It’s the most famous resort in Europe and a dream destination for many travellers eager to catch some of the Bardot-tinged stardust with which the town appears to have been sprinkled. It remains a beautiful beach town despite often welcoming 100,000 visitors a day in the height of summer, and a perfect place to visit while exploring the area – check out my detailed guide to planning a French Riviera road trip here.
Yet Saint-Tropez is more than just sun, sand and starlets. It’s also a charming town in itself, especially after the crowds of day-trippers have left in the evening or during the quieter months. Furthermore, it is an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area – and for that, you’ll need some ideas of places to go.
So here are five of them – easily reachable from Saint-Tropez and each offering a very different experience:
Five great day trips from Saint-Tropez – Key takeaways
|Why visit on a day trip?
|A craftsman’s paradise nestled in the Maures Mountains, famous for its musical instruments and pottery.
|An ancient village perched high with stunning views over the Bay of Pampelonne, known for its summer music festivals.
|A step back into medieval times with cobblestone streets, castle ruins, and the canal-side charm of Little Venice.
|The epitome of cinematic glamour, offering luxurious beaches, upscale shopping, and the allure of La Croisette.
|A serene beach town known for its family-friendly atmosphere, less crowded beaches, and vibrant culinary scene.
Cogolin: A Craftsman’s Dream Nestled in the Maures
Cogolin stands as a testament to the enduring charm of French craftsmanship, nestled at the foot of the Maures Mountains, a mere 10 km journey from the bustling beaches of Saint-Tropez. This quaint town, with its 14th-century clock tower presiding over the town centre, is a treasure trove of history and artisanship.
Cogolin’s narrow streets and well-preserved buildings offer a step back into a time when every object was made by hand with care and precision.
The town is renowned far and wide for its exceptional handicrafts. Artisans here continue the age-old traditions of creating exquisite musical instruments, each piece a testament to the town’s rich cultural heritage. Pottery lovers will find themselves spoilt for choice, with workshops and boutiques showcasing pieces that perfectly blend functionality with art.
A visit to Cogolin is not just a day trip; it’s an immersive experience into the heart of Provencal craftsmanship, where every alleyway and storefront tells the story of a community deeply rooted in its artistic traditions.
Ramatuelle: A Historic Village with Panoramic Splendor
Elevated both in location and charm, Ramatuelle offers a serene escape from the coastal fervour, presenting sweeping views over the Bay of Pampelonne. This ancient village, a short drive from Saint-Tropez, is a picturesque ensemble of stone houses, floral-adorned facades, and winding streets that invite leisurely exploration. Despite its compact size, Ramatuelle captivates with its labyrinthine lanes, leading visitors on a delightful journey through its historic heart.
Ramatuelle’s cultural calendar is a vibrant one, with its jazz and classical music festivals drawing audiences from across the globe during the summer months. These festivals transform the village into a buzzing hub of artistic expression, set against the backdrop of its stunning natural and architectural beauty.
Whether you’re wandering through its streets, soaking in the panoramic vistas, or enjoying the melodic offerings of a live performance, Ramatuelle offers a tranquil yet enriching day trip option for those based in Saint-Tropez.
Grimaud: Stepping Into a Medieval Tale
Grimaud is a journey into the heart of medieval Provence, where history whispers from the cobblestone streets and ancient ruins. As you step out of your vehicle and onto the time-worn paths, the village welcomes you into a world preserved from centuries past. Grimaud’s castle ruins stand as silent sentinels, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the glittering sea beyond.
This historical treasure is complemented by the charm of Port Grimaud, known affectionately as “Little Venice,” with its network of canals and brightly coloured houses reflecting in the tranquil waters.
Exploring Grimaud is to walk through a live storybook, where every turn reveals architectural marvels and vistas that fuel the imagination. The village’s strategic position atop a hill affords visitors a panoramic spectacle of the Maures Mountains and the azure Mediterranean, making it a photographer’s paradise.
Beyond its historical allure, Grimaud’s modern twist at the canal-side is a serene place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon, reminding visitors of the village’s unique blend of the past with present-day pleasures.
Cannes: Glamour and Seaside Splendour
A day trip to Cannes from Saint-Tropez offers a taste of cinematic glamour alongside the allure of the French Riviera’s seaside charm. Swapping the car for a taxi-boat journey adds an element of adventure and novelty, presenting Cannes from a unique marine perspective.
Upon arrival, the city unfolds as a mosaic of luxury, history, and vibrant culture. La Croisette, Cannes’ famed boulevard, is a promenade of elegance, lined with high-end boutiques, prestigious hotels, and sandy beaches that have hosted the footsteps of the world’s elite.
While the allure of celebrity and the Film Festival is palpable, Cannes’ essence lies in its ability to blend glitz with the authentic charm of its old town, Le Suquet. Here, narrow lanes ascend to reveal stunning city views and the warmth of local life.
Cannes is not just about the spectacle; it’s a city that invites visitors to discover its artistic side, tranquil beaches, and culinary delights, making it a multifaceted destination worthy of exploration beyond the film star experience.
Sainte-Maxime: A Serene Coastal Gem
Just a short ferry ride from the buzz of Saint-Tropez lies Sainte-Maxime, a haven of tranquillity and scenic beauty on the French Riviera. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere and less crowded beaches, such as the exquisite Nartelle Beach, Sainte-Maxime offers a peaceful retreat without sacrificing the charm and allure of the Riviera lifestyle. The town’s promenade is a delightful place to wander, lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants that boast some of the region’s best culinary offerings.
Sainte-Maxime’s appeal lies in its ability to provide a laid-back beach town experience while still offering a rich tapestry of activities, from water sports to cultural events. The town’s architecture, with its Belle Époque villas and shaded squares, tells the story of its genteel past, inviting visitors to slow down and savour the relaxed pace of life by the sea.
Whether you’re seeking a day of sunbathing, a gastronomic adventure, or a leisurely exploration of local markets and boutiques, Sainte-Maxime is a captivating destination that promises a refreshing contrast to its more famous neighbour.
I highly recommend you include these excursions on your next visit to Saint-Tropez, and that you also read my guide to the best 5-day itinerary for the South of France here for further inspiration.