Île de Ré
It doesn’t get much cozier than Ile de Re. This charming island on the French West Coast is located near the lively port city of La Rochelle and is known for its absurdly beautiful villages, white houses, stunning beaches, sparkling salt marshes, and relaxed French atmosphere. It’s no wonder that this island is part of UNESCO heritage. Everything here revolves around ecotourism and the preservation of the absurdly beautiful and pristine beauty of this island.
With an area of only 85 square kilometers, the island is not very large, so you can explore it perfectly in just a few days. If you’re looking for the ultimate Burgundian island life, Ile de Ré is the place to be!
- To do
- Where to eat
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How to get there
- Our verdict
What to do in Il de Re
Ile de Ré may not be very big, but there is more than enough to see and do.
Rent a bike
Île de Ré is known for its charming villages with countless narrow streets and white houses. It’s already quite a task to drive through with a car, let alone with an old 1984 Mercedes camper ;p. That’s why it’s best to explore the island by bike. The island is mostly flat and you’ll find well-maintained bike paths everywhere. Don’t have a bike with you? No worries. On every street corner, you can rent a bike for about 10 euros per day.
Once you’ve got a bike, we definitely recommend visiting the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. It’s the perfect place to start and end your day. You’ll find numerous restaurants and nice shops. Tip! On weekends, you’ll find a cozy market here.
Visit La Flotte
Less than a 15-minute bike ride from Saint-Martin-de-Ré, you’ll find the next gem of Ile de Ré. The town of La Flotte may be a bit smaller but takes the top prize for the coziest harbor town on the island. Take a seat by the harbor and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and amazing view.
We stayed in the small yet oh-so-adorable Sainte-Marie-de-Ré. The village is small, but it has everything. Stroll through the narrow alleys and enjoy a drink on the square. If you’re looking for tranquility and coziness, this is the place to be. The old church towers over everything and is definitely worth a visit.
If you’re lucky, it’s possible to surf on Ile de Ré. The island has a favorable location, which means the best surfing can be found on the south coast.
The best surf spots can be found at:
- Les Grenettes
- La Pergola
- Diamond Head
- La Petit Bec
- La Lizay
Visit the salt marshes
If you buy salt in France, chances are it comes from Ile de Ré. A large part of the island consists of salt marshes. Salt has been harvested here since the Middle Ages.
Relax on the beach
After a day of cycling or walking through the salt marshes, there’s no better place to unwind than on the beach. If you visit Ile de Ré in the low season, you might even have the beach all to yourself at times. Tip! Bring a blanket, some French wine, and have a lovely sunset beach picnic.
Most beautiful beaches on Il de Ré:
- Conche des Baleines
- Plage de Trousse-Chemise
- Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré
Hotspots & food in Il de Ré
- Mon Mochi for the tastiest pastries
- VINTAGE COFFEE, although I found the coffee really bad, the burgers were delicious
- L’Ecailler in La Flotte
- La Tribu
- O Parloir, a delightful garden to sit in
- Ben-Hur Char a Huitres, cozy food truck
- A Côté de Chez Fred
- Côté Jardin
- La Cabine de Bain
Best time to travel to Il de Ré
The best time to visit the island of Ile de Ré is from May to September. During this period, the temperatures are often delightful, and the chance of rain is the smallest. In the high season, it can be quite busy, as Ile de Ré is a popular holiday destination for the French.
Which budget do i need in Il de Ré?
Unfortunately, France is not a super budget-friendly destination, but you can make your stay at Ile de Ré as expensive or affordable as you want, of course. Here’s a small cost indication for Ile de Ré.
- Camping: 20 euros per night
- Parking fees: 0 – 10 euros per night
- Hotel: 60 – 100 euros per night
- Bike rental: 10 – 15 euros per day
- Dining out: 30 – 75 euros per day
- Toll road: 8 – 15 euros (depending on the type of transport)
Budget Tips for Ile de Ré, France
- Accommodation: Opt for campsites, hostels, or Airbnb rentals instead of hotels. Booking well in advance or traveling during the shoulder season can also help you find better deals.
- Transportation: Rent a bike to explore the island, as it’s cheaper than renting a car or relying on taxis. Plus, cycling is an excellent way to experience the beautiful scenery of Ile de Ré.
- Food: Visit local markets and shops to buy fresh produce and ingredients for preparing your own meals. This can save you money compared to eating out at restaurants. Alternatively, look for inexpensive cafes and takeaway options.
- Free activities: Enjoy the many free activities Ile de Ré has to offer, such as relaxing on the beach, hiking, or biking through the salt marshes. You can also stroll through picturesque villages and explore their charming streets.
- Sightseeing: Take advantage of free or low-cost attractions, such as visiting the local lighthouses, churches, and historical sites. Research any free-entry days for museums or other attractions.
- Picnics: Instead of dining out for every meal, pack a picnic with local cheeses, bread, fruits, and a bottle of French wine. Enjoy your meal on the beach or in one of the island’s parks.
- Travel during the off-season: Visiting Ile de Ré in the shoulder season (spring or fall) can help you save money on accommodations, transportation, and activities, as prices tend to be lower than during the high season.
Remember, a little planning and research can go a long way in helping you make the most of your budget while enjoying all that Ile de Ré has to offer.
Practical information about Il de Ré
- To cross Ile de Ré, you need to go over a toll bridge. This costs around 8 – 15 euros, depending on the type of vehicle. You can pay with a credit card.
- If you want to go surfing, it’s cheaper to buy a surfboard and wetsuit in advance. A beginner’s board doesn’t have to be expensive. Tip! Buy your board second-hand through an online marketplace or check out Decathlon.
- Use the Campercontact or Park4night app to find the best camper sites and campgrounds.
- It’s cheaper to refuel in villages, so never fill up your tank on the highway.
- If you need to withdraw cash in Europe, you often have to pay a small fee to your bank. We recently switched to Knab, which doesn’t charge any extra fees.
- Explore the island by bike: Ile de Ré is known for its extensive network of cycling paths. Rent a bike and enjoy the scenic routes while discovering charming villages, picturesque harbors, and beautiful beaches.
- Respect the environment: Ile de Ré is home to diverse flora and fauna. To help preserve this unique ecosystem, be mindful of your environmental impact during your visit by following local guidelines, minimizing waste, and respecting protected areas.
What are nice places to stay in Il de Ré?
The Best Campsites on Ile de Re
We spent a few days at Huttopia by the sea. A bit basic but by the sea, so always enjoyable. Book here HUTTOPIA CÔTE SAUVAGE – ILE DE RÉ >>
The Best Wild Camping Spots on Ile de Re
The Best Hotels on Ile de Re
How to get to Il de Ré?
without toll roads. With an old camper, you can easily add a few more hours to the journey ;p
It is also possible to take the train to Paris and then continue the route to La Rochelle. From Paris, it is only a 3-hour drive.
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