Hyères-les-Palmiers is a beautiful Provencal town in the department of Var, attracting visitors who are in search of countryside and looking to explore.

With the Îles d’Or archipelago (Golden Islands) just opposite, you can enjoy the unique, preserved setting here at Hyères, while observing rare species of flora and fauna.

Also being a seaside resort, the town has had its fair share of illustrious visitors: Queen Victoria, Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, Paul Bourget and Pauline Borghèse, to mention but a few.

History

Around the IV c.  B.C., Greek sailors from Massilia established a trading post here, which they named Olbia.

In Greek, Olbia means ‘the happy one’. Happy they certainly would have been thanks to the large reserves of salt from the nearby salt marshes and its booming leather, oil and wine trade.

Near a port for galliots (a type of ship/galley), Olbia also had a marina enabling ships to stop over in the hope of escaping pirates which were rife at the time.

After Ligurian invasions and numerous wars, Olbia was razed. The Romans settled the colony of Areae, which means ‘salt marshes’ in Latin. At the beginning of the Eleventh Century, the Château was built on the hill.

Subsequently, there followed the religious wars, the era of the Knights Templar, and epidemics… Only a few ruins are left of the Château. However, the Tour des Templiers (Knights Templar Tower) built in the Twelfth Century, is still standing.

Attractions

Park Saint Bernard

If you like flowers, or gardens, or quiet restful places, or great views, you’ll love this park. In the old town go up the Rue Saint Esprit to where it turns and becomes Rue Barbacane. Facing the Porte Barruc archway, follow the steps to up to the right through a small gate, and into a lush other world. (It’s open from 8h00 until evening.)

A myriad of walkways and steps leading to different levels or through small arches into adjacent plots take you through a lush, green and colorful environment. Olives, pines and other trees provide shade in extensive gardens full of Mediterranean plants.

The park is peaceful and quite, with benches or low walls for sitting and resting. There’s a great view of the coast from here, and down across the roofs of the town, including the observation table below. High above and behind the park, you can see the lookout point at the Chateau ruins with an even further view.

At the top of the park is the Les Palmiers district, where the ramparts of the Villa de Noailles are being rebuilt. A road from here goes around the hill to the right, circling up to the Chateau ruins to the top, apparently a 45-minute walk.

The Seaside and Presqu’ile de Giens

The seaside and out onto the peninsula Presqu’ile de Giens is typically seaside resort, but perhaps more crowded than most. It’s lined with campsites, hotels, tourist shops, traffic, restaurants and attractions, in a setting of salt marshes and umbrella pines. A popular attraction is the large Magic World fun park, on the D42 road just west of Hyères-Plage.

The Presqu’ile has the village of Giens, a little port, and the Tour-Fondue with an old fortress and the ferry to the islands of Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Levant. Just off the point are the little islands of Petit Ribaud and Grand Ribaud: pretty, but without access. The fortress is picturesque, sitting on a promotory jutting into the sea. You can clamber up the rocks (a bit dodgy) and walk around the base of the fort, but there’s not much point. La Tour-Fondue itself has a pretty little inlet, with a few fishing boats anchored.

The ferry to the Porquerolles leaves roughly every hour, and many passengers take their bicycles for touring the island.

Wine

Hyères is in the region of the Côte de Provence wines, so there are lot of  wineries around town.

Transport

Plane

Toulon-Hyères Airport is located between the Hyères town center and the beach.

Train

Toulon is on the main Nice-Lyon-Paris line. Hyères and Toulon are connected by a local train line and good bus service. This is the best way to get to or from Hyères by public transport.

Bus

7801: Saint Tropez – Hyères – Toulon
7802: Saint Tropez – Hyères – Toulon
7803: Saint Tropez – Hyères
7821: Saint Tropez – Hyères
8803: Cuers – Hyères
8811: Sollies Pont – Hyères
8814: La Croix Valmer – Hyères – Toulon
8815: La Londe – Hyères
8821: Meounes – Hyères
8823: Cuers – Hyères

Distances to other cities

Aix-en-Provence – 96 km
Belgentier – 24 km
Bormes-les-Mimosas – 22 km
Brignoles – 50 km
Castellet – 41 km

Garde-Freinet – 54 km
Le Lavandou – 22 km
Marseille – 86 km
Pierrefeu-du-Var – 16 km
Toulon – 18 km

Map

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