Eastern Pyrenees Tours
Banyuls-Dels Aspres are at the crossroads of exceptional natural, historical and tourist sites! Less than an hour away, we can already find beautiful villages high perched (including Castelnou and Eus), fortresses rebuilt by the famous military architect Vauban (Fort of Elme, Villefranche de Conflent, Fortress of the Salses,), ruins of Spanish and French castles and large palace of the kings of Mallorca in Perpignan and many churches and other monuments (Priory of Serrabone, Abbey of St Martin du Canigou, Cloister of Elne), beautiful port cities with their long sandy beaches and 5 seaside resorts (Port Barcarès, Canet en Roussillon, St Cyprien, Collioure, Banyuls-sur-Mer with its exceptional wines and Port Vendres), 5 spas including Le Boulou and Amélie-Les-Bains and even 2 hours drive several ski resorts in the area Pyrenean Mountains (Fort Romeu, Les Angles, Formiguères) or even Cathar castles in Aude (Peyrepertuse, Quéribus or Rennes le Château).
And obviously the big cities like Carcassonne (1h30), Narbonne and Béziers (1h-1h20), Montpellier or Toulouse (2h) or the Spanish Catalan villages and towns of Figueras and Girona (1h) in Barcelona (2h) and all its cathedrals (Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia) and numerous monuments.
Tourism in the POs in 2022 is : 7.6 million visitors per year with nearly 3.6 million tourists and 4 million day trippers. The Pyrénées-Orientales is therefore still in 7th place among the tourist departments of France.
Permanent population of 482,368
7.6 million visitors per year : 3.6 million tourists and 4 million day trippers, 93% of whom are French, 7% foreigners
96% come by car, 3% come by train, 1% come by plane
7th French tourist department, the 2nd if we reduce it to its permanent population
10 seaside resorts / 9 mountain resorts / 5 spa resorts
An average length of stay of 8 days
1.3 billion tourist consumption generated in 2022
10,600 tourist jobs, i.e. 10.7% of salaried employment
30.3 million overnight stays including 87% French overnight stays and 13% foreign overnight stays
€42.30 of average expenditure per night and per tourist (data not updated since 2020)
The Eastern Pyrenees preserved thanks to the tenacity of its inhabitants !
Indeed, French tourists continue to favor the PO for its sunshine and milder climate than elsewhere, as well as for its quality of life close to nature. Even if foreign tourists seem a little hesitant to return to France currently because of the current political and media “catastrophism”; often greatly exaggerated elsewhere! Because of alarmist announcements of “highly pandemic” viral transmissions in a region with large, very airy spaces or even sudden periods of fire or exceptional “asymptomatic drought” when we sometimes have welcome summer storms in the middle of heat and that fire outbreaks are unfortunately frequent every year throughout the South of France. Although generally contained thanks here to our non-resinous tree species such as insulating and fireproof cork oak, our reserve ponds, our many brave firefighters, etc. Despite the punctual but very media “water restrictions”, our golf courses remain open, our thermal baths and swimming pools too, our vegetable gardens and public and private gardens watered… and fortunately still! It must be said that the Catalans are not the type to worry, nor to panic either for nothing.
This is why, in this still rather “wild” part of France, which somehow resists invading real estate developers & co, there are still a lot of beautiful natural sites, hidden or not, a relatively well-preserved coastline as in Corsica, ancient monuments renovated with taste and above all thanks to a fortitude which reflects the tenacious character of the Catalans, their great combativeness and resistance during the previous centuries. Like all these old formerly Franco-Spanish forts and these picturesque villages perched and scattered everywhere in the middle of the mountains like small nuggets seemingly “forgotten”, but in reality skilfully “saved” by the elders, in order to to tell future generations the epic and romantic story of one of the most beautiful regions of France.
Remember to inform yourself before your arrival :
As the region is quite large and the visits and activities are quite numerous (especially in summer), before or as soon as you arrive, remember to call or better go to the main Tourist Offices in the region to get as much information as possible on all possible visits and news as tourist, festive and sporting activities :
The THUIR Tourist Office (ours) :
The BOULOU Tourist Office (the nearest) :
The PERPIGNAN Tourist Office (the best known) :
The ARGELES-SUR-MER Tourist Office (the most dynamic) :
Here are also some photos of the main monuments and interesting sites to visit in our opinion, to choose according to the weather, opening days and seasons. Slide on the photos or ask us for more information on site.
So have a good visit to the POs: Pyrénées Orientales !