Everyone enjoys spending time at the beaches. The scenic beauty of the sea, the warmth of the sun, playing with sand gives us immense joy and memories. But Normandy beaches hold historical significance as the largest amphibious military army landed to fight the Nazis. The war took place on 6th June 1944, known as D-day. This operation is considered one of the major turning points in World War II. Visiting these beaches and memorials would definitely make you emotional.
Normandy is easily accessible from the UK or any other parts of the north.
Here I will guide you with everything that you might need to know before visiting Normandy and will obviously recommend you 10 top Normandy D-day beaches and memorials you have to visit.
Before beginning, let me give you more information about the history of D-day because it is important to keep the stories of the real soldiers alive. I promise you this will be quick.
A brief history of D-day
The d-day operation was rerquired, you know why? Because at that time France was occupied by the Germans and the Germans were at the advancement of having a grip over Europe. To prevent this from happening, this invasion was needed. The militaries were not only from Britain but also from Canada and the UK. On 6th June, they landed on the coastline parachuting as airborne forces. Over 150,000 soldiers fought against the German army, it was not easy, but the operation strategies made it possible.
The five beaches where the soldiers have landed were being given code names, those were:
Many lives were lost during this war, and Normandy beaches were the witness of all the bloodsheds.
Well, will not make you wait anymore, I will give you ideas for Normandy Beach tours.
- Utah beach:
The first beach you will reach is the Utah beach if you are visiting from west to east.
depending on the weather you can walk along the beach, and you can see many battalions, monuments, German defenses which are scattered here and there.
- St Mere Eglise:
Near the Utah beach, there’s a small town called St Mere Eglise. The town church holds so many stories about how one paratrooper, John Steele, was suspended from his parachute and his body landed on the church’s roof. Other generals along with John Steele’s medals, memorabilia, and other artifacts including a C-47 Dakota are the collections of the Airborne Museum.
- Pointe Du hoc:
Pointe Du Hoc is a steep, rough cliff edge, the highest land between Utah and Omaha beach. This location was bombed before the operation, and the Germans have moved their long-length guns, but still, it was a hell of a fight.
Here, in the museum, A video is shown where the soldiers tell their stories, listening to it will make you teary-eyed.
- Maisy Battery:
Another German defense spot was Maisy battery, as the place consists of trenches, tunnels, and bunker. You can walk around here and explore all those hidden areas that were used during World War II.
- Omaha Beach:
You have to visit this beach to see the remains of Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall.” Otherwise, you can see the replica glider, tank traps and many other things that were used during the war.
- Normandy American Cemetery:
No one wishes to visit a cemetery during their vacation, but I would recommend you visit this place as it’s a beautiful place to see the scenic beauty of the sea, but it will give you a reminder that many American soldiers died over here, and that is heartbreaking.
p.s: Being emotional is no crime.
- Gold Beach
This was another great German defense spot as they created a temporary harbor to move their weapons and soldiers. The remains of the harbor (mulberry harbor) can be seen from here.
- Juno Beach
To know the stories of the Canadian Army, you have to visit the Juno beach and its museums. There is a visitor’s point where you can get to know about all the details.
- Sword beach and Pegasus Bridge
The final beach (if you are visiting from west to east), will be the Sword beach. It is a typical beach town; you can relax and chill over here.
At the Pegasus Bridge, you can watch the sound and light show in which the attack is being shown.
To make your trip meaningful, you have to visit the Memorial de Caen museum. The exhibition and memorials of the executed soldiers will touch your soul.
The best time to visit Normandy is between June and September.
If you are not interested in historical facts, still you can visit Normandy for its scenic beauty of the beautiful towns and last, but not least is French cuisines.