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Located on the coast of Normandy, Cherbourg is both a seaside retreat and a bustling port. Immortalized by Catherine Deneuve in the classic 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, the city has deep connections with French naval history.
Though it was badly damaged during World War II, today Cherbourg offers an accessible way to soak up Normandy’s coastline. During the summer months, venture to the local Plage de Collignon to soak up Cherbourg’s seaside beauty. For another perspective on the city, head to the 19th-century Fort du Roule for impressive panoramas.
Cherbourg typically features on full-day tours of Normandy, which also tend to visit Bayeux, Honfleur, and Pays d’Auge. Private day trips cover many of the city’s top attractions, from the Thomas Henry Museum to the city’s shoreline. Sightseeing tours allow you to see the best of the city in just a short time, and leave all the navigating and logistics to a guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Don’t forget to bring a jacket and an umbrella: given its coastal location, Cherbourg often experiences spells of rain and can get chilly.
- Cherbourg’s dining options range from casual cafes to Michelin-starred restaurants; be sure to try local delicacies such as fresh seafood and galettes Normandes (savory crêpes).
- Given its forts, maritime museums, and other seaside attractions, Cherbourg is a popular stop for art lovers and those with an interest in naval and military history.
How to Get There
Cherbourg is located at the northern edge of the Cotentin Peninsula. The city is just over an hour’s TER train ride from nearby hubs such as Caen, Bayeux, and Saint-Lô. To reach it by car, travel north on the N13. A number of ferry services also connect Cherbourg to England and Ireland.
When to Get There
Cherbourg experiences cooler weather than much of the rest of France, which means its summers are pleasingly temperate. Visit in July to attend the multimedia Festival Les Art'Zimutés. In August, enjoy FanfarAoût, which sees street art, music, and other performances held in the city center.
The Top Cultural Hotspots in Cherbourg
For culture-seekers, Cherbourg offers a bevy of delights. One of the city’s incontestable highlights is the Cité de la Mer: located in an art deco ferry terminal, the maritime museum showcases Le Redoubtable—a decommissioned nuclear submarine—and other one-of-a-kind nautical exhibits. The Musée de la Libération (Liberation Museum), which is housed in the Fort du Roule, tells Cherbourg’s World War II history, while the Muséum Emmanuel Liais is popular among archaeology and natural history buffs.
Address: Cherbourg, France
1 Tours and Activities to Experience Cherbourg
Delve into Normandy's vast and often turbulent history on a private day tour through the region. Depart from Caen to Bayeux—home to the impressive Bayeux Tapestry, which illustrates (literally) the Battle of Hastings. Then head to Honfleur, a lovely port town sporting colorful timber homes and a favorite haunt of Impressionist painters. See France's largest wooden church before stopping in Pays d' Auge. Here you have a chance to sample regional delicacies such as Camembert cheese and Calvados brandy. Cider is also ubiquitous to the area.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Cherbourg?
The best ways to experience Cherbourg are:See all Cherbourg experiences on Viator.