Toulouse is a bustling city in south west France and while there is a lot to do in the city itself, the surroundings are also worth exploring.
If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle, there are plenty of day trips from Toulouse that you can take!
After living in Toulouse for years and spending most of my life in South West France, I know this region like the back of my hand and that’s why in this blog post, I’ll share with you the best day trips to take from Toulouse.
Some of these include exploring medieval castles, kayaking on lakes and rivers or just enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of France’s most beautiful villages.
Let us help you plan your next day trip from Toulouse by reading on!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!
Let’s start with the most famous (and popular!) day trip from Toulouse: the beautiful town of Carcassonne.
Carcassonne is a medieval fortress city ideally located about 1 hour from Toulouse.
It has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1997 and is perfect if you’re interested in history, architecture or French culture – this town was built over several centuries so there are many different places to explore!
The main landmark is the Cité de Carcassonne which is a medieval citadel. No matter what you do, you must visit it!
You will need to buy a ticket to enter the citadel. It costs 9,50 € for adults and can be booked here.
Carcassonne is also a very pretty town so make sure to keep some time to wander through the old streets and alleyways.
Finally, it’s one of the three places (alongside Toulouse and Castelnaudary) that prides itself as the birthplace of the Cassoulet so make sure to order one in a local restaurant.
HOW TO GET TO CARCASSONNE FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. If you have a vehicle, this will be very easy to get there. It’s only a 1h10 drive from Toulouse. You will need to pay for carpark though.
- By train. You can easily take a train from Matabiau station to Carcassone. There are many trains per day and they take between 45minutes and 1h15. You won’t need a vehicle once you arrive so this is an excellent option. Tickets can be booked here.
- Day tour. You can also choose to book a day tour from Toulouse. Prices are here.
Cordes-sur-Ciel is a beautiful medieval village that is located about an hour and a half from Toulouse.
This village is known for its stunning architecture, well-preserved buildings and narrow cobblestone streets.
It’s situated on a hill which gives the impression that it’s in the sky (hence the name, ciel is sky in French).
It is part of the label “Plus beaux villages de France” which includes the most beautiful villages in France.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip from Toulouse, Cordes-sur-Ciel is the perfect spot! You can wander through the village, admire the views from the top of the hill or relax in one of the many restaurants or cafés.
Here are some of the places you should check out: les Halles, maison du Grand Veneur and Saint-Michel Church.
You will also find some cute museums here such as the chocolate and sugar museum and the art museum.
If you are into walking and would like to take beautiful photos of the village, head to the viewpoint near La Mazière or to the church Saint-Antoine in Les Cabanes.
You will also find a mini train that goes around the village. This is particularly good for people travelling with kids and who want to learn more about the history of Cordes.
Finally, don’t forget to go to the visitor centre. They will give you loads of tips to enjoy your visit and they also offer guided walking tours.
HOW TO GET TO CORDES-SUR-CIEL FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. Cordes-sur-Ciel is only 1h10 from Toulouse if you are driving. Once you get there, you’ll find on-street parking (with a fee).
- Bus tour. Alternatively, you can opt for a bus tour which includes transport to both Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel. This one doesn’t include a guide however, it’s very handy since you won’t have to worry about driving or parking. See prices here.
Moissac is a beautiful town located in the Tarn-et-Garonne. This town is best known for its Abbey of Saint-Pierre, which is a Romanesque monastery that was built in the 12th century.
If you’re looking for a day trip from Toulouse that is packed with history and culture, Moissac is the perfect spot!
You can explore the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, wander through the narrow streets of the old town or visit one of the many art galleries.
HOW TO GET TO MOISSAC FROM TOULOUSE:
To get to Moissac from Toulouse, you can opt for either the train or driving.
The journey takes around 55 minutes whether you are going by car or train.
If you have a vehicle, then you should use it but otherwise, the train is particularly convenient. Tickets can be booked here.
If you’re looking for a day trip from Toulouse that is packed with history and culture, Albi is the perfect spot!
Albi is a beautiful small city located in the Tarn, less than 1 hour away from Toulouse.
It is best known for its UNESCO world heritage listed cathedral, Sainte-Cecile Cathedral, which is one of the largest brick buildings in Europe!
When you get to Albi, first head to the cathedral but then make sure to keep some time to wander through the narrow streets of the old town or visit one of the many museums (the fashion museum and the Toulouse-Lautrec museum are particularly good).
If you are a couple and would like to do a romantic activity, you can also rent a bike and go cycling along the river. It’s very pretty.
HOW TO GET TO ALBI FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. The quickest way to get to Albi is by car (55 minutes) however, you will need to pay for carpark once you get there and it’s not always easy to find a spot.
- By Train. The train is another good option. It’s a bit longer (1h15) but very convenient since the stations are well located and you can then explore on foot. See tickets here.
- Bus tour. Another option is to book a bus tour. It only includes the bus trip (not a guide) but you’ll get to also stop in Cordes-sur-Ciel which is well worth it. Prices are here.
Looking for an unusual day trip from Toulouse? This one is for you!
Najac is a small village located in the Aveyron. It is best known for its medieval castle, which is perched high on a cliff overlooking the village, and is one of the prettiest villages in France (Plus beaux villages de France).
While most people rush to Cordes-sur-Ciel or Rocamadour, you will get to enjoy a quieter but yet just as authentic (if not more) South West village.
The best thing to do here is to wander around the village and walk down the narrow streets of the old town before heading up to the castle.
The views are absolutely stunning. You’ll be impressed!
Also, if you are into hiking, you will find loads of walking paths in the area.
If kayaking is more of your thing, you’ll be glad to know that the Gorges de l’Aveyron are one of the best kayaking spots in France!
Finally, you’ll find quite a few local restaurants here where you can try the local speciality: l’Aligot.
HOW TO GET TO ALBI FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes 1h40 to get to Najac by car from Toulouse. Make sure to avoid rush hours.
- By train. The train is a bit longer (1h50) but quite convenient since it’s direct and leaves from Matabiau. You can also stop in Cordes along the way. Tickets are available here.
Looking for day trips from Toulouse by train? Cahors is an excellent choice then!
It’s the capital (préfecture) of the Lot department. But don’t let that fool you, it’s actually a fairly small city.
The Lot is one of the most beautiful regions in France. It’s located just to the north of Toulouse and offers a wide range of things to do from history, culture, gastronomy or relaxation.
Cahors is particularly well known for its medieval centre which is home to the Pont Valendré (UNESCO world heritage site).
It’s also famous for its many wine cellars. If you are visiting France for its wine culture, this is one of the best places to go.
Best of all, most tourists don’t know about it. They all go to Bordeaux or Burgundy so here you’ll get to be with the locals and learn more about the local culture.
It’s a nice town to stroll around and explore.
There are also many other things that you could do here: visit one of its museums, go hiking or cycling along its beautiful river Lot, take an excursion on one of its boats…
HOW TO GET TO CAHORS FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. The drive from Toulouse to Cahors takes about an hour and a half on the A20 motorway (exit 41). However, it’s a toll road so you’ll need to take that into consideration.
- By train. You can take a direct train from Matabiau to Cahors station. It takes between 1h10 and 1h30. Tickets can be purchased here.
If you are looking for day trips from Toulouse by train, Lourdes is a great option!
Lourdes is about 2 hours away from Toulouse which is a bit further than the other destinations mentioned in this article however, it’s well worth the trip.
It’s one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.
The town is located in the Hautes-Pyrénées and can be easily reached by car or train.
The main attraction in Lourdes is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is visited by millions of pilgrims every year.
The sanctuary was built around the cave where Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have had her visions of the Virgin Mary.
To make the best of your visit, you should consider joining a guided tour of Lourdes. It can be booked here and is a great way to learn more about everything that happened here.
If you are not religious, don’t worry, there is still plenty to see and do in Lourdes. The town is quite small but has a nice old centre with narrow streets and a few historic buildings.
As it’s also located in the Pyrenees, it’s great for hiking or skiing.
HOW TO GET TO LOURDES FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about 2 hours to get to Lourdes from Toulouse.
- By train. There are also quite a few trains from Toulouse Matabiau to Lourdes station. Tickets can be purchased here.
The village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie is a must-see for anyone visiting the south of France and it’s definitely one of the best Toulouse day trips.
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie of the most beautiful villages in France.
It was built on top of a cliff and offers some of the most amazing views over the Lot Valley.
It’s a great place to wander around, take photos and enjoy the quiet atmosphere.
You will love to wander around the street and discover the picturesque alleyways. The drive up to the village is also very pretty since the views are fantastic.
There are also a few restaurants and cafes in Saint-Cirq Lapopie if you want to have lunch or just a drink.
Finally, if you are up for some water activity, you can choose to kayak on the Lot. From there, you’ll get to the see the village and the church from the river. It’s a very unusual angle but well worth your time.
Kalapca is a local business in Bouziès where you can rent kayaks. They also have a pretty cool zip-line.
HOW TO GET TO SAINT-CIRQ-LAPOPIE FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about an 1h45 to get to Saint-Cirq Lapopie from Toulouse. The drive is pretty interesting, especially along the Lot river. Once you make your way up to the village, you’ll find a large carpark at the back (fee).
- Day tour. Another option is to join a guided tour from Toulouse which includes a visit of the village and the Pech Merle cave. See prices here.
Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val may not be the most famous place near Toulouse but it’s for sure worth a visit if you want to learn more about the local culture.
This small town is about an hour and a half away from Toulouse. Once you get there, you will be rewarded with a lovely village with stone houses and a church.
Make sure to head to the bridge and walk a bit along the river Aveyron. It’s very pretty.
There are also some restaurants in the village, as well as a few small shops.
HOW TO GET TO SAINT-ANTONIN-NOBLE-VALE FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. it takes about an hour and a half from Toulouse. The drive is pretty easy since most of it is on the motorway. Please note that this is a toll road though. There are alternative roads that will be free but also a bit longer.
Rocamadour is a bit further away from Toulouse than the other places on this list but it’s also one of the most famous villages in France so it had to make the list!
It takes a bit over 2 hours to get there so while this is a bit long, it’s definitely feasible in one day if that’s somewhere you really want to see.
The village of Rocamadour is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in France and attracts more than two million visitors every year.
The three main attractions are the Notre-Dame chapel, the statue of the Black Virgin and the Calvary Walk.
Rocamadour is also known for its cheese and wine. The goat cheese Rocamadour is a type of ‘cabécou’ that is extremely popular amongst the locals.
No matter what, you can’t leave Rocamadour without trying one.
There are other things to do in Rocamadour, such as hiking and water activities (kayaking…).
HOW TO GET TO ROCAMADOUR FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about two hours to get there by car from Toulouse. Parking in Rocamadour can be a hassle so make sure to leave early.
Bruniquel is a small village located in the Tarn and Garonne. This is another ‘plus beaux villages de France.
It’s a great place to visit if you want to escape the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.
The village is famous for its stone houses and its medieval castle.
The castle is definitely the star attraction of Bruniquel. It hangs over the cliff and boasts fantastic views of the river.
There are also a few restaurants in the village, as well as bakeries where you can grab a bite.
HOW TO GET TO BRUNIQUEL FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Bruniquel from Toulouse.
Auch is a small city located in the Gers. It’s about an hour and a half away from Toulouse, making it the perfect day trip destination.
The town is known for its beautiful houses, historical monuments and its cuisine.
Some of the most famous attractions include the cathedral Sainte-Marie, the stairs of Auch and the statue of Artagnan.
If you like walking, make sure to take a walk along the river Gers. It’s very pretty.
But that’s not all. The Gers (region in which Auch is) is one of the best places to visit in France for foodies.
This region is known for its foie gras, chicken, duck and plenty of other delicacies.
If you want to try some authentic duck confit, it will be the best place to do so.
Want to bring something back? The local market is one of the biggest in the region and you’ll find everything from fresh produce to local delicacies.
HOW TO GET TO AUCH FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. it takes about an hour and a half from Toulouse to get to Auch. Make sure to avoid rush hours.
- By train. There are several local trains (TER) going to Auch from Matabiau. Tickets can be purchased here.
Gaillac is a small town located in the Tarn, only 50 minutes from Toulouse.
The town is famous for its wine (the Gaillac AOC), as well as its architecture and historical monuments.
Some of the most famous attractions include the Château de Foucaud, the Foucaud park and the Saint Michel abbey which is ideally located on the edge of the river.
If you’re a fan of wine, make sure to visit one of the local vineyards. You can also do a wine tasting in town. There are loads of cellars and they will be more than happy to help you choose a wine.
Finally, Gaillac is also home to many sunflower fields. While this is not as famous as the vineyards, they are still very pretty.
If you are travelling by car and in summer, make sure to take a drive around the town so you get to see all these beautiful fields.
HOW TO GET TO GAILLAC FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It’s an easy 50 minutes drive to Gaillac from Toulouse.
- By train. There are loads of direct trains from Toulouse Matabiau to Gaillac. It only takes 45 minutes and is pretty cheap. Tickets can be purchased here.
Andorra is a small country located in the Pyrenees mountains. It’s a great day trip destination from Toulouse because it’s only about a two-hour drive away.
Admittedly, it would be better if you could stay overnight however, be reassured, a lot of locals are going there on day trips so it’s totally feasible.
The country is known for its tax-free shopping, making it a popular destination for people who want to buy cheaper products and souvenirs.
It’s also home to fantastic ski resorts (so a great winter day trip from Toulouse!).
Some of the most famous attractions in Andorra include the capital city of Andorra la Vella, the lakes of El Grau and Engolasters, and the Sant Jordi cable car.
There are also loads of hiking trails that are worth checking out in summer.
In terms of food, Andorra is known for its pork dishes. If you’re looking for something hearty and tasty, this is the place to go.
If you are tempted to opt for a day trip to Andorra from Toulouse, I’d highly recommend going to the Pas de la Casa since it’s closer and a great ski resort.
HOW TO GET TO ANDORRA FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about two hours and a half to get there by car from Toulouse. The roads are in good condition and there are signs that will guide you all the way. If you are going in winter, make sure to check the weather conditions first and that your car has winter tyres (or even chains).
- Blablacar. If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can book a spot on a carpooling trip. Blablacar is a very popular website in France and you’ll find loads of people going to Andorra from Toulouse.
One of the most obvious destinations for a one day trip from Toulouse is Montauban.
The smaller city is famous for its beautiful architecture and historical monuments. Some of the most famous attractions include the Place Nationale and the cathedral.
If you’re travelling with kids, make sure to visit the local toy museum (musée des jouets) which is home to an incredible collection of toys and games.
Finally, Montauban is also home to some lovely parks which are perfect for a relaxing stroll on a sunny day.
HOW TO GET TO MONTAUBAN FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It’s an easy one-hour drive to Montauban from Toulouse.
- By train. There are loads of direct trains from Toulouse Matabiau to Montauban. It only takes about 50 minutes and is pretty cheap. Tickets can be purchased here.
Montolieu is a small town in Languedoc-Roussillon, roughly between Castelnaudary and Carcassonne.
This is a great place to check out on your way back (or to) Carcassonne but you can also easily spend the day here.
The picturesque village has preserved its medieval architecture which makes it very charming and unique.
It is nicknamed the ‘Village of Books’ because there are 15 bookshops and that’s quite a lot for a village that has less than 1,000 inhabitants.
HOW TO GET TO MONTOLIEU FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It’s an easy 1h15 drive to Montolieu from Toulouse. If you are going in summer, make sure to check the traffic conditions before leaving! The roads can get pretty busy during holidays and weekends so it might take longer than expected.
Ax-les-Thermes is a small spa town in the Pyrenees. It’s also one of the closest ski resorts to Toulouse (Ax 3 Domaines), making it the ideal winter day trip.
The town was built on top of hot springs and it’s known for its therapeutic properties (many people go there to take cures). The water temperature ranges from 36c to 42c so you can imagine how nice this place must be during a cold winter day!
There are lots of spa hotels and spas in Ax-les-Thermes so it’s easy to spend the whole day here.
If you are into winter sports, you will be in for a treat here. Ax 3 Domaines is a great ski resort and is very popular. You can easily get there, park and walk to the slopes.
You’ll find loads of local shops renting equipment as well.
HOW TO GET TO AX-LES-THERMES FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. The drive to Ax-les-Thermes is about 1h45 long. Make sure to check the traffic conditions before leaving as it can get quite busy on weekends and you may need your car to be equipped for the snow.
- By train. There are several direct trains from Toulouse to Ax-les-Thermes every day. It takes about 2 hours. Tickets can be purchased here.
Castres is a medium-sized city in the South of France, around an hour and a half drive from Toulouse.
This gorgeous city is nicknamed the “Venice of Languedoc”. Here you can find loads of houses hanging above the river. It’s very pretty!
It’s also known for its pretty architecture and cobbled streets.
Castres was also part of an important stop in the Cathar Crusade back in 1211. If you want to learn more about the Cathar history, make sure to head to the Cathar museum in Castres. It’s very interesting.
Other places worth visiting include: the Goya museum, the Jean Jaures museum, the city mansions and the jardin de l’Évêché.
There’s definitely a lot to see and do in Castres so it’s definitely worth a day trip!
Finally, if you are into rugby, you will be in for a treat here. Castres is one of the best teams in France so make sure to book a ticket to go see a match.
HOW TO GET TO CASTRES FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes 1h20 to drive from Toulouse to Castres.
- By train. There are several direct trains from Toulouse. They take 1h30 and can be booked here.
Saint Lary Soulan
Saint Lary Soulan is a small village in the Pyrenees, around an hour and a half drive from Toulouse.
This place is known for its amazing ski resort which makes it the perfect winter day trip! It’s one of the largest ski resorts in the Pyrenees. Here you will find 53 slopes for all levels.
The village itself has kept its traditional charm and you will find lots of wooden chalets here.
Saint Lary Soulan is also a great place to go hiking in the summer.
HOW TO GET TO SAINT LARY SOULAN FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about two hours to drive from Toulouse to Saint Lary Soulan. If you are visiting in winter, make sure to check the weather conditions and that you have winter tyres and chains.
Foix is a small town in Ariège, at the doorstep of the Pyrenees.
Foix is known for its beautiful medieval castle (Château des Comtes de Foix) and old town. The castle was built in the 10th century and has been restored several times since then. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Other places worth visiting include the Saint-Volusien church and the Croix de Saint-Sauveur.
HOW TO GET TO FOIX FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes just over an hour to drive from Toulouse to Foix.
- By train. There are direct trains from Toulouse to Foix. The trip is 1h30 long. Tickets are available here.
Narbonne is one of these places that can be considered as good day trips from Toulouse but yet, aren’t popular choices amongst locals.
This is mainly due to the fact that although it only takes 1h45 to get to Narbonne, there are actually 160 kilometres. It’s quite a quick trip because most of it is on the motorway but I’ll admit it can be a bit tiring.
If you are determined to see the Mediterranean sea though, it will be worth your time and effort.
Narbonne is a seaside city with a gorgeous medieval old town. There are loads of places to visit here including the Saint-Just Cathedral and the Sainte-Marie de Fontfroide Abbey.
Narbonne is also known for its amazing food so make sure to taste it while you are here! Les Halles are a fantastic covered market in Narbonne where you can grab delicious food and buy local produce.
Finally, Narbonne is known as one of the best seaside towns on the Mediterranean so if you fancy going for a swim or working on your tan, head to Narbonne Plage.
HOW TO GET TO NARBONNE FROM TOULOUSE:
- By car. It takes about an hour 45 to drive from Toulouse to Narbonne in good traffic conditions. It can be much busier in summer though.
- By train. There are direct trains from Matabiau to Narbonne. They are between 1h20 and 2 hours long and can be booked here.
Here we go, now you know everything about the best destinations for a day trip from Toulouse.
From exploring medieval villages and taking in impressive views of the Pyrenees mountains, there is something for everyone!
Whether it be with family, friends, or solo – these day trips are perfect to discover the most beautiful places around Toulouse.
You may also be interested in:
- Toulouse 1-Day Itinerary: Exactly How to spend 1 Day in Toulouse, France
- Toulouse Travel Tips: 10 Things you need to know before visiting Toulouse, France
- 13 Prettiest Villages near Toulouse, France