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    When enjoying the best things to do this summer in Landes, you won’t stray far from the pristine forests, scenic lakes, and gorgeous coastline found in this department of southwestern France. Within Landes are numerous communes and heritage towns, some of which hark back to Roman times – with many historical sights worth seeing.

    Nevertheless, you’ll make the most of your summer in Landes amid beautiful nature, with several nature reserves for you to explore. Landes isn’t strictly for nature lovers, either. The whole family can have a summer escape on a wide and long beach or get an adrenaline rush, splashing in a unique lake waterpark.

    1

    Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park

    A pine-forested mecca for nature-lovers in southwestern France

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    Hiking in the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park is one of the best things to do in summer in Landes. This nature reserve just south of Bordeaux in southwestern France offers plenty of trails for hikers and nature-lovers, thanks to its diverse terrain – you’re treated to pine-forested areas, wildlife-rich marshland, as well as beautiful stretches of coastline.

    The marshy areas between the park’s gallery forest of oaks and alders are where freshwater from the Eyre river meets the seawater from the Arcachon Bay. Among the wildlife, you can spot in this natural habitat are European badgers, pheasants, stags, and otters. It’s also where tiny carrots known as caropsis grow. Deep within the woods, you might discover the Contemporary Art Forest, a hiking trail with colourful art installations.

    Poloha: 33830 Belin-Béliet, France

    Otevírací doba: Monday from 1.30 pm to 5 pm, Tuesday–Friday from 9 am to 12.30 pm and from 1.30 pm to 5 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 57 71 99 99

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    2

    Contis Beach

    A wide and beautiful coastal stretch in Saint-Julien-en-Born

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    Contis Beach is among the primary stretches of coastline that constantly attracts summer crowds to the Saint-Julien-en-Born commune of Landes in southwestern France. The beach is wide with fine and soft sand and stretches for 5 km. Besides sunbathing and family fun on the sand, Contis Beach’s waves, especially around its midsection, are great for swimming.

    The southern section of Contis Beach has stronger currents and is a playground for surfers. Amid the pine-forested area of the beach is the Phare de Contis lighthouse, which opens in summer. Most of the beach is wheelchair friendly. With a kids’ club right on the sand, it’s a true family summer destination in Landes.

    Poloha: 124 Rue de la Dune, 40170 Saint-Julien-en-Born, France

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    3

    Ecomusee de Marqueze

    A historic countryside hamlet

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    Ecomusee de Marqueze is an open-air museum that takes you to a recreated 19th-century hamlet in the heart of the lush countryside of Sabres. Wheelchair-friendly and with plenty for all ages to enjoy, it’s a go-to spot for a fun family summer outing in Landes. Getting to the museum is part of the fun – you hop aboard a century-old train that chugs through a lush pine forest.

    Arriving at the peaceful and charming hamlet, the scene opens to roaming sheep, sheepdogs, and geese with farmhouses, traditional clog workshops, organic vegetable gardens, and pantries laid out far and wide. Each is marked with interesting information to help you learn about the simple life. Guides are also ready to share their knowledge to help make this part of Landes history come alive.

    Poloha: Ecomusee de Marqueze Route de la gare, 40630 Sabres, France

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 24 73 37 40

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    Autor fotografií: jacme31 (CC BY-SA 2.0) upraveno

    4

    Courant d'Huchet Nature Reserve

    Discover the natural beauty of the ‘Landes Amazon’

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    Tour the Courant d'Huchet Nature Reserve for breathtaking natural scenery and birdlife spotting in Landes. The main highlight of the nature reserve is the namesake River Huchet, which flows from Lake Leon down to the French Atlantic Coast through lush and tropical vegetation. Rowboat tours often run for about 4.5 km along the river.

    The coastal river and its surrounding marshes, known as ‘La Pipe’, are natural habitats to crested tits and warblers. Boat tours usually last 2 hours, giving you a scenic seascape of the sand dune-covered coast where the river flows into the Atlantic. If you don’t fancy a slow downstream cruise, take a hike through pine-forested trails that are filled with birdsong from Pichelebe bridge.

    Poloha: 374 Rue des Berges du Lac, 40550 Léon, France

    Otevírací doba: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 12.30 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 58 48 73 91

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    5

    AquaPark Biscarrosse

    Wet thrills in a lakeside waterpark

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    AquaPark Biscarrosse is a unique waterpark on the western shore of the Étang de Cazaux et de Sanguinet lake in southwest France. It’s where to bring the kids for lakeside thrills. You can don a lifejacket and let it all loose over a series of inflatable obstacle courses. Simply run, jump, and splash to your heart’s content throughout the whole circuit.

    There’s a huge variety, from extreme trampolines, climbing ladders, giant waterslides, to climbing walls and even ziplines across the water. There are diving platforms, as well as inflatable ‘water blob catapults’ that launch you high up in the air with the aid of someone else jumping on the other end. All that craze is often accompanied by rocking live music.

    Poloha: Port Maguide, 18 Chemin de Maguide, 40600 Biscarrosse, France

    Otevírací doba: Hours vary by season

    Telefon: +33 (0)6 51 50 25 65

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    Autor fotografií: Port Maguide Biscarrosse (CC BY 2.0) upraveno

    6

    Seignosse Atlantic Park

    A hub for splashing summer fun in Seignosse

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    Seignosse Atlantic Park is a cool spot in southwest France that lets you experience thrills resulting from the combined effects of water and gravity. The waterpark has a good range of slides and pools. There are also many sun loungers for you to bask on while watching the kids swim, slide, and splash away.

    Among the Seignosse Atlantic Park’s main slides are the short but almost vertical Super Kamikaze and the taller Crazy Kamikaze. For a twirling ride, go for the Dark Master, which comprises 2 tubes and which takes you through a series of dark tunnels before your splash, or the 240-metre-long Double Looping with its turns and intersections. Toddlers aren’t left out of the fun, thanks to milder kiddie pools and slides called the Bout'chou Zone.

    Poloha: 2 Avenue de la Grande Plage, 40510 Seignosse, France

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 58 43 15 30

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    Autor fotografií: Atlantic Park (CC BY-SA 4.0) upraveno

    7

    Site d'Arjuzanx

    A quiet escape by a beautiful lake

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    Site d'Arjuzanx is a scenic and tranquil lake and nature reserve in Landes. Formerly an open-air lignite mining site, it’s now a thriving habitat of rare plants and animals. The area is also one of the great spots for summer recreation with lakeside trails and picnic areas.

    There’s a small and immaculate beach with fine white sand on the south-eastern edge of the lake. This is where most of the summer crowds end up, with sunbathers and parasols on the sand, and kayaks and inflatables in the calm waters. For an escape, you can take a short hike along the trail and circumnavigate the lake for about 8 km. Drop by the visitor centre to learn more about the history of the lake and nature reserve.

    Poloha: 40110 Morcenx-la-Nouvelle, France

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    8

    Plage du Cap De L'homy

    One of the most beautiful beaches in Landes

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    Plage du Cap De L'homy is one of the most scenic stretches of sand on the extensive coast of Landes in southwestern France. Indeed, among the best things to do this summer in Landes is heading to its beaches and Cap De L'homy caters well to beachgoers looking for scenery, nature, family fun, and adventure.

    The beach is a short walk down a timber pathway over a grassy dune, which instantly treats you to its magnificent seascape. There’s 10 km of wide, golden sand to stroll along, lapped by waves that appeal to all ages for a fun dip. Beyond Plage du Cap De L'homy, there are sections of the beach that have great surf and favourable wind conditions that make them playgrounds for surfers and kite surfers.

    Poloha: 40170 Lit-et-Mixe, France

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    Autor fotografií: Brina Blum (CC0 1.0) upraveno

    9

    Dax

    A colourful heritage town with mud spas and scenic surrounds

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    Dax is one of the beautiful towns in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. The town sits on the eastern bank of the Adour River and its history dates back to Roman times. The Romans knew the town for its thermal springs and therapeutic mud baths, much of which remains among its draws today.

    One of Dax’s main thermal baths is the Complexe Sourcéo, which features saunas and hammams. Even so, Dax is great for summertime sightseeing with various grand and historical landmarks dotting the town. Among these are the Dax Cathedral, the beautiful Abbaye d'Arthous abbey, the Cradle of St Vincent de Paul (birthplace of the renowned French Catholic priest), and the coliseum-like Arènes de Dax where major festivals commence.

    Poloha: 40100 Dax, France

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    10

    National Natural Reserve of the Marais d'Orx

    Lakeside nature hikes with wildlife spotting

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    A hike through the National Natural Reserve of the Marais d'Orx in Labenne treats you to a splendid wetland thriving with wildlife. Also referred to as the Orx Marshes, it’s a cool summer spot for nature lovers to escape to in the Landes department of southwestern France.

    Timber bridges and pathways meander throughout the marshes and above the edges of the lake, from where birdwatching, or simply just taking in the views, is a breeze. You can spot birds and aquatic life such as terrapins, carp, and waterfowl. You might even catch a glimpse of a swooping kingfisher in action.

    Poloha: 1005 Route du Marais d'Orx, 40530 Labenne, France

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 59 45 42 46

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