10+ Things To Do In Saint-Raphael, France

Welcome to Saint-Raphael, one of the most popular holiday destinations on the French Riviera that each year attracts thousands of travelers. There you’ll find three main areas of interest – the coastal area, the old town, and the Massif de l’Esterel mountain range. On the coast, you’ll find magnificent beaches, coastal trails, and a few ports perfect for enjoying the sun and various watersports. In Saint-Raphael old town some historic monuments, museums, and charming streets await you. In the mountains, you’ll get active while admiring striking views from above. Keep reading and discover things to do in Saint-Raphael, France.

Interesting fact. In 1799, Saint-Raphael welcomed Napoleon Bonaparte and his army who were coming back from Egypt by ship. Later, he returned one more time to the town, for his departure to exile on Elba Island.

Travel tip. You can easily visit Saint-Raphael and nearby Frejus during the same-day trip.

Things To Do In Saint-Raphael, France
Happy Little Traveler Authors

Created by Sonia & Wojtek

One day, we packed our lives and slowly rushed into the unknown with smiles on our faces. We’re full-time digital nomads traveling in Europe who inspire to live, travel, and discover differently. Sunny coastal destinations are what we love most. We share travel guides, tips, and know-how to make planning your next trip a piece of cake. Real human experience and verified facts only!

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Saint-Raphael, France FAQ

Where is Saint-Raphael located?

Saint-Raphael is located in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region in the Var department in Southeastern France, at the foot of the Massif de l’Esterel. It neighbors the town of Frejus and lies right in the middle between Cannes and Saint-Tropez.

What is Saint-Raphael known for?

Saint-Raphael is best known for being one of the most popular seaside resorts on the French Riviera, featuring many beautiful beaches and coves along its 36km long coastline. Many with spectacular views of the red-hued Massif de l’Esterel.

Is Saint-Raphael worth visiting?

Whether you are a holidaymaker, watersports enthusiast, nature lover, or history geek – there’s something for you in Saint-Raphael that makes it worth visiting. From spending relaxing time on the beaches, hiking in the mountains, and practicing watersports to strolling among old town streets and gazing at the yachts and boats in the ports. The choice is wide!

Things To Do In Saint-Raphael, Perfect Holiday Destination in France

Things to do in Saint-Raphael, France

Saint-Raphael beaches

There is no better thing to do in Saint-Raphael than hitting the beach. After all, not without a reason, the town became one of the most popular holiday destinations on Cote d’Azur! Along its 36km long coastline, you can find 28 stunning beaches perfect for relaxing holidays in nice surroundings. Saint-Raphael beaches can be sandy or pebble, long and wide, small and secluded, lively or peaceful. Some are supervised, some are not.

The most popular Saint-Raphael beaches:

  • Plage Veillat – a sandy beach located right in the town center, next to Bonaparte Gardens. There you’ll find amenities like showers, toilets, sunbed rentals, or restaurants. The beach is supervised during the summer months.
  • Plage Beaurivage – a pebble beach, neighboring Plage Veillat, with many amenities and services for water sports lovers.
  • Plage de La Baumette – the last sandy beach in Saint-Raphael. It’s less crowded than the ones closer to the city center, which makes it an ideal place for a peaceful swim.
  • Plage d’Agay – a sandy beach located about 12km from Saint-Raphaels’ center set in peaceful surroundings. Many amenities and the Nautical Activity Center where you can rent equipment are available.
  • Plage du Débarquement – sand and pebble beach located about 7km from the town center, featuring amazing views. It’s the ideal place to visit nearby coves by kayak!

To learn more about all Saint-Raphael beaches and to choose a perfect spot for yourself visit esterel-cotedazur.com website.

Saint-Raphael beaches - Plage Veillat with a view over Ferris Wheel
Saint-Raphael beaches - Plage Beaurivage
View over Saint-Raphael and Massif d'Esterel from town's beach

Saint-Raphael Port

Saint-Raphael Port (fr. Vieux-Port de Saint-Raphaël) is located in the old part of the town, right next to Bonaparte Garden and Casino. Just take a pleasant walk among boats of all sizes and admire traditional regional boats. When hungry, visit one of many restaurants to try a fresh Mediterranean meal.

There, you can also rent a boat, choose one of many organized boat trips, or sign up for a diving expedition to explore the underwater world. The most popular tours are to Esterel Creeks, a rocky coast made up of small coves and inlets (which you can also explore on your own, for example by rented kayak or stand-up paddle). 

Interesting fact. There are 4 more ports in Saint-Raphael – Santa Lucia, Boulouris, Le Poussai, and Agay. You’ll find them all along the coast, to the east side of the town. 

Learn more iconBook now: The creeks of Estérel - Small-group boat ride

Saint-Raphael Port - View from Bonaparte Garden
Things To Do In Saint-Raphael, France in French Riviera

Bonaparte Garden

Bonaparte Garden (fr. Bonaparte Garden) is a small yet nice area in Saint-Raphael located right next to the old port. Warning first – don’t expect a lush green park, naming this place a garden was a bit of an exaggeration in our opinion. There you’ll find some palm trees, sculptures, a kids’ playground, and what’s most important… Amazing views of the city, port, and the coastline. And those views make Bonaparte Garden worth visiting. Right next to it, there’s also a Ferris Wheel and Casino.

Entrance to Bonaparte Garden is free. For current opening hours visit saint-raphael.com website.

Sculpture and coastal views from Bonaparte Garden in Saint-Raphael
Bonaparte Garden in Saint-Raphaek

Saint-Raphael Old Town

Saint-Raphael old town is located just behind the port. It’s quite small but pleasant to explore, best by getting lost among its streets. Once, it was home to the town’s peasants, and nowadays it’s most popular for hosting an outdoor food and flowers market (every morning except Mondays, from 7AM-1PM).

Among Saint-Raphael’s old town streets, you’ll find points of interest like Basilica Notre Dame de la Victoire, Marché Victor Hugo, Saint-Raphaël Church, History, Prehistory and Underwater Archeology Museum, and Louis de Funès Museum. There are also many restaurants and cafes, as well as small shops and art galleries.

Saint-Raphael Tourist Office is located on Quai Albert 1er, right next to the port.

Learn more iconDiscover: Accommodation options in Saint-Raphael

Discover Saint-Raphael Old Town
Colorful streets of Saint-Raphael Old Town
Colorful streets of Saint-Raphael, France
Elegant building in Saint-Raphael Old Town
Explore colorful Saint-Raphael Old Town Streets

Notre Dame de la Victoire Basilica

Basilica Notre Dame de la Victoire (fr. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire) is located in Saint-Raphael old town, right next to the port. It was built in the 19th century in the Romano-Byzantine style, using the pink sandstone native to the area. The church became a basilica in 2004.

Basilica’s characteristic dome is visible from a distance and is an iconic image of the town. The building is also recognizable by the golden statue of the Archangel Raphael, the symbol of the town, which proudly stands on the top, above the entrance.

Notre Dame de la Victoire Basilica in Saint Raphael, France
Notre Dame de la Victoire Basilica, Saint Raphael, France

Church of San Rafeu

Romanesque Church of San Raféu (fr. Église Saint-Raphaël), also called the church of the Templars or Saint-Pierre, is located in the old town area, where the peasants once lived. It dates back to the 12th century and was expanded in the 18th. Nowadays the Church of San Rafeu presbytery houses an Archaeological Museum. You can also climb its 13th-century tower (only 129 steps!) and admire the town and its surroundings from above.

Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum (fr. Musée Archéologique de Saint-Raphaël) is located within the Church of San Rafeu. Inside you’ll discover the crypts of an early Christian church and a collection of objects found during underwater archaeological excavations in shipwrecks dating back to the Roman Empire period. Visiting this museum is a great thing to do for history geeks.

Entrance to the Archaeological Museum, Church of San Rafeu, and the watchtower is free (April 2024). For current opening hours visit ville-saintraphael.fr website.

Saint-Raphael Old Town - Church of San Rafeu
Church of San Rafeu and Archaeological Museum in Saint-Raphael

Louis de Funes Museum

Louis de Funes Museum (fr. Musée Louis de Funès) is a place dedicated to the life and work of one of France’s most iconic comedians, Louis de Funès. It retraces his career and his life through a collection of objects and documents like photos, posters, awards, drawings, or letters. If you’re his fan, be sure not to skip Louis de Funes Museum.

Entrance to Louis de Funes Museum costs €7 for a normal ticket and is free of charge for children under 18 years and students (April 2024). For current prices and opening hours visit museedefunes.fr website.

Coastal Path – Le sentier du Littoral

Saint-Raphael Coastal Path is a 12km long rocky trail (one-way) that stretches from Santa Lucia Port to Plage du Pourrousset in Agay. The trail is marked, just follow the yellow signs. It covers the same route that once customs officers used to follow. Along it, you’ll discover the beauty of the coast with its rocky coves and sandy beaches, the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Esterel Massif on the other. Remember to take good walking shoes! To learn more about the trail visit circuits.esterel-cotedazur.com website.

Massif d’Esterel

For nature lovers and active travelers, there is something in Saint-Raphael too. Massif d’Esterel is a volcanic mountain range offering dozens of kilometers of trails for hikers and mountain cyclists, all with striking sea and coast views. The highest peak is Mont Vinaigre, which rises to an altitude of 614m a.s.l. For information about all available trails visit circuits.esterel-cotedazur.com website.

Massif d'Esterel in Frejus, France 0 View from highway

How to get to Saint-Raphael, France?

Saint-Raphael is located about 40km from Cannes and St-Tropez, 50km from Antibes, 65km from Nice, and 90km from Monaco. The most convenient way to get to the town is by car or train.

Learn more iconFor great car rental deals visit Rentalcars website.

Where to park in Saint-Raphael?

In Saint-Raphael you can easily leave your car in one of many paid parking lots. We can recommend Parking Bonaparte, located just under Bonaparte Garden and a few steps from the old town.

To Saint-Raphael by train

You can easily get by train to Saint-Raphael from many nearby places like Nice, Cannes, Menton, Antibes, or Villefranche-sur-Mer. To learn more about train connections that interest you visit sncf.com or rome2rio.com website.

Learn more iconFor great train ticket deals visit Trainline website.

To Saint-Raphael by bus

From some places on the coast, you can also quite easily reach Saint-Raphael by bus. For example, a trip from Frejus will take about 10min (€3), and 1 hour from Saint-Tropez (€3-5). To learn more about bus connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.

Camping Saint-Raphael

If you’re traveling by camper, places like Camping St. Aygulf Beach, Esterel Caravaning Camping, or Royal Camping might interest you. They are located close to Saint-Raphael.

To Saint-Raphael with an organized tour

If you don’t want to put too much effort into planning, you can always take advantage of the guided tours and let someone else take care of all the details. For a wide selection and well-reviewed tour options be sure to visit GetYourGuide or Viator.

Learn more iconBook now: Saint-Raphael: 2.5-hour sea and creeks boat excursion

Discover Things To Do In Saint-Raphael, France
Closer look at Ferris Wheel in Saint Raphael, France

Things to do in Saint-Raphael, France – Summing up

Now you know what Saint-Raphael and its surroundings are all about and why you should add it to your Cote d’Azur bucket list. Magnificent beaches, stunning views, natural beauty, hiking trails, historical monuments, pleasant old town… There’s something for everyone in Saint-Raphael and we’re sure that every traveler will find a perfect activity for himself.

Our video from Saint-Raphael

Our opinion about Saint-Raphael

For us, a visit to Saint-Raphael was a day trip, combined with a visit to Frejus, from nearby Cannes where we lived for a few weeks. We visited it in late December and during that time the area was fairly quiet, without crowds of tourists, but quite a lot of locals doing their Christmas shopping on the markets. It took us about 5 hours to explore all the places we had on our list.

What we liked most was the beaches with such a nice and tranquil vibe. We can understand why so many people choose Saint-Raphael for their holidays! Views over the coast and the mountains were also really nice! As for the old town – we found it pleasant to explore but it didn’t make a huge impression on us.

Learn more iconBook now: Calanques and red rocks - Discover the Esterel Massif by boat

Happy Little Traveler in Saint-Raphael - Our opinion

Restaurants, accommodations, and map

Check out various recommended places below.

Where to eat in Saint-Raphael?

Here are your best, high-rated options in Saint-Raphael:

Where to sleep in Saint-Raphael?

Unique Hôtel & Spa in Saint-Raphael

Unique Hôtel & Spa

Nestled in the charming town of Saint-Raphael, Unique Hôtel & Spa offers a serene retreat with modern amenities and personalized service. The accommodation boasts elegantly appointed rooms and suites designed to provide comfort and relaxation for guests. With its spa facilities, including a sauna and hammam, and convenient location near the beach and town center, it's an ideal choice for travelers seeking relaxation during their stay in the French Riviera.

Studios Raphael in Saint-Raphael, France

Studios Raphael

Located in the heart of Saint-Raphael, Studios Raphael offers comfortable and affordable accommodation for travelers exploring the French Riviera. The studios are equipped with modern amenities, including kitchenettes, providing guests with flexibility and convenience during their stay. With its central location close to restaurants, shops, and the beach, Studios Raphael is an excellent choice for those looking to experience the vibrant atmosphere of this coastal town.

Hotel Provencal in Saint-Raphael

Hotel Provencal

Hotel Provencal offers a charming and comfortable retreat. With its convenient location near the beach and town center, guests can easily explore the picturesque surroundings and attractions of Saint-Raphael. The hotel provides cozy rooms, friendly service, and a relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking a relaxing seaside getaway.

Accommodations photos source: booking.com

Saint-Raphael, France - Map of places

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10+ Things To Do In Saint-Raphael, France

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