Why choose a cruise to Cherbourg?
Located at the tip of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, Cherbourg is a major Channel port with a unique maritime heritage. The city played an important role in the history of the French navy, and it was even one of the last places the doomed RMS Titanic visited, which is documented in the many museums.
In Cherbourg, cruise ships dock in the historic port, where most of the main action takes place – you’ll find a busy yacht harbour and marina, and the city centre is just a stone’s throw away. The city is also a great base from which to explore the peninsula’s dramatic coastline and beautiful countryside.
A guide to Cherbourg’s hotspots
As you step off the cruise, you can’t miss Cherbourg’s showpiece, Cité de la Mer. Housed in a former art-deco cruise-liner terminal, the museum is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and has themed sections dedicated to sea exploration, with a huge aquarium and Titanic exhibit. For many visitors, the highlight is exploring the former nuclear submarine Le Redoutable.
Take the time to explore the old town, just a short walk from the waterfront. The cobbled streets are lined with bustling cafés, restaurants and boutique shops, with Renaissance and medieval buildings at every turn. On Thursdays, there’s the chance to shop for local products at the open-air market.
If you want to venture further afield, the Cotentin Peninsula is a treasure trove of historical, cultural and natural attractions. History buffs can visit D-Day landing sites, museums and cemeteries from World War II, while nature lovers will be delighted by apple orchards, heather-clad cliffs, sandy beaches and wild moorlands. From grand châteaus with manicured gardens to handsome ports like Honfleur, to the famous tapestry at Bayeux, there’s unique photo opportunities around every corner.
One of Normandy’s undisputed star attractions is Mont Saint-Michel. Take a scenic two-hour journey from Cherbourg through the countryside to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, which sits on a rocky island. Climb the twisted cobblestone walkways, passing quaint houses, boutiques and souvenir stalls, before reaching the Gothic-style abbey. Once you’re at the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the bay.
Cruise lines that sail to the port of Cherbourg
The best time to visit Cherbourg
Cherbourg can be visited at any time of year, but for the best weather, head there in June, July or August. Although the climate can be unreliable, average temperatures are around 18 °C in the summer.
Many people prefer to visit Normandy outside of the summer months, when the tourist attractions such as the D-Day landing sites have fewer tourists and are more poignant. However, bear in mind that during June these sites can be busy during the remembrance ceremonies.
Did you know?
- RMS Titanic docked in Cherbourg in 1912 for a few hours
- Cité de la Mer is home to the world’s largest submarine, Le Redoutable, which is open to the public
- Cité de la Mer also has Europe’s deepest aquarium
- Cherbourg has the largest man-made harbour in the world
- Normandy is known for its cider, mussels and cheese
- The city is the setting for the famous French film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg