Tram to get around in Caen
There is a tram that runs in and around Caen. Purchase your ticket at certain of the stops from a machine for just over a euro. It runs up to the castle, and down to the train station. while it does make the trip easier you don't get to walk by the stores and get a flavor of the town.
- Road Trip
Caen Ferry Port
First of all it bears mentioning that Ferries dock at Ouistreham, 10km from the town and 30 minutes by bus No 1, which runs at approximately 30 minute intervals.
Ferries often dock along the quayside and a bus will take you to the terminal so be sharpish when you are leaving the boat. Its about a one minute ride so don't panic if you miss it it will be back in 5 minutes.
The town is about the mouth of the Canal de Caen à la Mer.
Ferry Port to Caen bus
Once you have disembarked from the ferry and made your way through the terminal at Ouistreham, you will find the bus to Caen just outside the main doors. You will have to buy a ticket from the tourist information office inside though as you cannot buy tickets on the bus itself. When you enter the bus you will have to insert your ticket into a small machine where it will be stamped and validated (see photo).
A good bus system
At the time of our visit to Caen you could buy a 24 hour bus ticket for 17F (1.70GBP). It was handy for getting between our hotel and the train station and for lugging our shopping from the city centre. Buy it from the driver and validate it on its first use by stamping it in one of the orange boxes on board the bus.
At the time we saw that Caen was building a tram line that will run from the train station into town, past the Chateau and to the university. If it is up and running by now it will make it much more convenient to reach the centre of town from the station.
Veol rental bikes
Moving around the city has never been so quick and easy: the user can find SmartBikes stations at all central and convenient locations throughout the city. The service is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. All you have to do is take a bike and ride it.
All you have to do is find a SmartBike station and identify yourself by holding your user card in front of the card reader on the station. Since radio frequency is used to identify your card, you do not even have to take it out of your wallet for the station to register it.
Follow the instructions on the screen; the station will appoint a bike to you. Now you can go ahead and take your bike for a trip through the city. All that in under 10 seconds – just a flash.
Caen Railway Station
Caen railway station, Gare de l'Ouest Calvados is the main station and now the only station in the city of Caen. The station is located on the railway line from Paris Saint-Lazare in Cherbourg, the services of the SNCF arresting them are mainly Highlights: (Corails Intercités since 2006) although some regional services also stop. The typical routes linking Caen in Cherbourg, Lisieux, Évreux, Paris, Rouen, Saint-Lo, Rennes, Bayeux and Lison is attended by 2.5 million passengers a year.
Owner RFF / SNCF RFF / SNCF
Exploitant Operator SNCF SNCF
Services Corail Intercités : ( Paris Saint-Lazare , Cherbourg , Tours ). Coral Intercités: (Paris Saint-Lazare, Cherbourg, Tours).
TER : ( Rouen , Saint-Lô , Rennes , Le Mans ) TER: (Rouen, Saint-Lo, Rennes, Le Mans)
D-Day beaches bus tour
Thanks to Beausoleil's reply in the travel forum, here's a link to a day trip by bus to 3 of the D-Day beaches. Read the discussion here
The full day tour costs € 14 per person and departs from the train station in Caen and also ends there. So you can take a train from anywhere easily. Tours daily except Sundays and public holidays. You can also hop on at any of the stops along the way.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Not so much a tram bus a guided bus. In recent years Caen introduced the controversial 'guided light transit' (GLT) system - similar to a tram and thought unnecessary by much of the population during their construction. Lines run from the train station via the city centre and place St-Pierre, outside the tourist office. Opt for a value 24hr ticket over a single fare if you'll be using the system a bit.
How to reach Caen
The gare SNCF is 1km south of the town centre, with the gare routière so close that you can walk directly to it from platform 1. The Brittany Ferries service from Portsmouth, promoted as sailing to Caen, in fact docks at Ouistreham, 15km north. Buses from the gare routière connect with each sailing. CTAC, the extensive local bus service (tel 02.31.15.55.50), makes a one-way circuit between the "Tour le Roi" stop, north of the pleasure port, and the gare SNCF, heading north up avenue du 6-Juin and south down rue St-Jean.
Cityrama bus tour
I understand that a lot of experienced travelers look down on people who take organized tour buses. I know that visitors don't always get a good feel for a location by doing these tours... but in the end we just felt that the Normandy tour that Cityrama offered was exactly what we wanted.
With their 1 day tour option, we were able to visit:
- Caen Memorial-Peace Museum (lunch at the museum with drinks included)
- Pointe du Hoc
- Omaha Beach
- American Cemetary
- Juno Beach
I would recommend this tour to other people if you are short on time that you can spend in Normandy. However, there are 2, 3, and 4 day tours also offered through Cityrama and I'm sure these would be even better as they include Mont Saint Michel, Saint-Malo, etc.
*Cityrama is also associated with Grayline tours and as we have taken other Grayline tours (London and Washington DC) we felt that it would be worth our money.
"Bus Verts" to Normandy countryside
To go out from Caen, to other cities in Calvados or countryside, take these buses. Terminal is close to the castle, in front of the Tour Leroy and of the harbour. Another terminal at the Railway Station.
(see their website)
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