Cruise Port Atlas | Port-Vendres, France Day Trips | Attractions

Port-Vendres, France Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Port-Vendres: Star Clippers, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn

Key Attractions: Port-Vendres Harbor, Fort St. Elmo, Fort Bear, Collioure, Chateau Royal, Notre-Dame des Anges, Argeles Plage, Paulilles, Racou Beach, Carcassonne, Pyrenees, Mont Louis, Villefranche-de-Conflent, Yellow Train

Port-Vendres Attractions

Port to City Center - 1.5 KM, 4 minutes, 19 minute walk
Port to Fort Bear - 3.3 KM, 9 minutes
Port to Fort St. Elme - 4 KM, 11 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Port-Vendres is a practical town focused on shipping and the local fishing industry. The most striking attraction is the huge obelisk at the end of the harbor which includes a plaque honoring the establishment of the US as a new nation. Most days there are fish markets offering a large variety, but most commonly anchovies and sardines. Cafes and bakeries dot the harbor and create a welcoming atmosphere. There is a nice hike up the hill to the south of the harbor to Fort Bear. To the south of town is an abandoned dynamite factory once owned by Alfred Nobel that offers tours. In town is a small museum that highlights the connections between Port-Vendres and Algeria, which ended when the African country became independent.

           

   

Photo of Port-Vendres Quays by JPBazard

Collioure

Port to Collioure - 4.6 KM, 10 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Great tourist destinations often first attract artists and writers and this is true of Colliourel. The post-impressionist masters Matisse and Derain discovered this town and memorialized it in some of their work (none of which is displayed there except in prints). The reason for this popularity is the subtle beauty of the port and its unique historic buildings that sit right in the harbor. The large fortress-like Chateau Royal, was built 800 years ago and served as the seaside residence for the Catalan-Mallorcan rulers. Right on the quay is the Notre-Dame des Angles with its lighthouse bell-tower. These attractions alone make the town a must, but there are also the welcoming pebble beaches and the multicolored cafes in the old town. Above the city (between Collioure and Port-Vendres) is Fort St. Elme, which was built to protect the area from the Berber pirates who patrolled the waters for centuries. The view from that spot is amazing and your can tour the well-preserved building. The town has its own wine appellation and two nearby vineyards.

           

   

Photo of Collioure Waterfront by Rolin

Port-Vendres area beaches

Port to Argeles Plage - 11 KM, 17 minutes
Port to Racou Beach - 9 KM, 12 minutes
Port to Paulilles - 3 KM, 6 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

In general, the beaches near Port-Vendres are not as overrun as those at the eastern end of the French Mediterranean coast, so they offer a calmer, less commercial experience with the dramatic backdrop of the Pyrenees. However, if you like a well-developed large beach area, the most popular of that type is not far north of Port-Vendres at Argeles Plage. The northern part of this very long beach is considered the best in the area. Between Argeles-sur-Mer and Collioure is Racou Beach which is also very good. From Fort Bear you can see the nearest large beaches in the area at Paulilles, the industrial town where Nobel once owned a factory.

        

   

Photo of Argeles Beach by M.M.Minderhoud

Carcassonne from a vineyard

Carcassonne

Port to Carcassonne - 152 KM, 1 hour 40 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

First fortified by the Romans, the present day walled town was re-built in the mid-19th Century in the style of a medieval fort and is among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Restoration was designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and though not historically precise, it is considered a work of genius. It has 53 towers and a double ring of walls and ramparts. Within the walls are restaurants, shops and museums that create the illusion of being in a medieval town. The most popular tours are walks through the towers and ramparts as you learn about the history of the castle. The Canal du Midi is adjacent to the lower town of Carcassonne.

Medieval Walled Town   Imagining Medieval Life   Hilltop Castle and surrounding vineyards   World Heritage Site  

Varied Walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Carcassonne by Greudin

Pyrenees

Port to Villefranche-de-Conflent - 83 KM, 1 hour 10 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The Pyrenees of southern France are formidable and have created a natural barrier between the locals and those in the rest of France and the Iberian peninsula. Going inland from the coast you enter a different world where the small nation of Andorra maintains its stubborn and impoverished independence and a tiny part of Spain called Llivia is completely surrounded by France. The Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees offers an opportunity to experience this stunning and isolated landscape. Within the park is the famous Yellow train which offers ride for commuters and tourist and begins in the town of Villefranche-de-Conflent and continues to Mont Louis, both part of the UNESCO World Heritage site honoring the fortresses designed by Vauban.

              

   

Photo of Yellow Train crossing Viaduct by A1AA1A

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible