Dune Du Pyla: the highest dunes in Europe
Dune du Pyla, also known as the largest dunes in Europe. And yes those are indeed GIGANTIC! When you drive into the town of Dune du Pyla you can’t really avoid it. Everywhere the dunes rise above. Not surprisingly, the dunes are as much as 3 kilometers long and more than 600 meters wide. The highest point rises as much as 110 meters above sea level.
The exact height is not quite known because it changes continuously. Dune du Pyla also called Dune du Pilat is always on the move. Thus, entire sections have already disappeared over the years, including hotels, an intersection and numerous trees.
The dune was formed in the 18th and 19th centuries. A sandbar was created by the flow of water from the Atlantic Ocean. Because of the low water, the coast came dry, the wind created an increasingly large dune as a result.
Visiting Dune du Pyla
A visit to Dune du Pyla costs you nothing, nope, nada! Exactly Dune du Pyla is free to visit and always a great travel destination. In high season, the municipality provides a path to the top, as the climb without it is quite severe. However, parking is paid, but then you walk right into the dunes. Moreover, the proceeds are spent on the maintenance of nature. You also have some free spots along the dunes on. You do have to look for those and the hike up is then a little more strenuous.
From the top you have breathtaking views of the sea and nature landscapes. We definitely recommend you bring a nice drink during sunset and take a moment to enjoy this spectacular view. Sitting comfortably for very long is sometimes a bit difficult due to the strong winds that can be present.
Although the dunes are beautiful to visit year-round, a very hot day is not entirely recommended due to the lack of shade and considerable climbing. If you do choose to visit the dunes during a hot summer day, we recommend bringing plenty of water or charring.
Paragliding at Dune du Pilat
Besides taking a nice walk on the dunes, it is also a popular spot for paragliders. WIve never seen so many paragliders together. Not surprisingly, because you can start almost anywhere, there is always a good wind and you have a beautiful view. Want to try paragliding for yourself? Near Dune dune Pyla you will find several Paraglide schools where you can book a lesson.
Enjoying the beach
Taking it easy for a day? Then plan a day at the beach. The water temperature is lovely due to the low water level and the beach is GIGA. Moreover, you will find numerous starfish here. And I don’t mean a few starfish to look for. No the whole beach is full of them. Incredibly special to see.
Camping or wild camping at Dune du Pyla
We decided to book a few nights at Yelloh Panorama du Playa Camping Village. Yup quite a mouthful. Since we had a few working days scheduled, we thought this would be a suitable place. 2 birds with one stone. The campground itself was not quite our thing. After all, it really is gigantic incl. playground for the kids. But the view is really spectacular. We paid about 22 euros per night incl. flow. In addition, you walk right up the dunes and since you are a little higher, the climb is perfectly doable.
A little further on you also have a very nice wild camping spot among the pines. There are many campers every day and camping is tolerated here. So if you are looking for an alternative then we definitely recommend this place.
Hotspots Dune du Pyla
Enjoying a well-deserved meal after this tough climb! We have some great tips for you:
- Le Skiff Club
- Dune Food Truck
- Restaurant Le Panorama
Further travel from Dune du Pyla
We found Dune du Pyla to be a delightful stop during our road trip through northern Spain. For this, Ile de Ré also visited a wonderful destination. But also Contis, Mimizan and Moliets are perfect to combine with a visit Dune du Pilat.
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