Toulon is a small, port city in the south of France, known for its vast naval base built by Henry IV in 1482. A seafarer’s city, a visit to Toulon is a favorite for travelers who want beaches, mountain-top views from Mont Faron, and some of the best fishing sites in France. Home of the Bagne of Toulon, Toulon also attracts theater buffs looking to see the prison where Jean Valjean from Les Miserables spent fifteen years as 24601, making it the perfect destination for the outdoorsy and artsy travelers among you alike. With its rich history and engaging outdoor wonders, a visit to Toulon is a great addition to any summer travel itinerary. This itinerary is here to help you get the most out of your 48 hours sightseeing in Toulon.
Get to know Toulon by sightseeing at the classic spots first.
Morning: Take a cable car up Mont Faron
For your morning sightseeing in Toulon visit, we recommend heading straight to Mont Faron. Here, you can take a cable car up the nearly 580m high mountainside, and enjoy breathtaking views of the city and port below you. At its highest peak, you’ll find a wide array of activities, from a Zoo to a café, to even a memorial dedicated to the 1944 Allied landings in Provence. Mont Faron is the perfect place to spend a few hours, or to spend a day. It’s a natural escape from the bustling city below it, and offers a unique experience on the Mediterranean that is often only marked by beaches.
Lunch: Enjoy a historical lunch in Old Town
Visit the Old Town of Toulon, the historic center of the city. When Toulon sightseeing here, you will find a wide array of activities and incredible eateries, shopping centers, and historic landmarks. You’ll find the Old Town doesn’t seem too old upon visiting, and that’s the result of some horrific bombings in Toulon during WWII. But that doesn’t stop this city center from feeling authenticity historic and rich with cultural value, or from making it the perfect place to enjoy a lovely lunch on one of the outdoor terraces that wrap around the central square in Old Town.
Afternoon: Learn at the Museum of the French Navy
It would be a tragedy to visit Toulon and not take in the rich history surrounding the city. At this museum, you can truly experience life on the high seas. You’ll learn everything from how insanely long rope building factories had to be to create ropes long enough for their ships, to how many seamen you can fit into one, small cabin. This museum is three stories high and packed with information that not only shows you the progression of sailing in Toulon, but the progression of sailing in general. From wooden viking ships to WWII steam engines, the Museum of the French Navy takes you on a journey through time on the high seas.
Evening: Stroll down Avenue de la République
This bustling, waterside strip is full of bars that come to life every night. Right on the docks of Toulon, you can spend your evening bar hopping from place to place, or settling into one specific bar you’ve found that fits your fancy. Either way, you’ll spend the evening of your visit to Toulon sipping on fine wines and beers or incredible cocktails as you take in the port before you and watch the moon reflect over the water of this understated French city. Visit Toulon to really enjoy all that France offers!
Live like a local and visit Toulon like a true French connoisseur.
Morning: Start your day off with a swim at Plages du Mourillon
Remember that waterpark from your childhood that kept a little protected ‘beach’ for the kiddos? This is that beach. This small, protected cove offers a beach perfect for swimming, with few waves and a rock-less shore. The sandy, tan beach spreads out for a few kilometers, and on it you’ll find brightly colored umbrellas, large beach towels, and little shops selling everything from crêpes and icecream to renting out paddle boards. A relaxing, family oriented beach, this place is perfect for stretching out to build your summer tan, opening up that book that’s been sitting in the bottom of your backpack, and just watching the world go by as dogs and small kids run around you. All in all, Plages du Mourillon is perfect beginning to your second day visiting Toulon.
Lunch: Eat some fine French cuisine at Toulon Harbor
A visit to Toulon is incomplete without some fancy fare. Thanks to Toulon’s prime location near the water and some of France’s finest chefs, your Toulon visit are replete with yummy options for you to choose from. Beyond the Michelin Guide list of Toulon restaurants, you’ll find plenty of chic places serving up delicious seafood, scrumptious French plates, and farm-fresh delicacies. You hiked yesterday, right? So you definitely deserve some tasty Toulon treats on your visit. Find plenty of cute restaurants lining Toulon Harbor on your visit here, many with equally delicious views of the ocean.
Afternoon: Watch in a play at the Opéra de Toulon
The amount of drama at the Opera is enough to make any entrepreneuring traveler consider pitching a new reality TV series called The Real Housewives of the Opera. This place features so much red tiling and ceiling drapes you’ll think you walked into a color-blind person’s nightmares. With high ceilings, beautiful archways, and marble stairs, you must see this building during your Toulon visit. Built in 1862, the Toulon opera house holds the title as the second-largest opera house in all of France. Today, the building stands as a national historic monument, showing a limited series of operatic productions each year.
Night: End your Toulon visit with a relaxing evening out at a specialty bar
When you visit Toulon, you’ll be bombarded by luxury bar after luxury bar. Though not all of them carry the luxury price-tag, they all serve luxury drinks. Find a few specialty bars at Toulon Harbor and a few more in Toulon’s Old Town. Beyond that, you can end your Toulon evening with a delicious wine tasting that will fill the gaps in your knowledge of French grapes. Whether you find a bar specializing in gin, wine, or brandy, you are sure to have a pleasant end to your Toulon visit. After your Toulon visit, look into short excursions in the surrounding area.