Updated on 19 November 2020
Reading time: 4 minutes
Whether it’s the endless sand beaches of Manche, the Chausey Islands, the rugged coastline of the Cotentin, the chic or family-friendly seaside resorts of Calvados or the cliff-lined pebble beaches of Seine-Maritime, Normandy’s beaches are some of the most wonderfully diverse you’ll find in France.
BEACHES IN NORMANDY
With over 620km of coastline, Normandy boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. We know everyone wants something different from a beach, be it peace and serenity, water sports or family fun.
Some of our beaches are quiet, wild retreats whereas others are busier with a range of attractions and seafood restaurants nearby. Whether you’re planning to take a stroll along golden sands, clamber in and out of rock pools, sunbathe in a glorious sweeping bay or a picturesque sheltered cove, you really are spoilt for choice.
Ensure your time on the beach is as relaxing as possible by spending the day at one of Normandy’s most protected beaches. Dodge the crowds and find the best under-explored beaches Normandy has to offer. Lindbergh-Plage in Manche is a gorgeous beach for the alluring mix of sand dunes and endless stretch of golden sand. Further south, the Chausey Islands are an archipelago of 365 islets to be explored at low tide. In summer, the islands are most enjoyable after the daily flow of tourists has left, leaving you to stay on peaceful and wild islands overnight in the very few places that accommodate visitors (book in advance!). In Seine-Maritime, the remote and pristine beach known as the Valleuse d’Antifer is accessible after a little walk, offering a spectacular view of wild nature.
Taking the whole family to the beach? Find sheltered spots with safe shallows for frolicking, suitable sand for creating kingdoms and rock pools for rambling at low tide. With facilities for families and kid’s clubs on certain beaches, Famille Plus labelled seaside resorts are perfect for family days out. Many of the family-friendly beaches and leisure park beaches throughout Normandy are covered by professional lifeguards in the summer and during various holidays throughout the year. Make sure you look at the flags and that you’re aware of the nearest lifeguard points for a safe swim with the children.
SEASIDE Towns and Cities in Normandy
There is something really special and diverse about our coastal towns in Normandy. Expect relaxing beaches, dazzling scenery and entertainment galore! You’ll find chic historical retreats for artists and the bourgeoisie who came in search of inspiration like Deauville, Trouville-sur-Mer and Le Havre, or to take the sea air and enjoy fashionable restorative baths like in Dieppe or Granville. You’ll also find bustling marinas like Caen or Cherbourg and charming fishing villages like Fécamp or Etretat. These perfect getaways are all about the beach town itself, its atmosphere and most importantly, its vibe!
It doesn’t have to be your honeymoon to plan the ultimate romantic beach vacation, sometimes finding a beautiful sandy shore to spend quality time with that special someone is just enough! The seaside resort of Cabourg is nicknamed the Romantic Beach. It annually hosts the Romantic Film Festival showcasing the best of love and romance movies. Deauville and its boardwalk or Honfleur and its old harbour are among the idyllic favourites. Etretat, and its dramatic cliffs landscapes are also a popular romantic rendezvous!
The D-Day Landing Beaches
The D-Day Landing Beaches of Sword Beach, Juno Beach, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach and Utah Beach staged the largest seaborne invasion in history under the code-name ‘Operation Overlord’. There’s nothing like a visit to these beaches and the D-Day museums nearby to understand the scale of events that took place on these shores. Steeped in history and full of memories, these beaches can be explored at your own pace or following a guided tour offered by some of the museums such as the Caen Memorial.
The bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel and its quicksands
Conquer the heavenly Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel, climb the mount and visit the famous abbey. Unique in the world and listed by UNESCO, this vast sandy bay is a must-see in Normandy, a perfect spot for a leisurely wander, outdoor adventures and a breath of fresh air. Venture off the beaten track and cross the bay with a professional guide for a spectacular view of ‘The Marvel’. With the highest tides in Europe and quicksands, this safe option will guarantee a great day out away from the crowds in the second most visited site in France after the Eiffel Tower!