Amazing Day Trips to Take From Antibes by Boat

From Saint-Tropez to Monaco, Antibes and the surrounding coastal areas are incredible to explore by boat
From Saint-Tropez to Monaco, Antibes and the surrounding coastal areas are incredible to explore by boat | © John Kellerman / Alamy Stock Photo
Chrissie McClatchie

Dating from pre-Roman times – but set up with a modern, world-leading infrastructure – Port Vauban has made Antibes the yachting capital of the Mediterranean. Today, this sprawling marina is capable of welcoming more than 1,800 boats up to 160m (524ft) in size. Conveniently located between Cannes and Monaco, this sun-kissed resort town – that played muse to Picasso – is ideally placed for a wide selection of classic French Riviera day trips by boat.

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Cap d’Antibes

The leafy peninsula outside Antibes is a billionaire’s row of stately villas, as well as the ultra-exclusive Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc – which has been the smart-set address for over 150 years. The Sentier du Littoral path hugs the rocky coastline – a chance to admire the same prized views for free. During the summer season – March to September – Plage Keller and Plage Joseph on Plage de la Garoupe rent out sun loungers for the day, perched over the water on twin sun-drenched pontoons.


At the entrance to Nice’s sail-studded harbour stands the art deco splendour of the gastronomic La Reserve restaurant. Next door, Le Plongeoir is an easy-on-the-eye restaurant and bar – where fresh Mediterranean flavours and tasty cocktails are served alfresco on a rocky outcrop next to a towering diving platform. Coco Beach – the small pebble beach next to the yacht club – is a local favourite.


Rub shoulders with superyachts in the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer – where a patchwork of terracotta roofs is set against the azure Mediterranean in a postcard-ready setting. Along the beachfront Promenade des Marinières, La Voile Bleue is a chic beach shack serving up the best pan bagnat – essentially a salad Niçoise in a crusty bread roll – for miles during the summer months.


Despite its exclusive nature, the port of Saint-Jean has a laid-back feel and the cobbled streets behind the pretty harbour are home to a selection of speciality stores to stock up on picnic supplies. The coastal walk around the peninsula passes by a lighthouse and shady coves. Close to the port, Paloma Beach is the quintessential French Riviera beach club. Drop anchor in Plages des Fosses for a refreshing swim in its turquoise waters.


This postage-stamp principality is on a mission to show the world that green can be glam. Whether that’s the “Made in Monaco” liqueurs from La Distillerie de Monaco – crafted from local bitter oranges and other products – or the zero-waste philosophy in the kitchen at Elsa Restaurant at the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel, the first 100% organic restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. In addition, over 20% of Monaco’s territory is given over to parks and gardens – a figure set to rise under the patronage of the eco-conscious prince, HRH Albert II.

Îles de Lérins

The two islands of Cannes – Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat – are just 15 minutes from the mainland but feel a world away from the daily grind. In the summer, the narrow channel that separates the two fills with pleasure cruisers. When you’re hungry, look out for the “Catapizza” – a catamaran delivering fresh-from-the-oven pizza. Submerged below on the seafloor lies the six sculptures of the Cannes Underwater Eco-Museum.

Île Sainte-Marguerite

Île Sainte-Marguerite is a tranquil oasis in every shade of green, – even in summer months when a continuous stream of daytrippers files on and off the ferry from Cannes. The pine-and-eucalyptus-lined pathways lead towards shallow rock pools and sandy beaches. Inside the 17th-century Fort Royal, the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned. Today, the building houses a small, interesting museum.

Île Saint-Honorat

For the last 16 centuries, a small order of Cistercian monks has made Île Saint-Honorat home. Certain well-signposted areas are closed to the public, such as the 8ha (19-acre) vineyard where grapes such as Chardonnay and Syrah ripen under the Mediterranean sun. Next to the monastery and its serene cloisters – which is open for visitors – is a small shop selling the wines and other products made on the island. Along the coastal walk, you’ll also find picnic tables and bathing spots.

Massif de l’Esterel

The ochre-coloured volcanic mountains of the Massif de l’Esterel dominate the skyline between Cannes and Saint-Raphäel – and are visible across the entire Côte d’Azur region. While the mountain range offers some of the best hiking in the area, to explore the coastline by boat is to unlock its hidden coves and clear, shallow waters – only accessible by sea. Masks and snorkels are obligatory, of course.


Superyachts are the transport of choice to reach the uber-trendy beach clubs such as Club 55 and La Bagatelle in Saint-Tropez – but there’s still plenty of space for smaller vessels to drop anchor along Plage de Pampelonne. In the village itself, La Citadelle de Saint-Tropez occupies a dominant position overlooking the gulf. Inside, a museum traces the maritime history of the region.

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