The Levant Island is world famous for its naturist beach and its Heliopolis domain. You can also visit the Domaine des Arbousiers nature reserve, as well as the rustic village, without public lighting or illuminated sign.
The Levant Island: a naturist paradise in the heart of nature
The Levant Island is one of the three islands of Hyères, also called the Golden Islands, with Port Cro and Porquerolles. It is easily accessible from the Giens peninsula. Known for the beauty of its flora, it is also known for its naturist beach.
History and geography of the Levant Island
Located east of the Hyères archipelago, the Levant Island stretches for 8 km. 2 km wide, it peaks at 140 m. It is separated from Port-Cros by the Cave Pass, one kilometer wide. Its eastern position gives it its original name, because you could admire splendid sunrises.
The shuttles dock at the little port of Ayguade, from where the Val d’Ayguade path leads to the village. It has retained its rustic character, with no poles, no public lighting, no illuminated sign. It can accommodate its guests in the best comfort desired, but the flashlight, with the “minimum” or the sarong, are part of the panoply of the perfect “little Levantine”.
But it is a real village with its town hall, its post office, its chapel built by the locals, and its shops. About a hundred people live there every year.
In the past, the island was one of the religious domains that cultivated it. It changed owners multiple times before being pillaged and ravaged by the English in 1793.
Then, it was abandoned for many years, until serving for military operations, notably under Napoleon.
Since then, 80% of the island’s area has been dedicated to military activities and remains inaccessible.
Heliopolis naturist beach
In 1931, the brothers Gaston and André Durville created the first naturist domain in the Mediterranean. They chose this place for its tranquility and its wild side. Since then, the Heliopolis estate has been known worldwide. In summer, it welcomes naturists from all over the world.
The sea here has crystal clear, unpolluted water. The seabed is magnificent, offering an unforgettable spectacle for diving enthusiasts.
The practice of naturism is free everywhere except in public places, on the port and the village square. It is even compulsory on the naturist beach and the seaside, by municipal decree.
However, nobody will prevent you from disembarking in the Levant and walking around dressed outside the areas where the naked is the rule. But you have to accept, in fine weather, accept the nudity of others. Off season and crowds, no one will blame you for coming dressed.
The Domaine des Arbousiers
The Levant Island is full of wild and unspoiled nature. The island is indeed covered with abundant vegetation and its arbutus trees are among the most beautiful in Mediterranean Europe. They are small shrubs with reddish bark, with round and red fruits, typical of the garrigue.
The Domaine des Arbousiers has thus been a voluntary nature reserve since 1993. It offers tourists a multitude of flavors. On 20 hectares, the flora is jealously protected; you can breathe in numerous scents specific to the garrigue: rosemary, thyme, savory, rock rose, or even the myrtle which exhales a honeyed and suave scent.
The entire island also belongs to the Natura 2000 network and constitutes a national area of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest (ZNIEFF).