Normandy has a long coastline that has inspired many artists: cliffs, beaches, dunes… There is a little bit of everything.
Here is our selection of the most beautiful beaches of Normandy, the most picturesque or the most fascinating to visit.
We wish you a wonderful trip to our home region!
No other topic generates as many comments as the articles on the most beaches. It’s a matter of opinion, and people complain that you haven’t listed their favorite beach.
So, to clarify: this list is our selection of our favorite beaches. We prefer the beaches which are very picturesque and photogenic.
#1 Ecalgrain Bay
- Department of La Manche
- West Coast
- Just north of the famous cliffs of Nez de Jobourg
- Cherbourg to Ecalgrain Bay = 30min drive
Why we like it
- Most of the surrounding coastline is rocky or cliffy, so it is a surprise to find this beautiful sandy bay
- It has a perfect combination of golden sand, rocks, green pastures and cliffs
- You can go up the road to have a nice view on the whole bay
- There are walking paths to enjoy the landscape
- To access the beach, stop on the south side where the cliffs are lower. The access is quite easy.
- Small parking lot
- Not much equipment
- Allow 15 minutes to drive by and enjoy the views or several hours to explore the bay.
- Few accommodations in the area – only a few rentals – see options
- Alternatively, head to Cherbourg, the main city in the region – see the top rated accommodations there.
- Or I recommend a stay on the east coast of the peninsula in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, as you can easily make day trips around the peninsula from there – see the top rated accommodations in Saint-Vaast.
#2 Étretat Beach
- Department of Seine-Maritime
- Northern part of Normandy
- Between Le Havre and Fécamp
- Le Havre to Etretat = 30min drive
Why we like it
- It is one of the most fascinating places in Normandy. It is part of the Alabaster Coast with its high cliffs. But it is there that erosion has created the most beautiful structures: arches, sea stacks…
- The beach is a pebble beach that can be reached through the small village.
- Tunnels dug in the cliffs allow you to access other hidden beaches (but be careful and visit only at low tide)
- Plus, you can climb the cliffs on both sides for a great view!
- See more pictures of Etretat in our article
- Wear good shoes: between the pebbles and the cliffs, exploration is not easy. However, if you have difficulty walking, you can simply stay in the village and enjoy the views already.
- It is a very touristy place. On sunny weekends, there are many people.
- All village facilities, including several seaside restaurants.
- Allow at least one day, but I recommend you to spend the night here.
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Etretat
#3 Sand dune and beach of Cabourg
- Department of Calvados
- North of Caen, on the Côte Fleurie
- From Caen to Cabourg = 30min drive
Why we like it
- Normally, I wouldn’t choose a sandy beach to lie on. However, at the end of Cabourg beach, there is a beautiful sand dune at the mouth of the river Dives that I really enjoyed. I felt like I was in a more exotic place and not in the Pays d’Auge!
- You can walk around the dune with the sea on one side and the mouth of the river on the other.
- The seaside resort has amazing buildings from its glory days – it is one of the most beautiful towns in Normandy.
- No large parking lot, parking is on the side of the street
- Easy access to the beach
- All facilities in town
- You can also go to the other side of the mouth of the Dives, in the direction of Houlgate, to see the end of the dune from another point of view (photo below)
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Cabourg
OUR ADVICE FOR RENTING A CAR IN Normandy
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is comfortable enough (distances can be long) but compact (some parking lots and villages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
#4 Beach of Saint-Pierre-en-Port
- Seine-Maritime, Alabaster Coast
- North of Fécamp
- From Fécamp to Saint-Pierre-en-Port = 15min drive
Why we like it
- Many beaches are accessible through narrow valleys along the Alabaster coast. This one is not famous, and I’m not sure I can tell you why it’s one of my favorites. I just felt it was more natural and the cliffs were beautiful.
- I enjoyed the views while walking on the rocks
- And I loved watching the locals pick up seafood
- I recommend a visit at low tide
- Easy slope and some steps to access the beach
- Pebble beach with few facilities
- Plan a stop of 30 minutes or more to explore and enjoy
- Discover the best rated accommodations in the region
#5 Les Vaches Noires – Villers-sur-Mer
- Department of Calvados, Côte Fleurie
- Between Deauville and Cabourg
- Cabourg to Villers-sur-Mer = 20min drive
- Deauville to Villers-sur-Mer = 15min drive
Why we like it
- The beach and cliffs between Villers-sur-Mer and Houlgate are unlike any other in Normandy. Sorry that my pictures don’t do them justice
- It is called “black cows” because of the large rocks that have fallen on the beach that resemble the black cows of the sea
- I enjoyed the golden sand and the undulating shape of the cliffs with their varied colors
- You can reach the rocks by walking on the beach at low tide from Villers-sur-Mer (or from Houlgate)
- Allow at least 2 hours at low tide
- Bring a towel to enjoy the barefoot walk
- All facilities in town but nothing near the rocks
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Villers-sur-Mer
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#6 Arromanches Beach
- Department of Calvados
- North of Bayeux
- From Bayeux to Arromanches-les-Bains = 20min drive
- Caen to Arromanches-le-Bains = 40min drive
Why we like it
- Arromanches is an interesting combination: a wide beach with flat golden sand at low tide, beautiful green cliffs and the remains of the only temporary port of the Second World War.
- It offers beautiful nature and history all in one.
- Plan a visit at low tide to admire the remains of the temporary port on the sand and in the water
- The beach is easily accessible
- Walk on the sand at low tide to get closer to the structures
- Walk / drive up to the eastern cliffs for a great view of the area and to get a better idea of the position of the port
- Allow at least 2 hours, more if you visit the museums
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Arromanches-les-Bains
#7 Beach Huts of Gouville-sur-Mer
- Department of La Manche, West Coast
- North of Granville
- Granville to Gouville-sur-Mer = 45min
Why we like it
- It is an ideal place to enjoy a long walk on the beach
- At low tide, you can see the oyster beds, and in the distance, there is a small lighthouse (Phare du Sénéquet)
- And above all, there are beautiful sand dunes between the road and the beach. Colorful huts have been built there. They are very photogenic. (there are beach huts in many places in Normandy, but these are among the most popular).
- You feel so far away from everything, we found it a very relaxing place
- Easy to park
- Very easy access to the dunes from the road
- Some restaurants
- Allow at least a few hours at low tide
- Discover the best rated accommodations around Gouville-sur-Mer
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Normandy
- Where to stay in Normandy – best places and hotels
- See our tips for renting a car at CDG airport, Orly airport, Beauvais airport, Caen, Rouen, Bayeux…
#8 – Saint-Jouin-Bruneval / Antifer beach
- Department of Seine-Maritime, Côte d’Albâtre
- Just north of Le Havre
- Le Havre to Saint-Jouin-Bruvenal = 30min drive
Why we like it
- I like most of the beaches on the Alabaster Coast. This is one of our favorite places in Normandy. So, in the end, it’s hard to choose the best ones.
- We chose Saint-Jouin, because it offers a beautiful perspective on the cliffs and the colors of the cliffs. In other places they are very white, but here you can see the orange and green
- Moreover, it is far from a village or a city, so it seems more relaxing to me
- Easy access thanks to a large parking lot
- Plan a stop of 30 minutes or more to enjoy
- Facilities in summer
- Preference at low tide
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Le Havre
#9 – Ouistreham
As we wrote earlier, our selection of the best beaches is based on the landscape, not on the best for lying on the sand all day.
However, if you are looking for such a beach, we think Ouistreham would get our vote, because :
- The beach is really big, so you can have some space
- The sand is nice
- The waterfront is not in your face when you are on the beach. There is a little distance before reaching the buildings.
- The facilities are well organized.
- Easy access with large parking lots (paying in summer)
- Summer facilities: mini-golf, swimming pool, sand yacht…
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Ouistreham
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#10 – Deauville
The most famous sandy beaches are mainly around the Côte Fleurie and the Côte de Nacre. Deauville is the most famous seaside resort.
The town has beautiful houses, and along the beach you can walk on “Les Planches” with all the names of actors.
- Easy access with large parking lots (paying)
- Facilities: bars, horseback riding, umbrellas in summer
- Discover the best rated accommodations in Deauville
#11 – Carteret Beach
But you can also find beautiful sandy beaches on the west coast (Manche department) like Carteret.
A beautiful beach at the foot of the Cap de Carteret and its neighbor the beach of Barneville-Carteret.
Do not miss the blue bathing cabins that remain from the era of sea bathing.
See the best rated accommodations
#12 – Carolles Beach
Or, for those who like a long sandy beach close to accommodations, Carolles Beach is a good option. See the options
Other beaches to consider in the area are:
- Thar Beach
- Beach of Breville-sur-Mer
THE SAME MISTAKE WE MADE
On one of our last trips to Europe, a hacker stole our credit card details while we were using a hotel WiFi.
So our trip began with a “card blocked” call… Not funny at all!
Learn from our mistake, make a small VPN investment to surf without worry.
#13 / 14 / 15 – The landing beaches (D-Day)
Another reason to visit the beaches of Normandy is history.
Many of them have seen the landing of military troops during the Second World War.
We have not listed them before because, in terms of landscape, they are less attractive.
However, they are worth a visit to understand the history and learn more about the landings.
The 3 most famous are :
- Omaha Beach
- Utah Beach
- Juno Beach
See our article on the landing beaches for more information.
In Omaha, you can admire the splendid memorial sculpture in the sand.
The museums are further away from the beach.
On Utah Beach, you can appreciate the sand dune, the vast sandy area, the scene set up around it to show how the landing happened.
There is also an excellent museum for those who want to learn more.
At Juno Beach Beach, there is also a sand dune and some remains of bunkers.
This is where you will find the Canadian Museum of the Second World War.
The best beaches of Normandy – Map
Map of the most beautiful beaches in Normandy
Here is a map to help you find your way
About the Normandy coast
The coastline is 603 km long, oriented to the north and west.
It is extremely varied with high cliffs, lower cliffs, flat rocky areas dating back millions of years, sandy beaches, pebble beaches, sand dunes…
It is so varied that many sections of the coastline have different names:
- Alabaster Coast with high chalk cliffs,
- Côte Fleurie with the flowery countryside near the coast,
- Côte de Nacre with the changing colors of the sea,
These landscapes (among the best in the region) have inspired many artists, especially because of the beauty of the sky and the lights that can be enjoyed all year round.
Coastal towns in Normandy
Along the Normandy coast, you can also find a variety of places to stay:
- large cities with ports(Le Havre, Dieppe, Fécamp…)
- resort towns (Deauville, Cabourg, Villers-sur-Mer…)
- small villages(Veules-les-Roses, Yport…)
The Normandy coast really has something for everyone with lots of things to do.