Nestled within the heart of the Channel Islands, the island of Sark is a gem that allows you to get away from the busy city and enjoy an easygoing, tranquil vacation. To locate Sark on a map, you’d need to zoom into the Channel Islands located in the English Channel between France and England and then zoom in a little more. This tiny dot on the map offers old-world charm in a compact island that spans only three miles across from end to end and one and a half miles wide.
The beaches on the island are breathtaking, and the wildlife is stunning, from the puffins sheltering on the cliffsides to views of dolphins playing offshore. This tiny slice of paradise is rich in beauty and history, and to top it off, visitors are warmly welcomed by the locals who thrive on the flourishing tourist industry.
With no cars or streetlights on the island and a population sitting around 600 people, the serene life on Sark is quiet and peaceful. There really is no place like it. When planning a holiday on Sark, mapping out your day involves planning out a day that fits your interests and allows you to fully enjoy everything Sark has to offer.
Getting Around Sark
With no cars, getting around Sark is usually primarily done by walking and cycling. If you’re staying on the island, there are horse-drawn carriages and tractors available to help transport you to your accommodations to help you avoid hauling your luggage up the steep Harbour Hill. There are bicycles available for hire on the island to make getting around easy and allow you to enjoy a nice bike ride along the coastline.
Sights to See
Arriving on Sark, there is something to see and do for everyone. Here are some of the highlights you can’t miss when on holiday in Sark.
At the top of Harbour Hill, the Avenue is the main street on quiet Sark, where you can find eateries, pubs, and shops. There you will find many of the bike hire locations, St. Peter’s Church, and more. The Avenue is at the center of the island on “Big Sark” and where you will end up when you arrive on the island and either take a horse-drawn carriage or tractor up Harbour Hill.
The Window in the Rock – All along the coast of Sark are some incredible rock formations and tidal pools. Of the many must-sees is the Window in the Rock that overlooks the west of La Seigneurie. The tunnel was blasted in the 1950s to allow an easy path to haul goods to the beach below. This rock formation is on the north end of the island.
The Buddhist Rock – If you take the walking path to the very north end of the island at L’eperquerie, you can enjoy the Buddhist Rock carving, also called Monks Stone. The stone was carved by a Tibetan Buddhist monk who visited in 1999. The rock writing translates to “Behold – The jewel in the lotus.”
Sark Henge – On Big Sark to the east end, you can take a trail up to the cliffside where Sark Henge sits. The replica of traditional neolithic monuments was erected in 2015 as a tribute to 450th anniversary since Queen Elizabeth I granted the Fief of Sark to Helier De Carteret. Helier De Carteret was the Seigneur of St Ouen, the original feudal lord of the island. The giant stones represent Sark’s nine medieval territories.
La Coupee – Take a trip to the causeway that separates Big Sark from Little Sark. The narrow path takes you across a steep drop-down of over 300 feet on both sides. It was built during the German occupation by the German POW to provide access to the other end of the island. Before the path was built, people had to scramble over rocks to get to the other side.
Gouliot Caves and Headland – On the west coast of Sark, a large sea stack along with the Gouliot Caves have been designated as one of the RAMSAR sites around the world. The caves are known for the remarkable variety of life, including sponges, sea anemones, hydroids, and more that can be found on the cave walls and are accessible during low tide.
Little Sark – Only accessible once by boat or by a scramble over the jagged rocks, Little Sark is a quiet farming landscape. The La Sablonnerie Hotel and Restaurant guests can enjoy the peace and serenity of their surroundings as they stay on the island. Below the cliffs on Little Sark, you can take a trip down to some natural bathing pools, such as the Adonis Pool or the better-known Venus Pool.
Getting a Tour of the Island
With a map in hand from the ferry, or you can grab one at the visitor center, you can explore the island at your leisure in a number of ways. You can rent a bicycle and take the trails around the island from coast to coast. You also have the option to hire a tour guide on the bike to take you around and tell you stories as you learn about Sark’s history throughout time. Alternatively, if you’d like a nice romantic stroll on the island, horsedrawn carriage tours are also available.
All of the beaches on the island usually require a rough trip down across a rocky or steep path. There are many popular beaches, including Dixcart Bay on the northeast coast or the beach at La Grand Greve.
Because there are no cars or streetlights on the secluded island, it drastically reduces light pollution. When night falls, Sark is a wonderful place to be for some stargazing. The Sark Astronomical Society built an observatory and will host yearly events.
Sark may be hard to spot on a map, but it’s certainly a place to get to know when exploring the Channel Islands.