Board the ferry at Cannes port at your chosen departure time. Just a short 15-minute ferry ride off the French Riviera coast, Ile Sainte-Marguerite forms part of the Lérins Islands archipelago in the Golfe de la Napoule, and offers a heady blend of culture, history and nature.
When you arrive, step off the ferry, breathe in fragrant scents of pine and eucalyptus and head off to begin exploring independently. Pick a hiking trail — well-marked trails cover the island — and traverse dense forests for a botanical discovery. Or simply stroll to the Batéguier pond to spot migratory birds, or Point de la Convention to appreciate a range of unique plant species that call Ile Sainte-Marguerite home.
No trip to the island is complete without a visit to the Fort Royal, a former prison fortress built by Spanish invaders in the 17th century. Here is where the notorious 'Man in the Iron Mask' is said to have been imprisoned. Today the fortress finds new use as a maritime museum, with a wealth of archaeological finds that include 1st-century murals, artifacts from a 10th-century Saracen shipwreck and even Roman–era ceramics.
Another option is the Méditerranoscope marine research center, which works to protect the diverse sea life in the waters around the Lérins Islands. If you get hungry, you can choose from two restaurants and two sandwich kiosks. Or bring a picnic!
Ferries run regularly between Ile Sainte-Marguerite and Cannes, so when you’re ready to head back to the mainland, hop aboard for the short crossing back to port.