Discover Antibes & Cannes.
Beautiful sandy beaches stretch for miles along the coast, connecting Nice to Antibes and Cannes. Antibes is a charming port town just 20 minutes west of Nice, and boasts some of the coast’s most beautiful sandy beaches — plus a beautiful old town, lively market, and famous Picasso museum. Further along is Cannes, stomping ground of famous movie stars, known for its shopping, miles of sandy beach, stunning hill-top old-town, and of course the Cannes Film Festival building. Just off the coast of Cannes, and easily accessible by frequent and cheap ferries, you’ll find the Lerins Islands nature reserve, 2.5 square kilometres of beaches, forest, walking-trails, with a long and storied history.
What to Do & See in Antibes.
Named by some as the cultural heart of the Cote d’Azur, Antibes has beautiful beaches, a lovely old town with market, a stunning port area, and several museums including the famous Picasso museum.
Picture by Claude.
The Best Beaches in Antibes.
There are three beaches in Antibes with beautiful white sand, La Gravette, du Ponteil and Salis. Check out our guide on the best beaches on the Cote d’Azur here.
The Old Town of Antibes.
With its narrow streets, alleys adorned with geraniums, old stone water troughs and iron balustrades, the old town of Antibes is a beautiful spot to visit. You can start your walk at the Tourist Office for a free city map. Walk towards Port Vauban, the marina, and up along the 17th century city wall (Promenade de l’Amiral-de-Grasse) of the old town. You can visit the market in the morning and early afternoon (Marché Provençal) for souvenirs, delicious local specialities, spices and all things truffle. There are plenty of nice restaurants here for lunch.
Picture by Pedro Szekely
Visit the Picasso Museum for its magnificent paintings, collection of sculptures on the terrace, and breath-taking views. The building itself is very interesting: this amazing collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures is set in an old villa of the Grimaldi family, overlooking the Mediterranean.
Picture by al_funcoot
Coastal Walking Trail (Sentier du Littoral).
Le Sentier du Littoral (means literally coastal pathway) is a peaceful little hike that circles around the Cap d’Antibes. It is a relaxing walk, with a magnificent view of the sea and public gardens. It takes about one and a half hours to go around the Cap, and the walk is simple and flat – although good shoes are recommended for small stones and pebbles. You can stop anywhere along the way for a picnic lunch or to swim in the small beaches and coves.
Picture by Edalger.
Eat and Drink.
You’ll find lots of great bars and restaurants in Antibes, and the village gets quite busy in the evening and at time. We recommend heading to any one of the local restaurants around the market-place for a fresh and filling lunch.
Picture by Rob DeGraf.
What to Do & See in Cannes.
Beautiful sandy beaches, designer boutiques, a picturesque old quarter and the famous Cannes Film Festival which sees the world’s most famous film stars visit the town, make a visit of Cannes a must while on the French Riviera. A short ferry ride from the Cannes port will take you to the Lerins Islands nature preserve to enjoy these little islands’ unspoiled nature, many walking trails, and famous fort-turned-oceanographic museum.
Take a walk in the Old Town: The Suquet District and the Castre Museum.
Cannes is best known for its famous international Film Festival, many luxurious yachts, and glamorous night-life. Behind all this glits and glamour, you’ll find an ancient fishing village with many restaurants and local bars, shopping streets, pintoresque markets, all set on a splendid turquoise bay.
In the old town of Cannes, take a walk along the narrow streets of Suquet and enjoy the tranquillity that reigns here. The picturesque streets are less busy, and you can easily recapture the feeling of the original Provençal village with its cobbled streets, fountains and colourful houses lined with bougainvillea.
If you climb to the top of the square tower of the castle, you will have a 360° panoramic view of the sea and the city. Don’t forget to visit the Church of Our Lady of Hope, a Gothic building of the 17th century and the Castre museum of cultural arts, a former castle of the monks of Lerins who founded Cannes in the twelfth century.
Located at the foot of Suquet and close to the old port, the Forville market has a reputation as a quality market, with fresh produce and a wide variety of local products. This covered market is one of the most popular spots in le Suquet. Here the fishermen and farmers meet every morning to sell and trade their wears. Don’t forget to try the Provençal speciality: “Socca”, a flatbread made from chickpea flour and fried in oil until crispy, served hot out of traditional ovens with a little salt and lots of pepper.
Le Palais des Festivals.
A must-see for movie-goers coming to visit Cannes, the Palais des Festivals is the venue for the world-famous Cannes Film Festival every May. The perimeter is lined with the signatures of all the stars and famous personalities that have passed through its doors, called the Chemin des Étoiles (Star Way). There are over 140 handprints of the greatest names in the industry, like Pedro Almodavar, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino, Sergio Leone, and many others.
Morning walk on the Croisette to Palm beach.
La Croisette is a large boulevard and pedestrian area located at the edge of the beach. A walk under the palm trees of the Croisette is breathtaking. This stretch of 3 kilometres of shops, casinos and hotels boasts one of the largest concentrations of luxury brands in France. It’s best to go early in the morning for a walk or jog in the first light of the day to avoid the crowds. The sea is calm, with locals out to enjoy the peace & quiet on the beaches. The Croisette’s many famous hotels are built in the different architectural eras of the city, including the Carlton Hotel from the Belle Époque (1911), and the Martinez Hotel built in the Art Deco style of the 1920s.
The Lerins Islands Nature Preserve.
The Lerins Islands are made up of two islands: Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite. They each have their own atmosphere and you can take different boats to get to both islands.
Sainte Marguerite Island.
Just 15 minutes from Cannes by boat, enjoy a relaxing afternoon on this beautiful island of unspoiled nature!
Sainte-Marguerite Island is the largest of the two islands. As a nature preserve and lesser-known feature of Cannes, it has kept its wild side, and has many small beaches and wooded spaces for relaxing beach days, picnicing, bird-watching and walking through nature.
Saint Marguerite Island is also home to a famous military fort that’s been converted into an oceanographic museum dedicated to both the natural and man-made features of the region, including the spoils of Roman and Saracen shipwrecks. The military fort once served as prison to the infamous Man in the Iron Mask, whose identity was never discovered, lending itself to any number of local legends.
Saint Honorat Island.
The Saint-Honorat Island is home to a community of monks, habitants of this small wooded island for more than 1000 years. The Abbey of Lérins and fortified Monastery are a step back in time. The monks still make their own organic wine and honey, and you can participate in tours and wine tastings on the island. Climb to the top of the old donjon, from where you can enjoy a breathaking view of the 40 hectares of island nature and its ancient vineyards.
The old monastery, Ile Saint Honorat.
local guide tips
- Buy a ticket from Nice to Cannes for 6.60€, and you can get off in Antibes along the way for free.
- Head to the old-town market in Antibes and visit the famous Picasso museum.
- Check out the covered market of Cannes for a coffee and pain au chocolat at the Boulangerie de Marche.
- Go to the Musée de la Castre in the Suquet or old quarter of Cannes and climb to the top of the tower for amazing views of Cannes.
- Visit the Isle St Margarite where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned, or the Isle St Honorat to see the vineyards of the monks who have lived in the Lerins monastery for a thousand years. The journey takes just 15 minutes from the port of Cannes and boats leave every 30 minutes.
- See the Palais Des Festivals where the Cannes film festival takes place and stroll on la Croisettes, the sea front of Cannes.