Landes: tourism and sightseeing
Visit Landes, France
It is the long, very long (more than 100 kilometres) of Atlantic coast that is the main attraction in the Landes department of Aquitaine, with the fine sandy beaches along the Cote d'Argent perfect for families, surfing, and any other sea-based activity....and also the chance to explore the extensive pine forests of the Landes
Places to visit in Landes with reviews from France This Way
Below you can see a description of Landes and its highlights. For details of each place (town, village, attraction...) that we have reviewed see places to visit in Landes.
Landes travel guide and highlights
It is the numerous resorts along the Atlantic coast - known as the Cote d'Argent - that are the main attraction in the Landes department. These are popular due to the long and uncrowded sandy beaches, the pleasant modern resorts and the reliable summer time weather, and also because many of the beaches are ideal for surfing.
Elsewhere in the Landes not far from the coast there are various leisure opportunities, often walking and cycling in the extensive pine forests.
Resorts on the Cote d'Argent
Many of the towns along this section of coast are quite recent in development and share similar characteristics. A typical 'Landaise' coast resort has the Atlantic Ocean to the front (the waves can be quite high) with a long sandy beach and various beach activities.
Next to the sea there is a usually a modern resort type village offering all facilities and activities, and accommodation in holiday apartments or on camping and caravan sites.
Beaches at Biscarrosse, Mimizan and Capbreton
Several of the popular resorts also have access to lakes and lake beaches just behind the town, which is useful for when the famous surfing waves become a bit much or if your children are small! The large forests of the Landes behind the coast allow various leisure activities such as cycling and horse-riding.
The resorts include Biscarrosse and Mimizan towards the northern end (to the south of Arcachon) and Capbreton and Hossegor towards the southern end of the coast (a little north of Biarritz). Others between the two, hence further from important towns, include Contis, Lit-et-Mixe, Viille-Saint-Girons, Moliets-et-Maa, Messanges, Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains and Seignosse.
Note that access to the Cote d'Argent from 'inland' France isn't always easy - not many main roads cross the dense Landais forests to reach the sea. It would be true to say that the towns further inland in the department are not a major attraction but there are several towns and villages with features of interest to visit here.
Inland regions of the Landes
The forests of the region - one of the largest forests in Europe - stand on land that was reclaimed from the marshes 200 years ago when the extensive Landaise forests were planted as part of a Napoleonic plan to reclaim the swamps that once covered the area.
The region also includes the Gascony Moors Natural Regional Park, which controls the protection of the natural environment. You can learn more about this at the ecomuseum at Sabres.
To the south of the Landes forests the Adour region is more hilly, and less forested, with small scale agriculture, woodlands, and numerous villages tucked away in the valleys.
The town of Dax contains some Roman ruins, and several of the villages have interesting Roman style churches. Dax is also one of the most important spa towns in France. There are other spa towns in the Landes, including Eugénie-les-Bains.
To the east of the Landes department around Mont-de-Marsan the countryside changes again, as the forests start to give way to vineyards - the grapes are used to produce the world renowned liqueur Armagnac.
The towns of Saint-Justin and Labastide d'Armagnac to the far east of the Landes have interesting centres to explore, with Labastide d'Armagnac having a typical bastide town centre of arcades, medieval houses and a fortified church.
Map of Landes and places to visit
Market towns & days in Landes
all markets in morning unless otherwise stated
Biscarrosse: every day
Capbreton: every day except Monday
Dax: Sunday & Saturday
Hagetmau: Wednesday all day
Hossegor: Wednesday & Sunday & Friday
Labenne: Friday & Tuesday (high season only)
Leon: every day
Mimizan: Thursday & Friday
Mont-de-Marsan: Tuesday all day & Saturday
Morcenx: Wednesday & Saturday
Parentis-en-Born: Thursday & Sunday
Peyrehorade: Wednesday & Saturday
Saint-Paul-les-Dax: Thursday (high season only)
Seignosse: Tuesday & Thursday & Sunday
Soustons: Monday & Thursday (high season only)
Landes tourism and sightseeing
Selected tourist attractions in the Landes department
The following sites have received official "tourist classifications"...
4* Towns in Bloom
Biscarrosse: Tourist guide
Mimizan: Tourist guide
Mont-de-Marsan: Tourist guide
Sites of Natural Beauty
Courant de Contis
Courant de Huchet
Etang de Biscarrosse et Parentis
Etang de Cazaux et Sanguinet
Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'
Parc du Sarrat
Regional Natural Parcs
Landes de Gascogne
UNESCO world heritage sites
Abbaye de St Sever (monuments on French pilgrim routes)
Aire sur l'Adour église St Quitterie (monuments on French pilgrim routes)
Mimizan clocher-porche (monuments on French pilgrim routes): Tourist guide
Sorde l'Abbaye - abbaye St Jean (monuments on French pilgrim routes)
See a list of all Landes places
French version: Landes (Francais)