How to spend one day in Antibes in the French Riviera: The best things to see and do


Waves crash against the stone ramparts of Antibes Old Town

Waves crash against the stone ramparts of Antibes Old Town



Antibes is a great holiday destination and one of the best places to visit on the French Riviera. Antibes is known for its Old Town, enclosed in 16th century stone ramparts which house a maze of cobbled streets and lively markets.


The historic buildings and stone ramparts are what give Antibes a different feel to the rest of the French Riviera.


Antibes Old Town is small and you can easily visit the main sights in one day. However, if you have more time, or want to move at a more leisurely pace, Antibes is a good location from which to explore other great places on the French Riviera.



Contents

1. Wander the narrow streets of Antibes Old Town
2. Walk the Old Town walls
3. Learn about Antibes history at the Archaeological museum
4. See a collection of Picasso’s works at the Picasso museum
5. Relax at one of Antibes’ beaches
6. Stroll around Port Vauban
7. Visit Fort Carré
8. Explore Cap d’Antibes


The best way to get to Antibes

Before we look at how to spend the day in Antibes, you need to get there. The best way to get to Antibes is by train. The train network along the southern coastline makes getting around the French Riviera really fast and easy. If you are staying in the French Riviera for several days, buy an unlimited Zou train pass for cheaper rail travel.


The train station in Antibes is conveniently located by the main Port Vauban, close to the main Old Town area. Trains run regularly throughout the day, meaning that you can spend all day and evening in Antibes to really make the most of it.



Waves gently roll over the Antibes Coastline

Antibes Coastline



How to spend a day in Antibes in the French Riviera


Now you know the best way to get to Antibes, let's look at how to spend the day in this beautiful coastal town, with 8 of the best things to see and do in Antibes:


1. Wander the narrow streets of Antibes Old Town

Antibes is known for its charming Old Town. The historic buildings and narrow cobbled streets enclosed by walled ramparts are what sets Antibes apart from the rest of the French Riviera.


Wandering around the Old Town, you will find many independent shops, boutiques and art galleries. Visit Marché provençal, a traditional, covered market where you can buy fresh produce and beautiful flowers.


For dining out, there are many quirky restaurants and cafes, tucked away in the narrow streets. There are also several larger squares where you can sit outside and watch the world go by.



2. Walk the Old Town walls

The Old Town of Antibes is surrounded by thick 16th century ramparts. Walking along these historic stone walls as the waves crash against them is one of the best things to do in Antibes. Start at Plage du Ponteil and follow the walls round to Plage de la Gravette for gorgeous views out to sea.



Antibes Old Town with its stone rampart walls

Wandering around the Old Town is one of the best things to do in Antibes



3. Learn about Antibes history at the Archaeological museum

The Archaeological museum is housed in a small fort building, which makes up part of the Old Town Rampart. Inside the museum you will find Roman artefacts from as early as the 7th century. The museum also offers information about the history of Antibes, dating back to the original Roman city which stood here. The museum is available to visit Tuesday - Sunday and admission is €3 for adults and €1.50 for students with a valid student card.



4. See a collection of Picasso’s works at the Picasso museum

Antibes has become a popular place for artists over the years. This is reflected in the number of art galleries, museums and craft shops in the town. The most famous art museum is the Picasso museum. Here, a collection of Picasso’s works are on display in the chateau building where he lived and worked in 1946. The museum is open every day except Mondays and entry is €8 for adults and €6 for students.



5. Relax at one of Antibes’ beaches

Next to the port is the small beach of Gravette. This beach is sheltered by the medieval old town walls, making it a calm, safe place to swim in the shallow water.


Two other great beaches in Antibes are Soleil and Salis. These sand-shingle beaches are great for families wanting to spend the day at the seaside, with all the conveniences of parking, showers and toilets.


If you have more than one day in Antibes, visit the neighbouring Juan les Pins where sandy public beaches run all the way from the town centre towards the small port town of Golf-Juan.



Soleil beach in Antibes

Soleil beach in Antibes



6. Stroll around Port Vauban

Who doesn't love wandering around a port filled with luxury yachts and sailing boats, fantasising about which one you would buy?! Admiring yachts is one of the best things to do in the French Riviera and Antibes is no different. Start at Gravette beach and follow the edge of the port round to Fort Carré.



7. Visit Fort Carré

Fort Carré was built in the 16th century as a means to protect Antibes and the rest of France from Nice, which was at that time its own country. The Fort is famous for imprisoning Napoleon during the French Revolution. Bond fan’s may also recognise the unique 4-pointed star shape building from the Bond film Never say Never. The Fort is open Tuesday - Sunday and admission is €3 for adults and €1.50 for students with a valid student card.



Fort Carré stands atop a hill on the edge of Port Vauban

Fort Carré stands atop a hill on the edge of Port Vauban



8. Explore Cap d’Antibes

In between the main town of Antibes and the town of Juan les Pins is Cap d’Antibes. This green headland is covered with shaded forest and hiking trails, hiding luxury villas. A popular spot on the headland is La Garoupe chapel, a small church which is dedicated to those lost at sea. There is a small parking lot next to the chapel, or you can hike through the forest, following the trail inland from Salis beach. At La Garoupe chapel, you can see beautiful views across Antibes bay. There is also a small bistro here and it is a wonderful, peaceful place to visit.



Standing at La Garoupe viewpoint on Cap d'Antibes with stunning views across Antibes

Standing at La Garoupe viewpoint on Cap d'Antibes with stunning views across Antibes




You can visit most of the above sights in a day, though you may want to pick and choose a few so that you can explore at a more leisurely pace. Antibes is definitely worth visiting and it is a great place which can be enjoyed by the whole family.


Though accommodation can be pricey here, you can still visit for the day and enjoy much of what Antibes has to offer on a budget. There are a range of budget friendly dining options, including several markets, shops and takeaways. Plus some of the best activities in Antibes, such as walking the Old Town walls and visiting the beach, you can do for free!


In fact, there are plenty of places you can visit in the French Riviera without breaking the bank, even Monaco! See my simple tips for how to visit the French Riviera on a budget.



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