Located on the Côte d’Azur between Cassis and Toulon the French commune of Bandol is well-known in international wine circles for its acclaimed red and rosé wines. Its main town of the same name is a popular seaside resort attracting mainly French families during the peak holiday season. Together with its fine sandy beach the town is home to a lovely promenade overlooking the Mediterranean and a fine selection of attractive cafés, restaurants and boutiques.
Cruise ship passengers arriving in Bandol can easily while away a few hours in this attractive port of call or head out on shore excursions to nearby towns such as Le Castellet and Sanary-sur-Mer or head further afield to Marseille or Aix-en-Provence.
Port of Bandol
Bandol is a tender port where cruise ship passengers disembark very close to the small town centre. Upon arrival all the local attractions are easily accessible on foot. Visitors who want to see more of the region should take a taxi to the Gare de Bandol train station which lies 1.5km north-west of the port. From here there are frequent departures to La Seyne and Toulon to the east as well as Cassis and Marseille to the west.
Transfers from Marseille Airport to Bandol
Passengers who are travelling to Bandol to meet a cruise ship or are ending their journey at one of the ports of the Côte d’Azur will most likely be arriving or departing through Marseille Provence Airport which lies 75km along the coast to the north-west. The most economical way to get to Bandol is by train with a change at Gare de Saint-Charles in Marseille.
However, this isn’t a convenient option for most cruise ship passengers who would be better off booking a private transfer from Marseille Airport to Bandol with Shuttledirect. Transfers to all other destinations along the French Riviera can also be arranged with this company.
Main Tourist Attractions
After disembarking from your tender vessel you should take a stroll around the harbour and into Place de l’Europe which is the town’s main square. This is a great spot to grab a seat at one of the outdoor cafés which have views overlooking the harbour. On the northern side of the square is the 18th century Eglise St François de Sales which is one of the town’s most important historical sights. The daily flower market on nearby Place de la Liberté is well-worth a visit along with the Oenothèque de Bandol (Place Lucien Artaud) on the eastern edge of town. This wine store is a great place to learn about the local wine industry and taste some of its produce.
Insider Tip: The perfect location for lunch is on an outdoor terrace overlooking the harbour at venues such as Restaurant-Brasserie L’Amiral and Le Bistro du Port. Unfortunately, the meals in these restaurants are very expensive and too many customers complain about the sub-standard service. For a good value lunch it’s worth heading away from the seafront to the likes of Du Cote de Chez Swan (23 Rue du Dr Louis Marçon) which is a small, family-run restaurant serving an excellent lunchtime menu at very affordable prices. The friendly Bistrot de Pauline (13 Rue du Dr Louis Marçon) on the same street is also highly recommended.
The main activities available to visitors with some time to spare include wine tours to nearby vineyards and boat trips to Ile de Bendor which lies just offshore. In addition, there are some lovely beaches around Bandol including Anse de Renécros which lies just a short stroll to the west of the port.
Shore Excursions Beyond Bandol
Cruise ship passengers who are looking for more to do during their day in Bandol have the opportunity to visit some nearby towns and villages by local transport or book a shore excursion with their cruise line to further away destinations.
One of the most attractive local towns is Sanary sur Mer which lies just 5km south-east of Bandol. This charming seaside resort is home to an old port where a fleet of traditional wooden fishing boats is moored together with a number of other historic attractions. Wine connoisseurs may prefer to head 10km north from Bandol to the Medieval village of Le Castellet which is surrounded by vineyards. Some cruise lines offer short wine tasting tours of this area allowing passengers to sample the rosé wines for which Bandol is best-known.
Heading 30km west along the coast from Bandol leads to the lovely port town of Cassis which is where Provence’s finest white wines are produced. As well as taking tours of the local vineyards, visitors can take a boat trip around the rocky cliffs of the Calanques National Park. Independent travellers who prefer to avoid the official shore excursions can take a train from Gare de Bandol to Cassis. There are frequent departures and the journey takes about 20 minutes.
Other popular destinations which lie further afield include the city of Marseilles (55km) and the beautiful university city of Aix en Provence (75km). There are direct trains from Bandol to Marseille and connections from Marseille to Aix en Provence, however, cruise ship passengers would be advised to take excursions offerered by their ship so as to make the most of their limited time in port.
About Shuttle Direct
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