Starting from Marseille and finishing with Perpignan beaches in the south of France. In this itinerary, I share my tips and recommendations on where to go to avoid crowds.
EuropeFrance10 days / June - July - August 2021
Highs & Lows
A dive into the Mediterranean and after visits to historic cities of Aigues Mortes and Montpellier to
Traffic jams to the beach
On my way to Barcelona to meet up with friends I decided to take 2 weeks to explore the best beaches in the south of France. This small coast strip between Italy and Spain has the best ‘beach climate’ in France and has to serve the whole country so it can get ridiculously busy at places. This was the reason I never visited the beaches over here.
A great way to avoid the crowd is to walk along the shore and you will find (almost) empty beaches. Clothing optional (nudism) is common at most French beaches, this is something to consider or just to enjoy, up to you.
I started in Marseille, at the tip of the city where the spectacular ‘Calanques’ national park begins. A hidden gem of stunning nature and rocky coastline waits for you to explore.
After that I went to Aigues Morte with its historic town walls and huge sandy beach strip of ’Espiguette’ is situated. A big parking lot can handle crowds, only walk away from there where everyone puts their stuff at the beach and walk along the beach to the east, after 20 minutes of walking you will find almost empty beaches. After a day at the beach, you can enjoy dinner in Aigues Mortes or Montpellier (where you can find some exiting nightlife too) and wind up or down from an exhausting day at the beach.
Beaches south of Montpelier are crowded and often occupied by campings or hotels but there is another strip near Perpignan which can be windy but empty at some places.
A city-, beach- and nature destination in one. Dive into the sea from the rocky beaches and climb up the mountains next to it. Enjoy spectacular views over the city of Marseille
Espiguette, in the south of France, is a great stretch of several beaches. From super crowded to family- and nude beaches. Great sand dunes protect you from wind, bring an umbrella And good, although there are plenty of drinks and snacks available from vendors that walk all the way to the emptiest beaches…
Aigues Mortes is a friendly, historically interesting and typical southern French town with a great market square to have dinner after a day at the beach. Go for the tour at the city walls, they are still complete and you can walk on an elevated path all around the city centre
Montpellier is a city with a huge University, its a Beautiful conserved historic city with everything you expect from a French southern city. Lot’s of food and drinking options, go for an affordable so called ‘plat du jour’, a day menu. Just stroll through the narrow streets and be surprised, everything that Barcelona has in it’s historical centre but then without the amount of tourists.
Q & A
What would you have changed?Marseille is just a big and loud city, it’s beautiful but there are better cities to visit in France like Lyon or Paris (or Montpellier). The traffic jams to parking at L’espiguette can be frustrating, go either early or in the afternoon (or take or rent a bike).
Tips you would give a friend?Rent a bike in the Aigues Mortes and/or Montpellier area
Packing tips?Bring an umbrella against too much sun and wind
Transportation Tips?Bikes and car are a must.