Cruise Port Atlas | Sanary-sur-Mer, France Day Trips | Attractions

Sanary-sur-Mer, France Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Sanary-sur-Mer: Star Clippers, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club

Key Attractions: St. Nazaire Church, Notre-Dame-de-Pitrie , Aix-en-Provence, Cours Mirabeau, Mont Sainte-Victoire, Avignon, Palace of the Popes, Les-Baux-de-Provence, Verdon Canyon, Lake Sainte Croix , Cassis, Calanques, Bandol, Le Castellet, Marseilles, St-Remy-de-Provence

Sanary MarinaSanary-sur-Mer Port

Distance - A short tender ride from where the cruise ship anchors

Sanary-sur-Mer is considered by some to be the most beautiful small port on the French Riviera with small colorful sailing vessels filling most of the slips. The Gothic Revival St. Nazaire Church is the iconic sight of the small natural harbor. Inside beautiful frescoes adorn the walls. Not far from town is the 15th century Notre-Dame-de-Pitie Chapel with its pieta and great views of the sea and port. The ruins of a medieval tower are the center of the area museum that features ship wreck treasures discovered by Jacques Cousteau, who developed the technology he used in his explorations while residing in Sanary. During the first part of World War II, a number of exile German writers (including Thomas Mann and Bertholt Brecht) stayed in Sanary. Their lives are featured at the city's Media Museum. But perhaps the most appealing thing about this small historic port is its serene atmosphere and lovely cafe culture. While the rest of the Cote d'Azur lives at a speedboat pace, Sanary sails calmly on a light Mediterranean breeze.


Medieval Architecture   Serene Cafe Culture   History   Incredible Views and Vistas  

Terrain varies    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Where Cezanne ateAix-en-Provence

Sanary-sur-Mer to Aix - 72 Km, 50 minutes

The small city of Aix has long been the residence of artists and students and the beautiful Cours Mirabeau is the heart of the city's cafe society, hosting the likes of impressionist painter Cezanne, political novelist Zola and American ex-patriot Hemingway.  The Aix Cathedral is located in the medieval part of town and blends elements of Romanesque, Gothic and neo-Gothic.  Outside the town is Mont Sainte-Victoire where Cezanne painted landscapes.  At the foot of the mountain is the Chateau of Vauvenargues where Pablo Picasso lived for several years.

Baroque and Neo-classical Architecture, Fountains   Provencal Culture and Products   History   Provencal Cuisine   Small Parks and Fountains   Provencal Countryside  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo by PRA


Sanary-sur-Mer to Marseilles - 58 KM, 45 minutes

Marseilles is the largest and most historic city in Provence and the center of the cultural mixing bowl that the region. The iconic symbol of the city is the Byzantine styled Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde basilica which overlooks the city from a hill to the east. The old port is compact and attractive with cafes overlooking the water from all sides. Other sites worth visiting include the Phare (lighthouse) de Sainte Marie, the Abbey of St. Victor, one of the oldest Christian worship sites in Europe, and the gigantic Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure rebuilt in a Romano-Byzantine style in the late 19th century. The city has significant museums, including the Musee Cantini (modern art), Musee de la Mode (fashion), Musee d'Histoire (Marseilles history), and Musee de Beaux-Artes (Art). The most popular shopping area is Centre Bourse only about 2 blocks from the old port. Marseilles is famous for its cuisine and bouillabaise (fragrant fish soup) is a local favorite.



Photo of Marseilles' Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde by Benh Lieu Song

Bandol and Le Castellet

Sanary-sur-Mer to Bandol - 6 KM, 10 minutes
Sanary-sur-Mer to Le Castellet - 14 KM, 20 minutes

Bandol is a beach resort town that has long attracted tourist as a result of its beautiful sandy waterfronts. The town gives its name to the Bandol wines which are renowned for their reds. On a cliffside 12 kilometers north of Bandol is the medieval walled village of La Castellet where it is easy to imagine that you have stepped back into another era while walking in the narrow cobbled alleys. The village is near a Formula One racecourse and overlooks the Bandol vineyards.



Photo by El Comandante

Cassis and Calanques

Sanary-sur-Mer to Cassis - 33 KM, 30 minutes

Between Toulon and Marseilles is the famous coastal resort town of Cassis for which the finest white wines of Provence are named. It is a small ancient port with a lovely waterfront and soft-sand beaches. Between Cassis and Marseilles is the most famous calanques, a limestone coastal formation that is similar to a fjord. The scenery in this area is stunning, with jagged and knife-like rock formations rising out of narrow coves.



Photo of Calanques near Cassis by Grafikm

Palais des PapesAvignon

Sanary-sur-Mer to Avignon - 172 Km, 1 hour 40 minutes

The Medieval walled city of Avignon was the home to Roman Catholic Popes beginning in the 14th Century and to anti-Popes when the church decided to return its seat of power to Rome against the wishes of the King of France.  During the period of the Avignon Papacy, the church centralized its power and spent huge sums to glorify the seat of power.  The result was the Palace of the Popes, an imposing structure on a hill beside the Rhone River.  The winding medieval streets within the city's walls feature cafes, boutiques and museums.

Medieval Palace and Walls   Provencal Culture and Products   Castle   Provencal Cuisine   Small Parks and Fountains   Chateauneuf de Papes  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo by JM Rosier

Verdon Park and Canyon

Sanary-sur-Mer to Lake St. Croix - 123 KM, 1 hour 55 minutes

The Verdon region is famous for the deep canyon and several lakes of stunning natural beauty. Small rustic villages dot the countryside many with lovely castles and small churches of medieval origin. Among the most famous villages are Bargeme, Aups and Salernes. For those wanting to get close to nature, several hikes of varying lengths are offered. A tour along the Sublime Corniche gives you incredible views of the Verdon Canyon. The Sainte-Croix and Esparron Lakes have canoeing and windsurfing facilities.



Photo of St. Croix Lake by Thythy

Les BauxLes Baux-de-Provence

Sanary-sur-Mer to Les Baux - 138 Km, 1 hour 40 minutes

The Medieval village of Les Baux is a popular attraction for those interested in history and archaic architecture.  The plateau top village has been occupied for over 8 millennia due to its strategic worth as a set of power.  During the Middle Ages it was the seat of power for the lords who controlled considerable territory and built many of its structures.  In the early 19th century the mineral bauxite was named after the place it was discovered, leading to the mining of aluminum.  One of the very special features of Les Baux are demonstrations of medieval war machines such as the gigantic catapult.  In clear weather, the views are breath-taking!

Baroque and Neo-classical Architecture, Fountains   Provencal Culture and Products   History   Small Parks and Fountains   Provencal Countryside  

Challenging Walking    No Wheelchair Accessibility


St. RemySt-Remy-de-Provence

Sanary-sur-Mer to St-Remy - 144 Km, 1 hour 40 minutes

Saint-Remy-de-Provence is an idyllic Provence village where tourists can experience the local life style. The town is surrounded by fields and orchards.  Ancient trees shade the roads leading to town and the cafe-filled squares.  Van Gogh spent time here in mental hospital and it is here that he painted his famous Starry Night, along with other masterpieces.  The beauty of the region was an inspiration to him and it will be to visitors who enjoy the calm beauty of its rustic charm.

Medieval Palace and Walls   Provencal Culture and Products   Castle   Provencal Cuisine   Small Parks and Fountains   Chateauneuf de Papes  

Pedestrian Streets    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo by MJJR

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible