Cap Ferret is a little coastal town on the Atlantic Ocean famous for its dreamy beaches and thriving oyster culture. Located about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux (depending on traffic), Cap Ferret offers a unique blend of charming finishing villages with wild ocean beaches perfect for surfing. 

Nestled in the famous Arcachon Bay, Cap Ferret is known as the summer getaway for the French upper class, yet despite its growing popularity, it managed to keep its raw atmosphere of simplicity and tranquility. This unique blend of natural beauty, coastal charm, and tranquility makes it a dreamy vacation destination. In this article, you’ll discover the best ways to spend a splendid weekend (or a full week) in Cap Ferret with a list of all the best things to do and eat. 

If it’s your first time visiting Cap Ferret and Arcahcon I highly recommend reading my articles about where to stay in Cap Ferret and what to do in Arcachon city.

The charming villages of Cap Ferret on the Arcachon Bay
The tranquil atmosphere of Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

So where is Cap Ferret actually located? 

Lège-Cap Ferret is a peninsula, shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and a view of the eastern side of the Bassin. It consists of twelve little villages, one of them being the town of Cap Ferret, located in the southern part of the peninsula. While the town is considered the liveliest on the peninsula, here I’m going to mention other towns as well so that you have the chance to uncover the full charm of this place. 

If you’re short on time I recommend taking the Cap-Ferret, Herbe Village with Tasting Oysters waterfront tour, so you can explore the best Cap Ferret has to offer in half a day. This tour offers a blend of main sites, from the ocean to the iconic lighthouse, along with a touch of history at La Chapelle, culminating in a local oyster-tasting experience. You can Book it here.

What to do in Cap Ferret

Eat oysters of course!

Apart from its dreamy beaches, Cap Ferret is known for its ostréiculture industry, which produces some of the best oysters in France. The Bay’s nutrient-rich waters and unique tidal patterns create an ideal environment for oyster growth, resulting in amazing oysters, with exceptional flavor and quality. So tasting oysters is truly one of the highlights of visiting Cap Ferret.

oysters from Cap Ferret
Tasting oysters in Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

Along the Arcachon Bay coast, a multitude of oyster cabins and restaurants dot the landscape. These quaint oyster huts predominantly belong to local oyster farmers, imparting an authentic charm to Cap Ferret. Observing them at work is a fascinating experience, as these traditional methods have been passed down through generations.

One of my favorite Cap-Ferret oyster cabins along the shoreline is La Cabane du Mimbeau. The name refers to the conche du Mimbeau, which is a coastal sand spit, unique only to Cap Ferret. Established in 1860 and continuing through 6 oyster farmers generations, the Cabane specializes in oysters harvested onsite, along with other local delicacies like whelks and terrine, all accompanied by Bordeaux wines. 

Other oyster cabins I recommend are La Cabane d’Hortense, which offers stunning views of the  Dune du Pilat, or Chez boulan, a renowned 1958 oyster farmer and producer with exceptional service and food quality along a beautiful setting. Another great cabin is Le Ponton in l’Herbe, a must-visit spot for oyster lovers. Situated at the end of the picturesque Village of L’Herbe, the ponton offers a serene setting right on the Basin. In addition, It has direct access to the beach, so kids can play while parents eat. A true vacation spirit!

Eating ousters is one of the bets things to do in Cap Ferret
Oyster huts in Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

A ride on a traditional oyster-farming boat

For a truly immersive experience, I recommend taking a boat tour on a traditional oyster-farming boat, known as a Pinasse. It will allow you to enjoy the panoramic views of the coastline and learn about the special art of oyster farming from experienced local guides.

Tours you can do in Cap Ferret 

You can take your cruise tour with Pa’tchanquee from the Bassin d’Arcachone to the Dune du Pilat. With a 12-person group on board, they offer a comfortable sailing experience that combines a bit of everything Cap Ferret has to offer: swimming, sightseeing, and oyster tastings. 

You’ll also watch the quaint villages and beautiful beaches along the coastline from the boat, learn about the history of the place, and discover iconic spots like Bird Island and the Banc d’Arguin. You can book your boat tour here!

A ride on a traditional oyster-farming boat in Cap Ferret
A ride on a traditional oyster-farming boat – by Lost in Bordeaux

Compagnie Maritime de la Presqu’île allows you to rent a Pinnace with a skipper from Cap Ferret, and go on a cruise to discover the Arcachon Bay and the Cap Ferret peninsula, as well with a group of up to 12 people.

Go to the beach 

There are a lot of gorgeous beaches in Cap Ferret. From small village beaches and wilder ones on the ocean side, from crowded ones to hidden and quiet ones. La Plage des Américains, Plage de la Truquette, and Plage de l’Herbe are among my favorites, but to see the full list I recommend checking out my article about The best beaches in Cap Ferret

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret
Ocean beaches in Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s important to note that during the low tide, it’s impossible to swim on the bay side and it’s thus very important to check out the tide hours before going. Heres a site where you can see when the tide is high enough to enjoy the beach.

Surf on the Atlantique Ocean 

With 25 km of coastline, Cap Ferret is full of amazing surfing spots with several surfing schools that offer surfing classes and camps. 

The best surfing spots in Cap Ferret

Truc Vert is one of the favorite among surfers, due to its untouched, wild beauty. This secluded spot is perfect for those seeking tranquility and long, uninterrupted rides on the waves. The Grand Crohot Beach attracts a larger crowd, especially during peak seasons, and offers consistent waves suitable for surfers of all levels. Another busy beach is Torchère Beach, which is situated between L’Herbe and the village of Cap Ferret. It’s a hotspot for surfers during summer. 

Dunes Beach in Cap Ferret promises a quieter surfing experience. Accessible through a charming dune passage, it offers respite from the crowds, especially in the summer months. While the path may require a short walk from Horizon Beach, the view of the Lighthouse makes it well worth the journey.

The best surfing spots in Cap Ferret
A surfing beach in Cap Ferret- by Lost in Bordeaux

Take surfing lessons in Cap Ferret

You can also take surfing classes in one of the many surfing schools in Cap Ferret, as the waves of the Atlantic offer an ideal setting for experimenting and practicing surfing. The Cap Ferret Surf School is great for taking surfing lessons as surfers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the more popular spots. They offer 1 to 5-day courses for all levels, starting at the age of 5. You can book a lesson here

Two other recommended surf schools in Cap Ferret include the Tutti Frutti Surf School and Alex Surf School, both operating at Horizon Beach. Both schools offer individual and group lessons from April to October for all levels.

Enjoy the view from the Lighthouse (Le Phare du Cap Ferret)

The iconic Cap Ferret Lighthouse is a prominent landmark offering a magnificent panorama of the peninsula’s land and coastline. Listed as a historic monument, it welcomes guests for guided tours, allowing exploration of its interior and ascent to the summit via a staircase of 258 steps. 

The lighthouse also hosts changing interactive exhibits that showcase maritime history and its optical system, as well as the evolution of nautical chart creation. 

During summer, the lighthouse operates daily from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and admission prices range from 4€ for children to 7€ for adults. See more details here.

Enjoy the Cap Ferret markets

Local markets are a great way to discover unique finds, fresh delicacies, and local products. Cap Ferret has several different markets you can explore, depending on your time of arrival!

Le marché du Cap Ferret covered market is open all year, on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and daily during the summer months. This traditional covered market, located at Place du Marché, has around 120 exhibitors. You will find there clothes, jewelry, flowers, books and of course, fresh local products as well as typical products from the South-West. 

The market of Cap Ferret
The market of Cap Ferret – by Lost in Bordeaux

During the summer months, From June to September, you can enjoy the open-air markets, Le marché du Cap Ferret, Piraillan, and Claouey, that offer local artisanal goods, such as clothing, flowers, fresh oysters, and regional white wine.

Le marché de Lège is a covered market,  located near the village church. It remains open year-round on Saturdays, and though it is the smallest of the four markets in Cap Ferret, it has some really nice goods! 

Rent a bike to discover other magical parts of the peninsula 

Another fun way to discover Cap Ferret is by cycling along the beaches and through the pine forest that covers a large part of the Cap Ferret peninsula. A beautiful bike trip you can do is taking the circuit from the Plage de Bélisaire to The Pointe du Cap Ferret, which is 10 km long and takes about 1 hour. The route there is stunning and includes some of Cap Ferret’s main landmarks. You’ll see the beach and its magnificent view of the Mimbeau Conche and the Dune du Pilat, Fisherman’s Quarter, and the Lighthouse. To follow the path see the map here.

There are plenty of bike rentals in Cap Ferret, one of them is Bike Rental Cap Gyro (7 Boulevard de la Plage, 33970 Lège-Cap-Ferret). See the full list of rental places here.

Visit the most charming village in Cap Ferret – l’Herbe

l’Herbe stands out as one of the most charming villages in the Arcachon Basin. Wandering through l’Herbe’s narrow streets, while passing by the colorful oyster farmer cabins, you’ll sense the village’s unique charm that lies in its simplicity and authenticity.

The village’s focal point is the Sainte-Marie-du-Cap Chapel, a stunning architectural gem built in the 19th century with neo-Moorish influences. Surrounded by sand and pine trees, the chapel’s exotic facade adds to the village’s allure and serves as a must-visit attraction.

L'herbe - one of the most beautiful villages in Cap Ferret
L’Herbe – by Lost in Bordeaux

During the summer months, l’Herbe comes alive with plenty of water activities along the beachfront. You can embark on scenic canoe or paddleboard excursions or explore the basin’s tranquil waters, And there are even more exhilarating options like parasailing, wake surfing, waterskiing, and more. You can find more information about it here.

Taste Les dunes Blanches 

First Created in 2007 by pastry chef Pascal Lucas’s son, Les Dunes Blanches combines the simplicity of a chouquette (Choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar) with a creamy filling, resulting in an instant hit. You can read the full story on their creation in my article Discover the sweet specialties of Bordeaux

Originating from Cap Ferret, no visit is complete without trying these heavenly treats. Elegance, lightness, and crunchiness make Les Dunes Blanches just too good! and fit perfectly at any moment of the day. 

They gained such popularity that dedicated boutiques sprouted across Arcachon, Bordeaux, and even Paris. In Cap Ferret, you can savor them made fresh throughout the day at various locations including Piquey, Canon, and the Marché du Ferret. See the shop locations here.

A guided tour at an oyster farm 

While there are hundreds of oyster producers in Cap Ferret, most of them are not open for visits. Having said that, there are a few farms that work in collaboration with the tourist office to offer guided tours and workshops.

For example, Sylvie Latrille at Cabane 57 in the Piraillan oyster farming district will guide you through a successful oyster experience, accompanied by wine, bread, and butter. For reservations, contact the farm here

For a family-friendly excursion, join Véronique Lenoir on a fishing expedition along the beaches of l’Herbe village during low tide. Discover a variety of marine life, from crabs to starfish, and enjoy a memorable outing suitable for all ages. With Véronique Lenoir, a lively oyster farmer and guide, you have the chance to Walk through the open parks during low tide, discovering the intricacies of oyster farming. Don’t forget suitable footwear for water and sunscreen! For reservations, contact the Office de Tourisme

Sunrise in Cap Ferret
Sunrise in Cap Ferret by Lost in Bordeaux

Most tours are in French but if you’re lucky you might find one that is ready to make an effort in English. Be sure to contact the tourist office before you arrive to see what’s scheduled during your visit.

A day trip to the Town of Arcachon and the dune 

If you’re spending your holidays in Cap Ferret, you must dedicate at least one day to visit the town of Arcachon and the dune. Arcachon, the largest town in Bassin d’Arcachon, offers stunning beaches, picturesque neighborhoods, and delectable seafood. 

From mid-June to September, there’s a ferry that takes you from Cap Ferret to Le Moulleau in Arcachon, in just 20 minutes (leaving from Jetée Bélisaire). For the schedule and ticket reservation click here.
Once you arrive in Arcachon, explore its four distinct regions: the summer city, winter city, autumn city, and spring city. Each area boasts unique attractions, from beautiful beaches and historic villas to vibrant markets and charming parks. for more information, check out my article Best things to do and eat in Arcachon.

The best things to do in Arcachon France
Arcachon France – by Lost in Bordeaux

When visiting Cap Ferret, you also must visit the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune. Rising to an impressive 110 m high and 500 meters wide, you’ll have plenty of room to wander when reaching up there!

You can climb the dune by stairs that are installed from the end of May to early November. If you come during the low season or just feel energetic, you can just climb straight up the sandy slopes. Once you reach the top, a stunning panoramic view will be revealed in front of you. The Cap Ferret peninsula on one side, a huge pine forest on the other, and the magnificent Banc d’Arguin nature reserve just in front. 

Dune du Pilat on the Arcachon Bay
Dune du Pilat – by Lost in Bordeaux

One of the best experiences you can do there is paragliding! There are a few companies offering paragliding experiences over the dune. Dune Parapente for example offers 10, 20 or 30-minute flights with a breathtaking view of the Dune du Pilat itself, the Arcachon Basin, or the Banc d’Arguin. You can book the experience here.

How to get to the dune: You’ll need a car or a bike to get to the dune from Arcachaon. If you’re coming by public transport, line 3 (Baia company) will take you from the Arcachon train station to Dune to Pilat. To return to Cap Ferret, you can catch the ferry from Le Moulleau, providing a convenient and scenic way to end your day trip.

End the night dancing at Sail Fish 

Existing since 1984, the family restaurant Sail Fish offers a good meal with a festive, “vacation” vibe. Located in the heart of Cap Ferret, it’s a favorite destination for visitors of all ages, offering grilled meats by the fireplace and gourmet desserts. As the evening progresses, the restaurant transforms into a lively hub for dancing, providing the perfect setting to end your night in style!

Where to stay in Cap Ferret 

I have an article with all my recommendations for the best hotels in Cap Ferret but here are three that I particularly like: 

Domaine du Ferret Balnéo & Spa offers a serene retreat, just 500 meters from the beach accessible via a scenic cycle path. With two swimming pools, a spa, and a wellness center featuring hot tubs and massage treatments, your relaxation is promised. You can make a reservation here

Located In the heart of the fishing area, near the lighthouse of Cap Ferret, La Maison du Bassin is a serine and charming boutique hotel. This peaceful retreat offers uniquely decorated rooms, a colonial-themed bar that provides a cozy setting to unwind, and an on-site restaurant for diners that specializes in regional cuisine. You can book a room here.  

If you are looking for a more nature-inspired escape, I recommend Yamina Lodge. It is nestled in the pine forest of Cap-Ferret, Just 600 meters from Dunes Beach and close to The Cap-Ferret Lighthouse. With its warm hospitality and thoughtful amenities, including free bike rentals and access to a jacuzzi, this holiday home gives an extra comfortable and relaxing stay. For reservation go here

If you’re looking for a camping site, Check out my article about the best camping sites in Arcachon and Cap Ferret.

Where to eat in Cap Ferret 

We already established that Oysters are the main product produced in Cap Ferret. But don’t worry, you won’t have to go on an only oyster diet when you’re there. Here are a few recommended restaurants in Cap Ferret:

Le Cabanon du Domaine offers market cuisine with authentic and seasonal flavors. Don’t miss the panoramic terrace in summer and their renowned Sunday brunch. You can make a reservation here.

I love the warm, natural ambiance of Roc Seven Cap Ferret. A beautiful place with good vibes, serving southern cuisine with Latin inspiration with a gorgeous rooftop. You can make a reservation here

Le Bouchon du Ferret offers fresh fish, shellfish, and seafood specialties, everything is fresh and the setting is charming, as the place was once an old Ferret fishmonger. More information on their website

When it’s the best time to go to Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is always stunning with its calm beaches and authentic oyster huts. So whenever you’re in Bordeaux, don’t miss a chance to visit the peninsula. However, like everywhere else, there are better and worth times to travel to Cap Ferret. 

The season in Cap Ferret starts around May, sometimes April if the weather is good, and ends at the beginning of October. Outside the season the villages of the Cap Ferret get very calm, there are no outdoor markets and many summer places are closed for winter. It’s not that you won’t find anything to eat but it definitely lacks the summer energy. 

In the high season, especially from mid-July to mid-August, Cap Ferret gets extremely busy. That’s when many French tourists, especially Parisians flock to the peninsula and it can be quite crowded. The main problem however is the traffic. Cap Ferret is a narrow piece of land, with one main road leading to the south. That means that when many people try to get there, the traffic becomes unbearable.

So, after telling you when it’s better to avoid going there, let’s talk about when should you actually go to Cap Ferret. In my opinion, the best time to go to Cap Ferret is May, June, and September. Cap Ferret is also a very popular weekend destination for many Bordelais so if possible try to visit the peninsula during weekdays.  Of course, if you’re staying in Cap Ferret for a few days, and mostly cycling from place to place then you’ll be less affected by traffic and weekends are perfectly fine for you. 

How to get to Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is not very easy to get to by public transport so driving is the best to get here by car. If you want to rent a car, here’s a good website to get an idea of how much it is going to cost.

In case you don’t want to drive there that should not deter you from going to Cap Ferret. There is a bus (line 601) that goes from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret. Just keep in mind that it’s quite a long journey as the bus stops in many towns and villages on the way. Here you can find the updated schedule of line 601

If you want a more comfortable way to get there, you can hire a driver for a few hours. With this service, for example, you can hire a car with a driver for 5 hours, which is quite enough for a half-day trip in Cap Ferret. A nice tour of the town and a stop for oysters for lunch. 

If you’re staying in Arcachon, you also have the option to get here by boat. From mid-June to September there’s a ferry that takes you from Le Moulleau to Cap Ferret in just 20 minutes (leaving from Jetée du Moulleau). For the schedule and ticket reservation click here.

Like the article? Want to read it again when you’re in Cap Ferret? Save it on your Pinterest board.

If you’re looking for more ideas for things to do in the Arcachon region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
What to do and eat in the town of Arcachon
Best day trips to le Bassin d’Arcachon
15 best things to do with kids in Arcachon
Where to stay in Arcachon
The Best beaches in Cap Ferret
The best camping sites in Cap Ferret and Arcachon

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

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