guide to Antibes France

Complete Guide to Antibes on the French Riviera

Antibes is a beautiful historical seaside town in the French Riviera. Nestled between Cannes and Nice, it’s a fantastic stop on a tour of France’s southern coast or even worthy of a week’s long vacation. The charming, picturesque town has a plenty to see and do and for me, it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy great food and unbelievable scenery.

I’m lucky enough to have visited the town every summer since I’ve lived in France (for over 8 years!) and I know the area pretty well now. My insider guide will tell you everything you need to know, what to visit, where to eat and where to stay. But first…

Which is Better – Antibes, Nice or Cannes?

If you’ve found this post then you might be wondering wether you should stay in Antibes, Cannes or Nice. All 3 towns are very close to each other but each have a distinctly different ‘feel’ to them.

Choosing one of them as a destination really depends on your travel preferences. I personally think Antibes is the best bet if you’re wanting a relaxed Riviera experience.

As it’s between Nice and Cannes, it’s very easy to get travel to either town. You can be in Antibes from Nice Airport in 45 mins (public transport) or 30 mins in a taxi.

  • Antibes: is the smallest but most authentic town of the 3. The old town, history, secluded bays, sandy beaches and stunning views from the Cap give it a genuine ‘Riviera’ feel. It’s calm and more old money than nouveau riche. There are a few cheap bars and pubs for the yacht crews but there are no clubs.

  • Cannes: Cannes is the glitziest town on the Riviera. In the summer it’s a key destination for the rich and you feel it when you’re there. It’s great fun if you want to spend as there’s a lot of party restaurants and plenty of bars and clubs. There is quite a bit to see and do but just be aware than in peak summer there are a lot of ‘posers’! Discover our guide to Cannes for more info on what to do in the city.

  • Nice: Nice is one of France’s biggest city’s and there’s a lot to do and see. By virtue of its size, it does get very busy in the summer months . The main beach is lovely and there are plenty of private beaches where you can eat and rent sun loungers. There’s also naturally a much wider choice in terms of eating – check out guide to the best restaurants in Nice here.

What to See & Do in Antibes

Antibes isn’t the biggest town in the French Riviera but there’s plenty to see and do. You can generally expect to spend 1-2 days seeing everything if you’re walking non-stop. Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Antibes!

Explore the Port

Antibes is known as the port for super yachts on the French Riviera (yes even more so than Monaco!). You’ll find the unmissable Port Vauban to the north of the old town and it is enormous.

Tip: If you’re driving to Antibes then I’d recommend parking at the Port Vauban. It’s a great place to start discovering the town. Parking for a day costs around €19.

In the port you’ll find a massive array of yachts and super yachts (there’s even a section where you’ll find the biggest private yachts in the worlds. The majority of the pontoons are accessible to the public if you want to have a stroll and take in the magnificent boats!

Relax on the Beautiful Beaches

Directly next to the port you’ll find the Plage de la Gravette which has magnificent views across to the old town. This is a public beach and is literally a stones throw away from the old town itself. It’s a perfect spot for a quick dip to cool off!

plage de la gravette antibes

To the south of the town you’ll find two beautiful, perfectly sandy beaches; Plage de la Salis and Plage du Ponteil. These are about a 20 minute walk from the middle of the old town.

Plage de la Salis

Even further south, on the Cap d’Antibes, you’ll find Plage de la Garoupe which has 3 different restaurants with varying price points. Be warned, however, it gets really busy in the summer.

Plage de la Garoupe

Want to relax on a private beach? Check out my guide to the best beach clubs in Antibes.

Explore the Old Town of Antibes

The old town of Antibes is absolutely stunning. Small, windy Medieval streets are picture perfect and are full of independent boutiques, coffee shops and art galleries.

I’d advise to take some time to wonder around, delve into shops and take in the beautiful, old Medieval cobbled streets. You’ll find plenty of amazing angles for photography around the market and the old ramparts.

Take a Walk Along the Coast

One of the most amazing walks in Antibes has to be the coastal route which starts from the Port, past the cathedral and round to the Plage du Ponteil.

antibes coastal walk

It takes around 20 minutes and you’ll pass the Picasso Museum and the Musée d’Archéologie. The views are incredible – you’ll see across to Nice & Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to the north and across the bay to the Cap d’Antibes.

I’d recommend stopping off at restaurant Chez Mô for a glass of wine and a plate of fresh oysters as an apéro before dinner.

view to sea from antibes

Feeling adventurous? You can also continue around down to the Plage de la Salis and even further down to the Plage de la Garoupe (this walk takes around 1h20m).

Le Marché Provençal

Just like in many of the charming seaside towns in the South of France, you’ll find a beautiful local market in the heart of the old town. Le Marché Provençal is one of the best markets in the south of France. It’s genuinely a local market with incredible produce being sold to locals and tourists a like.

Marche Provencal antibes

You’ll find fresh fish, meat, locally grown vegetables, honey, olives and plenty of local artists’ work. If you’re staying in an AirBnB I’d definitely recommend picking up some fresh produce early on in the day and making a salad or grilled fish. Check out our French recipes here for inspo!

The market is open daily from 7:30am to 1pm. You’ll also find a flea market on the Place Nationale which is held every Thursday and Saturday. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir or gift – expect lots of vintage framed posters and silver tableware!

flea market antibes

Walk up to the Fort Carré

On the other side of the town, to the north of the Port Vauban you’ll see the Fort Carré which dates back to the 1500s. The star shaped fort was built to protect the city of Antibes and was the final layer of protection against the Nice (which was not French at the time).

It costs €3 to enter the fort and you’ll get great views across to Nice and to the Port and the Old town of Antibes.

Musée Picasso

On the coastal walk you’ll stumble upon the Musée Picasso. Located in the impressive Château Grimaldi, the museum was actually Picasso’s former workshop where he painted for over 2 months in 1946.

picasso museum antibes

The museum contains over 245 pieces from Picasso and you can expect to spend 2 hours in the museum. It costs €8 to enter for adults.

Cap d’Antibes

The Cap d’Antibes is the headland that extends to the south of the town. It’s certainly worth a visit and there are beautiful beaches, coves and wild coastal hikes to discover.

Unlike the Old Town the Cap is full of huge mansions, villas and exclusive 5* hotels. Other than Monaco and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, it’s probably contains the most expensive properties in France. Unfortunately you won’t be able to see much as these grand homes as they’re fenced off with high walls. Apart from a few hotels, the coastal areas are the main highlight.

Plage Keller cap d'antibes

Around the headland on the eastern side of the Cap, you’ll find Plage de la Garoupe which is a great spot to spend the day at Plage Keller. It’s a great beach with direct views over towards Nice and beyond. I’d definitely recommend spending a day on a sun lounger, relaxing and eating some great food here!

Follow the coastline around the Cap, there’s a lovely hiking route which will take you past viewing points and small rocky coves. Eventually you’ll come to the Bay of Antibes Billionaires which is a beautifully wild, small beach looking out to a small bay.

Where to Eat and Drink

Antibes has some creating eating spots and even quite a few speciality coffee shops! Read on to discover my favorite places to eat and drink in Antibes.


There are some fantastic restaurants in the heart of the Old Town of Antibes. You’ll mainly find traditional French food but they nearly all use local, fresh ingredients so make sure to try some freshly caught fish!

fish dish la petite escalle
Dish of fresh, locally caught seabass, monkfish and shrimp from La Petite Escalle

Do beware that there are a lot of tourists traps in the town where you won’t particularly eat well so make sure to do your research! Here’s a selection of my favorite restaurants in Antibes – click to find more detailed reviews. I’ve found the following restaurants to be really good:

  • La Petite Escalle: One of my favorite restaurants in Antibe, is a tiny bistro down a side street in the Old Town. There’s only one chef in the kitchen and he creates some incredible plates with fantastic local produce. (30 Rue Fourmillière)
  • Le Vauban: This is a superb little restaurant which serves really good, refined ‘gastronomic’ French food. It’s rather traditional but the food (and wine!) is incredible. (7bis Rue Thuret)
  • Don Juan: This is a great Provençal restaurant and is a stones throw from the port. It’s seasonal, local ingredients only! (17 Rue Thuret)
Don Juan antibes
Stuffed courgette flowers from Don Juan


Surprisingly Antibes has a quite a few great speciality coffee shops in the Old Town. My favorite spot to pop down for a morning iced latte is NOMADS coffee (3 Rue Sade). They’ve got a lovely interior and a small terrace. It’s in a small side street close to the Marché Provençal which means it’s in the shade – perfect on a hot summer’s day!

Another great spot to get a good coffee is Good Mate Coffee (3 Rue Georges Clemenceau). It’s takeaway only and perfect to if you’re really central in the Old Town for a quick pick-me-up!

good mate coffee antibes

Lastly La Torref De Fersen (10 Rue Lacan) is a fantastic independent roaster and coffee shop. They serve their own roasted coffee up and it’s genuinely very good.

Where to Stay?

There’s a lot of options in Antibes for accommodation and this section I’ll give you my advice and where to stay in Antibes.

AirBnB or Hotel?

So you might be wondering if you should stay in an AirBnB or in a hotel in Antibes. It really depends on what type of holiday you’re after. In my opinion staying in an AirBnB is the better option in Antibes as there are fantastic markets to buy fresh produce to cook and beaches are minutes away.

There aren’t too many hotels in the Old Town and you’ll generally find the majority of 3-4* hotels closer to the nearby town of Juan-les-Pins.

If you’re looking at luxury hotels then you’ll find the majority in the Cap d’Antibes.

Hotels in Antibes

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc: Perhaps one of the most famous hotels in the French Riviera. This a stunning 5* hotel on the Cap d’Antibes is incredible but so are the prices!

Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel: A great 5* boutique design hotel that’s on the more affordable side. The decor is mid-century and it’s beautiful. They’ve got a great beach club area with a killer restaurant.

Hôtel La Villa Port d’Antibes: A lovely 4* hotel in the centre of the Old Town. Perfect choice if you’d rather avoid an AirBnB but be in the centre. Check prices here.

Day Trips from Antibes

As I mentioned, Antibes is a perfect base to explore the nearby surrounding seaside towns. The train station at Antibes is only a 10 minutes walk away and you can reach nearby towns extremely quickly. You c

You can reach Cannes in 12 minutes on the TER train and it’s a fantastic city to visit in a day. There’s the old town to explore, the island Ile Sainte Marguerite and you can relax in one of the beach clubs on the front.

Alternatively you can get to Nice in 25 minutes on the TER train and explore the city. If you continue on the line you can get off at Villefranche-sur-Mer which is a picturesque fishing village. Then you can get a bus or a taxi into the stunning town of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This is a great day trip and I’d really recommending visiting these 2 towns!

Check out our in-depth guide on how to get to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat from Nice.

FAQ: Antibes

Is it Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Even if you’re just stopping by for a day there’s plenty to see and do in an afternoon. It’s a lovely picturesque town that, for me, is emblematic of the French Riviera.

If you’re deciding between Cannes or Antibes and want a less flashy, day I’d chose Antibes.

How Long Does it Take to Visit Antibes?

Antibes is small and the historical Old Town (where the majority of the attractions are) is easily done in 4-5 hours if you stop for lunch.

If you take your time if you could spend 2 days in Antibes (making time for long lunches and dinners of course!).

Best Time to Visit Antibes

Like pretty much any town on the French Riviera it gets seriously busy in July and August. It’s also really hot with temperatures hitting 35c/95f daily peak summer.

I’d recommend visiting Antibes at the end of May, early June or in September to avoid the crowds and to experience more tolerable weather!

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