Last Updated on 11/05/2022 by Alfred
Leaving for the French Riviera? Discover all the best things to do in the Var to make your holiday memorable.
Don’t look for your destination for your next holiday; you’ve found it! The Var welcomes you under the sun with a plethora of activities. Between mythical beaches, natural landscapes, and historical monuments, discover our list of must-sees to visit in the Var.
The 22 Best Things To Do in the Var (Tourist Attractions)
Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, the capital of Dracénie forms a fine example of a Provençal city. You will stroll through the alleys of the historic center between the remains of the ramparts, the porches and carved doors, the chapels …
Don’t miss the Rhone Memorial and the American Cemetery. The Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Middle Provence is a must when you come to visit the Var. Through exhibitions, meetings, and shows, he perpetuates the customs that have made this Provence that we love so much.
2. The Gorges du Verdon and Lake Sainte-Croix
Are you coming to visit the Var? Gorges du Verdon offers both an exceptional landscape and a variety of activities. In the middle of cliffs 250 to 700 meters high, the Verdon has carved the largest canyon in Europe. 14 kilometers await hikers on the Blanc-Martel trail.
It is possible to practice canyoning and rafting in the upper part of the gorges and canoeing between the lakes of Esparron and Quinson.
The Verdon flows into Lake Sainte-Croix at the canyon’s mouth, the third largest lake in France. Beaches and turquoise waters are waiting for you. To ensure your tranquility, boats are prohibited.
3. Route de la Corniche Sublime
This route winds along the gorges on the left bank of the Verdon. You follow the river’s route for about twenty kilometers in a spectacular environment.
The route starts in the village of Comps-sur-Artuby and rises quickly to the balconies of the Mescla, your first stop.
From this panorama, you see the waters of the Artuby flow into the Verdon. Then you pass over the bridge of the Artuby, from which you can bungee jump 182 meters above the ground.
Thrills guaranteed! You walk along the canyon to the Cirque de Vaumale, where you may see chamois.
4. Port-Cros National Park
The oldest marine park in Europe was established in 1963. It extends over a marine surface extended from the coast up to 3 nautical miles south of the islands of Hyères. It encompasses the communes between La Garde and Ramatuelle.
It is the wildest of the Golden Islands and the heart of the marine park. You will reach it in one hour of navigation from the port of Hyères. Arriving on-site, you discover a pretty village and preserved nature.
Three trails allow you to explore by the sea or inland. In 45 minutes of walking, you will reach the beach of La Palud.
Put on fins, masks, and snorkel and meet the underwater species by following a marked trail. Five forts are scattered around the island, allowing scenic walks to observe the rare white-legged gulls or the migratory eagle.
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Porquerolles is the closest to the mainland, just a few minutes by boat from the port of Hyères. A good way to travel the island is to rent a mountain bike or an electric bike. Go to the beaches of Argent or Notre Dame to put your towel on the fine sand.
On the side of the Pointe de la Galère, you will reach a small deserted cove by following a footpath.
The island’s landscape is varied, between its 200 hectares of vineyards, defensive forts, and the Mill of Happiness. By adding a paddle or scuba diving, you will have plenty to keep you busy for a day or more.
If you visit the Var, you will find the island of Levant also has many coves and wild nature to explore.
A path connects the top of the village to the Cirque de la Galère. You will return to the port by the seaside during a pleasant walk of 2h 30 minutes.
Beach naturism is free and even mandatory on the pebble beach of the Caves, the only sandy cove.
5. Massif de l’Estérel
The Esterel massif is a jewel of nature wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and limestone Provence. It forms an ideal playground for those looking for hikes in the Var.
On foot, horseback, or bike, explore the 32,000 hectares of unspoiled nature between forest and red volcanic rock.
The towers of Mont Vinegar or Pic de l’Ours are unmissable. For sports enthusiasts, the balconies of Cap Roux are a 4h 30 min loop offering magnificent views of the sea.
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6. Massif de la Sainte-Baume
For hikers, this is another must-do in the Var. The Sainte-Baume massif rises on the heights of Marseille, between cliffs and dense forests.
The hostelry administered by the Dominican friars welcomes you at the foot of the massif. In 40 minutes walk on a pleasant path, you will reach the cave where Mary Magdalene came to pray after the crucifixion of Jesus.
7. Cap Camarat and Pampelonne beach
Cap Camarat is the easternmost of the three capes of the bay of Saint-Tropez. From its lighthouse, the second in France for the height of its light source, you benefit from an exceptional view.
Follow the coastal path along the cliffs to reach the beach of Bonne Terrasse and then that of Pampelonne. This 5-kilometer-long white-sand cove is perfect for a relaxing session or a drink on the terrace.
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8. The harbor of Toulon
Sometimes described as the “most beautiful harbor in Europe,” the harbor of Toulon stretches between the peninsulas of Giens and Saint-Mandrier. Climb Mont-Faron for an overview of the city and its coastline. Alternatively, board a boat for a one-hour guided tour.
You will learn more about the military installations of Toulon and pass by the port of Saint-Mandrier and the dike of Mourillon.
9. Hyères and the peninsula of Giens
In addition to being the starting point for Port-Cros, Hyères is a city where life is good. It is also a must to reach the peninsula of Giens, a must to visit in the Var.
Walk the coastal path to discover small family beaches and forgotten coves. They are bordered by transparent water that irresistibly invites you to swim.
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Perched on the heights, the village of Bormes-Les-Mimosas will charm you for sure. Take a stroll through its colorful alleyways between the stone houses. Flowers are everywhere, on balconies, facades, or porches, creating a real open-air garden.
Many craft shops will be an opportunity to bring back souvenirs for family and friends.
11. Go around the villages
Start in Gassin and settle into Place Deï Barri for a meal overlooking the Gulf of Saint-Tropez.
Then explore the Var hinterland and the Provence villages. You will visit Tourtour and its medieval castle, Seillans perched on the hillside, and Bargème at 1,097 meters above sea level.
These three will delight you with their beauty, old stones, and cobbled streets in a gorgeous setting of vineyards and olive trees.
12. Thoronet Abbey
Thoronet is the wonder of the Cistercian abbeys, one of the “three Provençal sisters” with Senanque and Silvacane. This fine example of Romanesque architecture impresses with its clean lines.
Cistercian in design, the building, includes a water source, a mill, workshops, and a garden.
13. Chartreuse de la Verne
The Chartreuse de la Verne is a monumental building in the heart of the Moorish State Forest. Built-in the twelfth century, it was ravaged by fire several times and rebuilt. Today, it is inhabited by a religious community that has taken a vow of silence.
You will have to walk 500 meters to visit it, with a beautiful panorama of all the buildings. Continuing through the undergrowth, the brave will reach the Verne reservoir, a picturesque artificial lake in the middle of the forest.
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14. The Basilica of St. Maximin
Also, to visit the Var, this basilica dedicated to Sainte-Marie-Madeleine is the largest Gothic building in Provence. One is impressed by its majestic dimensions and the multitude of works of art it contains.
Head to the crypt after going around the paintings and woodwork in the nave and apse. It contains relics, including the skull of Mary Magdalene and four sarcophagi.
15. Villa Noailles
Commissioned by the Vicomte de Noailles during the 20s, this villa is one of the first modern-style constructions in France. It is now an art center of national interest and hosts various festivals and workshops.
The fields of architecture, fashion, and design are honored throughout the year. A permanent exhibition traces the history of the place since its creation.
16. The episcopal group of Fréjus
Not far from Saint-Raphaël, the city of Fréjus is home to many architectural wonders. Its episcopal group includes 4 major monuments.
Start at the cathedral before discovering the baptistery, cloister, and episcopal palace—the latter, which now houses the Town Hall, charms with its well-preserved medieval facade.
Saint-Tropez is the tourist capital of the department and a must-see seaside resort to visit in the Var. You will have the chance to meet celebrities who have made it their favorite holiday resort since the 50s.
Enjoy a game of petanque with the locals under the shade of the plane trees at the Place des Lices. The city comes alive at night for some of the most popular private parties on the Côte d’Azur.
18. Climb to the top of the Lachens (on foot or by car)
The Lachens mountain is the highest point of the Var, at 1,714 meters above sea level. Hikers will make the ascent thanks to two marked trails crossing exceptional landscapes.
In the case of the others, a road allows you to reach the top, where you can enjoy the most beautiful views in the department.
19. Hiking the Coastal Trail
From Saint-Raphaël to Bandol, the coastal path passes through the most beautiful villages, coves, and sandy beaches to do in the Var. The route is divided into multiple sections, which will suit the most experienced hikers and Sunday walkers.
Check with the tourist offices to find out the difficulty and duration of each portion.
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20. A boat ride in Var
Visiting the Var also means enjoying its coastline. After the walk on the trail, another option is to take off!
Indeed, renting a boat will allow you to explore the Mediterranean coast, coves, and beaches. Thus, you will have the opportunity to discover the landscape in another way, as seen from the waters. A great experience to live with your loved ones to perfect your stay in the Var!
21. The most beautiful beaches on the Côte d’Azur
If there is something to do in the Var, put your towel on the beach! The department has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. White sand and crystal clear waters are ideal for a successful holiday!
The estagnol beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas or that of l’Escalet in Ramatuelle among the must-sees. Be careful, their reputation is well established, and places can be expensive in July-August. For more tranquility, choose to go there out of season or head to the islands of Porquerolles or Embiez.
Var gastronomy gives pride of place to vegetables from the sun and seafood. They are honored in mythical dishes such as bouillabaisse, aioli, pistou soup, or ratatouille.
You will find these specialties in all the restaurants and accompany them with a good glass of rosé de Provence. The region also has exceptional PGI honey, AOC fig, chestnut, and olive products.
How to go in the Var?
From the north of France or Paris, you will first reach Marseille by the A7. The A8 motorway crosses the department from west to east, from Marseille to Nice. Coming from the Alps, you will follow the A51 to join the A8.
The main airports to reach the Var are Toulon-Hyères (in the department’s heart), Marseille-Provence, and Nice-Côte-d’Azur. To get the best prices and find the ticket that suits you best, use a flight comparator like Skyscanner.
The TGV Méditerranée connects Paris to Toulon in 4h20. The Var department has three TGV stations: Toulon, Les-Arcs-sur-Argens and Saint-Raphaël. An important TER network crisscrosses the region, with about twenty stations.
Where to stay in the Var?
To visit the Var, you will choose between a multitude of accommodations. For a friendly holiday, opt for a campsite by the sea. Some offer 5-star services, for a holiday between luxury and a good atmosphere.
The hinterland is full of cottages, Airbnb, beds, and breakfasts for a relaxing stay away from the hustle and bustle of the coast.
To please you, the palaces of Saint-Tropez will make you feel like a star of the jet set. Use a hotel comparator to find the offer that best suits your criteria and budget.
You will have access to the best offers and can find your cozy nest at a discounted price.