What to do in Bandol ?
Bandol harbour view ©campasun-mogador.eu
Bandol is a small Provencal town, located in the Var department, 45 kilometers east of Marseille and 15 kilometers west of Toulon. By train it will take you 2 hours from Aix-en-Provence to reach the city and only 18 minutes from Cassis.
This small seaside resort is a must for holidays or a peaceful weekend in the sun. Whether in summer or in winter, its advantageous geographical situation and Mediterranean climate offer good temperatures and pleasant weather.
The first famous tourists of Bandol were Marcel Pagnol and Thomas Mann. The city became then a popular touristic destination. In addition to offering a breathtaking view on the Mediterranean Sea, this city is full of activities, that will appeal both to children and adults.
This charming town has the second largest cruise port in Provence, after Marseille. For wine lovers, Bandol is also famous for its vineyards and the quality of its wines. You can visit several wineries in the region and enjoy wine tasting of the famous AOC Bandol.
Discover here a selection of the best places and wineries to visit in Bandol and its region.
Beaches and Creeks
Provence region is famous for its beautiful beaches. Go to « Anse de Renécros » beach to relax with the sound of waves crashing on the rocks. Located close to the city center, this sandy beach is protected from the wind, and the two dikes around it form a natural pool ideal for a family swim.
Anse de Renécros beach ©booking.com
If you want a beach more typical of the region, go to the Capelan beach. Located on the coastal path, this charming little cove made of pebbles offers peace and authenticity. The absence of fine sand promises crystal clear water, and a path allows you to easily reach the deep waters. It’s better to wear “aquashoes” to avoid foot injury, but swimming is worth a detour.
View on Capelan beach ©plagemed.com
Bandol harbour, located between Marseille and Toulon, is the second largest marina in the region. It has more than 1,700 seats and can even accommodate some yachts up to 30 meters long. At the heart of the development of the city, it is mainly thanks to wine trade and the AOC Bandol appellation that the harbour saw an important increase of its activity.
Bandol Harbour© francethisway.com
Sailing boat, Bandol harbour ©360leguide.com
Charles de Gaulle pier ©360leguide.com
Continue your discovery of Bandol and its surroundings by going to Bendor island, a 7 minutes cross from the pier of the city. You can reach the island at every time of the year. This charming little haven of peace was still a desert and an uninhabited island until its purchase by the entrepreneur Paul Ricard in 1950. Covering an area of six hectares, you will be charmed by its refined architecture, its small marina, as well as its wild landscape, nestled between the white rocks and the turquoise sea. Various shops, bars, and restaurants will offer you a moment of share and happiness in this unique setting. You will also find the Wines and Spirits Museum and the Ricard Advertising Objects Museum.
Bendor Harbour © lesilespaulricard.com
Come and visit the Provencal market and the big fairground market on Tuesday morning on the main pier of the port. There are many local producers that will help you discovering the flavors of the region.
Bandol Market ©routard.com
Bandol night market ©agglo-sudsaintebaume.fr
Cruises and Excursions
During your stay, do not hesitate to enjoy the various aquatic activities on Bandol’s bays. You can go on a boat trip around to the famous islands of Friuli or Porquerolles to discover the beauty and the history of the region.
Some excursions offer you to scuba dive and to meet the dolphins and cetaceans of the Mediterranean Sea for a unique moment, full of surprises.
Cruises & Tours, Bandol ©atlantide1.com
For nature lovers, hiking on Bandol’s coastline is a must. This pedestrian circuit, easy to reach and adapted to all, will allow you to discover the wild richness of the region, at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. In the summer season, we advise you to leave early in the morning, with suitable shoes, and bring a bottle of water. From the cove of Renécros, you will follow the coastline, at your own pace, to reach the different points of interest of this path. You will pass in front of the pretty Capelan peninsula and the Engraviers point and its charming belvedere before joining the creek of Alon Harbour where you will enjoy swimming.
For the most ambitious ones, this walk can continue to Saint Cyr Sur Mer, through Nations’bay. This walk along the creeks of Bandol will allow you to discover breathtaking postcards landscapes.
Bandol Coastline view ©tourisme-ouestvar.com
Roustagnon hill ©tripadvisor.fr
To continue your discovery of the city, come and explore a small corner of paradise by visiting the exotic garden and animal park of Sanary-Bandol, located on the bays of the city. Created in the late 1950s by Odile and Maurice Clément, horticulturists, this park of 2 hectares offers a unique moment of escape and exoticism. This park houses hundred plant species, including tropical, carnivorous plants and cactus of all kinds. You will also discover different species of mammals, birds and reptiles from other continents.
Sanary-Bandol Zoo © lepetitmoutard.com
Provence is often associated to holidays where sun is always shining. It is also the most important rosé region producer (88.5%) in the world. But it is also a land of qualitative red and white wines. The 26,000-hectares vineyard, of which 25% is now grown in organic farming, extends over 200 kilometers between the Mediterranean and the Alps. The vine has grown there for more than 2500 years.
The Bandol appellation produces rosés whites and red wines. It is the terroir of the Mourvèdre grape variety. Its powerful reds with structured tannins and at the same time finely spiced and peppered, are also long-keeping wines.
Vineyards close to Bandol
Begin your discovery of Provence wines by going to Lou Capelan winery. This charming family-owned winery created in the early 1990s is located in the town of La Cadière d’Azur, just 15 minutes away from Bandol. You will find there different white, red and rosé wines in the Bandol appellation, as well as country wines. Meet the owner, passionate and welcoming, who will explain you the peculiarities of Bandol’s wines through a visit of their cellars and a commented tasting of different vintages. You will be charmed by their rosé Bandol, which offers a delicate taste.
Lou Capelan winery, La Cadière d’Azur
Located on the Castellet, the cooperative cellar of the Moulin de la Roque is one of the main producers of Bandol, with a very high proportion of rosés. Gathering 1500 plots on 305 hectares, it houses a mosaic of very interesting terroirs. The new winery is worth the biggest, with first class equipment. During your visit, you will discover the winemaking and ageing cellars and taste their vintages « Les Baumes » in rosé, red and white.
Moulin de la Roque, Bandol
Located in the north of the city, go to the Domaine de la Bégude winery and discover its 20 hectares of vines. This beautiful family-owned winery belongs to the Tari family since 1996 and is now one of the references of the Bandol appellation. Located on the highest point of the appellation, 410 meters above sea level, the Domaine de la Bégude produces its wines with respect for nature and environment with organic certification. You can visit the historic bastide, the winemaking and ageing cellars and enjoy a breathtaking view on Bandol. Your visit will end with a tasting of different wines in the Bandol appellation, red and rosé. In summer, you can also taste olive oil. Finally, if you want a visit close to nature, you can also go for a walk in the property vineyards.
Domaine de La Bégude, Bandol
We wish you a pleasant discovery of Bandol and its region !