D-Day Beaches picture1 of 3
D-Day Beaches2 of 3
fhm/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Monuments and Memorials, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

World War II's successful Operation Overlord took place on the coast of France. Although there were heavy Allied casualties, this invasion turned the tide in the war and helped lead to the fall of Nazi Germany. Today this piece of coastline, which includes Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches, is collectively known as the D-Day Beaches.

Visitors can tour the approximately 50-mile stretch of sand and pop by a number of museums, memorials and cemeteries that are spread out alongside the coastline either with a tour or on their own. If you're driving yourself, start in the town of Arromanches, which hosts two museums that help provide context for the battle sites. The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and the Pointe-du-Hoc bomb craters are also especially moving. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, recent visitors recommend going with a tour guide to fully appreciate the area's historic importance and receive a comprehensive overview. If you're visiting in June, you'll likely come across several ceremonies and reenactment groups commemorating the anniversary. Thanks to Normandy's unpredictable weather, you'll want to dress in layers (no matter the time of your visit) and bring rain gear, according to past visitors.

Three of the more popular traveler-recommended tour companies include Overlord Tours, Bayeux Shuttle and Normandy Sightseeing Tours. Public buses are also an option, though not as convenient as having your own set of wheels. Bus Verts du Calvados operates several routes that depart from Bayeux, including the No. 74 and No. 70. The beaches are free to visit, but you'll have to pay to gain access to the museums. For more information about the beaches and D-Day memorials and museums, visit the Normandy Tourism website.

See all Hotels in Normandy »

More Best Things To Do in Normandy

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey (Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel)1 of 17
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen2 of 17
Type
Time to Spend
#2 Mont Saint-Michel Abbey (Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel)

Surrounded by sea in the high tide and sand in low, Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel is one of France's most-toured sites outside of the popular Parisian landmarks. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its first incarnation was raised on the 264-foot-high rock beginning in the 10th century, but additions were added well into the 19th century. Today, you can tour the abbey and the little village at its base, as well as several museums. Tours are offered year-round, but you can also traipse the massive structure on your own.

Guided tours – which are included in the cost of admission – do not require advance booking and are offered in French and English year-round. Tours are also offered in German, Italian and Spanish in July and August.

Read more
© Teo Morabito/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Normandy »

Explore More of Normandy

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019