It feels like simultaneously yesterday and forever ago that we were on Port Cros, the gorgeous French island just across from Hyères on mainland France. Many people visit the island via ferry or boat as a day trip, but we spent four nights on the island. I thought it was the perfect amount of time to really discover all that Port Cros has to offer. Here you’ll find my full Port Cros guide with everything you need to know from how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, and the best hiking on Port Cros!
Good to Know Before You Go
Part of what makes Port Cros so gorgeous is that the entire island is a National Park. It’s wild and rugged but still has the quintessential Côte d’Azur vibe. Once you’re on the island the only way to get around is by foot – not even bicycles are allowed. So if you’re visiting and especially staying on Port Cros there’s quite a bit of walking required.
There’s one épicerie on the island that has very limited provisions and very high prices. This small grocery store also happens to accept cash only, and there isn’t an ATM on Port Cros. We brought a few items from mainland France, including a Brita water pitcher which saved us, but next time I would definitely try to bring everything with me.
There’s a 8 à Huit grocery store right in the Hyères port. The prices were definitely elevated, but it was convenient and cheap compared to the Port Cros épicerie.
How to Get to Port Cros
You can get to Port Cros either by private boat, water taxi, or by a ferry. If you’re taking the ferry, the departure is either from Hyères or Le Lavandou. You can check the ferry schedule here.
From Paris, there’s a TGV train to Hyères and then it’s about a 15-minute car ride to the port.
Where to Stay on Port Cros
I wanted to stay at Le Manoir, but since it was a last minute trip the hotel was sold out. We were very lucky that we found anywhere to stay because the island is so small and fills up in advance.
We ended up staying at an Airbnb right in the port which was perfect. We had drinks on our terrasse every night while watching the sunset. It was nice to have the option to cook at home too as you’ll see restaurant options are limited. The Airbnb also had access to a pool, which I never went to, but Romain loved. Again, if you’re renting an Airbnb and are planning on cooking just try to bring as much as possible with you!
The Airbnb was only available for three nights when we booked it, but we were having such a great time that we decided to extend our stay one extra night. The only available option on the island was the Hostellerie Provencale, so we took it. I’m glad we picked a room with a balcony and view of the sea. When in Port Cros you definitely want to take advantage of the view! The room didn’t have a ton of amenities, but it was clean and totally fine.
What To Do on Port Cros
Port Cros is a place where you should expect to be pretty physically active, unless you have access to a boat or just stay in the port area. For being such a small island there’s a lot to see and do if you’re open to adventure.
We started every morning with a long hike. Every day we did a different trail, so by the end of our stay we’d hiked around the entire island. It was such a gorgeous way to see Port Cros. There are quite a few spots that take your breath away.
The Vallon de la Solitude hike had a pretty steep incline, but the others were pretty moderate, although long. We hiked for about three hours each morning and were for the most part in the shade.
There are three beaches on Port Cros, Plage du Sud, Plage de la Palud, and Port Man. You access the beaches on foot unless you have a boat. My favorite was Plage du Sud which also happened to be the closest – a leisurely 25 minute walk from the Port. Plage de la Palud is a 45 minute walk from the port, and Port Man is an hour and a half from the port. I really didn’t mind the walk to the beach because it’s so beautiful along the way.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
There’s great snorkeling off of every beach on the island. We decided to take it up a notch and go scuba diving. We aren’t certified, but we were able to do a tandem scuba dive. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done and indescribably gorgeous. You can book a dive online here or once you’re on the island (if you have flexibility with your schedule).
Our last activity to complete our time on Port Cros was renting a boat for the afternoon and going around the island. We loved being able to see everything that we saw on our hikes from the water and also being able to stop at different beaches or tie up to buoys to swim. We rented a semi-rigid boat from the épicerie. Just make sure to have a boating license!
Where to Eat on Port Cros
Last but not least is of course my favorite part of any trip, the food. The fish was so fresh and delicious on Port Cros. It was absolute heaven. There are five restaurants on the island and we tried them all. You should make reservations everywhere on the island, but besides Le Manoir you should be fine reserving just a day in advance. In order of favorites:
Le Manoir was by far and away our favorite meal of the trip and also an ultimate favorite meal. The setting was casual yet elegant, the service was attentive, and the food was incredible. To start we split a grilled artichoke salad and fresh tomato, burrata, and truffle salad. Then we had fresh Langoustes which Romain selected from the tank. It came with a delicious buttery sauce and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. Le Manoir was our most expensive meal but it was 100% worth it. Le Manoir
We went to La Trinquette twice, once for lunch and once for dinner and it was excellent both times. They have a lot of different fixed menu options with a lot of different choices. The food was very fresh and the service was slow (island time) yet friendly. La Trinquette
We had an okay experience at L’Anse. The food wasn’t nearly as good as Le Manoir or La Trinquette, and one server was very rude. We could’ve caught them on an off night so I’d be willing to try it again at some point. The atmosphere is a little bit more refined than La Trinquette. L’Anse
We came here for lunch and I ordered wrong. Romain and his friend both had burgers and pizza and I think that’s the way to go at this restaurant. I wanted to stick to seafood while we were on the island, but I don’t think it’s their specialty. Unless you’re craving a burger or pizza I wouldn’t bother going here. Sun Bistro
We had breakfast and coffee here every morning and drinks a few times, and I’d keep it to that in the future. We went for lunch one day and it just wasn’t our favorite. Hostellerie Provencale
I hope you enjoyed this Port Cros guide! I’m already counting down the days until I can return. It’s really a special island and one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been.