How to Make the Most of a Weekend in Cannes

Explore both the glamour and the natural beauty of Cannes on a weekend trip
Explore both the glamour and the natural beauty of Cannes on a weekend trip | © Geoffrey Kidd / Alamy Stock Photo
Kate Dingwall

Although this charming coastal city is best known for its glamorous namesake film festival, Cannes has so much more to offer beyond the star-studded event. Full of history, medieval architecture, rooftop bars, markets and a world-renowned food scene, experience all of this and more in this 48-hour guide to the seaside town.

Day 1:

Morning

Eat your way through Cannes’ culinary history

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Destinations Unlocked:

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Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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CentralAmerica

GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

5 days . Mini
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1. Guatemala

An 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.

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CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

5 days . Mini
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2. Belize

A 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.
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CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

5 days . Mini
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3. Mexico

An 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.
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SouthAmerica

ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
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1. Ecuador

A 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.

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SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

9 days . Epic
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2. Peru

An 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.
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Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
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1. Italy

The 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.

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Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

7 days . Culture
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2. Scotland

Embark 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.
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Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

8 days . Culture
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3. Portugal

A 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.
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Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

10 days . Epic
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1. South Korea

Discover 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.

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Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
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2. Thailand

From 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.
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Asia

SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

10 days . Culture
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3. Sri Lanka

A 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
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Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
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1. Morocco

An 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!

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Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
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2. Egypt

From 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.
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Africa

IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

8 days . Epic
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3. Kenya

An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
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Start off your morning of sightseeing with fresh flaky pastries and a cup of espresso at a local favourite café, Sapore di Pane. Don’t fill up too much though, as the next stop will contain a multitude of French delicacies.

A few minutes’ walk down the road will lead you to the Marché Forville. Cannes’ largest covered market is a local institution, brimming with food stands, fresh produce and flower stalls. Wander through the rows of stalls, and soak up the buzzy atmosphere. The market is a great insight into everyday life in the city. Local vendors will be happy to walk you through the selection, though be sure to buy a snack or two to thank them for their time. Stock up on fresh baked breads and farmer’s cheeses, and keep an eye out for a stall peddling socca, one of the city’s staple dishes. The traditional chickpea pancake (made solely using chickpea flour and olive oil) is cooked street-side on a fiery grill and is perfect for a mid-morning snack.

Afternoon

Explore the historic Suquet district

The market is at the entrance to Le Suquet, the oldest part of Cannes. Established by the Romans and later inhabited by medieval monks, the area is made up of winding narrow cobblestone streets and charming boutiques.

Musée de la Castre once acted as a monastery, and later a fortress, but today the castle is an art gallery, home to primitive art, Mediterranean antiques, French landscapes and works of the great masters of Provence (Jean-Baptiste Olive, Édouard Crémieux and Édouard Ducros are the most notable). Wind your way to the top of the turrets for a spectacular view of the bay.

Afterwards, step into the Église Notre-Dame-d’Espérance (if mass isn’t in service). The Catholic church replaced the old medieval chapel Saint-Anne, and it took over 100 years to construct. The project was completed in 1627 in a late Gothic style, with Romanesque and Renaissance features, and in 1937 was classified as a historic monument.

Evening

Tour Cannes by train

Next, hop aboard the Petit Train de Cannes to explore the city. For 12 euros (£11), this little train tour circles the old and new towns, stopping at top sights along the way. Headphone commentary provides riders with history and anecdotes about the city.

As the sun starts to set, wander down to the port. Marvel at the mermaid Atlante, a grand statue erected in 2000 as a reminder of the city’s fishing heritage. Stop into L’Alba, a seaside restaurant, to watch the day wrap up with stunning sea views. Here, diners and drinkers sit back on cushioned couches and snack on steamed mussels and sashimi dishes from fish pulled fresh from the water. The drinks menu boasts a range of locally made Provençal wines.

Day 2:

Morning

Stroll the gardens of La Croix-des-Gardes

While yesterday was about sightseeing, today is about exploring Cannes’ natural surroundings. Fuel up for the day and head to La Croix-des-Gardes, a national park just outside the city. It spans 200 acres (80ha) of the hillside and is dotted with palatial estates with impressive gardens.

Stroll through the 19th-century Villa Rothschild and check out the Neoclassical architecture and sprawling English gardens, then head to Château Eléonore. It was built by ex-chancellor of Britain Lord Henry Brougham when he travelled here on his way to Italy. Brougham fell so in love with the area that he set up a grand home on the hill. Stop for lunch at the nearby Le Garden View, where diners can sip cocktails by the restaurant’s pool.

Afternoon

Sip wine with monks at the Îles de Lérins

After lunch, head to the old port to catch a boat to Îles de Lérins. Just 15 minutes off the shore from the centre of Cannes, the isles are a collection of four islands. Île Saint-Honorat is one of them, and home to serene walking paths and a small vineyard tended to by an order of Cistercian monks.

The medieval Lérins Abbey has been home to the same order of monks, who have all taken a vow of silence, since the 5th century. They spend most days piously tending to vines, crushing Chardonnay, Clairette and Syrah grapes, and they host daily tastings for visitors.

Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the footpaths that encircle the island, and don’t miss the 10th-century Gothic chapel that sits at the end of the island.

Evening

Enjoy an evening on the Croisette

After you return to the mainland, head out on the town by way of Rue d’Antibes, marvelling at the window displays of designer clothes and chocolatiers along the way.

First stop: head to the buzzy patio Le Roof to watch the city’s sunset. After you’ve finished your drink whilst watching the sunset, stroll the Boulevard de la Croisette. This is where the city’s glitterati indulge in the city’s festivities on what is known as ‘the jewel of Cannes’.

After you stroll, walk over to the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel, which is at the centre of the Cannes Film Festival and was the backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955). Around the corner, settle in for dinner at Le Park 45 in Le Grand Hotel Cannes for a meal of Michelin-star, light Mediterranean cuisine.

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