Best Places to Visit in Montpellier & the Surrounding Areas
When you picture a holiday in the South of France, your mind immediately wanders to the sunny beaches of St. Tropez, or the yacht-lined harbour of Monaco. Yet these places are pretty much out of reach on a budget, so why not shift up the coast and visit Montepellier and the surrounding towns, which are just as beautiful and cost far less.
Top Reasons to Visit Montpellier
When most people are thinking about visiting France they often tend to visit Paris, Nice and Lyon. But you really should consider Montpellier. This is the largest city of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and boasts some of the most incredible sites, whilst being only a 30-minute tram ride from the beach.
Montpellier is really up and coming destination and the medieval streets weave around the centre of the city, leaving you feeling like an extra on Game of Thrones. In fact, no two streets are the same and you could spend an afternoon getting lost in these enchanting back streets.
In the past decade lots of new cafes, bars, museums, art galleries and hotels have opened and there are now so many cultural sights and things to do in this city. This is partly due to it being an up and coming city for students, both domestic and international with thousands of people interested in studying French in France choosing this city due to the great value available on accommodation and sightseeing.
Getting to Montpellier
The best way to get to Montpellier is by air. Flights from London are surprisingly under 2 hours and are very cheap on low cost airlines especially if you book in advance. Use Skyscanner to get the best deals.
Where to Stay
There are lots of hotels, hostels and private rentals available.
Top Places to Visit & Things to Do in Montpellier
The Place de la Comèdie is at the heart of the city, and is the centre for restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres. During the day you can experience a Segway tour of the city, and at night the square is lit up and full of entertainers and music. Just off the Place de la Comèdie is the Musée Fabre, which offers free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
Other popular tourist destinations you should consider adding to your Montpellier travel itinerary include Promenade du Peyrou, Porte du Peyrou, Jardin des plantes de Montpellier, Montpellier Cathedral, Château de Flaugergues, La Panacée, Carré Sainte Anne, Pavillon Populaire and Château de la Mogère.
Best Day Trips from Montpellier
Montpellier is only a short distance from incredible beaches and is also surrounded by beautiful historic towns and villages, which are easily accessible by tram or bus. You can really see the Mediterranean influences on the region in both the food and the relaxed atmosphere. In fact, you can reach the Spanish border in under 3 hours from Montpellier’s Gare St. Roch station – just check you’ve got your passport with you!
These are some of the best places to you can visit near Montpellier
Sète is a popular destination which is just a 30-minute train journey from Montpellier. Entitled the ‘Venice of Languedoc’ you can wander along the omnipresent canals, and then stop off for a traditional lunch of oysters and charcuterie, and, of course, wine in one of the many restaurants.
This is the perfect place to try out fresh tuna or sardines as they are locally sourced and very reasonably priced. You will definitely not be disappointed by Sète.
An early Saturday morning in the historic city of Arles means a market which sells everything, from hand-made slippers to freshly-caught kippers, and stretches for miles. After filling up on all the tempting market treats, you can explore the influences of this once Roman stronghold, such as the amphitheatre, or walk in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gough and see some the sights for his famous paintings.
If you are willing to venture further afield, the region has so many beautiful towns and cities to offer, including Carcassonne with its majestic castle.
Roquefort is just an hour and a half from Montpellier and it is possible to have a tour of the cheese caves, where the cheese is fermented for that strong punchy flavour – just make sure you hold your nose!
Best Beaches Near Montpellier
Montpellier is blessed with beautiful beaches in close proximity perfect for relaxing or taking part in sports.
One of the most popular beaches to check out near Montpellier is Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone which is around 10km away. This beach is located in a spectacular setting in a 3000 protected nature hectare area - this is our top recommendation. Other beaches to consider include Petit Travers and the Grand Travers, Palavas-les-Flots and Espiguette in Le Grau-du-Roi.
Getting to the beach from Montpellier is easy, there are daily buses and trams which offer a quick and reliable service. You can also can rent a car or if you are feeling active you could go by bike.
Montpellier is a very safe destination to visit for tourists but just like in any big city, be wary of pickpockets, and insure your valuables before you go so you can still get that perfect Instagram pic. Also be sure to check out the FCO page to ensure you’re fully covered before booking your flights! You should also make sure you have an up to date European health insurance card if you are thinking about travelling, studying, working or taking a gap year in France.
So What Are You Waiting For?
So, when you are planning your next holiday, consider Montpellier as your destination, and check out the FCO Travel Aware page so you can really enjoy your trip!
By Lucy Stretch
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