- Breathtaking views
- Refreshing swimming
- Castle storming
- Local nougat shopping
- Not so touristy
So here I was, standing on top of a medieval castle, wind blowing my hair around like crazy, and loving it all. How could I not be? Not only was it a beautiful day in sunny Collioure – a small town found on the Mediterranean coast of southern France, but it was also my first time in the country, nay, the CONTINENT!
Never having been to Europe before, I was ecstatic just to set foot on this land of buttery and flaky croissants. And well, wouldn’t you know, a warm basket of bread is EXACTLY what awaited me the morning of our group’s visit to Collioure. I was traveling with a few friends and we had quickly drank our juice and finished our yogurts before taking the train from our homestay in Port-Vendres.
Upon arrival to Collioure, which incidentally is only a quick ride away from Port-Vendres, we explored all the area had to offer. Everything from colorful homemade tile art to breezy white dresses in boutiques. The town also had many small shops with sweet nougat on display (apparently a local specialty). If you can, try to buy or at least sample a piece of this chewy and sometimes crunchy goodie! It makes the air smell of warm marshmallow and roasted pistachios – YUM!
After exploring this part of town, that is the city center, we decided to head over to the beach area (since a swim was in due order). I could feel my body yearning for a nice cold splash in those pristine waters! Keep in mind that although the town is small, there’s a lot of walking to be done here – and on cobblestone, which can be more tiring for some (ahem, me).
Anyway, BEFORE going in for a swim however, we decided to climb up to the top of Château Royal – a castle and one of the main attractions in Collioure. We wanted to catch sight of the view from above and boy oh boy, was I impressed! I mean, just look!!
Being up so high, you have a view of EVERYTHING, from the boats to the Pyrénées-Orientales, or Pyrenees, in the back! This entire area is known for its wine, fish and Spanish influence (seen in the homemade tile art I mentioned before). So if you ever decide to make it to this part of France, know you’re in for a treat!
We finally climbed back down for a dip and relaxed the rest of the afternoon under the warm sky before wandering off to find dinner.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend taking a trip to Collioure. While I’ve heard it can get crowded, I didn’t feel like we experienced that when we were there…and we arrived in late May! Or maybe there WERE a lot of people and I just didn’t notice it. Being here, I felt nothing but relaxation (and occasional sweatiness lol). There’s plenty to do but you could also just spend your whole day at the beach!
In terms of costs, it varies. Our train ticket from the fishing town of Port-Vendres was pretty inexpensive and quick. Actually, I’d recommend seeing Port-Vendres if you can as well! Just like this town, Collioure offers great seafood and fixed menus for affordable prices. Indeed you might spend a pretty penny if you sit down at the fanciest of restaurants but if you stop into a local mom & pop sort of place, you’re almost guaranteed to get great food and wine for a fraction of the price. Plus, ordering the “catch of the day” will get you some of the freshest fish out there! Notice however, I couldn’t resist ordering a goat’s cheese salad as my starter..…
Anyway, accommodation doesn’t have to cost you much either if you stay at a local homestay. There, you’ll also be able to chat with the owners and ask for recommendations on their favorite places to eat (which is what we ended up doing to find a hidden gem).
As long as you travel like a local, splurging only every now and then, you’ll be able to travel more often!