Visiting Cannes is probably the most preferred day trip for people who visit Nice. Many people want to visit Eze Village, Monaco and beach areas, that’s why they prefer staying in Nice. Considering hotel opportunities Nice offers cheaper accommodation. Apart from this, Cannes is very similar to Nice. Unless you visit Cannes for the famous film festival, you will not be finding many differences.
Antibes is more close to Nice. Most people who stays in Cannes spend half-day or full-day in Antibes and people who stays in Nice who don’t want to spend a whole day in Cannes make a short visit in Antibes too.
How to reach
There are two main options to reach both Cannes and Antibes. Bus 200 will be your only option if you want to prefer the cheapest but most time-consuming way. Train schedules are more often but more expensive. So, it is really up to you. If you want to visit Cannes and Antibes on same day, bus may take your time a lot. My choice was using train three times among Nice, Cannes and Antibes on same day.
What to do
There are few places to visit in Cannes. However, if you have multiple days, you may extend your journey by visiting some islands. La Croisette is the most popular area in Cannes. It is name of both Boulevard near beach and beach itself. There are two public beaches on the far sides of beach area. Other beaches are mostly beach clubs where you have to pay for sunbeds or they are reserved areas for hotel customers.
Rue d’Antibes and Rue Meynadier are the two popular streets for shopping and eating in Cannes. Close to end of Rue Meynadier, you can find the popular Marché Forville market. Palais des Festivals is the building where festival takes place, so you will find many people who are taking pictures on the stairs. There is an official tourist center in that building. You may also find famous actors and actresses’ handprints just in front of the building.
The island group close to Cannes is called “Iles de Lerins”. It consists of four islands: Sainte-Marguerite, Saint-Honorat, Tradeliere, Saint-Ferreol. There are daily departures from Port de Canes to Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat islands. The other two are very small islands which you may access only from the first two islands. Unfortunately there is something really stupid if you want to visit both two main islands. There was no direct transportation from Sainte-Marguerite to Saint-Honorat. So, if you want to visit both, you must return Cannes. I hope they have changed this situation. That’s why most people prefer to vist only Sainte-Marguerite. A return ticket was 14.5 € in 2016.
- Departures to Ste Margherite: 07:30 – 09:00 – every 30 min – 17:30
- Returns to Cannes: 07:45 – 09:15 – every 60 min – 16:15 – 17:00 – 18:00 – 19:00
You may also find a return ticket for visiting St Tropez. However that ticket was around 50€ and it was possible to stay only 5 hours in St Tropez which really makes it nonsense. So, do not get too excited once you learn there is a direct boat to St Tropez. I will be giving better options to visit Saint-Tropez in the relevant post.
There are mainly two popular attractions in Antibes. The first one is Picasso Museum and the second one is Fort Carre. I have never visited the museum, but I learnt there were only few works of Picasso. Unlike Cannes, here once you leave the train station and reach beach side, you will see Antibes port. Beaches are on the other sides. It is about 1.5 km between train station and Plage du Ponteil or Plage de la Salais. I recommend you to reach there by not using any map application. Everything is about wandering and losing your way in French Riviera. So, do not have strict rules or guides to reach your destination.
If you ask me should I visit Antibes or Cannes first, there is really no strict answer for that. If you want to return Nice late at night, probably spending your afternoon in Cannes may be a better option, because there are more things to do in Cannes compared to Antibes.