The beaches of Ile d'Houat are probably some of the best I have seen anywhere in Europe. The longest, and the one you'll see on a hundred postcards, is the spectacular Treac'h Ar Gouret, or "la Grande Plage" if you can't get your tongue around the Breton. If calm idyllic beaches are not you, head round the headland, past the campsite, to Treac'h Ar Salus (Plage du Salut) where the waves pound onto golden sand. Keep on walking round the island, and you will find all manner of small bays and tiny coves, most of them empty.
We travelled to Houat from Port Navalo on the western tip of the Presqu'ile du Rhuys in Morbihan, southern Bretagne. The journey took just over an hour and a half, and the boat continued on to Hoedic. A day trip to Houat means around six hours on the island...but there are places to stay if you miss the last boat back!
You can also depart from Quiberon or from Vannes. The prices on the leaflet I found are meaningless nowadays as they are in French Francs!
Luckily we were blissfully unaware of any nasty things languishing in the shallows when we were swimming, but i remember being a bit perturbed by a leaflet I picked up before getting on the boat back. It told of a vicious little creature that inhabits the sand along the shoreline, waiting for daft swimmers to tread on it. Something like a stonefish, I believe, only less dangerous. I was a bit out of my depth with the French used to describe it, but I got the gist...if you go paddling, wear flip flops or jelly shoes, or be prepared for a sudden shock of pain in your foot.
The harbour and only village on the island is Port Saint Gildas named after an important Breton seafaring saint. The town is home to around 350 permanent residents, and the place is surprisingly spread out...we managed to get lost completely in the twisty lanes, which is not what you want when you are in a rush to get the last boat!
Port Saint Gildas has many shops and cafes, a few restaurants and a small hotel. You can also hire bicycles here to tour the rest of the island. I don't remember seeing any cars, and there is no reason why there should be any.