Get to know what it’s like to visit this destination.
Getting To Know Saint-Tropez – Cruise Port Guide
One of the harder places to visit on a no fly cruise is Saint-Tropez (St. Tropez), a port and coastal town on the French Riviera best known for its reputation as a celebrity hangout and super-yacht magnet. Located in the Côte d’Azur region, this pretty and colourful port town (some call it a City) is also a popular day visit from other ports, including Cannes, Toulon and Nice. Let our Saint Tropez cruise port guide help you plan your perfect visit here, whether it be via tender or a shore excursion from another port.
Head to the Old Town’s cobbled streets, historically a fishing village and now busy with bars and restaurants and yes, very rich and equally famous tourists aplenty. Head to the world famous Pampelonne Beach – but don’t forget your St. Tropez sunning lotion. Alternatively the town is rich in history and culture too, head up to the Citadel, visit the many galleries (Saint-Tropez has a large art scene) or visit numerous museums.
The backstreets of Saint-Tropez feel very arty, there are many galleries and it is more peaceful here, it reminds us a little of St. Ives in Cornwall during the summer months. Saint-Tropez is FULL ON, so it’s also nice to escape the frenetic pace of the town centre and port and head to the Citadel. Situated in a lush park behind the town, 17th Century Saint-Tropez Citadel overlooks the entire town from on high. It’s surroundings offer peace and escape and it commands some of the best views of the area too, so essential for the photographers out there.
Saint-Tropez is a port town best enjoyed as a classical tourist. Wander the cobbled streets, absorb the ‘jet-set’ atmosphere, go yacht-spotting and simply immerse in the most famous of glamorous locations.
Key highlights of Saint-Tropez
- Musee de l’Annonciade (Museum)
- The 17th Century St. Tropez Citadel
- Place des Lices
- Day visits to Port-Grimaud and Cannes
- Plage De Saint Tropez (Famous beach and clubs)
The port of Saint-Tropez is very much a tender port for cruise ships, so you’ll be at anchor in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and will visit the town by tender. There will be numerous super-yachts berthed alongside in the harbour and it’s always fun guessing the owner (with the help of a ship tracking app and Google), but your cruise ship is likely to have some mega-yacht neighbours at anchor, too. This port attracts the seriously wealthy, so don’t be surprised if some of the yachts in the bay are similar in size to your ship, or even bigger!
I’ve visited Saint-Tropez twice, once onboard the stunning EUROPA 2 from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and once on a private yacht, both times a single day visit was about right (Although I was visiting with children, so if you want to experience the vibrant nightlife and the famous clubs, an overnight port stay is essential).
It’s great fun walking around the port, passing the gorgeous yachts and playing the tourist in the shops and boutiques. If you walk away from the port there is a real sense of the arts and culture of the town, galleries and niche retailers aplenty. And further from town takes you to the Citadel which offers a sweeping view of the Gulf and a great chance to photograph your ship. The Citadel is also a museum which is interesting enough for the culture vultures out there.
Saint-Tropez is buzzing with restaurants, bars and nightclubs but it’s really important to plan your visit if you intend to eat out as there is a lot of choice and it will be very busy during the summer cruising months. And for all of the above, the Old Port area is the place to be. It’s also extremely expensive, expect to pay €20 for a small bag of pick-n-mix sweets, for example (yes, my daughter got burned on this very purchase!).
Lastly, for your ‘when in Rome moment’, you must try the traditional dessert – Tarte Tropézienne, a brioche bun, whipped cream and ice-cream. This local delight is as indulgent as the place itself and was invented 50 years ago in the eponymous bakery and according to local legend, named by Brigitte Bardot herself whilst on location there.