Situated on the beautiful French Riviera, the sandy and rocky beaches in Cannes that fringe the coastline and the sapphire blue waters of the Mediterranean will undoubtedly beckon.
Cannes is renowned for its sunny weather and star-studded film festival, making it an ideal destination for soaking up the glamor of the region. The beaches won’t disappoint; some of the most popular here include La Croisette, Plage du Martinez, and Plage de la Bocca.
You could also head further afield to some of the neighboring towns, or even take the ferry to the nearby Lérins Islands for a quieter escape.
Here are 11 of the best Cannes beaches to visit in and around the city.
Plage du Midi
A short distance west of the Vieux Port de Cannes (Old Port), Plages du Midi boasts a sandy shoreline. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Cannes.
As one of the larger beaches in the area, Plage du Midi will offer you some wonderful space in which to relax and soak up the sun, while still being conveniently situated close to the heart of Cannes and the Old Town.
Portet Cove, Île Sainte-Marguerite
If you number among those seeking a more secluded beach near Cannes, look no further than Portet Cove on the Island of Sainte-Marguerite, one of the Lérins Islands.
This small cove is covered with pebbles and surrounded by lush greenery, backed by a pretty pine forest. Though it may not be large in scale, Portet Cove’s exquisite scenery and serene character should leave you feeling relaxed in no time at all.
While wandering around Île Sainte-Marguerite, try to carve out some time to visit Fort Royal, built during the 17th century. The fort served as the prison for the “Man in the Iron Mask,” a ward who wore an iron mask to conceal his identity and keep him isolated from the other prisoners.
No one truly knows who the Man in the Iron Mask was, although legends abound, but some theories suggest that he was an illegitimate child of Louis XIV, a twin brother of the Sun King, or perhaps a valet who fell foul of the monarchy.
Ferries run from the harbor in Cannes to Île Sainte-Marguerite daily and are about 15 to 20 minutes in duration each way.
For a laid back beach experience in Cannes complete with umbrella and lounge chair rentals, public restrooms, and changing areas, head to Plage Macé. This picturesque public strip of sand is located right in front of the Promenade de la Croisette and is monitored by lifeguards for your safety.
And if you’re in the mood for a beach read, you can avail yourself of the Pages à la Plage library across from the beach, which lends out magazines and books (a few in English) free of charge. You’ll also find plenty of ice cream shops, bistros, and cafés nearby.
Plage de l’Aiguille
Plage de l’Aiguille is undoubtedly one of the standout beaches in the vicinity of Cannes, thanks to its unique location, southwest of the city. Lying at the foot of a cliff and surrounded by verdant greenery, this beach boasts a cozy, secluded ambiance that is unrivaled in the area.
The white sand and clear turquoise water further add to the scenic allure. Nearby, you’ll also find a few smaller, pebbly beaches, along with a great area for snorkeling at Pointe de l’Aiguille.
One of the best things about Plage de l’Aiguille is its proximity to the small village of Théoule-sur-Mer. The village offers a scenic trek from Théoule to Mandelieu-la-Napoule, which is worth exploring if you have the time.
During summer in France, you can even ride a ferry from Cannes to the village, and try out some of the seafood restaurants in the area, dotted along the coastline.
Swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, and jet skiing are also popular activities you can enjoy in and around Théoule-sur-Mer.
Within the city limits of Cannes, Palm Beach is a small swathe of sand located near the renowned Palm Beach Casino, which had been closed for many years but is now being revived.
The public beach areas at the end of Pointe Croisette, a small peninsula that resembles a palm tree, provide access to the sea for a quick dip or a sunbathing session, although amenities are rather limited here.
The beach is rarely crowded and also offers some wonderful views of the Lérins Islands.
Plage des Ondes
If you venture east of Cannes to the Cap d’Antibes headland, you’ll find Plage des Ondes, a narrow strip of sand located along the western side of the peninsula.
Although there are no amenities of note here, the calm waters and lovely views of the bay and the distant Massif de l’Esterel mountains make it a worthwhile stop during your forays around the peninsula.
Much of the area is rugged and wild, offering opportunities for some ambling adventures. After taking a dip at Plage des Ondes, consider visiting the Naval and Napoleonic Museum, hiking the Cap d’Antibes coastal path, or admiring the area’s diverse architecture.
And with its proximity to the area’s beaches, the Garoupe Plateau woodland and lighthouse are excellent spots for a post-swim stroll and some magnificent views.
While Île Saint-Honorat, one of the Lérins Islands, isn’t particularly well-known for its beach culture, you still swim here from the pebbly beach.
This works well if Île Saint-Honorat and its fortified Monasterio de Lérins Cistercian abbey are big on your list of places to visit in Cannes—but you also want to play in the water.
The beaches on the serene Île Saint-Honorat, where no cars are allowed, tend to be rocky and not large in scale. The rocks do make for some decent snorkeling, though.
You can walk a loop around the island in about 40 minutes, which means all of Île Saint-Honorat’s beaches are available to you, should you manage access.
The sandy Plage du Port, located next to the port, is a perfect spot for a quick swim if you’re less keen on pebbles.
For an even more secluded experience, head over to Saint-Pierre Cove, surrounded by lush flora and situated near the Saint-Pierre chapel on the southern flanks of the island.
Plage de la Garoupe
Located in the sunlit town of Antibes, Plage de la Garoupe is a charming beach east of Cannes. Both Antibes and Garoupe Beach are snuggled in the picturesque Cap d’Antibes, renowned for its natural splendor and luxurious, upscale villas.
Despite its relatively small size, Plage de la Garoupe boasts a stretch of pristine white sand that curves along the eastern shores of the Cap d’Antibes peninsula.
Although the coastline in this area is predominantly rocky, there is plenty of sandy space here to stretch out on, with parasols and loungers available.
It’s worth noting, however, that much of the beach is occupied by private beach clubs, as Garoupe is one of the most popular beaches in Cannes and Cap d’Antibes, making the golden sand here in high demand.
While a public portion of the beach is accessible, the private clubs offer loungers, refreshments, and a prime location.
Plage de la Salis & Ponteil Beach, Antibes
As you continue your exploration of Cap d’Antibes, you’ll come across Plage de la Salis, a fetching beach located closer to the center of Antibes than Garoupe, which is further south.
Unlike Garoupe, Plage de la Salis, which faces the Baie des Anges, is entirely public, meaning you can claim any spot you choose to lay down your towel.
If you are looking to enjoy some watersports, Plage de la Salis is ideal, situated next to the Antibes Yacht Club. You can easily rent kayaks and paddleboards from the club and even take sailing lessons.
For a somewhat livelier atmosphere than Salis, walk over to Ponteil Beach, located on the opposite side of the yacht club.
This beach is backed by a charming promenade adorned with palm trees, adding to the coastal ambiance. There are several cafés and restaurants here that will offer you anything from gelato to fresh seafood or a Salad Niçoise.
If you’re an art enthusiast looking to explore Antibes further, head over to the Picasso Museum after the beach. The museum is home to over 200 works from the master himself, making it a brilliant destination to indulge in a spot of artistic enrichment.
Plage du Château, Théoule sur Mer
Heading west of the main Cannes beaches, you’ll find the captivating Plage du Château, located in Théoule sur Mer.
Plage du Château offers both public and private sandy areas, along with breathtaking views of the Bay of Cannes. It’s a sublime destination for relaxation, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and sunbathing, letting you take in all of the coastal charm that France is known for.
One big advantage of spending some time at Plage du Château is the fact that it’s located in the heart of the small coastal town of Théoule-sur-Mer, surrounded by hilly red rock formations that only add to the area’s panoramic appeal.
You can access a variety of restaurants and cafés in Théoule-sur-Mer too, like Chez Philippe on the opposite side of the marina, serving fresh seafood dishes and traditional French cuisine, or Marco Polo, which specializes in Provençal cuisine and cocktails.
Plage de la Bocca
Plage de la Bocca, close to the La Bocca train station, is located in the western part of the city. With its long stretch of golden sand, tranquil seafront esplanade, and large boulders at either end, Plage de la Bocca is a prime location for soaking in some sun or going for a dip in the sea. It’s also one of the best beaches in the French Riviera for snorkeling.
If you’re touring through the city, but are short on time, Plage de la Bocca will provide you with access to the sand and water tout de suite—plus you’ll also have the bonus of being slightly removed from the busier Promenade de la Croisette waterfront area.
You can also enjoy relaxing ocean views and a meal on the outdoor terrace of Le Cabanon, a bistro serving French fare, right next to Bocca Beach.
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