Banyuls is situated in the heart of the wine district Banyuls-Collioure and vineyards succeed each other along the way while the vines are piling up on the slopes. The appellations Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru gives you sweet desert wines “Vins Doux Naturels” while the Collioure appellations produce the dry wines of the area. These appellations are only produced in four communes: Collioure, Vendres, Banyuls and Cerbère. The Banyuls appellation, originating from 1936, is one of the eldest in France.
Most of the wine-producers offer wine-tasting on their farms or in “les Caves” – the wine shops in the village nearby. Solely in Banyuls-sur-Mer there are more than twenty wine shops and in the next few miles there are hundreds of vineyards. Make it your next stop!
The region is renowned for its Catalan cuisine – “mar I muntanya” – with fish, shellfish, rich stews, aïoli, anchoïade and crème catalane. There are around twenty restaurants in Banyuls that are open all year-round. If you feel like fresh and exclusive shellfish, we would recommend that you go to the fish market in the neighbouring village Port Vendres. There you can buy a plate of fruit-de-mer or oysters to either enjoy onsite with a glass of champagne or bring back to the apartment for a luxurious meal.
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 prime sculptors and some of his art can be found in Museum of Modern Art in New York amongst more. In the museum close to Banyuls you will find several of his artwork.
We also recommend that you visit Céret’s Modern Art Museum. There were many artists that lived, both temporary and permanently, in Céret from the early 1900s. During the Second World War Céret became a sanctuary for artists and other intellectuals. Picasso, Manolo, Georges Braque, and Jean Cocteau are just a few names of world-renowned artists that have inhabited the picturesque mountain village.
On the other side of the border, in Figerues, 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 and has the biggest collection of surreal art in the world. You can also visit his House-Museum in Portilligat, Cadaqués but you probably should book your ticket online, especially in the summer months as it tends to be very popular among tourists and locals.
For more information about cultural attractions and current exhibitions please visit the Pyrenées Orientals official tourism website.
Continue to discover the region in the mountains. There is the wonderful GR10 (Grande Randonnée 10), a hiking trail, suitable for beginners as well as advanced hikers, along the Pyrenean Mountains that begins on the Atlantic Coast and ends in Banyuls-sur-Mer. You can also hike on the cliffs along the coast or in the wine plantations in the hills.
For horse-lovers, there are horse-back tours across the hills overlooking Banyuls. And for the very adventurous people, there is rock-climbing, white-rafting, canoeing and bungyjumping in Céret, only one hour away by car. In the neighbouring village, Argelès sur Mer, you can rent a bicycle or book a bicycle tour in the mountains.
However, if you prefer a slightly more relaxing sport such as golf, we would recommend three gold courses: Falgos – a golf course one hour away up in the mountains, Saint-Cyprien – half an hour to the north, and Peralada half an hour to the south into Spain.
If you do not want to go too far but still excersice there is also a tennis court close by.
After all the activities, or maybe instead of, there is a very nice spa,Spa Thalacap, located on the heights of Banyuls overlooking the marina.
Take the opportunity to dive in one of the purest and most beautiful waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Both beginners and experienced divers are welcome to Banyuls’ scuba divers. If you are more interested in snorkelling, take the chance to do so in the Banyuls-Cerbere marine sanctuary.
We also recommend that you visit the Banyuls Aquarium which is part of the Banyuls’ marine research laboratory. In the harbour you can rent all kind of water equipment such as a boat, water scooter, or catamaran, with or without a boating license. You can also rent windsurfing boards or canoes. If you want to go fishing but have no equipment, no problem, you can book a fishing trip for all friends and family.
If you prefer to stay on the shore but still enjoy the sea, there are plenty of small beaches to be discovered. Take the opportunity to ask the Tourist Information about where you can find exactly what you want!