Beautiful beaches, breathtaking vistas and quaint provincial architecture. Welcome to Hyères.

Often referred to as the “original French Riviera” due to its popularity with English and American tourists during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Hyères is the off-the-beaten-path Riviera city you need to see.

While staying at Hotel Splendid, our HotelsByDay partner hotel in Cannes, we encourage you to venture out on the day trip of your dreams. Head to Hyères, a city of around 55,000 that sits just 78.2 miles away from the ever popular film festival host of Cannes. Hyères has all the charm and beauty of a seaside French city but without the hordes of tourists that populate Nice, Cannes and Marseille.

Start off your day trip by taking the bus from the train station to the city center. Catch the bus at the Gare SNCF stop and take either line 29, 39 or 67 to the Hyères Centre Joffre stop. Take a stroll through centre ville and stop in at Bagus Kafé for smoothies, coffee and yummy acai bowls.

After a quick bite at this local haunt, make your way through the Old Town. Take in the scents and sounds of provincial living. Grab some fresh fruit from one of the produce stands or try on some bohemian threads at one of the local boutiques.

Hyères’ Old Town is special in that it’s a collection of narrow streets leading upwards to a big circular plaza called Place Massillon. Here, you can sit on one of the terraces, sip a glass of the region’s Rosé and order up a classic French or Mediterranean dish. While you’re here, be sure to meander into Tour des Templiers, a tower that now houses art exhibits. Climb the steep staircase to the roof for an intimate view of the city.

Dive into the rich history of this petite ville by walking a little ways uphill from the Old Town. Stop at Castel Sainte-Claire. American author Edith Wharton called Hyères her winter home towards the end of her life where she resided in this gorgeous villa.

The villa now serves as a city office but you can still check out Wharton’s breathtaking views of the city and sea. Continue walking uphill through the garden where you’ll find an exotic range of plants and aromatic flowers. Stop to smell the roses or bring a journal and channel your inner writer as you get inspired by the landscapes, mountainous views and blooming flora.

Next, you can continue uphill to hit a few more of the city’s hotspots. Pro tip: wear comfortable clothes and shoes as you may encounter some rough terrain at points throughout this light hike.

Your next stop is Villa Noailles, a retro art house reminiscent of the 1920’s modernist movement. Throughout the year, this villa is host to different fashion and art related events including the annual Festival International de Mode et de Photographie.

After checking out the hip art exhibit du moment at Villa Noailles and taking a breather in the villa’s lawn that overlooks the city, continue up the mountain to the final destination of the hike: Chateau d’Hyères. This medieval castle sits on the top of mountain Colline du Castéou. Take in the ancient ruins as you climb to the top of the castle for the grandest lookout point in all of Hyères.

After a successful morning hike, hop back on the bus at the Hyères Centre Joffre stop and take a ride on the 39 to Plage de l’Almanarre. Here, you can sit back, relax and watch kite and windsurfers take to the waves. Pack sandwiches for a picnic in the sand. Lay out in the sun for a cat nap or while reading one of Edith Wharton’s novels written in France. Visit in the summer for water warm enough to take a dip in.

Take the bus back into town, then hop on line 67 to ride to the city’s ports via the Port La Gavine stop where you can marvel at a plethora of yachts and little fishing boats. Watch the sun set over the Mediterranean for a delightful flash of colors painting the sky of southern France.

End your day at one of the many portside restaurants before enjoying a drink at bar and discotheque Le Gossip.

Ready to plan your trip to the sun-soaked city of Hyères? For more information on Hyères, visit the official tourism website here. And find out more about booking a hotel by day.

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Alexa is a content writer, journalist and YouTube creator. When she's not typing away at her laptop, you can find her at a concert, traveling, playing with her dog Jake, speaking subpar French or shamelessly watching bad reality television shows.

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