How to get to French Polynesia

By | May 4, 2022


Exuding laid-back tranquility, the islands of French Polynesia are the epitome of turquoise surf and romantic sunsets. Far away and untouched are the islands where nature dominates everything else. The first Europeans to set foot here were the Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 16th century. First the British, then the French took power in the 18th century. Tahiti, the largest island of French Polynesia, dominated by Mount Orohena (2,236m) and Mount Aorai (2,068m) and notable for its spectacular tropical scenery, became a French protectorate in 1842. The other islands followed around the turn of the century before last. In 1957 French Polynesia became a French overseas territory and in 2004 the second French overseas country alongside New Caledonia. See other countries in Oceania on historyaah.

Getting there

Arriving by plane

French Polynesia is served by United Airlines (UA), Air New Zealand (NZ), American Airlines (AA) and Air Tahiti Nui (TN), among others. Air Tahiti Nui (TN) flies from Paris via Los Angeles to Papeete. Some of the following fly to Papeete from Germany, Austria and Switzerland: – Lufthansa (LH) from Frankfurt/M. in cooperation with Air Tahiti Nui (TN) via Los Angeles and – Air France (AF) from German airports, Vienna and Zurich via Paris and Los Angeles. Flights from Paris to Papeete also offer French bee (BF) via San Francisco and Air Tahiti Nui (TN) via Los Angeles.

Flight times

Frankfurt – Papeete: from 22 hours 30 minutes; Vienna/Zurich – Papeete: from 25 hours; Paris – Papeete: from 22 hours 25 minutes

Departure fee

There are no airport taxes in French Polynesia.

Arrival by ship

Papeete, Tahiti, the only international port, is served by cruise ships.

Cruise ships

Transocean, Phoenix and AIDA also dock in Papeete on their world cruises that start in Hamburg. Cruises departing from Europe with a stopover in Papeete are also offered by Costa, MSC and Princess Cruises.


Traveling by plane

Regional airline Air Tahiti (VT) connects Tahiti to the neighboring islands of Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora-Bora and Maupiti, as well as a number of more distant islands in French Polynesia, from its base in Papeete.

Traveling by car/bus

Tahiti has a paved ring road along the coast. At Taravao, in the east of the island, dead-end roads branch off to the towns of Tautira and Teahupoo. The other island roads are mostly unpaved. Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea also have ring roads that run along the coast.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Condition of the roads

Usually only the roads along the coasts are paved on the various islands. Roads in the interior of the island are usually unpaved.

Car rental

On the larger islands, various rental car companies are represented at the airport and in the cities.


Taxis are available in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea. They can be found in front of many hotels, as well as at airports and ferry ports.


Mopeds and bicycles can be hired on the larger islands.


Le Truck buses circle the larger French Polynesian islands along their coastal roads. Buses stop anytime passengers want to get off; There are no fixed timetables or stops.


Traffic regulations: – Traffic on the right. Speed ​​limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h; – extra-urban: 60 km/h.

Roadside Assistance

The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (89) 76 76 76.


The national driving license is sufficient.

Traveling by ship

Aremiti catamarans operate several times a day between Tahiti, Moorea and Aremiti (journey time: 30 minutes). Cruises between the various French Polynesian islands are offered by cruise lines such as Oceania Cruises, Aranui, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Ponant, Windstar Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. These cruises call at the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Nuku Hiva and Fakarava, among others.

How to get to French Polynesia