Occitanie Travel Inspiration

9 Best Day Trips from Toulouse


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Best Places to Visit Near Toulouse

Toulouse is a beautiful city to discover, but if you have extra time during your holiday and would love to explore more of the Occitanie region, a Toulouse day trip is a good idea.

Toulouse’s strategic location will allow you to visit medieval towns, hilltop villages surrounded by the Pyrénées Mountains, important pilgrimage sites, and rolling vineyards with wine-producing châteaux.

Here’s our list of the nine best places to visit near Toulouse: top day trips from Toulouse by train, car, or guided tour with something for every traveler.

Lourdes Basilica - France

Best Toulouse Day Trips

Toulouse Day Trips in a Nutshell

Best day trips from Toulouse by train: Albi, Foix, Carcassonne.

Book your train tickets with Omio.com or Trainline.com

Best day trips from Toulouse by car: Gaillac Wine Route, Rieux-Volvestre.

Rent a car in Toulouse with DiscoverCars.com. Click here for our best tips for renting a car in France.

Best day tours from Toulouse: Carcassonne and Albi + Cordes-sur-Ciel

1. Albi

Albi - France

Lying along the Tarn River and located 75km northeast of Toulouse, Albi is a gorgeous UNESCO medieval town. Nicknamed “Albi la Rouge,” the whole town is characterized by red-brick architecture that makes strolling around the center a never-ending photo opportunity.

Its most striking feature is the Cathédrale Sainte-Cecile, an impressive fortress-like Gothic Cathedral you can see anywhere in the city. This religious building is pretty unique as it is the largest brick cathedral in the world.

Albi has many historic landmarks, such as the Pont Vieux, the old bridge dating back to the 11th century, the Romanesque Church of Saint-Salvy, and the Palais de la Berbie with idyllic gardens. The Palais de la Berbie hosts the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, a must-see place for fans of this famous painter.

Visiting Albi is one of the best day trips from Toulouse for history lovers and photography geeks! Albi is super easy to reach by train – the train journey from Toulouse to Albi only takes one hour. To get the most out of your day, book this guided tour that visits Albi and the oh-so-pretty medieval town of Cordes-sur-Ciel.

2. Cité de Carcassonne

Carcassonne Castle

At a distance of 95 km southeast of Toulouse is the magnificent Cité de Carcassonne. This UNESCO-listed medieval Citadel will blow your mind if you are passionate about history and architecture.

Cité de Carcassonne is one of the best places to visit from Toulouse and one of the unmissable French landmarks with its impressive 52 watchtowers and the Château Comtal. The Castle sits on a hilltop, and it gives visitors fairytale vibes. Built in the 12th century, inside, you can still see what’s left of the Counts’ private chapel. The Castle also houses a museum with an interesting collection about the Cathars in Carcassonne and Southern France.

Finally, don’t miss visiting the Basilique Saint Nazaire, displaying a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles, and walking the Citadel ramparts.

A Toulouse to Carcassonne day trip is very easy to organize by train – Click here to buy your train tickets to Carcassonne. Some people, however, prefer the comfort of a minibus and the explanations of an expert guide on this Carcassonne day tour.

3. Gaillac Wine Route

The charming town of Gaillac is 50 km northeast of Toulouse and lies on the Tarn River. Easily reachable by train, the town holds historical monuments like the Abbatiale Saint Michel, a 10th-century Benedictine abbey, and the Maison des Vins, ideal if you want to learn more about wine and do some tastings.

Gaillac is one of the best places near Toulouse to visit for wine lovers. The Gaillac vineyard extends over both banks of the Tarn River to the northeast of Toulouse and is a delight for lovers of wines with a tasty character. If the Romans had already noticed that the terroir of Gaillac was extraordinary, it was the monks who shaped the Gaillac vineyard from the 10th century.

The best way to explore the Gaillac wine route is by car, during which you can admire the panorama. Stop by beautiful wine-producing châteaux, like Château Lastours and Cave de Labastide, to visit the properties and sample their wines (advance booking is necessary). If you can’t resist the allure of a château and a glass of good wine, this day trip from Toulouse is for you!

4. Rieux-Volvestre

South of Toulouse, at a distance of 45 km, is the lovely village of Rieux-Volvestre. With a prestigious heritage, the village is nestled on the edge of the small Arize River.

Strolling around the historic medieval streets, you can admire traditional timber-framed houses, a covered market hall, and a fortified brick-built cathedral. The Cathédrale Sainte-Marie et Trésor Episcopal is in Gothic style and features an octagonal bell tower. On the inside, the church displays Episcopal treasures.

A great Toulouse day trip if you are fond of the past and relaxing walks, Rieux-Volvestre also has the Papogay Festival on the first Sunday of May, during which medieval-like archers shoot a wooden parrot off a 45-meter-high pole. You will surely love this historical reenactment!

Although there are direct bus connections Toulouse – Rieux (1 hr one way), it is much easier to visit by car.

5. Cité de l’Espace

Cité de l’Espace is 5.5 km south of Toulouse, at a short 20-minute drive, and is among the top places to visit near Toulouse. This Cité de l’Espace is actually a theme park dedicated to space, so step inside to discover the history of space exploration.

Ideal if you are traveling with kids or want to have a fun-filled day, the Cité de l’Espace is divided into several thematic areas where you will find a planetarium, a real spacecraft, an IMAX cinema, and a space flight simulation area, among the others.

The Cité de l’Espace is also a meeting venue for astronomy and science enthusiasts and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, conferences, and workshops.

The Cité de l’Espace is an easy half-day or day trip from Toulouse. From central Toulouse, you can get to La Cité de l’Espace by bus. Take line 1 and stop at Collège Vernant + 15 min of walking or use the Cité de l’Espace stop on line 37. You can catch bus line 37 by taking metro line A to Jolimont or metro line B to Ramonville, then bus line 37, Cité de l’Espace stop.

6. Moissac

A pilgrimage site 72 km north of Toulouse, Moissac is well-known for the wonderful Abbaye Saint-Pierre. This UNESCO-listed religious building was built between the 12th and the 15th century, and it features an ornamental Romanesque architecture epitomized by the magnificent façade and the richly decorated interior.

The Abbey has been part of the Camino de Santiago (Chemin de Saint-Jacques) since the Middle Ages, making Moissac an interesting place for history geeks.

But this riverside town is surrounded by vineyards and orchards, creating a romantic and bucolic atmosphere perfect for everyone looking for a relaxing day trip. During the summer, Moissac hosts many cultural events, such as the Festival of the Voice (in July) and classical music concerts.

There are many direct trains from Toulouse to Moissac. You can reach Moissac in less than one hour (one way).

7. Canal du Midi by Bike

Canal de Midi

The Canal du Midi passes through the very heart of Toulouse, stretching for 240 km from the Atlantic coast all the way south to the Mediterranean Sea. This artificial Canal is considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century.

The Canal’s main purpose was to transport merchandise across the area; nowadays, it is a tourist spot where you can have fun walking, biking, or navigating along. If you are looking for a fun day trip for the whole family or a sporty one, hop on a bike and embark on a 40 km cycling adventure that connects Toulouse to the municipality of Avignonet-Lauragais via the Voie Verte du Canal de Midi.

While in Toulouse, head to Le Petit Cyclo shop to rent your bike and get ready to discover the UNESCO-listed Canal du Midi.

8. Lourdes

Lourdes is 175 km southwest of Toulouse and is Europe’s most important Catholic pilgrimage site. The Sanctuaire de Notre-Dame de Lourdes is the main reason visitors come into town and includes several religious buildings and monuments around the Grotto of Massabielle. This Grotto is the very place where the apparitions occurred. It is said that the Virgin Mary appeared to a local girl named Bernadette 18 times!

Lourdes is among the places to visit near Toulouse for religious tourism. If you are not into that, a Toulouse to Lourdes day trip is also interesting: Lourdes’ Cathedral is stunning in its own right, and the town boasts another fantastic sight, the Château Fort. Reach it by riding the Pic du Jer funicular to marvel at the views of the forested mountains of the Pyrénées – Click here to buy your train tickets from Toulouse to Lourdes

9. Foix

Among the best day trips from Toulouse is the one to Foix, a must-stop along the Cathar Route. Foix is located 87 km south of Toulouse and lies close to the borders with Catalunya and Andorra.

The town is famous for its medieval castle – Château de Foix – featuring three well-preserved machicolated towers and high walls. This imposing fortress now hosts the Ariège Departmental Museum, where you can learn the town’s past through themed exhibitions and a permanent collection of medieval everyday objects and weapons.

Château de Foix boasts stunning views over the roofs of the old town, the Ariège Valley, and the surrounding mountains. Besides being a perfect spot for history lovers, Foix will delight those looking for a relaxing one-day-long getaway.

Foix is an easy day trip from Toulouse by train. If you visit by car, don’t miss to explore the underground River Labouiche. Located 6 km from Foix, you will navigate 60 m below the ground!

And there you have it, the best day trips from Toulouse, France. Which Toulouse day trips tempt you most?

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