What were once humble fishing ports under the watchful eye of local sailors, have now developed into the French Riviera, or Cote d’Azur. Whatever you prefer to call this 805km (500mi) stretch of sand, this gleaming blue sun-sponge is now one of the most glamorous coastal regions on the planet. But its global renown brings global crowds, and the traffic along its winding corniche (cliff) roads can sap any feeling of opulence. Why not follow the route of the region’s original settlers and take in the stunning sights from the seclusion of the sea? Whether you’re sailing or yachting, here are the best day trips to take around the French Riviera.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Around half a mile offshore from Cannes are these four islands worth visiting for their fascinating history alone. The largest of the islands, Île Sainte-Marguerite, boasts the historic Fort Royal. Previously a prison, it once held the Man in the Iron Mask, a mysterious 17th-century figure who became the subject of numerous movies and books. As it has been for centuries, Île Saint-Honorat remains home to a community of Cistercian monks. The shallow waters in-between the two islands, known as the “Plateau du Milieu”, is a summer hotspot for water sports.
It’ll depend on the speed of the vessel you’re in, but it should take around an hour to get to St Tropez from Cannes. Given the popularity of the resort made famous in the 1960s by Brigitte Bardot, arriving by boat is the best way to beat the crowds and the traffic. Pampelonne Beach remains the hottest ticket in town, so follow the example of the jet-set for the best route in. Moor up alongside the yachts, pack a waterproof camera, dive in and swim to shore.
Baie de Milliardaires
Don’t let the name of this secluded beach put you off – you don’t need to be Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to enjoy Billionaire’s Bay. Presumably named for the fact that for a long time it was only accessible by boat, since 2011 a small path has opened this wild and rocky beach to hikers walking south down the Avenue Mlle Beaumont. Nonetheless, the sense of expedition that comes with navigating around the Cap d’Antibes before the tiny secluded creek comes into view still makes arriving by sea the most thrilling route.
Indulging in the luxury hotels of the decadent Principality of Monaco may be a wallet-buster for most of us, but there’s never any harm in a day trip to see how the other half live. Monaco has two options for mooring – the sheltered Port of Fontvieille, and the deep-water Port of Hercule, which can accommodate super-yachts of up to 300m (1,000ft). Unless you’re happy to watch through binoculars, you’ll need to be sharp to secure a spot during the most popular weekend of the year, when the Formula One circus is in town.
It may only be two nautical miles from the look-at-me glitz of St Tropez, but the ochre town of Port Grimaud comes with a different vibe entirely. Architect François Spoerry was clearly inspired by the canals of Venice when he transformed the town from marshland in the 1960s. The intricate network of canals and arched bridges can only be negotiated in small boats or dinghies, and the noticeable lack of cars only adds to the attraction.
It may not be the first location divers consider when looking to explore the French Riviera in their wetsuit, but that’s precisely why Saint Raphaël makes a good scuba diving spot. The red rocks of the Esterel mountains plunge into the deep blue of the Med, providing striking underwater scenes like those at the Lion de Mer islet, where even beginner divers can catch glimpses of brightly-coloured hermit crabs, seahorses and starfish.
A little more renowned, Cap Camarat is another must-visit for keen divers. The remarkable wreck of The Rubis lies at the bottom of the sea 3km (2mi) off the coast of Cap Camarat, just south of St Tropez. Launched from Toulon in 1931, this mine-laying submarine served in Norway, the Mediterranean, and even Scotland, before being sunk in 1958. At a depth of 40m (130ft) and in currents that can be strong, this is one for more experienced divers.
If you manage to resist the headline charms of Nice and sail a little further east, you’ll be swiftly rewarded by one of Europe’s most picturesque bays. Villefranche-sur-Mer has long been a favourite setting for Hollywood movies, with leading lights Sean Connery, Katharine Hepburn and Michael Caine having appeared in front of these terracotta-topped, pastel-painted houses. The location also proved a muse for the Rolling Stones when the band recorded Exile on Main St here in 1972. Wander its medieval streets and find out why this historic town, nestled between Nice and Monaco, remains more than a match for both.
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