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Best Tours and Day Trips from Caen

During your visit to Caen you will have at your disposal an interesting offer of tours and excursions departing from this port city. Do you want to know which are the essential activities?

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

8 min read

Best Tours and Day Trips from Caen

Caen buildings | ©Bastian Greshake Tzovaras

In addition to all the historical, architectural and cultural attractions that the French city of Caen has to offer, there is also an interesting offer of tours and excursions to some nearby places that are definitely worth visiting, such as Normandy, with the famous landing beaches, the French commune of Giverny and Balleroy or the abbey of Mont Saint Michel, among other destinations.

Take a trip to the Normandy landing beaches from Caen

Sword Beach| ©Mike McBey
Sword Beach| ©Mike McBey

If you are enthusiastic about the theme of World War II, then you can't miss the opportunity to book a private excursion to the Normandy Landing beaches where you will walk through the different battlefields, honor the war dead in the cemeteries and visit some museums.

You will depart from the city center of Caen and together with a driver-guide, you will tour the so-called D-Day Beaches, starting with:

  • Sword Beach, located a 30-minute drive from Caen. You will stroll through the Commonwealth Cemetery, the Hillman Bunker Complex and the Merville Battery Museum.
  • Juno Beach, just 20 minutes from the previous beach. Here you can see Ardenne Abbey, built in the 12th century, the Canadian Cemetery, among other places.
  • Gold Beach, a 12-minute drive from Juno Beach you will find the British sector space. You will see the circular Arromanches Cinéma, the Musée du Débarquement, etc.

Afterwards, you will continue the route by road and reach Omaha Beach, where some of the deadliest attacks of World War II took place. You will see the American Cemetery, the D-Day Museum and the Overlord Museum, as well as Utah Beach.

Details of Interest

  • Price: $437 per person.
  • Duration: 8 hours.
  • Means of transportation: minivan.

Book an excursion to the Normandy Landing Beaches

Join an excursion to the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy from Caen.

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey| ©Eduardo Ortín
Mont Saint-Michel Abbey| ©Eduardo Ortín

From Caen, you can take a private excursion to Mont Saint-Michel and discover its historic Abbey. You will drive approximately 1 hour and 53 minutes to this French commune, accompanied by a driver-guide, who will pick you up outside your hotel in the center of Caen.

The Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel

Upon arrival in the village, you will visit the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. It is a religious monument, whose history dates back to the 8th century.

During the visit, you will visit more than 20 rooms where you can admire the architectural beauty of the abbey, which evokes medieval times. In addition, you will have the opportunity to enjoy different panoramic views of the bay from the terraces, thanks to its privileged position at 80 meters above sea level.

Free time in the town of Mont-Michel

During the experience you will have free time to stroll through the cobblestone streets of Mont-Michel. This way, you will be able to take pictures, buy some souvenirs in the local stores and even have lunch or dinner, as the case may be.

Afterwards, you will return to Caen and, if time still permits, you could make an optional one-hour quick stop in one of the villages along the way.

These include Avranches; Balleroy, St-Lô, capital of the ruins; Villedieu-les-Poeles, interesting works of copper artisans; or the Abbey of Cerisy, representative of Norman architecture.

Details of interest

  • Price: 452€ per person.
  • Duration: approximately 8 hours.
  • Means of transport: minivan.

Book an excursion to Mont Saint-Michel from Caen

Take a free tour of the Château de Balleroy from Caen

Balleroy Castle| ©Petr Marsal
Balleroy Castle| ©Petr Marsal

You can take a free tour to Balleroy Castle from Caen. To do so, you must drive at least 45 minutes to the town of Balleroy. There, you will find this historical monument of imposing appearance, built in 1631 and composed of a museum, green areas and tea room.

Balleroy Castle

When you arrive at the castle you will have the opportunity to visit more than 12 rooms fully furnished and decorated in the style of the nineteenth century, a suspended staircase and carved oak ceiling.

In addition, throughout the visit you will discover different pictorial works belonging to Albert de Balleroy, fine arts artist; Juste d'Egmont, Flemish painter; Claude Vignon, French engraver and illustrator of the Baroque; among other prodigies of the time.

The International Balloon Museum

In one of the castle's outbuildings you will find the International Hot Air and Gas Balloon Museum. You will find impressive exhibits with a series of artifacts and documents through which you will discover the history of the air station and the first flights, made in 1783 by the Montgolfier brothers.

Green areas and the Tea Room

At Balleroy Castle you can enjoy other spaces that will enhance your experience. For example, the romantic-style English Park and the French Gardens, created in the 20th century by the landscape architect Henri Duchêne.

You will also find the Tea Room, where you will taste some cakes accompanied by tea, coffee, chocolate or any other beverage. Afterwards, you will return to Caen to continue your itinerary, whether you have purchased tickets to the Caen Memorial Museum or plan to connect with a walking tour of the city.

Details of interest

  • Price: the guided tour of the castle and park starts at 5,50€ per person. The guided tour of the castle, free walk to the museum and the park, from 6,50€ per person. Free visit to the castle and park from 3,50€ per person and free walk in the park from 3€ per person.
  • Duration: 4 hours approximately.
  • Means of transport: private car.

Book tickets for the Memorial Museum of Caen

Take a guided excursion to the French commune of Rouen and Giverny from Caen

Rouen| ©Frank Maddocks
Rouen| ©Frank Maddocks

Taking an excursion to Rouen and Giverny from Caen is another activity not to be missed. You will travel to these towns and along the way you will contemplate the beautiful scenery of Normandy. In addition, you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will tell you the history of each place and take you to the most interesting sites of each destination.

Rouen

You will travel a route of about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Caen to Rouen. This is the capital of Haute-Normandie and a city with a rich history. You will be amazed by its monuments, streets lined with houses that still preserve the style of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Among some of the destinations that you will discover during your stay in Rouen, the following stand out:

  • Rouen Cathedral, with its tall, narrow nave, 13th century stained glass windows and exceptional architecture.
  • Rouen's market square, where the French heroine Joan of Arc was burned at the stake during the Inquisition in 1431.
  • The Church of St. Maclou, erected in honor of St. Maclou, who was one of the founding saints of Brittany.

Giverny

The adventure continues in Giverny. This village is an hour's drive from Rouen. It is the place where the impressionist painter Claude Monet lived from the 19th century until December 5, 1926, which was the day of his death.

You will be able to visit the most emblematic places of Giverny. For example:

  • Monet's former house with an important collection of Japanese prints and the artist's workshop.
  • Monet's gardens, which are opposite, but definitely complement each other.
  • The cemetery of the church of Giverny, where Monet's tomb is located.

Details of interest

  • Price: 425€ per person.
  • Duration: 8 hours.
  • Means of transportation: minivan.

Part of a gastronomic tour of the village of Camembert in Normandy from Caen

Camembert Cheese| ©Roger Ferrer Ibáñez
Camembert Cheese| ©Roger Ferrer Ibáñez

If you are enthusiastic about gastronomy, then Camembert is a village in Normandy that you should visit from Caen. There, you can learn about cheese and cider production at local farms.

Upon arrival in the village of Camembert, the guide will take you to the Maison du Camembert, in whose museum, factory and souvenir store, you will discover the history behind this famous French cheese. You will do several tastings to learn how to differentiate the different types of Camembert and accompany them with a pear cider, calvados, apple, etc.

You will also find several traditional farms, surrounded by orchards and pastures with cows. You can stop for a few minutes to take pictures and breathe the fresh air. Also, on your way back to Caen you could incorporate a cider tasting in wineries such as Calvados Pierre Huet or Roger Groult.

Details of interest

  • Price: 785€ per person.
  • Duration: 4 hours.
  • Means of transport: minivan.

What will I see on this type of tours and excursions from Caen?

Streets of Caen| ©ho visto nina volare
Streets of Caen| ©ho visto nina volare

Tours and excursions from Caen are a good opportunity to explore some of the nearby French communes belonging to Normandy. You will see beautiful natural landscapes, architectural monuments of great historical, religious and military value.

Among the most popular destinations incorporated in this type of activities from Caen are the visit to the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel and the tour of the landing day beaches. You can also go to the Balleroy Castle, travel to the town of Rouen and walk through the square where Joan of Arc died or stroll through Giverny, to get closer to the life and history of the Impressionist painter Monet.

Book an excursion to the Normandy Landing Beaches

Tips for a tour and excursion from Caen

Comfortable shoes| ©Ingo Joseph
Comfortable shoes| ©Ingo Joseph

Going on a tour or an excursion from Caen doesn't have to be a hassle. Just be aware of the time of the year when you will be doing the activity and bring everything you need to make the experience a success.

For example, in the hot months of the year you will need to have a bottle of water to keep you hydrated, sunglasses and UV protection. Also, your clothing can be made of light fabrics and even short. Meanwhile, in winter you should keep warm and wear boots with better traction to avoid slipping when walking.

Also, you will need to carry your ID cards, as you may need them to access some attractions. Also, don't forget your wallet with cash in case you need to tip.

Book an excursion to Mont Saint-Michel from Caen

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour and excursion from Caen vs. visiting on my own?

Day in Caen| ©ho visto nina volare
Day in Caen| ©ho visto nina volare

Taking a guided tour or excursion from Caen to visit nearby destinations is a bit more advantageous than visiting on your own. Guided activities allow you to save time and money, mainly in terms of transportation.

In addition, with guided tours and excursions you will go directly to the attraction without interruptions or getting lost because you took the wrong route. In addition, you will be accompanied by an expert who will tell you the history of each destination, give you tips, anecdotes and recommendations for your itinerary.

Meanwhile, self-guided tours are much more flexible. You can stop as many times as you wish along the way to take in the scenery. Basically, with this option you don't have a set range of time to enjoy each location or attraction.

Book a Normandy Landing Beaches Tour

Guided tours vs. self-guided walk

  • Guided tour
  • Pre-established time limit
  • Price according to the activity
  • Itinerary guided by an expert guide
  • Self-guided tour
  • No time limit
  • Free (you only have to pay for the access to the attractions)
  • Itinerary free and at your own pace