Ouistreham is a small port with fishing boats, leisure craft and a ferry-harbour. It serves as the port of the city of Caen. The town is about the mouth of the Canal de Caen à la Mer.
The name Ouistreham derives from ouistre - 'oyster' and Saxon ham= 'village'. It has been a trading port since the Middle Ages. The harbour is now a part of "Port de Caen-Ouistreham". Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been a bathing beach on the "Riva Bella".
On 6 June 1944, No. 4 Commando landed at Ouistreham (codenamed Sword) and fought their way to Pegasus Bridge, with the 177 Free French of the No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando given the honour of spearheading the advance. The assault on Ouistreham was featured in the movie The Longest Day, although the film location for Ouistreham was at the nearby village of Port-en-Bessin.
The port of Ouistreham has a scheduled cross-Channel ferry service to Portsmouth, operated by Brittany Ferries.