What to do in Collioure ?
Collioure © lesphotosdemarjolaine
Collioure is an incredibly charming and romantic old fishing village, located 30 minutes by car or camper van from Perpignan, south of France (25 minutes by train) and less than one hour from the Spanish border.
This “gem” stands out by its colorful houses, beaches in the city center, its castle overlooking the city and its splendid panoramic views. The city has seduced many famous Fauvist painters of the 20th century. Whether in summer or in winter, you will not remain indifferent after a walk in the marina, through its picturesque streets with colorful houses and glowing incandescent shale rocks.
Discover below our selection of the best things to do and see during your stay in South of France, to visit Collioure in one day or during a romantic and nice week-end.
This is where all the activity of Collioure has been concentrated for centuries. Thanks to its cross-border position, the port of Collioure was an important trading port since Antiquity, with a very developped commercial and halieutic activity. Today, it is a marina and it attracts a large number of tourists. With the colorful boats of anchovy fishermen, reflecting the Catalan influence, the port takes bright colors and a joyful and lively appearance. Its unique sandy beach in the city center is always lively and with a good atmosphere. This magical place is also a source of inspiration for painters.
Avall Port ©evasion-mer.pierreetvacances
This castle built in the 13th century was at the time the summer residence of the kings of Majorca. It is set on a rock and its terraces give a magnificent view over the harbour, the beaches and the city center. With its walkways and barbicans, this fortress is a fine example of military architecture. The castle currently hosts shows and exhibitions and offers guided tours.
Château royal © evasion-mer.pierreetvacances
In the North part of the city and slightly away from the large flow of tourists, it is in this former fishing village that you will find the genuine soul of Collioure. If you are looking for charm and romance, this is where you will find it!
Enjoy a stroll through its cobbled and picturesque streets and pass by many typical houses of the village which are former fishing or winemakers houses. These houses are narrow and have a storage cellar on the ground floor, colorful and flowery facades mounted by bougainvillea, which delight the eye of the visitor. In addition, artists’ studios and art galleries are located in the lower part of the neighborhood and you can visit them.
Art Gallerie, Mouré district
Located at the foot of the Mouré district and bathing in the sea, this 17th century Gothic-style church dates back to the 17th century. Its famous medieval bell tower, former lighthouse or watchtower of the port, is crowned by a pink dome. It is contiguous with the modest Saint Vincent chapel of the 17th century. This ancient hermitage is perched on a rock and its foundations plunge into the Mediterranean sea. It offers a magnificent panorama on the coast.
Notre-Dame-des-Anges Church © compagnie-visionaute.com
Masterpiece retable © france-voyage.com
Collioure is the most precious jewel of the Côte Vermeille. This rocky and sunny coast, known as the “Mediterranean shore of the Pyrenees”, stretches for about 30 kilometers from the south of Argelès-sur-Mer to Portbou, on the Spanish border. The Pyrenees fall into the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in a tormented landscape of special beauty. It owes its name to the schistose rocks that take a ruddy color at dawn and dusk.
This wild coast has many spectacular views combining sea, mountains and vineyards. The resulting combination of colors is incredible: bright blue and intense sky and sea, flamboyant green vineyards and golden ocher mountains.
Landscape of the Vermeille coast © niceartphoto.fr
All along the coast, you will discover rocky coves and atypical beaches, including the Saint-Vincent beach, located behind Notre-Dame-des-Anges church which gives a view on the royal castle. It is also bordered by charming ports including Collioure, the most visited resort on the Côte Vermeille or Port-Vendres, the most active resort on the coast and which has retained its fishing activity.
Port-Vendres © iha.fr
If you visit Collioure and its region, you can not miss the famous vineyard of Banyuls and Collioure. This vineyard has existed for more than 26 centuries and is the first French historic vineyard with the one of Provence. The first vines were implanted by Phoenicians. Their know-how and traditional techniques were handed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries. Today, the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wines of Collioure and of Banyuls are high quality wines renowned throughout the world. On the Banyuls PDO, you will find natural sweet wines, while the Collioure PDO combines powerful and fruity red wines, fresh and generous rosés and fruity whites.
We therefore recommend you to visit our selection of wineries to discover these renowned wines.
Côte Vermeille map and wineries around Collioure
To begin your discovery of this vineyard, let’s go to Terres des Templiers, a cooperative cellar gathering more than 650 winemakers. This cooperative is located in the beautiful village of Banyuls-sur-Mer, 20 minutes from Collioure by car, also accessible by TER. It owes its name to the Knights Templar who arrived in the 13th century in the region and revolutionized its vineyard, to make it a world-famous vineyard. You will discover the rich and ancient history of the winery during a guided tour. The huge and beautiful cellar with its hundred years old vats will impress you. You can also enjoy there a free wine tasting with Collioure and Banyuls DOP but also with the prestigious Banyuls Grand Cru resulting from a particularly strict selection of grapes.
Terre des Templiers cellar and vats
It is also interesting to discover the domaine Madeloc winery, located in the heart of the village of Banyuls-sur-Mer. Elise Gaillard, daughter of a renowned Rhone Valley winemaker, Pierre Gaillard, is at the head of this family-owned winery. The quality of the wines is renowned in many French specialized wine guides: Revue du Vin de France, Hachette Vins, Bettane et Desseauve… You can visit this winery, its cellars and taste its wines in Collioure and Banyuls DOP.
Elise Gaillard, domaine Madeloc
For those wishing to discover local wines while enjoying the natural beauty of the region, the Domaine Les Clos de Paulilles is the place to be. Located in the Anse de Paulilles, this area known on the appellations Banyuls and Collioure is surrounded by its vineyard at the foot of the Mediterranean Sea. You can enjoy a simple tasting, a gourmet menu for lunch in food and wine pairing or you can try kayaking or paddle to enjoy a breathtaking view of the vineyard of the winery.
Collioure is the birthplace of Fauvism, artistic movement of the early 20th century, characterized by daring and violent colors. Nicknamed the “city of painters”, this city has dazzled and inspired the greatest painters of the 20th century such as Henry Matisse or André Derain, the main precursors of Fauvism.
Collioure Harbour by André Derain, 1905
Collioure has a rich cultural and artistic heritage. It is through art that you will best discover its historical past. For that, you can go first to the Museum of Modern Art, located a few minutes’ walk from the port. The museum was founded by the painter of Russian origin Jean Peske. The permanent collection includes works of modern art from the first half of the 20th century as well as works of contemporary art, with paintings by Pablo Picasso or Marc Chagall.
Since 1990 an artist’s workshop has been created in the museum, which has become a place of residence for young European artists who have been selected by the Collioure prize.
Museum of Modern Art © artube.fr
Finally, to allow a more direct artistic approach, the Tourist Office has set up the “Chemin du Fauvisme”, an open circuit with twenty reproductions of Matisse and Dérain paintings placed exactly where they have been painted. This allows to have the point of view of the painters. This tour begins at the port and takes you to Mouré district.
Fauvism pathway © culture66.fr
Located at 20 minutes’ drive from the city center, this particular star-shaped citadel was built in the 16th century around a 9th century watchtower. With its 8 meters thick defense walls, loopholes and stunners, it was an impregnable fortress. It is located on a hill and separates two miniature beaches, offering a breathtaking panorama of the region. It was restored and presents today an important collection of medieval weapons in its historical museum dedicated to the Renaissance which traces the history of the region.
Fort Saint-Elme © photocerfvolant
This imposing windmill dating back to the Middle Ages, was completely renovated in 2001 and transformed into an olive oil mill. You can reach it by a pleasant path, surrounded by pines and olive groves, above the villa Pams. You will find many picnic areas around the mill to spend a pleasant moment of relaxation, while enjoying a panorama of the city and the bay of Collioure.
Collioure Mill ©collioure-location.fr
We wish you a pleasant discovery of Collioure and its region!