Normandy, France

The French city of Caen welcomes you with its elegance, lush greenery and rich history. Situated in the diverse region of Normandy, you can also find the port of Ouistreham in proximity, allowing you to continue your journey by ferry elsewhere.

On Ferryhopper, you can find the best travel tips for Caen, including what to do and see in the city, and learn how to plan your ferry trip to/from the port of Caen (Ouistreham).

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Passageway overlooking the Church of Saint-Pierre, Caen

Sneak peek of the magnificent Church of Saint-Pierre in Caen

Holidays in Caen

Are you looking for a quick escape to one of the most sophisticated locations in the French countryside? The city of Caen is easily accessible and offers countless opportunities for historical sightseeing and outdoor activities. As a university city, Caen is also popular among students and young travelers.

While Caen is a beautiful year-round destination that caters to all tastes, planning a visit to Normandy and its hidden gems in the spring or summer months provides you with more things to do. During this period, you can also enjoy a wider range of concerts, events and festivals!

How to get to Caen

As Caen has its own airport, railway station and port, you can easily get there from other French cities and European countries.

To travel to Caen by ferry, Portsmouth in England is your go-to port! The Portsmouth - Caen ferry route is available year-round and is an ideal way of traveling between the two countries. To learn more about the ferries to Caen, check out our section below!

To travel by train or bus, there are connections from Paris, as well as cities in neighboring countries, like Bruxelles in Belgium and Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Lastly, to get there by plane, you can catch a flight to the international Caen – Carpiquet Airport, which is connected to the center of Caen by bus. Alternatively, you can reach the center by taxi or private car.

Tip: the A84 autoroute is a motorway in Western France that connects the French cities of Rennes and Caen. This is a convenient way if you wish to bring along your car to Caen.

What to do in Caen

As one of the largest communes in all of Normandy, Caen rewards its visitors with beautiful landscapes, interesting museums, historical sites and mouth-watering French food!

Every corner of Caen reflects its rich history, with many of its buildings and monuments bearing traces of the Battle for Caen in 1944. As such, lovers of history are in for a treat in Caen, while lovers of nature can also find numerous opportunities for exploration in the untouched locations Normandy has to offer!

Whether you’re staying in Caen or simply taking the ferry from its port in Ouistreham, many treasures are waiting for you here. Discover the best of Caen below, including our favorite entertainment options and local delicacies.

View of the Juno Beach in Normandy

View of the historical Juno Beach in Normandy

Sightseeing and activities in Caen

Take your time immersing yourself in the multifaceted culture and history of Caen. The city is full of landmarks, impressive buildings and echoes of its past. There are even some famous coastal locations that combine adventure with sightseeing!

The team of Ferryhopper highly recommends the following attractions in Caen:

  • The imposing Abbey of Sainte-Trinité
  • Jardin des Plantes, where the greenery of Caen is at its peak
  • Caen Castle, one of the largest fortifications in Europe
  • Hôtel d’Escoville, among Caen’s many architectural wonders
  • The large and one-of-a-kind Mémorial de Caen
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, for lovers of art and culture
  • The former Palais de justice de Caen, a beautifully designed courthouse

Tip: a great way to explore the attractions of Caen and get your adrenaline pumping at the same is to join a guided bike tour!

During your stay in Caen, make sure to save some time for the historical D-Day Landing Beaches on the coast of Normandy. There are 5 beaches in total: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. They are in proximity to Caen and introduce you to historical landmarks and museums!

Nightlife in Caen

Benefiting from its vibrant university life, nights in Caen shine brightly across the region of Normandy! Across Rue Ecuyère, you can find numerous nightlife options for exciting bar-hopping! In fact, it is one of the densest streets in France, where you can find a bar every 19 m on average!

Whether you want to hit the dance floor or warm up at one of Caen’s cozy pubs, you can find everything you need here!

Tip: for more sophisticated moments, don’t forget that Caen is full of cultural happenings from sunlight to moonlight. Check out what festivals and theater plays are taking place during your visit!

Night view of the city of Caen and some of its landmarks in the background

The nocturnal beauty of the city of Caen

Food in Caen

A trip to France would be nothing without traditional French cheese, unique drinks and warm delights! The cuisine of Caen takes full advantage of Normandy’s natural beauty and rich traditions, offering you the following products:

  • Pont-l'évêque (traditional cheese of the commune of the same name)
  • Tripes à la mode de Caen (meat-based French stew mixed with herbs and vegetables)
  • Livarot cheese (regional cow cheese)
  • Pays d'Auge Cambremer (apple cider)

Useful information about Caen

The elegance of Caen is reflected in every corner and pathway of the city, including its beautiful hotels! There are numerous accommodation options to choose from, varying in cost and amenities. Alternatively, Caen is an up-and-coming destination for camping, with a few serene campsites just outside the city.

In Caen, all essential visitor amenities are provided, including medical services. Most hospitals, clinics and pharmacies are found in the center of Caen. Scattered throughout the city, you can also find ATMs, restaurants, shops and everything you may need for a pleasant stay in Caen!

Important phone numbers for your stay in Caen

Below, we have listed some useful phone numbers for your trip to Caen:

  • Caen – Carpiquet Airport: +33231712010
  • Ouistreham Port Authority: +33231363636
  • Tourist office: +33231271414
  • Municipal police of Caen: +33231355225
  • European emergency number: 112

Transportation in Caen

For flexibly getting around Caen, you can bring along your car or rent one upon arrival. Alternatively, most central points of interest are easily accessible on foot.

The city of Caen also has an efficient and well-connected network of buses and trams, covering a wide range of routes. If you need to travel at your leisure and you do not have a vehicle, taxi services are a convenient solution, especially when traveling to/from the airport or the port of Ouistreham.

 View of the building of Palais de justice de Caen, France

The former courthouse of Caen, known as Palais de justice de Caen

Ports in Caen

The port of Caen, officially known as the port of Ouistreham, is located about 15 km north of Caen. You can easily get there by car, taxi and bus.

Bus services between Caen and Ouistreham, specifically, are operated by the company of Twisto, connecting the city center with the terminals. If you wish to get to Ouistreham by train, you can reach the railway station in the center of Caen and then resume your journey to the port by other means of transport.

Tip: you can find secured paid parking lots in the port area of Ouistreham, Caen. Alternatively, you can explore the nearby area and find free parking spaces.

Caen ferry: schedules and tickets

Caen is a convenient gateway between England and France, thanks to the ferry connections between Portsmouth and Caen (Ouistreham). The ferry route to Caen is operated by Brittany Ferries. Specifically:

  • Portsmouth - Caen (Ouistreham)ferries from Portsmouth to Caen are available year-round, with around 3 daily departures. The ferry journey to Caen lasts around 5.5-6 hours, with tickets costing around €51.

Tip: traveling by ferry between England and France is advantageous, fun, cost-effective and full of beautiful views of the English channel! 

The lighthouse and port of Ouistreham, right next to Caen

Tranquil moments at the port of Ouistreham

Where to book Caen ferry tickets online

Currently, booking ferry tickets to/from Caen is not available on Ferryhopper. As we focus on including more ferry routes, head over to our interactive Map of ferries, discover all the ways to travel to/from France and book ferry tickets hassle-free!

Caen ferry timetable

View the complete ferry schedule from and to Caen for the upcoming week. Find up-to-date trip information, including departure and arrival dates and times, ferry operators and ticket prices.

Frequent ferry connections

Nearby destinations

Caen has direct ferry connections to 1 ports :