Saint-Raphaël, located on the stunning French Riviera, is a charming coastal city that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and a vibrant atmosphere. With its picturesque beaches, rich history, and abundant recreational activities, Saint-Raphaël is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Saint-Raphaël:
1. Saint-Raphaël Old Town
Begin your exploration of the city by wandering through the enchanting streets of the Old Town. Admire the traditional Provençal architecture, visit the quaint shops, and savor delicious local cuisine at the charming restaurants and cafés.
2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire
This beautiful basilica is a significant religious and historical site in Saint-Raphaël. Marvel at its stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and peaceful ambiance. The basilica also provides panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea from its elevated position.
3. Cap Dramont
Embark on a scenic hike along the coastal path of Cap Dramont. Discover hidden coves, rugged cliffs, and breathtaking vistas. The highlight of this area is the stunning red rocks of the “Roches Rouges,” which contrast dramatically with the azure waters.
4. Vieux Port (Old Port)
Located in the heart of Saint-Raphaël, Vieux Port is a vibrant area filled with yachts, fishing boats, and a lively promenade. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, stop by the bustling cafés, or visit the local market to sample fresh produce and regional specialties.
5. Île d’Or
Take a boat trip to the enchanting Île d’Or (Golden Island), located just off the coast of Saint-Raphaël. This small island, with its iconic tower perched atop the cliffs, has been a source of inspiration for numerous artists and writers. Explore the island’s walking trails, relax on its secluded beaches, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
6. Golf de l’Esterel
Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the beautiful setting of Golf de l’Esterel. This 18-hole golf course offers stunning views of the surrounding Esterel Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy a round of golf while immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
7. Visit nearby attractions
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Saint-Raphaël serves as an excellent base for exploring other notable destinations in the French Riviera. You can easily take day trips to the glamorous city of Cannes, the picturesque town of Saint-Tropez, or the cultural hub of Nice.
8. Esterel Massif
Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts should explore the Esterel Massif, a beautiful natural park located near Saint-Raphaël. The park offers numerous hiking and mountain biking trails that wind through the red volcanic rocks and dense forests. Admire breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coastline and discover hidden gems, such as the Lac de l’Ecureuil (Squirrel Lake).
9. Arènes de Fréjus
Just a short distance from Saint-Raphaël, in the neighboring town of Fréjus, you’ll find the Arènes de Fréjus, a Roman amphitheater dating back to the 1st century AD. Explore this well-preserved ancient site, which once hosted gladiator fights and other spectacles. Today, the amphitheater is used for concerts and cultural events during the summer months.
For a fun-filled day with family or friends, head to Aqualand, a water park located in Saint-Raphaël. Enjoy thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and other exciting attractions. It’s a fantastic place to cool off and have a splashing good time during the hot summer months.
11. Musée Archéologique de Saint-Raphaël
History buffs should visit the Musée Archéologique de Saint-Raphaël, located in the center of the city. This archaeological museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that trace the history of the region from prehistoric times to the Roman era. Learn about the ancient civilizations that once inhabited the area and gain insights into their way of life.
12. Nightlife and Dining
As the sun sets, Saint-Raphaël comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. Explore the numerous bars, clubs, and waterfront restaurants along the promenade. Indulge in delicious Provençal cuisine, fresh seafood, and regional wines while enjoying the lively atmosphere and beautiful views of the Mediterranean.
13. Watersports and Boat Excursions
Saint-Raphaël offers an array of watersports activities, including sailing, windsurfing, and scuba diving. Rent a boat or join a guided excursion to explore the stunning coastline, hidden coves, and underwater treasures of the Mediterranean Sea.
14. Casino Barrière de Saint-Raphaël
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If you’re feeling lucky or simply enjoy the excitement of casino games, visit the Casino Barrière de Saint-Raphaël. Test your luck at the slot machines, try your hand at poker or blackjack, and enjoy a lively evening of entertainment.
15. Marché Forville
For a taste of local flavors and vibrant colors, visit the Marché Forville in nearby Cannes. This bustling market offers a wide variety of fresh produce, seafood, cheeses, flowers, and more. Stroll through the stalls, sample regional specialties, and soak up the lively atmosphere.
16. Les Jardins Bonaparte
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring Les Jardins Bonaparte, a tranquil garden situated near the Vieux Port. Enjoy a peaceful stroll among the lush greenery, admire the colorful flowers, and find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
17. Thalasso Spa
Treat yourself to a rejuvenating experience at one of the thalasso spas in Saint-Raphaël. These wellness centers offer a range of treatments, such as seawater therapies, massages, and beauty treatments. Unwind, recharge, and pamper yourself in a serene and luxurious setting.
18. Santa Lucia Port
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Located on the outskirts of Saint-Raphaël, Santa Lucia Port is a charming harbor that provides a more tranquil and residential atmosphere. Take a walk along the promenade, admire the boats and yachts, and enjoy a peaceful meal at one of the waterfront restaurants.
19. Excursion to the Lerins Islands
Take a boat trip to the Lerins Islands, just off the coast of Cannes. These idyllic islands, particularly Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat, offer serene landscapes, scenic walking trails, and historical attractions such as the Fort Royal and the Lerins Abbey.
20. Attend a Cultural Event
Check the local events calendar to see if there are any cultural festivals, concerts, or exhibitions taking place during your visit to Saint-Raphaël. The city hosts a range of events throughout the year, showcasing local artists, musicians, and performers.
Places and Things To Do