Go on holiday to the most famous region of France! We take care of guiding you with these 10 unique things to do in Saint-Raphael.
The fabulous massif of red rock that is Saint-Raphael corresponds to the typical image of a city on the Côte d’Azur, nestled on the Mediterranean shores and in the heart of the Esterel.
And we are not the first to visit Saint-Raphael and appreciate its attractions.
All the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin have left their traces there, some of which you can still see. Many illustrious personalities have stayed there, drawn by the sweetness of life in this port of the Var.
It must be said that there is everything you need to spend a dream holiday here.
Outdoor activities, exploring the coastline and even the seabed, culture, and idleness combine to make a successful cocktail.
And to give you some ideas to put in your program, here is a selection of 11 must-do things to do in Saint-Raphaël.
The 11 Unique Things To Do in Saint-Raphael (Visit Saint-Raphael)
1. The different districts
The old town
This is the first district to visit Saint-Raphaël. Before being a famous city for tourists, Saint-Raphaël was a village inhabited by peasants.
Since then, there is not much left except for the old quarter and the old port, now devoted to yachting.
It is easily recognizable by its small alleys with high houses that create a welcome shade in summer. Some of the city’s monuments, such as the Church of San Rafeu and the Archaeological Museum, are located.
Finally, to smell and taste Provence in the literal sense of the terms, come and tour the flower and vegetable markets.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who visited Saint-Raphael, said Agay was a paradise. The Greeks also appreciated it since its name comes from the word meaning “favorable.” So much for the reputation. And for practice, it is a charming harbor considered the entrance to the Esterel massif.
With its long sandy beach and turquoise waters, it is successful. Those who want to get away from the crowds can always gain height by following the Rastel d’Agay hike. The view is splendid.
This neighborhood is a lot of things, and it is one of the points of pride of the inhabitants. First of all, this is where you can best see the Golden Island, the city’s treasure.
You cannot miss it, and it is a small piece of the earth of ochre rocks surmounted by a crenelated tower. Unfortunately, it is private property; its first owner even named himself Lord.
In the Dramont, an episode of the Provence landing took place, less known than Normandy’s but just as important in the Liberation.
Besides the sea, you also have access to an artificial lake equipped to enjoy water sports.
Anthéor Le Trayas
This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Saint-Raphaël. It is located 15 km from the center, so you will have to drive a little way.
Here the Esterel plunges into the Mediterranean, which gives birth to several creeks with sublime décor.
Near the viaduct of the Corniche road, you can see the houses of the village of Anthéor, appreciated by artists since the nineteenth century. A little further, you will see Le Trayas, just as wild, a stone’s throw from Théoule-sur-Mer.
Less than 2km from the city center, the port of Santa Lucia is a paradise for boating and boating. It even prides itself on being the third port on the Côte d’Azur. You embark on a journey to other coastal cities or Corsica and Sardinia by sea.
A cove is next to it, surrounded by pines and hardly frequented. This is because it is not easy to access and is surrounded by rocks.
It is a beach district with no less than 9 stretches of sand shaped by the rocks. It is also a very residential area, perfect for families. Its name comes from “boulerie,” which refers to the game of boules, of course.
This gives an idea of the vocation of the neighborhood. Lovely walking trails are also accessible from the beaches.
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2. Notre-Dame Basilica
In the nineteenth century, the city experienced its urban development under the impetus of the mayor of the time.
His idea worked well so that the old church had become too small for the new inhabitants.
Architect Pierre Aublé was commissioned to build a new one inaugurated in 1887. The latter decided to give it a neo-Byzantine style with a dome reminiscent of Hagia Sophia’s in Istanbul.
It is an original building to visit in Saint-Raphaël. Its façade is illuminated during the end of the year celebrations.
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3. San Rafeu Tower
Alert panoramic view of the city’s rooftops from this tower that you can see in Saint-Raphaël! It was built on one side of the transept of the city’s old church in the thirteenth century.
Its fortified appearance was there to symbolize the bishop’s power.
You have to climb 129 steps to get to the top, but it’s worth looking at. From the top, you can see the domes of the basilica, the Esterel massif, and even the bay of Saint-Tropez.
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4. The Museum of Prehistory and Underwater Archaeology
The museum is housed in the old hierarchy, and just the building itself is impressive because there are still traces of the ramparts and fortifications.
Since ancient times, the Mediterranean has always been a crossroads of trade, and many wrecks lie on the seabed off Saint-Raphaël.
The museum exhibits objects found during underwater archaeological excavations with reconstructions of the ships. Additionally, a section is dedicated to the Paleolithic, whose remains have been found in the region.
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5. The Coastal Path
This is the ideal trail to do in Saint-Raphaël to discover the beauties of its coastline. You can leave from the port of Santa Lucia by following the yellow markings.
The arrival is at long camp beach. Apart from a short road crossing, the walk is between the seaside and the Esterel massif, on the old customs path.
It offers a wonderful view of the Dramont, the Ile d’Or, the Bay of Agay, and some points of the Esterel as you wind between the coves and beaches. A small warning, though, it must be done with good shoes.
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6. A boat ride
Visiting Saint-Raphaël also means enjoying the beauty of 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 Saint-Raphaël!
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7. A diving session
Whether you are a neophyte, beginner, or experienced, why not discover Saint-Raphaël in an underwater version? The rocky concretions at the base of the Esterel massif offer refuges of choice for fauna and flora.
We await you with starfish, gorgonians, schools of castagnoles, and small groupers to fill your eyes.
As for those who want extra adrenaline, no problem; there is wreckage galore in the area. Between antique or military ships of the Second World War, you have the choice.
You can also enjoy other activities such as a boat ride, parasailing, or a jet-ski afternoon in Saint-Raphaël!
For example, there are no fewer than 13 ancient wrecks at the beacon of the Christian.
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8. The Corniche d’Or
This name refers to the road that connects Saint-Raphaël to Cannes through the Esterel massif. It winds along the coast jagged with red rocks and offers exceptional panoramas of the creeks that punctuate it.
This is the most picturesque mini road trip you can do in Saint-Raphaël.
Moreover, you may have already seen images of the road since it has been used in many films as a set.
9. The Esterel massif
Impossible to miss its red landscapes when you visit Saint-Raphaël. Before the formation of the Mediterranean Sea, the Esterel was, in reality, a piece of Africa, which then broke away.
As a result, fascinating rocky chaos plunges into the sea and forms coves.
In places, they are also jagged peaks that soar towards the sky. Today, the massif is crisscrossed by many hiking trails and mountain bike trails. This is all done to attract the most visitors.
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10. The Bonaparte Garden
Located in the old port, the Bonaparte garden is the ideal place to visit in Saint-Raphaël to stroll along the sea. During the day, it is particularly appreciated by young audiences because of its many playgrounds.
But in the evening, when it is quieter, it becomes perfect for strolling in the cool greenery and admiring the last light of the day.
11. The Garden of Île Verte
If you are looking for a real garden to visit in Saint-Raphaël, you have to go to the Valescure district to the Pierre Fernez garden. Few tourists know about the area, making it even more appealing.
It is a botanical garden abundantly flowered. The visitor walks through Mediterranean trees such as olive trees, pine palm trees, and eucalyptus and Judean trees. In short, it would be a shame to miss this oasis.
How to get to Saint-Raphael?
With 3 airports within a 2-hour drive, it’s easy to visit St. Raphael by plane. The closest is that of Nice, followed by Toulon and Marseille. Connections are daily.
All you have to do is choose what suits you best by going, for example, to a flight comparator like Skyscanner.
From Nice airport, you can get to Saint-Raphaël with bus line 3003.
Youbeautifulroad crossing will have to take bus line 102 to Toulon station from Toulon airport, and then a train will take you to Saint-Raphaël.
Finally, from Marseille airport, you will find bus line 10, then line L088 to Marseilles Saint-Charles, then a shuttle will take you to Fréjus-Saint-Raphaël.
The TGV now passes through Saint-Raphaël, which means the city can be reached less than 5 hours from Paris. There is also an outstanding TER network that connects all the cities of the Côte d’Azur.
Saint-Raphaël is also accessible from Switzerland with the TGV Lyria and Italy with the THELLO.
We could not make it clearer, to visit Saint-Raphaël by car, you have to take the motorway of the sun, the A8. That’s it, it’s said.
Where to stay in Saint-Raphaël?
The region is a tourist destination par excellence for French and foreign tourists. But there is a “but” is that prices soar as the high season approaches and availability leaves quickly.
So remember to book in advance using a hotel comparator to refine your choices.
Otherwise, think of campsites or Airbnb in neighborhoods like Boulouris or Anthéor. You can also opt for a charming cottage in the hinterland.