Sword Beach is especially popular with British visitors. Most half-day tours depart from Caen or Bayeaux and cover the legacy of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who fronted the Allied invasion of Normandy. Other key sites include the Hillman Bunker and the British Military Cemetery. Full-day tours add insightful stops delving into the intriguing history of D-Day and the turbulent battles including Omaha Beach, the site of one of D-Day’s bloodiest battles, and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. If you have the time, consider a multi-day tour, as seeing all the sites along the coast requires time.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sword Beach is an ideal spot for history buffs, especially those focused on the events of World War II.
- A small entry fee is required with discounts for children.
- Small shops selling souvenirs and ice cream are on the beach, but no restrooms except at the museum.
How to Get There
Sword Beach is located in the town of Ouistreham along the coast of Normandy, about 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of Caen. From Paris’s Saint-Lazare station, the trip is quick and easy by train; expect about 2.5 hours. Public buses (Verts du Calvados) run between major cities and to the main landing beaches.
When to Get There
Sword Beach is open year-round, from morning to evening, with longer hours from April through September. In general, Normandy has a temperate-zone maritime climate, with warm summers and mild winters and year-round rains. Peak season is July and August, as well as the anniversary around D-Day on June 6th.
The westernmost landing point of the D-Day battle, Utah Beach is steeped in WWII history and lore. At the site of the landing, the main attraction is the Utah Beach D-Day Museum (Musée du Débarquement Utah Beach), which focuses on the extraordinary battle and deep dives into life under German occupation before the Allies arrived.
- Merville Battery (Batterie de Merville)
- Ardenne Abbey (Abbey d'Ardenne)
- Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery
- Juno Beach Centre (Centre Juno Beach)
- Mulberry Harbour
- Bayeux Tapestry (Tapisserie de Bayeux)
- Lace Conservatory (Conservatoire de la Dentelle)
- Baron Gérard Museum of Art and History (MAHB)
- Bayeux Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux)
- Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy (Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie)
- Bayeux War Cemetery
- Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
- Omaha Beach