Top Ten Things To Do In Rothenburg Germany
Top Ten Things To Do In Rothenburg Germany

Top 10 Things To Do in Mont Saint Michel:

Mont Saint Michel is one of the most visited locations in France due to its unique setting and unmatched Medieval beauty.  Despite its extreme popularity, most tourists barely scratch the surface of Mont Saint Michel as they rush in to take a few photos and quickly leave without experiencing all the magic the island has to offer.

In this guide, we will cover the real top ten things to do in Mont Saint Michel so you can plan your own visit and capture the full experience.  Hope you enjoy it!

Related Article: One Day In Mont Saint Michel

Top 10 Things To Do In Mont Saint Michel:

1. Enjoy The Classic Viewpoints:

About The Classic Viewpoints: Take in and capture picturesque horizons and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, especially as you approach on the causeway. Mont Saint Michel sits on the dividing line of Brittany and Normandy, offering stunning views during both high and low tides. Many vantage points resemble scenes that inspired the castle in Disney’s Tangled.

Depending on the moon cycle, you’ll see the island completely surrounded by the ocean or springing up like a mirage from a barren sandy plane.

2. Visit The Abbey:

About Visiting The Abbey: The massive medieval abbey at the top of the island has been a beacon for pilgrims to the village of Mont Saint Michel for over a thousand years and is still incredibly impressive today.

Perched atop the rocky island of Mont Saint-Michel, the abbey stands as a sublime testament to medieval architecture and spiritual grandeur. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, traces its origins back to the 8th century when a small chapel was constructed in honor of the archangel Michael. Over the centuries, the abbey evolved into a magnificent structure, showcasing a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Its soaring spire dominates the island’s skyline, creating an awe-inspiring silhouette against the backdrop of the vast bay.

Visitors to the abbey are greeted with a sense of timelessness as they explore its intricately carved cloisters, chapels, and halls. The abbey’s architectural marvels include the ethereal Flamboyant Gothic choir and the captivating wonder of the abbey church. Ascending to the abbey’s summit rewards guests with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding bay and the picturesque landscape below. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel not only stands as a symbol of architectural brilliance but also serves as a profound cultural and historical landmark, inviting visitors to delve into the spiritual and medieval tapestry of this iconic site.

It is crazy to think that out of the 3 million annual visitors to Mont Saint Michel, only around half of them actually make it up the thousand-year-old abbey which is the main attraction.  While some tourists never reach the top due to the steps required, most miss out due to poor planning on extremely tight tour group schedules.

3. Bay Hike & Quicksand Tour:

About The Bay Hike & Quicksand Tour:  The perilous bay of Mont Saint Michel has been one of the key factors adding to the isolated beauty and allure of the island over the centuries.  Impressively, the difference between the daily high and low tide here is the most intense in all of Europe.  The water recedes up to 25 miles (40 km) from the shore and then races back in at the speed of a trotting horse, rising as much as 50 feet (15 meters) in the process.  Both pilgrims and attackers in the Middle Ages had to time their visits out just right to avoid the intense tidal flow on a journey littered with pockets of dangerous quicksand.

Today, you can experience the magic of hiking into the bay with the aid of a local professional guide, which is truly magical.  During your tour, you’ll navigate the quicksand and learn about the fascinating tides and folklore of the area.  On our tour, we loved learning about the tidal ecosystem, the Medieval battles against the English in the 100 Years War, and the famous scene from the Bayeax Tapestry where Norman soldiers were stuck in the quicksand in the year 1064.

The main highlight of a bay tour is getting hands-on, or should we say feet-on, with the quicksand.   Your guide will spot out “favorable” quicksand where together you flashdance it into a spongey jello, allowing you to take turns sinking up to your knees.  Following your guide’s instruction, you are able to safely escape the shallow quicksand for a truly memorable experience that is one of the best things to do in Mont Saint Michel.

While the tour is exciting, it is also surprisingly very peaceful and meditative at the same time.   Even with a lack of water, you’ll have plenty of time for calm reflection as you stroll across the temporary sandy desert.  Booking a guided hike during the busy midday tourist rush on the island will also add to the serenity as you completely escape the hoards of day trippers to feel like an old work pilgrim.

While you can sometimes safely traverse the sand close to the ramparts, you’ll want to remember to prioritize safety by joining a guided tour.  Make sure to check out our video about doing the guided bay hike if you are interested in it.  explore the expansive tidal flats surrounding Mont Saint-Michel, providing a different perspective of the landscape.

4. Explore The Ramparts:

About The Ramparts: Exploring the ramparts of Mont Saint-Michel is indeed a remarkable experience, offering breathtaking views and a glimpse into its rich history. Stroll the perimeter of the picturesque castle’s ramparts, which helped keep the medieval castle preserved and protected. The medieval castle’s ramparts not only enhance the island’s beauty but also played a crucial role in its defense during historical conflicts, protecting it from the English during the Hundred Years War. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture.

Take a walk along the medieval ramparts for panoramic views of the bay and surrounding countryside, offering a glimpse into the island’s strategic importance.

5. Medieval Alleyways & Grande Rue:

About Visiting The Grand Rue: Walking through the Grande Rue of Mont Saint Michel is like stepping back in time, with its narrow cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. Thousands of years of history can be felt in every corner, from the bustling crowds of pilgrims in the Middle Ages to the strategic military significance of the island fortress. It’s a remarkable journey through time, rich with stories and echoes of the past.

Village Exploration: Wander through the charming village streets filled with quaint shops, cafes, and medieval architecture, experiencing the unique atmosphere of Mont Saint-Michel.

6. Staying Overnight On The Island:

About The Ramparts: Exploring the ramparts of Mont Saint-Michel is indeed a remarkable experience, offering breathtaking views and a glimpse into its rich history. Stroll the perimeter of the picturesque castle’s ramparts, which helped keep the medieval castle preserved and protected. The medieval castle’s ramparts not only enhance the island’s beauty but also played a crucial role in its defense during historical conflicts, protecting it from the English during the Hundred Years War. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture.

7. Local Food & Drink:

About The Local Food & Drink: Indulge in the authentic local cuisine and beverages while exploring the island. Despite not receiving critical acclaim, the island’s culinary scene boasts a variety of regional Norman dishes, freshly caught seafood, including delectable oysters from the bay, and an array of salty treats and local delicacies. The unique flavor of lamb, grazing in the salt marshes of the bay, is a must-try. Don’t miss out on the renowned fluffy omelets either.

Since the Middle Ages, grab-and-go food has been a staple for the influx of tourists, offering quick bites to satisfy hunger. Experience the full gastronomic spectrum of Mont Saint Michel, where many restaurants are housed in centuries-old homes converted into dining establishments. Embrace the French dining tradition of late dinners, but remember to make reservations, especially during peak times. For an elevated dining experience, seek out restaurants with breathtaking views of the bay. Opting to stay overnight allows you to bypass lesser dining options and tourist traps, ensuring a memorable culinary journey on the island.

8. Church of Saint Peter:

About The Church Of Saint Peter: There are several compelling reasons to visit the Church of Saint Peter at Mont Saint-Michel: 1. Architectural Marvel: The church is a stunning example of medieval architecture, perched atop a rocky island in Normandy, France. Its Gothic design and intricate details are awe-inspiring. 2. Spiritual Significance: The church has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, drawing visitors seeking spiritual solace and connection to its rich religious history. 3. Panoramic Views: Climbing to the top of the church offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the bay, the coast, and the picturesque village below. 4. Cultural Heritage: Mont Saint-Michel and its abbey have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, making the Church of Saint Peter an essential stop for those interested in exploring cultural and historical landmarks. 5. Unique Setting: The church’s location on a tidal island adds to its allure, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. Overall, the Church of Saint Peter at Mont Saint-Michel offers a blend of history, spirituality, and natural beauty that makes it a must-visit destination for travelers.

9. Biking & Horseback Riding:

About Biking & Horseback Tours: Mont Saint-Michel offers an array of thrilling outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts. Embrace the scenic beauty of the coastline with exhilarating biking excursions, allowing you to pedal along picturesque paths while soaking in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. For a unique and immersive experience, embark on guided horseback riding trips across the bay, where you can traverse the terrain alongside experienced guides, discovering hidden gems and historical landmarks along the way. Whether you prefer the speed and freedom of biking or the majestic allure of horseback riding, Monte Saint-Michel promises unforgettable adventures amidst its captivating natural splendor.

10. Take A Day Trip:

About Day Trip Options: if you feel like venturing further than a horse or bike, would take you. There are an array of exciting places to visit with a 90 minute radius of Monte Michelle it may sound odd to suggest leaving one of the most beautiful places on earth, but in just a short distance, you can get to the beaches of Saint Milo, the medieval wonder of Dunan and the historic treasure of the normandy D-day sites. Exploring beyond Mont Saint-Michel opens up a world of captivating destinations within a 90-minute radius.

Here are some top day trip suggestions: 1. *Beaches of Saint Malo:* Just a short distance away, the stunning beaches of Saint Malo offer sun, sand, and sea. Whether you’re looking to relax or indulge in water sports, this coastal gem has something for everyone. 2. *Medieval wonder of Dinan:* Step back in time as you wander through the medieval streets of Dinan. With its well-preserved architecture, charming shops, and picturesque riverfront, Dinan is a delight to explore. 3. *Historic Normandy D-Day sites:* Pay homage to history with a visit to the Normandy D-Day sites. From Omaha Beach to the American Cemetery, these poignant landmarks provide insight into one of the most significant events of World War II. 4. *Bayeux Tapestry:* Marvel at the impressive Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a fascinating glimpse into medieval life and warfare. 5. *Château de Fougères:* Delve into the past with a visit to the imposing Château de Fougères. This medieval fortress boasts impressive ramparts, towers, and gardens, providing a glimpse into France’s rich architectural heritage. 6. *Cancale:* Indulge in fresh seafood delights in the charming coastal town of Cancale. Known for its oysters and scenic views, Cancale offers a taste of authentic Breton cuisine against a backdrop of rugged coastline. Each of these destinations promises a unique and memorable experience, enriching your journey beyond the enchanting confines of Mont Saint-Michel.

Not Worth Your Time

11. Small City Museums: