Cruises,  France

Awesome One Day in Cannes Itinerary – From Cruise Ship

Is your cruise ship docking in Cannes and you are wondering how to spend the day? Then I got you covered with this one-day in Cannes itinerary.

I have recently visited Cannes with MSC Cruises and absolutely loved my day there. There is so much to see, and there are quite a few options on how to spend your day.

Naturally, it can be a bit difficult to plan your day in Cannes with the cruise ship on the go. Luckily for you, I have noted down all my favorite things to do in Cannes.

Keep on reading for your ultimate cruise guide!

Let’s get to it!

A bustling marina in Cannes, showcasing rows of moored yachts, with the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in the backdrop and the cityscape extending into the hills.

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How to Spend 1 Day in Cannes On A Cruise

If you are just wondering about your options on how to spend the shore day from Cannes cruise port without further ado, you are in the right spot.

Here are your options for your shore day in Cannes:

  • Spend the day in Cannes itself with my self-guided walking tour itinerary
  • Take the ferry to St. Tropez
  • Go to Monaco
  • Tour the French Riviera on an organized day trip

This post will mainly go into how to spend the day in Cannes itself, but I wanted to show all the options before making your decision.

Cannes Walking Tour Itinerary

one day in cannes walking tour itinerary
  1. Cannes Cruise Port
  2. Le Suquet
  3. Eglisé Notre Dame d’Esperance
  4. Marche Forvillé
  5. Lunch at Rue Saint Antoine
  6. IGY Vieux Port de Cannes
  7. Palais des Festivals et des Congrès
  8. La Croisette de Cannes
  9. Beach Time or Sainte Marguarite
  10. Cruise Port
A daytime view of Cannes' city hall, an elegant building with French and European Union flags, in a square surrounded by lush greenery and vibrant flower beds.
Credit: Kitty

1. Cannes Cruise Port

We’ll start off our self-guided Cannes walking tour at the Cannes Cruise Terminal. Cannes is usually a tender port, so you’ll most likely arrive in tender boats.

From the cruise terminal, we can start our walking exploration. Cannes is not too big, so we can easily walk toward all the attractions.

Read all about the Cannes Cruise Port in this post.

2. Le Suquet Neighborhood

We’ll start off our day exploring the Le Suquet quarters.

Le Suquet is the old quarter of Cannes. You can find it perched on a hill overlooking the rest of the city It has cobbled streets and quaint, colorful buildings – and lovely views.

At the top, you’ll find the Musée de la Castre, housed in a medieval castle, and a beautiful old church, Notre-Dame d’Espérance. There are some cute shops where I suggest to buy souvenirs.

Le Suquet is quieter and more laid back than the bustling Croisette below. I loved starting my morning in Cannes off here.

The Old Port of Cannes, with traditional and modern boats anchored in the harbor, overlooked by the historic Le Suquet area with its old castle and the clock tower.

3. Eglisé Notre Dame d’Esperance

Notre Dame d’Espérance is a beautiful old church that sits atop the Le Suquet hill in Cannes. It’s beautiful and totally worth visiting.

The church was built in the 16th century, and it is impressive inside and outside. Outside, the church’s courtyard offers some of the most stunning views over Cannes, the sparkling sea, and the Esterel mountains.

You can simply walk inside if you feel like it and enjoy the quiet for a minute.

The historic clock tower of the Notre-Dame d'Espérance church standing tall against a clear blue sky in the old quarter of Cannes, with the fortified walls of the medieval building visible.

4. Marché Forville

Marché Forville in Cannes is a cool neighborhood spot where everyone goes to grab fresh food and catch up. It’s right in the middle of Cannes, super close to the fancy beachfront. I love that it has a totally different, down-to-earth vibe.

When you walk in, you’ll be hit with the smells of fresh bread, ripe fruit, and flowers. It’s super colorful, with all sorts of food on display. We bought olives, cheeses, seafood, and yummy pastries.

Marché Forville is also the heart of the community. You’ll see locals bargaining, and chefs picking out the best stuff for their menus. On Mondays, it turns into a flea market, which is super cute.

5. Lunch at Rue Saint Antoine

One thing you can’t miss in Cannes is a typical French lunch. And the best place to get that is the Rue Saint Antoine.

Rue Saint-Antoine in Cannes is like this hidden little street that’s a goldmine for cute and cozy restaurants, perfect for a laid-back lunch. It’s tucked away in the old part of the city.

You can find everything from traditional French cuisine, where you can try bouillabaisse or ratatouille, or check out Italian trattorias serving up homemade pasta.

Insider Tip: this street is popular, also among locals. Show up early or make reservations.

traditional french lunch dish fancy fine dining manner asparagus with green sauce and other decorations

6. Vieux Port de Cannes

Next up on this Cannes itinerary is the Old Port, or Vieux Port de Cannes.

First off, the setting is stunning. The port is surrounded by palm trees and faces the sparkling Mediterranean. It’s a spot where you can lean back, enjoy the view, and grab some ice cream for dessert.

But Vieux Port also has a lot of history. This place has been the heart of Cannes since way back. It used to be a fishing port and a launch point for all sorts of maritime adventures.

Walking around, you get that sense of history and tradition, especially when you see the older fishing boats still in use today.

A serene view of the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea from the rocky shores of Cannes, with luxury yachts and boats scattered across the horizon.
Credit: Kitty

7. Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

The next stop on this one-day in Cannes itinerary is just as famous as the old port: the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.

It’s this massive, modern building right on the waterfront, and it’s where all the magic happens during the Cannes Film Festival. This is where all the celebrities take their red carpet-pictures as well.

Check the official website for events, maybe you’ll be lucky to spot a celebrity.

Insider Tip: One of the coolest things about the Palais, aside from the events, is the Walk of Fame. Outside, you’ll find handprints of movie stars and directors

The modern facade of the Casino Barrière in Cannes, featuring a vibrant, artistic entrance, with a clear sky above and a quiet esplanade in front.

8. La Croisette de Cannes

The Croisette is one of the most famous places in Cannes, and it definitely needs to be on your shore day itinerary.

The Croisette in Cannes is like the ultimate seaside promenade, where the charm of the French Riviera really shines. The boulevard has the Mediterranean’s blue waters on one side and a lineup of fancy hotels, high-end shops, and chic cafes on the other.

It’s glamorous, but also laid-back in that effortlessly cool French way. Shopping is expensive there, but I still could not resist.

9. Beach Time or Saint Marguerite

This is the time to relax a bit and refresh in the stunning blue ocean. You can stay right here on the Croisette de Cannes and lie down in one of the private beach clubs. Alternatively, you can just chill on the sandy beach strip.

Alternatively, if you have the time, you can visit the cute island of Saint Marguerite by ferry.

The ferry ride from Cannes to the Île Sainte-Marguerite is pretty quick and straightforward, taking about 15 minutes. Ferries run regularly, so it won’t be a hassle.

Head back to the cruise port for your tender boat afterward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cannes nicer than Nice?

Personally, I thought that Cannes was nicer than Nice. You can have a lovely day in Cannes without it being too stressful. Nice is bigger and a bit less charming. If you would rather have some big-city vibes, I suggest you check out Nice instead.

What is Cannes famous for?

Cannes is globally renowned for its glitzy annual Film Festival, where celebrities and filmmakers gather to celebrate cinema on the French Riviera. Beyond the red carpet, Cannes charms with its luxurious La Croisette boulevard, lined with high-end boutiques, sandy beaches, and posh hotels.

The old town, Le Suquet, offers a picturesque glimpse into the past with its cobblestone streets and panoramic views. Cannes also serves as a gateway to exploring the Lerins Islands, adding a touch of natural beauty and history to its glamorous facade.

Cannes is a city where the worlds of cinema, luxury, and Mediterranean beauty blend seamlessly.

How long do I need in Cannes?

We saw pretty much all of Cannes on our shore excursion. You don’t need much longer for the city, so it is a great place to discover with a cruise ship.

Of course, there are a lot of other great things to do around Cannes, so it can also make sense to stay a couple of days there. The French Riviera has a lot to offer, and Cannes is right in the center of it.

Is Cannes a walkable city?

Yes, Cannes is pretty walkable. As you have seen in my itinerary, you can hit the nicest spots of the city by walking.

On our day there, we saw a cute mini train shuttling tourists through the city. If walking is not your thing, you can definitely try that instead.

Is Cannes worth visiting?

Yes, Cannes is totally worth visiting. I think it is a great city for a cruise stop because you can see it pretty much in a day. I would not want to spend an entire week here, but it is definitely one of the places you should have seen at least once.

I thought the city was very charming and adorable, even though a lot of things were expensive. Make sure to check it out when in the area.

Can you walk to Cannes from the cruise port?

Yes, you can easily walk to Cannes from the cruise port. The tender boats will drop you off right in the heart of the city, so you can explore from there.

If you don’t like walking, you can also take the small shuttle train around the city. I thought it was an easy city to explore, and one of my favorite stops on the cruise for that reason.

Is Cannes Worth Visiting? An Honest Review

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Conclusion: One Day in Cannes

This sums up our shore itinerary for the beautiful small coastal city. The walking tour I suggest will take you past the most interesting sights and coolest places in the city.

Of course, you’ll see the famous Croisette, and my favorite spot: the Old Port. Enjoy a typical French lunch and later an ice cream seaside.

If you have the time, hop over on the ferry to Saint Marguarite Island. I hope you enjoyed my ultimate itinerary and will love the city as much as I did.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.