JUST a short drive from Spain, these picturesque towns on France’s southern coast are a must-visit. 

Although many Spaniards choose Portugal for their weekend getaways, France is also full of many charming escapes. 

From the north of Spain, some of France’s most delightful towns lie just a two-hour drive from the Spanish border. 

The Cote Vermeille, found in the Eastern pyrenees, is home to four distinct areas, each full of unique character. 

Found in French Catalonia, each of the areas is named after its respective port: Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls-sur-Mer y Cerbère. 

Colliure, captures the hearts of visitors thanks to its rich artistic history and enchanting old town. 

The rugged cliffs of Colliure and the historic old town Photo: robin.alves/Instagram

A must-visit is the Chateau Royal de Collioure, a dramatic castle nestled on the coast. 

The Iglesia Notre Dame des Anges is also worth seeing thanks to the tomb of Antonio Machado. 

Other highlights include the town’s historic mill, Madeloc Tower and fort.  

Meanwhile, Port-Vendres is known for its history, with the Paulilles Bay home to a museum area dedicated to former dynamite works. 

The fishing port is lined with pastel coloured houses and a picturesque pink church. 

Port-Vendres picturesque fishing port Photo: carnetsdunebaroudeuse/Instagram

Port-Vendres also marks the start of the Cap Bear way, a coastal road lined by unspoilt countryside perfect for a summer roadtrip. 

Banyuls-sur-Mer for its wine and vineyards like Domaine Bera Maillol are not to be missed. 

The sweeping port of Banyuls-sur-Mer Photo: aurel.66/Instagram

If you’re travelling with kids, the aquarium and port are great for exploring, alongside various historic churches like the Notre-Dame de la Salette chapel. 

Known as the ‘Southern Port’, Cerbere is home to a famous lighthouse, picturesque capes and beaches. 

Cerbere also has a picturesque town centre as well as an amazing coastline. Photo: Cerbère Tourisme

To reach the area, hop in the car for a short two hour drive. 

But, if you really want to make the most of the vineyards, take the train from Madrid or Barcelona going to Perpiñán and Narbona. 

Alternatively, you can also catch a two hour flight from Madrid.

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