From a bird's eye view, it's picture-perfect. Collioure is a charming small town built around a turquoise water bay surrounded by terraced vineyards. In the background: the Pyrenees which dive into the Mediterranean along with the Albères mountain range. Take a short walk and you're already on one of the town centre's beaches.
Walk along Boramar Beach before venturing into the shaded lanes in the Mouré area with its colourful houses.
Visit Collioure's Château Royal which the kings of Majorca made their home in the 13th century. Take a selfie in front of Notre-Dame-des-Anges Church: its belltower built on the foundations of an old lighthouse is the symbol of Collioure.
Explore Collioure just like Henri Matisse did in 1905. He fell in love with it and moved here with his friend André Derain. They were inspired by the colours and light and created a new art movement, Fauvism, characterised by the use of bright colours. Their canvases made the village world famous.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art in the breath-taking Villa Pams, step into art galleries and studios (painters, sculptors, photographers, potters etc.). Take the guided tour provided by the Maison du Fauvisme.
Worth the visit
Saint-Elme Fort, restored by Vauban, stands at the top of Collioure. It's worth a visit for its history, architecture and 360°C views of the bay, Roussillon plain and the mountain.
A breath-taking road overlooks the sea from Collioure to Cerbère on the Spanish border.
At each twist and turn you'll see creeks and beaches alongside vineyards that produce Collioure's dry wines and natural sweet wines from Banyuls.
This high road (the D86) has countless vistas of the glittering Mediterranean for 23km: absolutely amazing!
Worth the detour
2 routes pairing history and heritage. The 1st has a medieval theme: Collioure, Elne, St-Génis-des-Fontaines, St-André. The 2nd focuses on the Retirada (Spanish Republican exile): Château Royal de Collioure, Elne Maternity Ward, Memorial in Argelès-sur-Mer and Rivesaltes.
Take time out in Port-Vendres, a large trading port with a traditional atmosphere where you can watch huge boats drift in and out with fruit from Africa.
8km south, drop anchor in the magical Catalan village of Banyuls-sur-Mer. The town of Maillol brings you a crescent of colourful houses, palm trees, cafés and restaurants on the edge of its large beach. It's also a gateway to the Cerbère-Banyuls underwater reserve with its Biodiversarium and diving centres.
Take the coastal path from Port-Vendres to Cap Béar, then the listed site of Paulilles Bay (accessible by road) where you can pair local heritage with a swim in a heavenly setting.
You'll love the village of Collioure, its port and Catalan boats, its salmon pink houses and sea green shutters. Stroll along the town centre's lanes, unwind on the café terraces with sea views, sample Collioure anchovies and be sure to visit all the town's creeks and beaches. Video © Ville de Collioure
Well worth a visit
Stunning points of view, age-old military forts from Vauban's time, hilltop vineyards and footpaths galore: gain ground as you chance upon little, sometimes steep, roads that snake up the Albères mountain range.
HOW TO GET THERE
Collioure lies in the far south of Occitania in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, 30km south of Perpignan.
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