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5 Fantastic Days Out for Families visiting Perpignan, France

January 8, 2020

During the Easter break last year we were invited to visit Les Dunes holiday park just outside Perpignan on the French Mediterranean Coast with Canvas Holidays. We loved the whole experience from morning dips in our hot tub to evenings spent playing family boules, relishing the high-end yet intimate camp site experience…but looking back nearly a year later what really stands out in my memory are all the fascinating family days out we enjoyed in this idyllic corner of Catalonia.

I’ve really enjoyed looking back at the experience whilst putting together my recommendations for 5 days out for families visiting the Perpignan region. So if medieval castles, endless sandy beaches and awesome caves are your thing…get ready to be inspired for your next trip!

Collioure

Collioure is a traditional fishing village shadowed by the Pyrenees a short drive from the Spanish border. Perfect for spending an afternoon exploring the medieval remains of the grand Chateau Royal de Collioure or pottering around the galleries and cafes tucked in narrow streets Collioure also boasts a number of shallow, sheltered beaches making it a hit for all ages. The lighthouse also makes a pretty impressive backdrop attracting the likes of Picasso and Matisse to feature the harbour in their artwork. Please note market days take place on Wednesdays and Sundays every week. 

Grottes des Canalettes

These hugely impressive caves are situated in the foothills of Massif du Canigou right next to the UNESCO medieval town of Villefranche-de-Conflent. Once inside this underground experience is guaranteed to take your breath away as you explore the many vast caverns displaying impressive stalactites and stalagmites alongside pretty light displays and thematic music. Make sure you take warm clothes whatever time of year you visit, the caves remain a cool temperature regardless of conditions on the surface. A visit to the caves should take about 1.5 hours and there are good facilities and a small cafe on site. Tickets cost 10€ for adults, 6€ for children aged 5-12 and under 5’s can enter for free. 

Fortresse des Salses

Fortresse des Salses is a Spanish fortress dating back to the early 1500’s is just a 20 minute drive north of Perpignan. The fortification was built by the Spanish to protect their northern provinces finally surrendering to the French in 1642. Today the stunning ramparts, turrets, defense walls and maze of corridors offer a magical place of exploration and history. Our children particularly enjoyed the games area where they got to try out a whole range of old skool games like hoopla and tables boules. Tickets cost 8€ for adults and children are free. Tours are available – please enquire about these on your arrival. 

Leucate

Leucate is a seaside resort on the Med Coast a 35 minute drive outside of Perpignan. With 18 km of beautiful, long sandy coastline Leucate is perfect for beach loving families. This part of the coast can be particularly windy which makes it a haven for wind surfing and kite surfing but means it’s worth checking the wind speed before you visit if you’re planning a lazy day sunbathing. The town itself is full of cute retro charm with a lovely village square and marina. Leucate is also home to a huge water sports event which takes place each year during the Easter holidays. The Mondial du Vent de Laucate is a huge sports festival bringing the town to life with entertainment, bands and full on party vibe. 

Carcassonne 

Carcassone is a magnificent, medieval fortified city nestled between the Pyrenees and the Massiff Central. The ancient hilltop ‘cité’ dominates the skyline with its incredible watch towers and double walled fortifications. The city walls are a staggering 3km long enveloping a maze of cobbled streets, market places not to mention folk dressed as knights and wizards! This is one place not to miss. 

If you’d like to find out more about Canvas Holidays and where they are located please visit their website here. With thanks to Canvas Holidays for hosting during our stay in the Perpignan region.

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