The seafaring port of Cherbourg sits at the northern tip of Normandy’s Cotentin peninsula, as it watches over the English Channel. Visitors from the UK and Ireland will no doubt know it best for the ferry terminal. But spend time here as you drive into or out of town, and you will be in for a pleasant surprise: Cherbourg has plenty of stunning attractions that definitely merit a visit in their own right. And what’s more, it’s also an easy day-trip from nearby Siblu holiday park, Domaine de Litteau.
Beaches and the great outdoors
From inside Cherbourg’s artificial harbour, La Plage de la Saline stretches north along the coast. Although there’s no swimming, everyone can enjoy the nearby walking routes and cycle paths, little ones will love the super playground, while grown-ups can treat these of wide-open space near the town’s marina, and is another ideal spot for a run-around. It’s also a regular venue for summer music concerts, festivals, fireworks and tourist attractions. In town, when you need to kick back and relax, the botanical gardens, Parc Emmanuel Liais, offer glasshouses, rare and exotic plants, and a sanctuary of peaceful, pleasant surroundings. Plage Verte, on the other hand, is a great expanse of grass just opposite the Chantereyne Marina where you can enjoy sports or relaxing with a great view of the sea.
Things to do and special events
Cherbourg’s must-visit attraction is undoubtedly the Cité de la Mer. Set within the former transatlantic liner terminal – a truly magnificent Art Deco edifice, which looks equally impressive when lit-up at night – this is more than a museum. It now houses Le Redoubtable, the world’s largest submarine open to visitors, an interactive exhibition of the history of the Titanic (it berthed in Cherbourg before continuing its fateful onward journey into the Atlantic), and L’Aquarium Abyssal, Europe’s deepest aquarium. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to come back for a second visit. Then there’s Musée de la Libération at the Fort du Roule. There are excellent views over the city and surrounding coastline, and the museum itself is dedicated to the 1944 Battle of Cherbourg. For more ancient history, make time to visit the hauntingly beautiful interiors of the Basilique Ste-Trinité.
Local discoveries and hidden gems
For the full Cherbourg experience, take a boat trip around the harbour. Or at Place de Gaulle and in the Vieille Ville, experience the plentiful local markets selling the best regional produce: fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese and charcuterie. As a complement to all that, Cherbourg also has more than its fair share of good restaurants serving up a taste of Normandy – apples, cider, tripe (a local specialty…), mussels and coquilles St-Jacques (scallops), all washed down with a shot of Calvados (apple brandy), or what locals call a ‘trou Normand’.Explore the greater Cotentin peninsula and the Cape de la Hague and you will discover a windswept landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and delightful ports and villages: Barfleur, St-Vaast-la-Hougue and, just off shore, Ile Tatithou, to name but a few.
Distance/driving time from Domaine de Litteau
Distance/driving time from Domaine de Kerlann