Hiring a car on Guernsey is easy, and there’s no shortage of local buses and taxis – but a lot of visitors prefer to get about under their own steam.
With over 28 miles of spectacular cliff top paths, plus numerous bays, rural lanes and areas of common land, Guernsey offers walkers numerous opportunities to get out and about on foot.
“The Walking Map of Guernsey”, available free of charge, shows points of interest along the whole of Guernsey’s coast, as well as two suggested circular walks. The “Guernsey Coastal Walks and Nature Trails” guide lists 16 walks throughout the island and is available from The Guernsey Information Centre and other outlets for £7.50. Accredited guides will also take you on guided walks while in the spring and autumn there are walking festivals which provide great opportunities to learn more about the island, providing you with insights that you might otherwise miss.
Guernsey’s temperate climate and variety of habitat makes it an ideal place for many species of bird to nest or visit. There are RSPB walks throughout the spring and summer that will take you to the best places to observe them. You’ll also be able to see rare, semi-tropical species of plants growing wild, including aloes, Madeira geraniums and Kaffir figs.
Cycling is a great way to enjoy the island’s picturesque views and quaint country lanes and there are a number of tourist cycle routes around the island.
The Ruettes Tranquilles are designated lanes across the Island with a recommended speed limit of 15 mph, and ideal for two wheels. They are open to all traffic but give priority to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. They form a network across the following parishes of: Vale, Castel, Forest, St Andrews, St Martins, St Sampsons, St Saviours.
There are also eleven tourist cycle routes with designated cycle lanes which are all on tarmac roads and designed to take you near many tourist attractions. Bicycles may be cheaply and easily rented throughout Guernsey.
It’s impossible to list all the different sights and attractions on the island – but here are some ideas to whet your appetite.
You can easily spend a whole day in St Peter Port browsing the boutiques, relaxing in the cafes, exploring the winding streets and watching all the comings and goings in the harbour. Castle Cornet, the ancient royal fortress that has stood guard over the town and harbour for nearly eight centuries, is home to five museums. You must also visit Victor Hugo’s house.
Guernsey has 27 fine beaches to suit all tastes, from rocky coves in the south to long sandy beaches on the west coast where you have the added pleasure of seeing the sun set into the Atlantic Ocean. Vazon Bay is home to an award-winning Blue Flag beach, which stretches for around 2 miles and features good facilities. Portelet Bay is a charming, sandy beach at the southern end of Rocquaine Bay.
Popular with all ages, Cobo Bay on the west coast of the island is a large sandy beach offering fine sand and scenery as well as excellent windsurfing conditions. L'Ancresse Bay is a wide and flat beach which is one of the biggest bays on the island - with deep sand, the water is perfect for windsurfing, surfing, sailing, sea kayaking and even fishing if you wish.
The famous Moulin Huet features a stunning beach which was a favourite of the artist Renoir and led him to paint a series of landscapes of Moulin Huet in the mid-1880s. On the south coast of Guernsey, Petit Bot is a glorious sandy bay that is surrounded by high cliffs that provide good shelter from winds. L'Eree is a large and popular family beach that is particularly clean – it was classed as a Marine Conservation Society recommended beach for water cleanliness in 2005.
If you like visiting gardens you are in for a treat – there are four within Castle Cornet, as well as the Victorian splendour of Candie Gardens, a wealth of exotic species in Saumarez Park and 12 colourful acres you can wander through in Les Cotils Gardens.
Lihou Island is an unspoilt uninhabited bird sanctuary reached by tidal causeway that also has the remains of a12th century priory. Rousse Headland is dominated by a Napoleonic Loop-holed Tower and battery. L'Ancresse Common includes a flat, wide sandy bay, fortifications and Les Fouaillages Neolithic burial mound, which is possibly the oldest man-made structure in Europe.
In springtime the bluebell woods make a spectacular excursion – the woodland floor becomes a carpet of blue beneath the budding tree canopy. L'Eree Headland offers sweeping views of Lihou Island and across the bay to Fort Grey while Pleinmont Headland has cliff walks, birds, flora and fauna in abundance. The nature trail from Cobo Bay to Saumarez Park also makes a marvellous walk. Fort Hommet Headland boasts a number of rich habitats including stabilized sand dune, wet meadow and heathland with rare species of plants, butterflies and birds. Here you’ll also discover Victorian fortification built to defend against the French and added to in 1942 by the occupying Nazi forces.
La Varde Passage Grave is a large Megalithic chambered tomb, with a capstone weighing over ten tons. Nearby are the Millenium Stone, erected in 1999, and World War Two fortifications. Le Dehus Burial Chamber is a fascinating underground Neolithic structure complete with ancient rock carving. Le Creux ès Faies Passage Tomb is a well preserved Megalithic passage tomb dated c. 3-2500 BC and was known as the entrance to the Fairy Kingdom in Guernsey folklore. Le Trépied Megalithic Burial Chamber is a chamber tomb offering spectacular views over Perelle Bay. It figures in accounts of 17th century witch trials as a Friday night rendezvous for witch's covens where the Devil, disguised as a black goat, sat enthroned on the capstone.
Perhaps the most curious site on the island is the Little Chapel, possibly the smallest chapel in the world. It was built by Brother Déodat who started work in March 1914 and painstakingly created a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France, decorating it with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china.