Memorable day trips from Antibes
With its golden beaches, gleaming superyachts, and a picturesque old town of cobblestones and Provencal markets, Antibes has plenty to offer its visitors. Yet, just outside Antibes, lie some of the best day trips in France, if not the whole world.
Here are just a few of our top picks.
Ride the Train of Marvels into the mountains
Hop on the train to Nice to connect with the Train des Merveilles, a modern train that winds up through utterly spectacular countryside to the Alpine village of Tende, located deep in the forest of the Mercantour National Park. The train trip truly is a marvel, running through no less than 107 tunnels, including four astonishing spiral tunnels, as you climb ever higher to over 300m above sea level. As you emerge from the dark tunnels and rattle across aqueducts high above the valley floor, you’ll have extraordinary views of ancient villages perched precariously atop sheer cliffs and snow-melt rivers winding through the green forest far below. When you arrive in Tende, you can hike, see the famous prehistoric engravings, have a leisurely lunch in town, or climb the Via Ferrata route before taking the afternoon train back to Nice. A great day out.
Take a walk in the Brague, from Valbonne down to the sea
Those who love a long but easy walk by a forest stream will be delighted by the Brague, a tranquil wooded area that runs from the pretty village of Valbonne right down to the sea at Biot. The shady path runs along the River Brague, a crystal clear stream that runs through the forest with lots of rockpools providing the perfect place for cooling off on a hot summer’s day. You could just do a section of the walk and return to Valbonne for lunch but, if you want to do the whole thing, we recommend taking the bus or taxi to Valbonne then walking the approximately three hours down to the sea to Biot, where you can catch the train back to Antibes. An utterly delightful way to spend a day!
Find a tranquil cove in the Cannes Islands
Just offshore of neighbouring Cannes lie Les Isles des Lerins, a small archipelago of tranquil, forested islands which provide the perfect antidote to the crowds of the Riviera in the summertime. Either visit Ile Sainte Marguerite with its stunning coves and crumbling fort, or visit the Cistertian monastery of Ile de Saint Honorat, and wander through the vineyards and along the pretty coastline. Take a picnic along and relax into the way the Mediterranean used to be on the enchanting Cannes Islands. From Antibes, just take the train or walk to Juan les Pins, where you can board the ferry for a quick 20-minute trip to the islands. A heavenly and easy day trip that you’re unlikely to forget.
Have a Provencal picnic under a tree at Lake Saint Cassien
The large, deep Lake Saint Cassien, about 40 minutes’ drive from Antibes, is surrounded by forest and rolling hills, and there are a multitude of coves, little beaches, and perfect picnic spots all around the edge. During summer there’s often an inflatable waterpark set up right in the middle of the lake, and there are pedalos with waterslides and kayaks for hire. Shallow and warm at the edges, the lake does get deep and cold in the middle, the perfect refresher on a hot summer day. Swim, feast on your picnic under the shade of a tree, and then lie back, listen to the cicadas and watch the sun sparkle off the water in the languid heat of a summer day in the South of France.
Visit the Royals of Monaco
No trip to the Cote d'Azur is complete without a visit to the infamous principality of Monaco, playground of the rich and famous. Ruled by the Grimaldi family for some 700 years the Prince, Albert II, and his wife, Princess Charlene still reign and live in the Palais Princier in the heart of Monaco. Lying just 44km along the coast from Antibes, Monaco is incredibly easy to access. The train from the central station in Antibes will take you on a scenic journey that hugs the cliffs and coastline of the Cote d'Azur before pulling into the station that sits high above the harbour of Monaco. A day of shopping, sightseeing and dining is all that is required once you arrive in this pint-sized state, where everything your heart could desire is crammed into just two square kilometres.
This is only a fraction of the great day-trips possible from Antibes. For more activities in and around Antibes, see our Summer Activities Guide, or book a Private Guided Tour and let the experts show you where to go.