Travel Tips for Exploring France by Ferry

From the stylish beach resorts of St Tropez and Cannes to the medieval history of Brittany, France’s coastline offers a diverse and inviting backdrop for any holiday. Travelling by ferry allows you to enjoy panoramic vistas of your destination from the sea, while potentially saving money at the same time. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

Know Your Ports

As you start planning your next trip to France, it’s helpful to compare the ports so that you can weigh all your options. Cherbourg is one of the country’s best-connected ferry ports, making it a good starting point for your adventure particularly if you’re arriving from the UK. Positioned in Normandy, it’s famed for its maritime history and modern aquarium. Those wishing to venture to Paris might want to plan a stop at the Le Havre port, which offers swift rail and motorway connections to the city of lights. Yet Le Havre is also a worthwhile destination in its own right, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its modernist architecture and lush hilltop gardens.

Enjoy French Island Life

In addition to the major ports, travelling by ferry allows you to access France’s hidden island gems. With a blend of hidden coves, sun-drenched sandy beaches and laid-back villages, they provide everything needed for your great escape. The island of Ushant is France’s westernmost point, providing a look back at a traditional way of life with its sheep farms and fishing villages. Popular with artists, Ushant offers dramatic views of the Brittany coast and secluded beaches.

If you’re dreaming of a glamorous French Riviera holiday, head to the stunning Îles d’Hyères island group for a look at pre-development Cotes d’Azur. You’ll find sprawling vineyards, powdery sands, and endless seascapes. Due to its position in the middle of the Mediterranean, getting to Corsica by ferry couldn’t be easier with connections from Tuscany, Liguria, and other ports. You’ll be rewarded with dramatic red rock cliffs, nature reserves and well-preserved palaces to explore.

Get the Best Fare

We’ve offered a few ideas regarding how to save money on flights, but if you’re travelling by ferry you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Book ahead. You’ll benefit from the best fares by booking your holiday as far ahead as possible. Some routes go on sale a year in advance or more, but even if you can book one month in advance you’ll see lower prices.
  2. Be flexible with your timings. If you’re willing to travel on overnight crossings, you’ll not only save on hotel rooms but on your ferry ticket itself. Weekday crossings are also generally more inexpensive than popular weekend routes.
  3. Look for combination tickets. Whether you’re travelling by car or train once you’ve reached France, you can compare prices to find the best combo tickets at a discounted price. For example, there are combination rail and sail tickets provided by many tour operators and ferry companies.

With low prices and a wide selection of routes to choose from, seeing France by ferry can be rewarding on multiple levels. Bon voyage!

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