what to do in Pyrenees Orientales


Pyrénées-Orientales will give you a perfect balance between nature, culture and relaxation. There are some great beaches and wonderful sea water. In the inland you’ll find the mountains which are great for hiking, cycling and other activities. The cities such as Perpignan have a Spanish caracter because of their Catalan history. The Spanish border is not even an hour away.




Perpignan is the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales. It’s a city with a special character. The city is situated near the sea and it has a rich (Catalan) history. The most typical is the Castillet with its old city gate. Perpignan also has a pleasant old town. In addition, the city has many special buildings, including some religious buildings. The combination of the good weather and the ideal location makes it a popular holiday destination.



Argelès-sur-Mer is located just next to the city of Perpignan. Because it is so close to the Spanish border, the Catalan influences can also be found here. The town has beautiful beaches with a clear blue sea. Do take a visit to the Canyoning park or go kayaking and scuba diving. There is plenty to do in Argelès-sur-Mer



This village is one of the most beautiful in France and is located west of Perpignan. When you walk through the city gate and the medieval streets you get the feeling of going back in time. You can walk all the way up until you reach the castle. The view over the mountains of the Pyrenees is beautiful. Bring good good shoes as you’ll walk over the paved stones.



The town with this difficult name is a medieval fortress town. The town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and one of most beautiful villages in France. Villefranche-de-Conflent is surrounded with a city wall and city gates. These are always my favorite towns!



A beautiful town just below Perpignan. Especially visit the Quartier du Mouré with its beautiful streets and brightly colored houses. 


Lac des Bouillouses

The Pyrenees have so many beautiful mountain lakes. One of them is the Lac des Bouillouses. This lake is the highest mountain lake in the Pyrenees. It lies at an altitude of 2000 meters! Cars are no longer allowed, but you can get there by bus or via a chairlift. There is also a special hiking trail that runs along 9 smaller lakes. 


Lac de Matemale

Where the Lac des Bouillouses mainly offers a beautiful landscape, the Lac de Matemale is a beautiful recreational lake. You can enjoy swimming and practice water sports here. There is also plenty to do near the lake: a tree climbing park, mini golf and various games for children.


Gorges de Carança

A challenging road has been created through this gorge which will take you to places you would otherwise never be able to visit. On some parts, a natural path could not be laid and a path was laid with the aid of a metal construction. You have to pay attention here, because there is no side protection! The only thing you can hold on to is the rope that runs along the side of  the rock. If you want extra safety on these parts, you can attach yourself to the rope with a special clip (you have to bring this clip yourself).


Gorges de Galamus

You can visit this small but beautiful gorge by car and on foot. The nature is beautiful with steep rock walls, deep canyons and beautiful views. You can also enjoy swimming in the pools of water that are heated by the sun. If you go by car along the gorge, prepare yourself for a very narrow road!


Grotte des Canalettes

You can visit this stalactite cave on your own. It is a nice trip for when it is very hot outside. A beautiful light show is given every two hours.


Orgues d’Ille Sur Tet

These Orgues are a very special and beautiful natural phenomenon. In the middle of a large plain are huge rocks of sand and clay, formed by rain and erosion. A visit takes about one hour.


Sentier du Littoral

The Sentier du Littoral is a beautiful route along the coast. Walk on the beach, along the beautiful azure blue water and in the meantime you get to see the most beautiful views. You can walk from Collioure to Argelès in about 4 hours (8 km).



Canyoning is a sport during which you follow a river that runs through a gorge. You walk, climb, jump and swim during the route. There are also pieces where you’ll have to abseil. Never go out canyoning alone because it’s certainly not without its danger.


Pyrenees Orientales

Abbaye Saint Martin du Canigou

A beautiful abbey situated on a cliff in the middle of the mountains. The view is fantastic. You can reach the Abbey from Casteil on foot via a walk of about 45 minutes. You can start various hiking trails from the abbey and you can also visit the abbey itself. The abbey is still in use, there are religion oriented activities organized for people that want some time to relax. Tourists cannot stay at the abbey.


Fort Saint-Elme

This fort is near the village of Coulliore and is definitely worth a visit. It is situated on a hill and has a magnificent view of the city and the sea. You can reach the fort on foot, by car (with little parking space) and by tourist train. If you visit the fort with children, they will receive a corresponding costume (shield and sword), which of course the’ll find absolutely amazing.


Forteresse de Salses

This military fort is located near Perpignan on the route from France to Spain. The Fort is interesting to visit. It has been built strategically, with it’s large canal that can be flooded. The walls are very thick, about 6 to 10 meters! The Fort has a complex defense system that will be explained during the visit.