Toulouse has so much to offer within the city as well as so much in such short distance to it! Here are the Top 10 Day Trips from Toulouse both using public transport and a car. I lived in Toulouse for over 3 years and one of my favourite things to do on the weekend was to explore the beautiful south of France!
The famous Cite of Carcassonne is a very impressive medieval citadel and is one of my favourite Top 10 Day Trips from Toulouse. You can visit within the walls for 9,50Euro. On the first Sunday of the month (as with all museums in France), the entry is free. During the summer months, the Cite of Carcassonne offers music concerts in the amphitheatre, it is truly such a special experience. On the 14th of July every year (Bastille Day), the Cite of Carcassonne puts on an enormous firework display which is very impressive. There are a small amount of people that live within the city walls and call it home. There is a guest house within the cite walls that you can stay in for a night.
How to get to from Carcassonne Toulouse
The train from Toulouse to Carcassonne can be as quick as 45 minutes. The drive from Toulouse to Carcassonne takes 1 hour 15 minutes. There is also lots of car parks within Carcassonne making it easy to drive to.
Hit the Ski Slopes at Ax-Les-Thermes
Ax-Les-Thermes is the closest mountainous village in the Pyrenees to Toulouse. It is also accessible very easily by train from Toulouse. In the winter, Ax-Les-Thermes is part of the Ski rail scheme. This scheme offers both the train ticket and Lift pass to Ax 3 Domaines (the ski resort in Ax-Les-Thermes). The train station is in the village of Ax-Les-Thermes in the bottom of the valley. The ski resort is accessible from the village by a cable car. The cable car operates in the summer as well as a great way to get high into the mountains quickly.
If skiing is not your thing, Ax-Les-Thermes is a thermal spa village that has a spa with the naturally warm water. As well as this, there are pools deep enough to put your feet in for free in the village centre. This is the perfect thing to do after a long day in ski boots!
How to get to Ax-les-Thermes from Toulouse
The train to Ax-Les-Thermes is 2 hours making it a long day out. To drive it takes 1hour 35 minutes to Ax-Les-Thermes. There are many parking spots to choose from.
Swim in the Ariege river at Clermont-Le-fort
Clermont-Le-Fort is a beautiful quaint village with a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. Spend a day here appreciating the historic village and wander around the beautiful countryside. I spent a day here in summer, so the sunflowers were in bloom and I loved wandering around surrounded by sunflowers! After the enjoying the walk, go for a wild swim and cool off in the Ariege river.
How to get to Clermont-le-fort from Toulouse
Clermont-Le-Fort is a quick 45-minute drive from Toulouse city centre. The 318 bus goes from Toulouse city centre to the bus stop la Riverotte near Labarthe-sur-Leze. The bus journey takes 45 minutes with a 25 minute walk to the village centre afterwards.
Soak in the Sun at Canet Plage
What better place to relax than at the beach! There are so many beaches to choose from near Toulouse. The Mediterranean coast is the closest and best for day trips. My personal favourite is Canet Plage in Canet-en-Roussillon. It is a lovely beach with a lovely town to balance out relaxing time. If you are looking for some fun in the sun, try port-la-nouvelle. Famous for it’s windy beaches, Port-La-Nouvelle is a kite surfer and sand surfers dream.
How to get to Canet Plage from Toulouse
To get to Canet Plage takes about 2 hours in a car. The public access option can be quite tricky. For a beach accessible by public transport, head to Narbonne on the train and take a connecting train to Port-La-Nouvelle or Narbonne Plage.
Hike the Peaks of the Pyrenees
With the mountains on your doorstep, enjoy nature by hiking in the Pyrenees. The Pyrenees cater for all hikers with a wide variation of length and distance of hikes. This is the most energetic of the top 10 day trips from Toulouse. For a gentle hike, try Lac D’Oo (Pronouced ‘doh’). This is a 6.5km hike with 430m elevation. At the end of the hike you will the beautiful lake with a lovely waterfall for a perfect picnic spot. If you are feeling adventurous, jump in for a swim. If you are looking for a more challenging hike, go for the Etang de Naguille hike in the Orlu National reserve. It has 1050m of elevation and ends at a beautiful water reservoir surrounded by incredible vegetation.
How to get to the Pyrenees from Toulouse
For almost all hikes in the Pyrenees, a car is needed. The car parks at the beginning of the hikes are usually free for a day. If you do not have access to a car, taking a train to Ax-les-Thermes and then taking the cable car up into the hills is the best way to hike in the summer.
Find Zen at Balnea Spa
Balnea is the perfect place to relax with a stunning mountain backdrop. Balnea is a spa with many different outdoor and indoor pools that have views of the mountain range from the spa. It is in the valley of Loudenveille in the Pyrenees. This is also the same valley that is home to many paragliders. There are paragliding companies that offer a tandem flight if you are looking for some adventure. I did a paragliding flight and it was truly sensational.
The spa is next to Lac-de-Genos-Loudenveille which has a path all the way round it. This is an easy walk so is perfect for a nice stroll.
How to get to Balnea Spa from Toulouse
Balnea is a 2 hour 15 minute drive from Toulouse city centre. Balnea is difficult to reach on public transport for a day trip, a car is needed to do this in 1 day.
Climb to the top of the Castle in Foix
Close to the borders of Spain and Andorra, Foix is an impressive medieval town at the foot of the Pyrenees. The highlight of Foix is the Chateau de Foix. You can visit the castle and the museum within it that has a great amount of information. The castle is on the top of this hill meaning you have a brilliant view of the town and the valley from the ramparts of the castle. Once you have explored the castle, wander the beautiful medieval streets of the town and find lots of cute shops and cafes.
How to get to Foix from Toulouse
The train to Foix from Toulouse is 1 hour 5 minutes, to drive takes about an hour so there is not much difference in train or driving. There are car parks in Foix both free and for a charge.
Appreciate the Architecture in Albi
Wander the stunning town of Albi. With beautiful buildings along the shores of the Tarn river, Albi is a hidden gem that hasn’t made it to the large scale tourist trail yet. Albi is home to the largest brick building in the world – it’s the St Cecilia Cathedral. The cathedral is a must visit when in Albi.
How to get to Albi from Toulouse
The train and to drive to Albi both takes an hour from Toulouse city centre. There are parking spots in Albi that are free and paid for.
Enter a Fairytale in Cordes-Sur-Ciel
Cordes-Sur-Ciel is a beautiful medieval village on a hill top. ‘Sur-Ciel’ directly translates as ‘on the sky’ in English. Wander the cobbled streets of this beautiful village whilst taking in the amazing views of the valley below. Have lunch at one of the restaurants with a view, this was my favourite part of the day. Cordes-Sur-Ciel can get very busy so try to visit in off season for a better experience.
How to get to Cordes-Sur-Ciel from Toulouse
To drive to Cordes-Sur-Ciel takes just over an hour in a car. The parking can be tricky but can be found on the roadside but must be paid for. To get to Cordes-Sur-Ciel by public transport, get a train to Cordes Vindrac station. From Cordes Vindrac take the 707 bus directly to Cordes-Sur-Ciel or if you are feeling energetic walk from here (Approx 1 hour).
Eat Cassoulet in Castelnaudry
Cassoulet is the dish to eat in the South West of France. It is a slow baked dish of white beans, sausages and meat of duck and pork. Castelnaudry is said to be the birthplace of the cassoulet in the middle ages and the local restaurants take true pride of their Cassoulet. Castelnaudry is on the canal du Midi and Castelnaudry is home to a port where you will see lots of boats docking on longer canal trip holidays. You can find 2 hour boat trips offered from Castelnaudry ports.
How to get to Castelnaudry from Toulouse
To drive and to take the train takes 40 minutes from Toulouse to Castelnaudry. There are lots of car parking spots in Castelnaudry that are free including on the street. If you are interested in doing a canal boat trip holiday, it only takes 4 days on a boat from Toulouse to Castelnaudry!
That’s the End of Top 10 Day Trips from Toulouse!
From incredible historical sites to beautiful nature spots, you can find it in these Top 10 Day Trips from Toulouse. These are all of my personal favourites after years of living in Toulouse so I hope you love them as much as I do.