of Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron or Dolus-d’Oléron, where you can enjoy the many restaurants and markets while being only a few kilometers from the beaches.
Hotel and guest rooms
Hôtel Île de Lumière à la Cotinière, idéalement situé, avec accès océan et à quelques minutes à pied du très animé port de pêche de La Cotinière. La décoration bord de mer, avec ses teintes douces et reposantes, apporte tout de suite un esprit de vacances au soleil. Situé sur la côte ouest, l’emplacement central vous permettra de visiter facilement à la fois le sud et le nord de l’île. Parking gratuit + petit déjeuner. Bref, foncez-y !
Le Pressoir, à Dolus d’Oléron, est une option idéale pour les familles, car tous les logements sont dotés d’une cuisine et entièrement équipés pour vous sentir comme à la maison. Idéalement situé à quelques minutes du joli village de Dolus-d’Oléron, et à proximité de la plage de la Remigeasse.
You will find your happiness by consulting the numerous campsites on the island of Oleron here, you can sort according to the type of accommodation and facilities offered (swimming pools, parking …)
- Camping les Flots Atlantique village: we have tested this campsite with our motorhome. It is ideally located south of the fishing port of Cotinière on the coast near Dolus-d’Oléron and Cotinière. It is a human-sized and family campsite with Direct access to the ocean, by a small footpath and playground, which offers bungalows, tents, chalets and camping-car sites for rent, it is ideally located to visit the island of Oleron. An ideal choice at a low price.
We hope you enjoy your ride and your stay on the Ile d’Oléron ! If this article has helped you find your cycling itinerary, leave us 5 stars below to encourage us.
Don’t hesitate to drop us a line below, to let us know if you’re planning this trip, to ask any questions you may have, here or on Instagram, we’ll be delighted to get back to you.