Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen with flags outside © Shutterstock

24 hours in Caen

Only have a limited amount of time to spend in and around Caen, Normandy? Here are our top things that you shouldn't miss while in the area.

Caen and nearby Bayeux are great places to uncover some medieval history about William the Conqueror. Discover a mighty castle, Gothic abbeys and cathedrals and the eponymous Bayeux Tapestry. Or, if you're interested in more recent history, the area also had an important part to play during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. In fact, several key sites of the D-Day landings are not far away at all.

Caen is perfect for shoppers with its rustic streets filled with lively independent shops, patisseries and boutiques, alongside some bigger department stores. If you're looking to stock up on your favourite French foods and wines, there are also several supermarkets and wine sellers in the area. Here's an example itinerary of what you could do with your day in Caen...

What can I do in a day in Caen?

07:00 Arrive in Ouistreham early morning and drive to Bayeux approx 40 mins away. The fastest route will take you past the famous Pegasus Bridge.

08:00 Find a bakery or little café in Bayeux for breakfast and enjoy a wander through Bayeux's quaint streets as the town wakes up.

09:00 Visit the Tapisserie de Bayeux museum and see the real Bayeux Tapestry up close. You'll learn all about the historic events surrounding its creation. 

10:30 Drive to Caen approx 30 mins away.

11:00 Go sightseeing in Caen with a visit to the Abbaye aux Hommes and the Chateau de Caen. Find out about Normandy's history in the chateau's museum.

12:30 Enjoy lunch at one of Caen's fabulous restaurants. Head for the historic streets around the Place de la Republique for the best choice of top restaurants.

14:00 Spend a while wandering through Caen's busy streets and go shopping in the main retail zone stretching out from the Place de la Republique.

15:00 Visit the Memorial de Caen, one of the most fascinating war museums in Europe. You'll need a good two to three hours here to really explore.

18:00 Stock up on all your favourite French goodies at one of the large supermarkets on the ring road. 

19:00 Drive back to Ouistreham approx 20 mins.

19:30 Enjoy an evening meal at one of Ouistreham's fantastic restaurants. There are several top-end places in the streets alongside Sword Beach.

21:00 If you didn't pick up enough earlier, stock up on wines at Normandie Wine (open til 10pm) on your way back to the port!

Getting there: With up to three sailings a day from Portsmouth to Caen, Caen is an ideal day trip destination.

Where is our port in Caen? It's just outside Caen in nearby Ouistreham, around 20 minutes away by car. Get directions and find out more about the facilities at the port.

Caen and nearby places

Caen and nearby Bayeux are great places to uncover some medieval history about William the Conqueror.

A view of the Abbaye aux hommes in Caen with flags and park



Bayeux cathedral with French flag © Shutterstock



A view of the beautiful Basilica of St Teresa and its garden in Lisieux



A view of the seafront promenade at Deauville