Banyuls-sur-Mer is in the middle of the beautiful coastline of Côte Vermeille, where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean. The coast, which is only 20 km long, extends from Argelès in the north, via the artist town of Collioure, the fishing a village and deep-sea harbour of Port Vendres, Banyuls and then Cerbère at the Spanish border. In this part of France, the French and Spanish cultures meet. This we can see in the music, the typical sardana dancing and the Catalan cuisine. Artists have been attracted to the special light, such as Matisse who occasionally painted in Collioure.
The coastline is beautifully hilly with many bays and small beaches. It is a paradise for those who love sunbathing and water sports. There are many different hiking trails and in terms of water sports, diving and snorkeling are especially interesting, as here is a unique underwater nature reserve with a rare Mediterranean coral reef. The Cerbère-Banyuls National Nature Reserve is the first French marine reserve and covers 650 hectares of sea.
Other holiday activities are mountain riding, tennis, cycling or golf.
Banyuls and Cote Vermeille have something to offer everyone. I have chosen a selection of leisure- and culture activities as well as some excellent restaurants and wine cellars which I can recommend. I It would be lovely to see you around in Banyuls and I am sure you will enjoy your stay!
Banyuls and its surroundings are a great choice if you like to hike. Along the great hiking trail GR10 (Grande randonnée 10) which starts from the Atlantic coast with the final station in Banyuls there is wonderful hiking for all levels. You walk on the cliffs along the coast or through the vineyards that extend over the hills. You can find recommended hiking trails at the tourist office.
HORSE BACK RIDING
For those interested in horseback riding there is horse riding among the vineyards overlooking Banyuls. Open all year round and welcoming to riders of all levels. There are both ponies and horses
Center Equestre de la Cote Vermeille, Julien Rollan, Tel: 06 37 95 00 94
Hiking along the Tech River, in the Pyrenees, 1-3 days.
Hiking on the beach or in the mountains, 25 min from Banyuls.
It is easy to book a tennis court. You just have to turn to Florence who works at the shoe store "chaussures Talons Aiguilles" at 19 rue Saint Pierre, tele: 06 72 39 94 15
7 € 1 hour, 35 € 6 hours
You can borrow a tennis racket, but you need to buy balls.
Close to Banyuls at Argelès sur Mer you can rent a bicycle or book a bike excursion in the mountains. You can also book an electric bike, mountain bike or regular bike for delivery to Banyuls
For you golfing enthusiasts there are several choices; Falgos up in the mountains about two hours from Banyuls with fantastic views of the Pyrenees. Saint-Cyprien half an hour north along the coast and Peralada in Spain an hour south.
Diving and snorkling for beginners and experienced at the marina.
Rental of catamarans / surfboards / Stand up paddles at the beach
Boat rental at the harbour
Excursion by kayaking
RELAXATION, SPA, MASSAGE AND HOT SOURCES
L’hôtel spa Côté Thalasso - Hotel with Spa on Banyul's heights.
The Baths of St. Thomas in the Pyrenees, a two-hour drive from Banyuls, has three outdoor basins of hot sulphur water, Hammam, Sauna, whirlpool bath as well as treatments and massages.
OTHER EXCURSIONS & ATIVITIES
A nice excursion is to visit Paulille 3 km north of Banyuls. Here is a beautiful park, beaches, a closed down dynamics factory, which just to be part of Alfred Nobel’s empire as well as a museum from Alfred Nobel. You can enjoy a lunch by the beach at Sole Mio or a good meal at the Clos de Paulille vineyard. You can hike along the coast to Paulille, take the bus or go by car. Continue the excursion to the fishing village of Port Vendres or to the beautiful artist village of Collioure. In the summer, I recommend taking the bus, as parking is often difficult. For 1 € you can go by bus along the coast or take a trip up the mountains.
AQUARIUM AND MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN
Banyuls Aquarium and Jardin Scientifiques. The Biodiversarium consists of two complementary sites, the Banyuls Aquarium on the sea front and Mas de la Serre's Mediterranean garden a few km walk or drive above Banyuls. Here you can experience the biodiversity of the Pyrenees - Orientals on sea and on land from a scientific and cultural point of view.
There are several well-known artists that have lived and worked in the region which makes art and culture very present wherever you turn.
In the outskirts of Banyuls you can visit the Aristide Maillol Museum which is established in the house where he used to live and work. Maillol was one of France’s foremost sculptor and some of his art can be found in Museum of Modern Art in New York amongst others. In the museum close to Banyuls you will find several of his artworks.
There are many local and talented artists in Banyuls and they have their exhibitions and studios in Banyuls village and on the marina
Visit the House of Fauvism Collioure (10 km / 10 min by car or bus) - a cultural space and an open-air museum dedicated to Fauvism, an artistic movement of which Henri Matisse was the leader.
A visit to the Museum of Modern Art in Céret, this picturesque mountain village (about 45 minutes’ drive from Banyuls), is highly recommended. In the early 1900s, many artists came to live in Céret and during the Second World War, the village became a refuge for artists and intellectuals. Among them we recognize Picasso, Manolo, Georges Braque and Jean Cocteau.
On the other side of the border, in Figueres, you can find the Salvador Dalì Theatre-Museum. It was built from the ruins of the Theatre which burnt down during the Spanish civil war. This Museum has the biggest collection of surreal art in the world. You can also visit Dalis home which has been transformed into the House-Museum in Portilligat, Cadaquès. If you are planning to visit Dali's home, you should book tickets as it is very popular for both tourists and locals.
The neighbourhood is characterized by Catalan cuisine - "mar in muntanya" - with seafood, flavourful stews, aïoli, anchovy and creme catalan. Banyuls has about 20 restaurants. All of good quality and many of them are open all year round.
I have chosen a number of restaurants that I think are worth a visit. All are reasonably priced and have 3-course menus as well as à la carte dishes. Book a table in advance and remember that in southern France the kitchen is closed quite early in the evenings, you should not come much later than 9 pm. Lunch is served between 12-14. Between lunch and dinner hours it can be difficult to be served a meal.
La vieille Cave - Delicious pizzas and friendly atmosphere
Quintessence - On the pedestrian street Rue St Pierre, local cooking of high quality.
La table de Jordi - Good fish restaurant by the square.
Le Jardin Saint Sebastian - at the marina, nice garden and own wine cellar. Tapas and fish, plentiful and good food
Le Fanal - Banyul's Michelin * book.
Les9Caves - wine cellar with natural wines and interesting food.
Clos de Paulilles - Wines from our own vineyard are tasted at this lovely restaurant right on the beach.
CELLAR / CAVE
Banyuls is located in the heart of the Banyuls-Collioure wine district and one vineyard after the another can be seen on the steep mountain slope. The appellations Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru provide sweet dessert wines “Vins Doux Naturels” while the appellation Collioure stands for the dry wines in the area. These appellations are produced only in the 4 municipalities, Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls and Cerbère. The Banyuls appellation is one of the oldest in France from 1936.
Most wine producers offer wine tastings at their vineyards or "les caves" - most of them also have wine shops in the middle of the village. In the village alone there are about twenty "caves". Within a few miles there are another hundred vineyards. Just stop by and have a taste!
Domaine de la Rectorie - my closest neighbour
Domaine vial Magneres - the neighbour opposite
Cave Banyuls l'étoile - large vineyard "cave" in central Banyuls
Terres des Templiers - Large wine coopérative.
Domain Berta Maillot - located just outside Banyuls. A pleasant excursion destination
Mon Club de Vin - Wine shop on Rue St Pierre (summertime) and in Elme. Swedish-speaking staff with extensive knowledge of the region's various wines. Possible to organize wine tasting with wines from different wineries.
There is a market in Banyuls on Sundays and Thursday mornings all year round. Here you can buy local products, vegetables, cheese, meat and much more. You should also go to the fish and seafood markets in Port Vendres, the coastal fishing port, just 10 minutes from Banyuls. There you can buy a barrel of “fruit de mer” and bring it to your accommodation or enjoy an oyster plateau with champagne on site. Market days in Port Vendres are on Thursdays and Saturdays. Collioure has a wonderful market on Wednesdays and Sundays. Finally, I would like to recommend the best market of them all, in Céret on Saturdays!
VINEGAR MANUFACTURER IN COSPRONS
La Guinelle in Cosprons. 4 km from Banyuls is where the Banyuls vinegar is produced. I warmly recommend a visit to this lovely setting and sample all the exciting varieties of vinegar. There is also a shop.