Hiking is an ideal way to discover the natural wealth of the island, combining sport, fresh air and sightseeing.
With its network of 72 km of signposted routes and its coastal path, the Ile d’Yeu inspires hiking ideas in even the least sporty visitors.
Mix and match the sections of pathway that suit you best - there is a Grande Randonnée route and five small paths around the island, interconnected and branching, to make each walk unique.
For those really keen on walking, why not go around the entire island? Since 2014, the coastal path has been approved and signposted as one of the national Grande Randonnée hiking routes, and given the number GR 80.
Five smaller hiking trails we call "sentes" allow to discover different parts of the island:
· The Marais sente
· The Oyes sente
· The Noroit sente
· The Kreuzland sente
· La Meule sente
A detailed map of the hiking trails is available at the reception desk of the Tourist Office.
Guidebooks, detailing these hikes step by step, are also on sale on our boutique for 3 € (for all 6 guides - they can also be purchased individually).
THE GR 80 (GRANDE RANDONNEE)
The GR 80 is 27.5 km long and gives walkers a general overview of the island along the entire coast, passing over steep rocks and sand dunes. The whole walk takes about 7 hours.
Passing through the fishing port, you get a feel for the economic life of the island at any time of year. The colours of the fishing boats, the whitewashed facades, the bell tower of the church of Notre Dame du Port - all catch your eye and colour your holidays.
THE FIVE SMALL HIKING TRAILS ("SENTES")
Kreuzland, Noroit, Oyes, Marais, La Meule - the names of the walks all evoke a change of scenery.
With distances varying between 7 and 10 km, each taking around two hours, each Sente gives a different view of L'île d'Yeu.
The Noirot Sente takes you from Port-Joinville to the Pointe de la Gournaise. You'll discover the landscapes of the interior of the island including the Citadel forest and the village of Ker Pierre Borny. Walking along the north-west coast, you get the chance to take in the prehistoric and natural heritage of the island.
Marais means "wetlands," although it is often mistranslated as "swamp" - this part of the island does indeed feature bogs and swampy areas on its moorland heath, but it is mainly characteristic for the wetland species of plants and animals that thrive here, in the space behind the dunes. Much of the marshland was drained and tended by monks from the eleventh century onwards, and served as water meadows until the twentieth century.
The Kreuzland Sente leads along the rocky coast towards the Pointe des Corbeaux, it feels a lot like Brittany, but soon resembles the Northern Vendée coast with sand dunes and pine woods. A surprising visual - and especially fragrant - discovery walk.
The Oyes Sente leads you in the footsteps of the old-time soda lime producers (there is a lime kiln along the way), the Grand Phare lighthouse overlooks the island and its rocky coast, and the walk also gives you a glimpse of the agriculture of the island.
La Meule Sente starts at the Port de la Meule, with its archaeological sites and traditional colourful houses in the Ile d’Yeu style. This is the best introduction to island architecture.