View of the castle in Collioure

Collioure Guide: Travel Planning and Tips

Heading to Collioure? Here is a guide for planning your trip.

So, you’ve made the decision to visit the fabulous Catalan town of Collioure in the South of France, and now you are wondering how you’re going to get there, what you’re going to bring, how you’re going to get around and what you’re going to wear.  Well, in this blog on Collioure Guide: Travel Planning and Tips, we’re going to guide you through everything.

The quaint streets of Collioure

We have an apartment in Collioure and have been coming here for several weeks to several months at a time for the last 10 years.  We’ve been here in all the different seasons, travelled a variety of different ways and figured out how to really enjoy our time here.

Now we’re going to share all that experience with you!

Check out our fabulous 2-bedroom apartment in the centre of Collioure

Highlights of Trip Planning to Collioure

What is Collioure known for?

Collioure is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Côtés Vermeille” and there is little wonder why.  Collioure is known for its wine, its beaches, its history, its Catalan roots, and its art.  It is a well-loved artists’ haven that has attracted such venerable masters as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse and Andre Derain.  

View from the water of the windmill in Collioure

Collioure is famous for its sunshine with more than 300 days of it a year and because it is wedged between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea it’s a great place to be outdoors.  

Tip 1: How Do I Get To Collioure?

Probably one of the most important parts of a Collioure Guide is how to get to Collioure. Getting here really depends on where you’re coming from.  If you are arriving from outside of Europe, you will most likely be flying into one of the major airports close to Collioure.  

The 2 closest international airports are Barcelona, Spain, which is about 200 kms (125 mi) and Toulouse, France, which is also about 250 kms (150 mi) away.

If you are flying into Paris, it takes about nine hours to drive from there to Collioure and six – eight hours by train.  Or you can take a 1 ½ hour connecting flight from Paris to Perpignan on one of the regional airlines and catch the train for a quick 20-minute ride that brings you to the centre of Collioure.

From Barcelona

By Car

  • Fastest Route: We usually fly into Barcelona, and until recently, would rent a car at the airport and drive to Collioure.  The 2 ½  drive is fairly straight forward and all but 10 minutes is on multi-lane highways (unless you take the scenic coastal route).  
  • Scenic Route: Take the AP-7 out of Barcelona towards Girona and stay on the main highway (it turns into E-15).  When you get to Figueres take the N-260 which will take you to the coast and stay on it all the way to Portbou where you will cross into France.  Once you cross into France, take the D-914 along the coast and continue on to Collioure.

This route takes about 30 to 45 minutes longer, but you will get some spectacular views along the Costa Brava in Spain and the Cotès Vermeille in France.  Be aware that the route tends to get very windy once you are in France and the D-914 is a two-lane road with very few places to pass.  

By Train

This is now our preferred option from Barcelona if we aren’t planning driving trips out of Collioure.  The train station is outside Terminal 2 at Barcelona airport.  There is a ticket office at the entrance to the train station and we buy a ticket all the way through to Collioure.  The total time is about 3 ½ hours including connections.

Ticket booth at the Barcelona airport

The first connection is in Barcelona at Passeig de Gràcia station where you need to change trains (if you’re leaving from downtown Barcelona, start your trip here).  The train continues through the countryside from Barcelona to Portbou.  Get off the train in Portbou and walk across the station to the other track.  There is only one train that goes from this track (departing several times a day) as it is the starting point in France.  

Train station platform in Portbou

For your relatively short ride, you will be travelling along the stunning coast of Cotès Vermeilles on the way to Collioure.  When you get to Collioure Station, you are only about 700 metres from the accommodations, shops, cafès, restaurants and beaches.

From Toulouse

By Car

  • Fastest Route: This is an easy drive since it is all multi lane highway until just before Collioure. 

Just take the A-61 east out of Toulouse until you get to Narbonne, then head south on the A-9 to Perpignan where you will get on the D-914 all the way to Collioure. 

Toulouse tourist sign

The total drive will be about 2 hours and 45 minutes and will cost around 25 euros since the highways in France tend to be mostly toll roads.  You can pay by cash or with credit card at the toll stations.

By Train or Bus

The main train and bus station in Toulouse is the Toulouse Matabiau Station located in the old town on the banks of the Canal du MIDI.

Insider Tip – Shuttle

There is a direct shuttle to this station from the Toulouse airport. It departs every 20 minutes. Find the FlyBus Airport shuttle outside Hall C.

From here you can take either the bus or train to Perpignan Train station and catch the local train from Perpignan to Collioure which usually runs every hour. 

Perpignan train station

When you get to Collioure Station, you are only about 700 metres from the accommodations, shops, cafès, restaurants and the beaches.

Tip 2: Where Do I Park in Collioure?

If you plan on driving to Collioure, be aware that this is a small village that has little to no designated street parking.  

There are several large parking lots that you can use around the village, and they all have automated kiosks for paying.  All the parking lots are municipally run so the cost is the same no matter which one you select.  Daily parking passes are around 15 euros and weekly passes are 80 euros. 

The entrance to one of the parking lots in Collioure

Keep in mind that the main street through Collioure is closed to traffic on Wednesday and Sunday mornings because of the local market, so if you are coming in for the day, you will probably need to park at one of the outer parking lots.

Tip 3: How many days should I spend in Collioure?

How many days you spend in Collioure really depends on what you want to do.  Many people come in for a day trip as they are passing through the area.  You can walk around the old town, get a bite to eat and enjoy a bit of time at the beach and this may just pique your interest enough to lure you back for a longer stay.

I would recommend at least 3 to 5 days to really experience the town, its history and culture and get a chance to try out a couple of the excellent restaurants and relax at the beach.  Be sure to make enough time to browse through the Chateau Royale and take a walk up to the windmill (Moulin de la Cortina) for a great view of the town.

The Royal Palace is one of the things we recommend visiting in our Collioure guide

If you want to really enjoy the village and also take in some of the other sites that are around the area (there are lots of day trips within an hour or so of Collioure that are highly worthwhile) then a week or more is what you are looking for.  

✅ For a complete list of what to do while you are here check out our blog on some great suggestions of things to do in Collioure.

Tip 4: What is the best month to visit Collioure?

This depends on what you want to do.  If you are looking for a relaxing stay with exceptional weather while still enjoying the shops and restaurants, then April/May or September/October are perfect.  There is still a lot going on, but you won’t be dealing with the crowds of the high season.

Busy Season

June through August is the busy season, so if you don’t mind sharing the beaches and boulevard with your worldly neighbours then this may be for you.  This is also when Collioure has most of its festivals so there will always be something to do.  

In this Collioure guide we discuss that it can be very hot and busy during the high season

Super Busy Season

Keep in mind that the week of August 14 through 18 is Saint Vincent’s Day and since he is the patron saint of Collioure you can expect upwards of 10,000 people to be joining you.  If you are here for Saint Vincent’s Day, then you will be treated to some unique festivities and activities as the town goes all out during this week.

Off Season

For a peaceful stay where the town feels like it belongs to you, come during the off-season – anytime between November and the end of March. This is when you will find the best deals for accommodation.  

The beach in the off season

This is also the best time of year to come if you enjoy winter activities like skiing or snowboarding.  There are plenty of ski resorts in the Pyrenees Mountains and you can get to some of them in just over an hour.

The weather is usually still pretty mild (and you do get lots of sunshine) but you won’t get the same busy vibe or choice of restaurants and shops as you do at other times of the year.  

Tip 5: What is the weather like in Collioure?

Of course, our Collioure Guide has to include weather information. Because of its location in the deep South of France on the Mediterranean Sea, you can expect lots of sunshine in Collioure all year long.  

We have been here during all the seasons and have enjoyed each one for different reasons.

Our favourite times of the year are Spring and Fall since the weather is very comfortable with highs in the low to mid 20’s C (75 F) and the water is still warm enough to swim (although we have seen locals swimming nearly all year long).

Collioure in the Spring is very comfortable

The summer can get very warm in the low 30’s C (87 F), but there is always a cooling breeze off the Mediterranean.

Winter can be a bit unpredictable, but it is certainly comfortable enough to spend time here.  Daytime temperatures in January and February range between 10 and 15 C (50 to 60 F), but again there is usually plenty of sunshine and you will often see people eating outdoors at the cafés and restaurants.

People eating outside at cafes in the off season

There are a couple of weeks in February where the Mistral winds come off the Pyrenees bringing cold, rainy weather with gusting winds so you may want to keep that in mind when packing.

✅ For a guide to where to stay in Collioure, have a look at our blog on where you can stay while visiting Collioure.

Tip 6: What do I wear in Collioure?

This one is up to you.  Collioure is a very casual town with visitors from everywhere, so you will see people wearing just about anything.  My advice is to wear what makes you comfortable depending on the time of year you are visiting.  

Make sure you pack a light rain jacket in the summer months as rain showers can occur quite spontaneously.  If you are coming in the late fall, winter or early spring, bring a windproof and waterproof jacket as well as a sweater or two.

The number one thing to bring is comfortable walking shoes, especially for the cobblestone streets in the old part of town.  We tend to wear Sketchers Go-Walks as our everyday walking shoes because they are very light, comfortable and they wash easily.

Cobblestone streets. In this Collioure guide we recommend good walking shoes.

The Final Word…Your Collioure Guide

So, now that you have your Collioure Guide Travel Planning Tips and know how to get here, when to come and what to wear, come and join us in the beautiful South of France and enjoy its magnificent mountains, turquoise sea, venerable history, fantastic art culture, and wonderful Catalan vibe!

Our selfie on the beach in Collioure