France, Charente Maritime, Ile de Re, Saint Clement des Baleines, the Baleines lighthouse (aerial view)
LEROY Francis/© LEROY Francis
Although this island has been connected to La Rochelle via a 3-kilometer (1.5-mile) bridge since 1988, it still feels like a place apart. The pretty villages, green countryside and the long golden-sand beaches, such as Conche des Baleines, make it a popular summer destination. With almost 100 kilometers (60 miles) of bike lanes, two wheels is very much the way to get around, and cycling paths take you past marshland teeming with birds, as well as vineyards and salt flats.