Located in the Bay of Cannes,Saint-Honorat Island is the smallest of the 2 Islands de Lérins. It is particularly famous for its Abbey of Lérins. Between natural landscapes, vineyards and historic monuments, we loved exploring this jewel of the Côte d’Azur!
Here are our practical tips for planning your visit and the best things to do.
This guide is completely independent, based on our experiences. We visited the region anonymously, making our own choices and paying our bills in full.
Is a visit to Saint-Honorat island worthwhile?
Yes, Saint-Honorat island is well worth a visit.
It’s a hidden treasure on the French Riviera, an ideal destination for lovers of nature and tranquillity. On this garden island, monks have for centuries perpetuated the art of caring for magnificent trees, vines and plants, creating a veritable haven of peace.
Far from the hustle and bustle of the Promenade de la Croisette, this island offers a quiet getaway where time seems to slow down. In addition to its peaceful beaches and secluded coves, the magnificent gardens surrounding the monastery add to its charm and invite contemplation and meditation.
It’s one of the must-do activities in Cannes! It even features in our article on the best islands on the Côte d’Azur!
Things to do on Saint-Honorat Island?
Visit Lérins Abbey
We loved visiting Saint-Honorat island for its rich historical heritage and natural setting. During our walk, we discovered 7 10th-century chapels and ruins dating back to the 11th century. The most famous is the Chapelle de la Trinité, on the eastern tip of the island. This group of religious buildings belongs to theAbbey of Lérins. There’s also a fortified monastery (currently being renovated), 2 churches and vineyards.
Discover the island’s wine heritage
The monks of Lérins Abbey cultivate 8 hectares of vineyards on the island. They then make the wine using traditional, ancestral techniques. You can buy bottles of wine on site, as well as other monastic products (such as liqueur and olive oil). The monks also organize “vine and wine” days that will appeal to the oenophiles among you! Find out more here.
Bathing in a wild cove
On both sides of the island, we discovered numerous small coves with breathtaking views over the bay. Our photo shows a bird perched on a rock in the foreground,Sainte-Marguerite Island in the background and Cannes on the horizon. Remember to bring a mask and snorkel for snorkeling along the island’s coastline! The water is turquoise and transparent. We advise you to wear water shoes to walk on the rocks without injuring yourself.
Search for ball-bearing furnaces
The Îles de Lérins are home to 4 strategically placed cannonball furnaces: 2 on Île Sainte-Marguerite and 2 on Île Saint-Honorat. You should know that there are only a dozen of this type left in France! Built on the orders of General Bonaparte in 1793, they were used to defend the coast.
Explore the bunkers
Along the way, we came across several bunkers. These are remnants of the German occupation, built during the Second World War. Strategically positioned on the waterfront, they offer privileged views over the bay.
Observe the local flora and fauna
During our exploration of the island, we came across several species of migratory birds. We even managed to capture a few of them on film! We were captivated by the flora and fauna of this natural area off the coast of Cannes. Surrounded by trees, plants, rocks and the sea, it’s the ideal place to recharge your batteries away from the hustle and bustle of the Croisette.
Picnic on the island
In our opinion, the best option for eating on the island is to bring your own food. You’ll find several picnic tables positioned facing the Bay of Cannes or between 2 trees blown down by the wind. Ideal for a gourmet, natural break!
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Saint-Honorat Island: access + map + ferry
Where is Saint-Honorat Island?
- East of the Côte d’Azur,
- Between Antibes and Saint-Raphaël,
- In the bay of Cannes,
- Antibes to Cannes: 10 min.
- Saint-Raphaël to Cannes: 20 min.
Here’s a map of the Côte d’Azur islands to help you find your way around:
It is the smallest of the 2 de Lérins Islands. It is 1,500 metres long.
From the old port of Cannes, it takes 20 minutes to reach Saint-Honorat island by ferry. Shuttles run frequently. They are operated by the monastery.
Private boat excursion
Would you like to contemplate the Lérins Islands from the sea? Enjoy a private boat excursion to discover an exceptional panorama of the Côte d’Azur!
Several trails cross the island. Make sure you wear good shoes, as the ground is raised. There may be roots, rocks or branches. A fall can happen.
Practical tips for visiting Saint-Honorat island
Allow half a day to tour the island and visit the Abbaye de Lérins.
We recommend visiting the island in low season to avoid the crowds of tourists. The 2 islands are very busy in summer, especially in the afternoon. Don’t forget to book your ferry tickets early to be sure of getting a place!
On the island, you can choose between 2 restaurants. However, we strongly recommend that you bring your own picnic. It has several dedicated areas with superb views. Ideal for a convivial meal with family or friends in the great outdoors!
There are no hotels on Saint-Honorat Island. However, check out our recommendations for accommodation in Cannes below:
WHERE TO STAY IN Cannes
See our reviews of the best hotels in Cannes (coming soon)