Guernsey's fascinating coastline is dotted with dozens of wonderful coves and bays that are just waiting to be discovered. Compared to the island's bigger beaches, these little bays usually are a little harder to access, but when you come across them you will appreciate why the extra effort is worthwhile. Some bays are popular and well frequented while others are less well known and offer the opportunity to enjoy the feeling of being completely isolated from the rest of the world.
Secluded and perfectly formed, Belvoir is a great little bay almost hidden from the rest of the world underneath the cliffs on the far side of Herm Island. With white sand and shallow waters, Belvoir is the perfect family escape and just the place to let children wander freely while you wile away all the stresses of the outside world, which seems like a million miles away when you are there.
Fermain Bay lies just to the south of St Peter Port at the foot of a steep wooded valley, with a beautiful backdrop and splendid views out to sea. The beach is stony rather than sandy and you have to walk a little way to get there, but for anyone prepared to make a little effort Fermain’s sheltered position makes it an ideal spot for a totally relaxing day out within peaceful, natural surroundings.
Only a few minutes walk from the bustle of Guernsey’s main shopping streets, Havelet Bay lies just to the south of St Peter Port’s harbours and marinas. At high tide you would not know it is there but at low water a golden expanse of sand is revealed. Havelet is a favourite among swimmers, canoeists, dinghy sailors and walkers. It is also right next to the impressive outdoor bathing pools at La Valette.
One of Guernsey’s hardest bays to access, Joannet at the foot of steep cliffs on Guernsey’s rugged southern coastline is well worth the effort of a 20 minute cliff path walk ending with a clamber down a short metal ladder and a scramble over rocks. Once there you will appreciate fully your sensational surroundings and that unbeatable feeling of being well away from all the hastles of modern life.
Just around the corner from Petit Port is a bay so beautiful that it captured the imagination of the great French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and provided the inspiration for a few of his best paintings. Apart from being so picturesque, Moulin Huet is a rocky little bay with some fine stretches of sand at low tide and a great place for a moonlight swim.
Walk around the headland at Jerbourg on Guernsey’s south east tip and you are confronted by the breathtaking views across Petit Port Bay, which reveals itself at low tide as a marvellous expanse of sheltered golden sand nestled at the bottom of rugged cliffs. The path down to the bay is steep but the rewards are obvious when you set foot on the beach and appreciate its beauty from a whole new perspective.
Petit Bot is one of the most dramatic little bays in Guernsey, lying at the base of a deep valley half way along the island’s precipitous southern coastline. With cliffs rising from both sides, Petit Bot offers plenty of protection from the prevailing winds and a safe bathing environment, with stones at the top of the beach giving way to a nice sandy bottom further down.
Located at the bottom of a long winding road through a lovely wooded valley, Saints is one of most picturesque and charming bays Guernsey has to offer, with great scenery all around and a beautiful little fisherman’s harbour. There are better bays for swimming but if you are looking for a coastal haven where you can enjoy a picnic and while away a good few hours, Saints is the place.
Pleinmont is the ruggedly beautiful headland area that forms Guernsey’s south-west point, with the striking lighthouse of Les Hanois out to sea. It represents not just one bay but is rather a collection of marvellous tiny coves and bays, all of them easily accessible by foot. This is not a bathing area because the tides are too dangerous but it is a superb natural area to explore – and if you want to go for a swim you can always go to sandy Portelet Harbour nearby.
Just a five-minute drive due south from Guernsey’s airport, the tiny bay at Le Gouffre is wild, rocky and windswept, with a sheltered anchorage where a few hardy fishermen moor their vessels. Le Gouffre is not a bay for the leisurely pursuits of swimming and sunbathing but its sensational location and a splendid tearoom nearby mean that it is well worth a visit.