Is Collioure worth visiting?

Is Collioure worth visiting?

First things first, let’s answer your burning question – where is Collioure? Collioure is in the south of France on the coast, spitting distance of the Spanish border. But with so many beautiful French towns, is Collioure worth visiting? Well, if you love charming mediterranean streets, authentic fishing villages and mountainous vistas, it’s a no-brainer.

We’ve put together this guide to Collioure to answer all your questions. The best time to visit Collioure, where is Collioure?, what to see and do in Collioure, and even a quick history to the town.

A little town in the south of France. Colourful houses, rocky coastline, and boats galore. Sounds like a holiday destination to me.

Collioure has a population of 2800 but come summer you can expect that to multiply and multiply again. The town can get a little busy but that’s what keeps the many restaurants and cafes alive. If you love a walk along the coast after dinner when the town’s still gently buzzing, then this might be the place for you.

Where is Collioure in France?

Collioure is in the Occitanie region of France. The town sits on the mediterranean coast of France, roughly 10 kilometres from Spain (as a crow flies).

Collioure is also in the Pyrenees. Something that is immediately clear when arriving in the area. History, mountains and the Mediterranean, there’s something for everyone.

A view down a narrow street in Collioure with plants growing on the balconies of colourful houses

How to get to Collioure?

The closest airport to Collioure is Perpignan Airport. It’s a great airport to arrive at. Expect short waits for your bags to arrive. It’s a small regional airport but direct flights from a few smaller airports in the UK are plentiful in summer.

Ryanair offers direct flights to Perpignan from Birmingham and Stanstead during summer.

Once in Perpignan you’ll want to hire a car. It’s a region you’ll want to explore. As it’s mountainous the closer you get to Collioure, the windier the roads become, so take it steady.

The drive from Perpignan Airport to Collioure is about 40 km and 35 minutes. You’ll know when you’re getting close to the town centre, that’s when you start your descent.

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Where to stay in Collioure?

Now this all depends on how you like to travel. If you prefer to say close to the town centre, then you’ll want to look for something around Boulevard de Boramar. This is the street running alongside the beach right in the heart of Collioure.

Hotels close to Boulevard de Boramar in Collioure include Hôtel Casa Païral and Hôtel Mas des Citronniers. Both are set back a little from the waterfront, but both are quick to walk to from the beach.

If you have limited mobility, it’s worth noting that the closer you are to the waterfront, the easy it will be to get around. There are steep streets and steps in Collioure that can be hard work to navigate particularly in the heat or at night.

One last thing about accommodation in Collioure – book in advance. That’s a number one tip and shouldn’t be glossed over.

Restaurants on the waterfront in Collioure

What to see in Collioure?

If you are visiting Collioure for the day, you’ll want to get the most out of it. You might be happy to just wander around and get a feel for the place – I know that’s what I like to do.

But if you’re keen to build out an itinerary, have a look at our top five sights in Collioure, below:

  1. Château Royal de Collioure – This 800-year-old medieval castle has views of the sea and town, a perfect spot for defence. But at one point in its recent history it was prison before being declared an historic monument.
  2. Église Notre-Dame-des-Anges – if you’re a fan of visiting churches and their architecture, you’ll want to have a look at Collioure’s picturesque church. It sits right by the water and is rather well-known for its unique appearance.
  3. Moulin de Collioure – Collioure’s windmill has been lovingly restored and has never-ending views of the area around Collioure and the Pyrenees. We’ve written about it before on our guide to day trips in the south of France post
  4. Collioure’s waterfront and beach – the hustle and bustle of the waterfront seems an odd place to relax but you’ll find plenty of beachgoers doing just that on the centrally located Collioure’s beach.

What’s the history of Collioure?

For a small town, and relatively unheard of by tourists, its history packs a punch. Believe it or not, at one point in Collioure’s rich history the place was a Greek colony. And part of the Roman Empire. And also under Visigoth rule at one point.

Thanks to Collioure’s colourful history, the Moors and Catalans have influenced the city. In the 13th century, the Kings of Majorca fortified Collioure and the town became a royal fortress.

The Royal Castle in Collioure with the Pyreness as a backdrop

How many people visit Collioure each year?

This is a tricky question to answer. The official numbers of tourists visiting Collioure aren’t readily available. But according to a real estate website 600,000 visitors travel to Collioure each year.

So while the population of Collioure is some 2,800, visitor numbers are extraordinary. And possibly a reminder to book your accommodation in advance of your visit to Collioure.

What towns can you visit from Collioure?

Collioure is positioned along the mediterranean coast in France, so it’s unsurprising that there are many pretty towns and villages to visit nearby. A few places we’d recommend are:

  1. Banyuls-sur-Mer
  2. Port-Vendres
  3. Cerbère

If you are looking to travel further afield, you could visit Carcassone, Perpignan, Castelnou, or even Barcelona.

When’s the best time to visit Collioure?

The south of France gets hot in summer, so the ideal time to visit Collioure is in spring or autumn. April and May might not guarantee sun but it’s unlikely the temperatures will reach 40°C.

Another time to visit Collioure is October. Milder temperatures, fewer tourists and a little more sun than the spring months. In my opinion, the best time to visit Collioure is early October.

If you stick to these seasons and months, you’re also likely to be able to enjoy the town without throngs of tourists every which way you look. The peak tourist season is summer, try to avoid July and August if you can.

What’s the weather like in Collioure?

Collioure enjoys the famous Mediterranean climate. Mild, albeit wet winters, followed by dry, hot summers. 

Average temperatures in the summer months range from 20°C to 30°C. In winter temperatures will average between 8°C to 15°C. 

Collioure enjoys an average of 11.8 hours of sunshine per day in July.  

Have you visited Collioure? Is Collioure worth visiting as a tourist? Let us know in the comments below.

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