Discover Charente Maritime: A Paradise for Hiking and Nature Lovers

Charente Maritime, a destination where nature reigns supreme and where the hiking possibilities are endless. The department has nearly 5,000 km of hiking trails. Between its spectacular coastal landscapes, unspoilt marshes and picturesque forest trails, this region of southwest France offers a breath of fresh air for outdoor enthusiasts. In this article, we will take you to discover the best hikes and outdoor activities that you can explore during your stay in our lodges in Charente Maritime.




1. The Coubre Forest loop

In the heart of the majestic Forêt de la Coubre, this loop offers an ideal green getaway for the whole family. On a route of approximately 12 kilometers, you will be enchanted by the maritime pines which dance in the wind. This hike will also take you to discover the Coubre lighthouse, offering a breathtaking panorama of the Atlantic Ocean.


2. The Sentier des Douaniers in Fouras-les-Bains

Immerse yourself in history by taking the Sentier des Douaniers in Fouras-les-Bains. Over a distance of approximately 8 kilometers, this coastal path offers you breathtaking views of the Vauban forts and the surrounding islands. Perfect for a family outing, this walk will also allow you to admire the local fauna and flora.


3. The Pierrières loop in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer

For a getaway in the heart of unspoiled nature, opt for the Pierrières loop in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer. On a route of approximately 9 kilometers, you will walk along shaded paths lined with holm oaks and umbrella pines. Don't miss the views of the Gironde estuary and the famous squares, symbols of traditional fishing in the region.


4. The Pointe Espagnee loop in Royan

Treat yourself to an invigorating getaway along the wild coast of Royan by taking the Pointe Espagnee loop. On a route of approximately 6 kilometers, you will discover breathtaking landscapes, between steep cliffs and fine sandy beaches. This hike will also allow you to explore the remains of the Second World War, witnesses of a turbulent past.


5. The Lavoirs loop in Mornac-sur-Seudre

End your journey in style by walking the Lavoirs loop in Mornac-sur-Seudre. On a circuit of approximately 7 kilometers, you will be charmed by this picturesque village nestled in the heart of the marshes. This hike offers you unforgettable encounters with migratory birds and will immerse you in the heart of local history by discovering traditional wash houses.

In conclusion, whether you are with family or friends, hikes in Charente-Maritime are an invitation to wonder and discovery. So, put on your walking shoes, grab your backpack and set off to explore these trails which will reveal all the beauty of this region of a thousand treasures.


Forests and Woods

1. Coubre Forest
Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the Coubre Forest offers a landscape of breathtaking beauty. Its winding trails wind through lush vegetation, leading you past majestic maritime pines and golden sand dunes. Ideal for a family stroll or a hike with friends, this forest is also a refuge for rich and diverse flora and fauna.


2. Double Forest
Nestled in the heart of the Charente countryside, the Forêt de la Double displays its tranquil charms to visitors seeking calm and relaxation. Its wooded expanses are home to a multitude of shaded paths, perfect for peaceful family walks. Take the opportunity to observe the local wildlife, including birds and deer, which inhabit these enchanting woods.


3. Lande Forest
The Lande Forest, with its vast wooded areas and sunny clearings, is a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are looking for adventure or simply want to recharge your batteries in nature, this forest will seduce you with its diversity and wild beauty. Explore its trails on foot or by bike, and let yourself be enchanted by the singing of birds and the whisper of the wind in the foliage.


Natural Parks


1. Marais Poitevin Regional Natural Park

Nicknamed the ""Green Venice"", this natural park is a true marvel to explore by boat or canoe. Its expanses of marshes, crossed by a network of canals shaded by pollarded ash trees, offer an enchanting spectacle. Families will enjoy walks in the countryside and encounters with rich and varied fauna and flora.


2. Estuary Park

At the heart of the Gironde estuary, this natural park invites you to discover a unique landscape where fresh and salt water mix. Birdwatching enthusiasts will be delighted by the many species of migratory birds that stopover in the region. The hiking and cycling trails offer spectacular panoramas of this preserved environment.


3. Regional Natural Park of the Island of Oléron and the Marennes Basin

The Île d'Oléron, the largest island on the French Atlantic coast, is home to a regional natural park where wild dunes, maritime pine forests and salt marshes coexist. Families can indulge in water activities such as sailing or paddle boarding, while nature lovers can observe the famous oyster beds and bird sanctuaries.


4. Brenne Regional Natural Park

Located to the east of Charente-Maritime, this natural park is a true paradise for nature lovers. Its ponds, moors and meadows are home to exceptional flora and fauna, including a large population of dragonflies and amphibians. The hiking trails allow you to explore this preserved territory at your own pace.


5. The Bird Marsh

Nestled in the heart of the Moëze-Oléron nature reserve, the Marais aux Oiseaux is a true ornithological paradise that will delight lovers of nature and biodiversity. This vast territory of salt marshes, old salt pans and wet meadows is home to an incredible variety of migratory and resident birds.

Visitors can explore the trails through the marshes, observing with fascination the herons, egrets, storks and many other species that inhabit this natural sanctuary. Observatories scattered along the paths offer breathtaking views of birds in their natural habitat, thus allowing privileged moments of observation.

Whether during a leisurely stroll with the family or an ornithological photography session with friends, the Marais aux Oiseaux offers an immersive and enriching experience in the heart of the preserved nature of Charente-Maritime.


6. The Marais Salant Ecomuseum

The Écomusée du Marais Salant, located in the heart of the region's salt marshes, is a place to discover and preserve the salt-producing heritage. This living museum invites visitors to delve into the heart of the history and know-how linked to the production of salt, an emblematic activity of Charente-Maritime.

Through interactive exhibits, salt harvesting demonstrations and meetings with local artisans, visitors can understand the traditional techniques used for centuries to extract salt from the marshes. Guided tours also allow you to explore the old restored salt works, witnesses of a rich and fascinating past.

The Écomusée du Marais Salant is also committed to preserving the environment and the biodiversity of the salt marshes. Awareness initiatives are offered to visitors, highlighting the importance of preserving these unique and fragile ecosystems.

Whether for a dive into the history of salt, a meeting with local players or an exploration of the natural wealth of the salt marshes, the Écomusée du Marais Salant offers an immersive and educational experience for the whole family.


The Poitevin Marshes


Discover Natural Beauty

The Marais Poitevin, also known as the "Green Venice", is an expanse of marshy landscapes, winding canals and lush forests. Its remarkable biodiversity makes it a sanctuary for a multitude of plant and animal species, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore a preserved ecosystem.


Boat Trip: A Serene Adventure

One of the best ways to explore this natural paradise is by taking a traditional rowboat. Glide gently over the calm waters, under a dome of greenery, while your local guide immerses you in the history and secrets of the marsh. Soak up the serenity of your surroundings and let yourself be enchanted by the quiet beauty that surrounds you.


Cycling: An Active Exploration

For more active adventure seekers, the Marais Poitevin also offers miles of cycle paths winding through the changing landscapes. Rent a bike and set off to explore picturesque villages, century-old locks and expanses of greenery as far as the eye can see. It's an invigorating way to connect with nature while enjoying fresh air and exercise.


Schedules and Prices

The Marais Poitevin is open all year round, offering unique experiences in each season. Access times vary between providers, so it is recommended to check with local tourist offices or dedicated websites to plan your visit. As for prices, prices for boat trips or bike rentals can vary, but are generally affordable for families and groups of friends.


Charente Maritime is a destination of choice for hiking and nature lovers. Between its picturesque coastal paths, mysterious marshes, verdant forests and preserved natural parks, this region offers a multitude of outdoor experiences to discover. Whether you are looking for a quiet getaway by the sea or an adventure in the heart of wild nature, Charente Maritime will meet all your expectations. So don't hesitate any longer, put on your hiking shoes and set off to discover this jewel of the French Atlantic coast.

To book your stay and discover the Charente-Maritime countryside, click here.

Curious to discover the local cultural heritage? Discover our dedicated article.