Hi there, I will be heading to Europe in September and plan on travelling by train from Cinque Terre to Barcelona and have 5 nights to fill in. Would love to hear of any suggestions where we should stay along this route. Im not really interested in Nice or Canne and would rather the smaller towns with lots of ambience. Hope to hear your suggestions. :-)
This is what I would do with those five nights... From CT to Provence with stops in Monaco and Villefrance Sur Mer on the way for one night; Three nights in Provence with day trips to Rousillon, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Arles and/or Pont du Gard (might not make it to all of these);
On the way to Barcelona, stop in Carcassonne for the final night
Since you will be on the Italian Riviera, I would skip the French one and spend this time in Provence and French Catalonia. If you really want to see the small towns you'll need wheels, otherwise there are smaller cities such as Arles that have real charm. Some highlights that might appeal: The towns of the Luberon and the Sorge valley, Roman antiquities in Arles, Orange, and Nimes (including the Pont du Gard, which is both a spectacular setting and a swimming spot). Carcassonne is not a bad suggestion if that appeals to you; again a car will help. You might finish your 5 days in Coulliore, right near the Spanish border. This is a small town with character (and a beach) that is also served by rail so if you have rented a car you can return it in Perpignan, take the train to Coulliore, and continue on to Barcelona when ready.
Thank you so much. This information is great. I will start investigating. :-)
Kylie - it's a heck of a long way from CT to BCN (~ 1000 km). Are you driving? Have you been in the So. France or Catalonia before? There's so much to see in area (i.e., Vence above Nice, the Provence is beautiful but larger than a one night drive by). I'd suggest Arles/Uze with ease access to many Langedoc delights which several posters have already endorsed and I concur (been here twice). IMO - I'd skip Carsaconne but the Dorgone is too far for this trip - stay on coast and use the fast roads. We just got back from Colillure (it was such a delight) and Calella de Parafrugel and would recommend either. Colillure for TOTAL relaxation in a stunning beach town with lovely sights, artists shops and cafes. CDP is smaller (and very relaxing) but would give you easy access to three great sites for a day trip or two - Gala's Castle (Pubol), Dali's beach home in Cadaques, and the Dali Teatro Museo in Figueres, or medival sites in Girona.