Best day trips on the Cote d’Azur
Are you spending some time on the French Riviera and would you like to do some sightseeing? Here is our Top Ten of suggestions for a day trip!
1. Nice, the old town
Nice is a beautiful city and you could easily spend a few days here! If you are elsewhere on the Cote d’Azur, you should at least come to Nice for a walk in the beautiful Old Town which has nice colored houses and a typical Mediterranean feel. There are a lot of restaurants, bars with terraces and shops with local products. Of course, a walk on the Promenade des Anglais where early morning you will see all the people doing their sports workout is also always beautiful! The big car parks right in the center, make Nice easily accessible for a day trip.
2. Saint-Paul de Vence
A nice mixture of a medieval town center and modern art galleries. Saint-Paul de Vence makes an excellent place for some sightseeing in the Provence. And why not have a lunch in this beautiful setting, in one of the many local restaurants? Click on the image to see my blog article on Saint-Paul de Vence.
3. Broken Dam of Malpasset, and Fréjus
There is a lot to see in Fréjus and this town therefore makes an excellent destination for a daytrip! On Wednesdays and Saturdays, you could visit the nice market in the town center, as well as the beautiful Cloisters. In the afternoon, you could have a walk in the beautiful nature surrounding the historic site of the Broken Dam of Malpasset. To read more about this walk, or about the town of Fréjus:
4. Massif de l’Esterel
We love exploring the beautiful red rocks! You can go up (near Agay) and enjoy the view of the coast line and the beautiful color of the mountains which change a bit depending on the light and the time of the day you will be visiting. The same rocks go all the way down, and a lot of beaches and creeks are surrounded by the same red stones. You can visit the red rocks by water from below by taking a boat tour with one of the boating company’s.
5. Callian, a small town on a hill
Sometimes, when it gets a bit crowded on the coast, a little trip more inland could be a perfect alternative. We visited the small town of Callian, which is beautifully located on top of a hill. It has nice small cobbled streets and the typical feel of the Provence. There are beautiful churches and some cafés and restaurants. It is a small town, and it could be combined with a trip to the close by lake of Saint-Cassien.
6. Saint-Cassien lake
The Saint-Cassien lake is a beautiful and very big lake that you will pass by on your way to villages like Callian. There are small beaches and a lot of places that rent pedal boats, kayaks or stand-up-paddles. There are restaurants and beach bars everywhere around the lake and because the lake is so big, this is an excellent place to escape the crowds. Just jump in a canoe and find your perfect quiet spot for a picnic!
A classical day trip while you are on the French Riviera. Saint-Tropez is a town you would need to visit at least once! In high season, the best would be to either go early by car, or to take a boat from another town like for instance from Saint-Raphael. Once in Saint-Tropez, you could of course visit the famous Museum of Police Men (‘Gendarmes’) and Cinema, walk around on the beautiful narrow streets, and eat the local famous dessert ‘La Tarte Tropézienne’.
8. Islands in the bay of Cannes, les iles de Lérins
From Cannes, you can take a ferry boat to visit one of the islands that are right in front of the city, ‘Les Iles de Lérins’, who are composed of two islands: Ile Saint Honorat and Ile Sainte Marguerite. We chose to visit one of the two islands, Ile Sainte Marguerite and it only takes 10 minutes to get there by boat. You can walk around on the island and follow the walking path which is mainly in the shade of beautiful trees, or visit the Fort, which once served as a prison. The most famous prisoner here was the Man in the Iron Mask. There are some beaches on the island, but it is recommended to bring your water shoes. There are some nice restaurants as well who have the beautiful view on Cannes and all the boats.
9. Gorges du Verdon
This is worth a full day trip! The Gorges du Verdon is a famous and very picturesque gorge in the Provence, with its beautiful Lac Sainte-Croix, on which you can stand-up-paddle or kayak. From Saint-Raphael it was about an hour and a half to drive there. You can go through the beginning of the Gorge by pedal boat or kayak, you can stand-up paddle on the beautiful lake, and visit historic villages like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Soak up the beautiful scenery, and don’t forget your camera!
Another classic for a day trip. If you like Formula 1 races, it is always cool to be able to walk around and see the curves of where this typical race is often held. The old town center on top of ‘the rock’ is beautiful to walk around in, and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco (Aquarium) is beautiful and a popular visit for families.
Of course, there is still much more to explore on the Cote d’Azur!