Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by April Verge
A vibrant and interesting city in the south of France, Montpellier is a great place to visit. Because Montpellier offers a variety of accommodation options that suit every budget, it can also serve as a great base for exploring the greater Occitanie region as well as the city limits themselves. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best day trips from Montpellier.
Check out my one-day Montpellier suggestions if you only have a short amount of time.
There are a number of day trips from Montpellier, but you should note that, with the exception of the largest towns and cities, public transportation is not very good in much of the South West of France.
In order to explore the region at your leisure, you’d be best off renting a car (though perhaps a small one in order to get around smaller roads and lanes).
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If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of the best day trips from Montpellier:
Best day trips from Montpellier
Although Béziers is a little off the beaten path and less touristy than some other towns in Languedoc Roussillon, it has over two millennia of history and plenty to offer visitors.
Its fortified cathedral and Pont Vieux offer one of the best views of the city above, which date back to the 13th century. The Fonserannes Locks are eight steeped canal locks that are listed as a UNESCO world heritage site near the city.
Montpellier to Béziers: Béziers can be seen in a day by taking a day trip from Montpellier (after all, the main highlights can be enjoyed in a day), so the fastest and cheapest way to get from city to city is by train. Depending on which train time you choose, the train journey will take approximately one hour.
The most magical town to visit in the South of France, if not the entire Hexagone region, is Narbonne, a charming, off-the-beaten-path sleepy town once a Roman port.
Despite once being situated along the sea, Narbonne has now moved several miles away from the shores of the sea due to two millennia of sand and silt accumulation.
You can walk from Narbonne’s train station to the town centre, which is ever-so-small and can be explored on foot.
Narbonne’s top highlights include a traditional covered food market, Roman ruins, and climbing the Donjon Gilles Aycelin, which offers one of the best views in the city.
Montpellier to Narbonne: The train journey from Montpellier to Narbonne will take you along the beautiful coastline and through vineyards if you wish to enjoy all that Narbonne has to offer. However, if you are short on time, a day trip will suffice.
Easily one of the most beautiful train rides in France, it takes around an hour and ten minutes to travel between cities, so it isn’t too far to travel! It is important to remember that Narbonne plage is not the same as Narbonne massif (limestone cliff), which is located near Montagne de la Clape.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Marseille (second only to Paris), as one of France’s largest cities. Marseille (sometimes spelled Marseilles in English) has a somewhat negative reputation, but a number of renovation projects over the past two decades have helped to improve its image in a positive way.
Some of the most popular attractions in Marseille include the old port (which is known for its sea-inspired cuisine), climbing up to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, and hiking out to the Calanques de Cassis. Here are some suggestions for how to spend one day in Marseille.
Montpellier to Marseille: The two cities are quite far apart and are best seen over the course of several days, so I wouldn’t recommend doing a day trip between them.
Aside from that, Montpellier is also close to a lot of amazing places! Having said that, a fast no-change train will allow you to travel between the two cities in under two hours each way. Check out my guide to spending a day in Marseille for more inspiration.
In the former Languedoc Roussillon region, Pic Saint-Loup is one of the most beautiful natural destinations, known for its wine and olive oil production.
Discovering the activities on offer is the perfect way to spend a long and lazy afternoon. With secluded chapels, hiking trails, and wine tasting opportunities, you won’t be disappointed.
Montpellier to Pic Saint Loup: Pic Saint Loup is not easily accessible by public transportation, so renting a car is the best option if you want the most flexibility in your schedule.
Alternatively, you can also book a guided tour of the region with an experienced guide and small group.
Some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in France can be found here, including a two-tiered Roman amphitheatre built in around 70 CE, which is still used for concerts and events. Nimes’ other highlights include a Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, and the Tour Magne, a Roman tower with breathtaking views.
Montpellier to Nimes: The TGV runs between Montpellier and Nimes every half hour, so you can get between the two cities in no time!