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Best bets from Barcelona to Provence

Training from Barcelona to Provence (probably Arles for a base 3 days). I would like to see Fiqueres & Cadaques on the way and heard on the Helpline that we should not miss Collioure for 1 night. Heard that Spain train ends in beginning of France. Is there a train that stops at Colliuore? We were planning on renting a car for 1 -2 days in Arles. Should we get a car sooner? After Arles we planned 2 days in Villafranche then train on to Cinque Terre. 3 week trip w 6-7 days in each country. Thanks

Posted by
3551 posts

Collioure is a small beach town that only works if you are going to walk around for an hour or so. It was disappointing to me. Your time is better spent in Villefranche or other rivera towns. Stay w/ your plan of car in Arles for 2 days.hope this helps a little.

Posted by
4125 posts

Collioure is charming but I would say it works best when and if it fits into the rhythm of your trip, not really a gotta-see destination. It's not a bad stopover from Barcelona, if you need one at that point, and the train stops there.

Posted by
196 posts

Hi Bob, For a stop on the way I would consider Carcassone. Beautiful for an overnight and I've had friends that did it as a day trip from Barcelona. In Arles, I stayed at Hotel le Calendal I'm not sure what parking they offer because I did Arles by train and had no car. Nice hotel in a perfect location nestled between the Roman Theatre and the Mini Coliseum. I spent 2 nights in Arles and I thought it was perfect for what we saw. If you have a car you could easily extend your stay and take in the Camargue or travel to other nearby sites. My favorites: Pont du Gard, Maison Carree in Nimes or the best is driving to little hilltop villages in Provence and really discover what makes this area so special (see Ricks book). Villefranche-sur-mer is a beautiful little town and will make a great little base to discover Eze, Nice, Menton, and Monaco (put 5 euro on number 9 at the roulette wheel for me). I really like the rhythm of your trip. Starting in a bustling town and making it so each step takes the pace down a step is a wise decision and will make it so that when you arrive in Cinque Terre you will be in the right mindset. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1020 posts

A daily train each morning and afternoon Barcelona-Perpignan, France has limited stops and no change of trains at the border. This train doesn't stop at Collioure. Several other trains each day require a change and make more stops one of which is Collioure. Depending upon your time of travel, Collioure could fit in as an overnight stop or a stop off. Dismissing Collioure as a "small beach town" is akin to calling San Francisco a bunch of buildings on a bay. Collioure is one of the most picturesque places in France. Pay attention to Rick! It has good hotels and fine restaurants, an old castle/fort and lovely walks around the harbor. Casa Pairal is a good place to stay. If staying the night doesn't work, you could go direct to Perpignan and rent a car at or near the train station. Drive South about half an hour to Collioure, see it, then move on. Carcassonne could work as an overnight stop, but it is a bit out of the way. Pezenas is on the way to Arles, very interesting with good places to stay and eat.

Posted by
1878 posts

I agree with Tex. Collioure is a beautiful, peaceful little town, well worth a night. Good food, good gelato.