The Perfect 1, 2 or 3 Days in Montpellier Itinerary

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by Brittany Scott-Gunfield

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Whether you’re considering a week-long holiday with the kids, a romantic city break or solo adventure, our Montpellier itinerary has something for everyone spending 1, 2 or 3 days in Montpellier!

Montpellier is a vibrant city in the South of France, 186 km from the Spanish border to the southwest and 169 km from Marseille to the east. With its buzzing city centre, large Mediterranean beach, proximity to the Pyrenees mountains and overall stunning aesthetics, Montpellier is a must-see French city.

How Many Days in Montpellier?

It can be difficult to work out how many days to spend in Montpellier as you can get a feel for most cities in a couple of days, but sometimes, to get the most out of the museums and attractions, a week can be ideal.

For the city centre, you only really need to spend 1 day in Montpellier as it’s quite compact so you can take in the beauty of the architecture and parks as well as the energy of the city. 

However, it’s such a thriving city, you’ll surely be sad to leave after only a day, so 2 days in Montpellier makes for the perfect city break; enjoy the sights and sounds as well as the gorgeous food and drinks without having to rush around.

If you are lucky enough to spend a week or at least 3 days in the city, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the southern city life as well as visit the wonderful beach and even venture further afield and set foot in the Pyrenees mountains, the Camargue national park or neighbouring city of Arles, home to a spectacular Roman amphitheatre.

Arc de Triomphe in Montpellier
Arc de Triomphe in Montpellier

Getting To & Around Montpellier

Montpellier is in a great location, not just on the Mediterranean coast, but in terms of the ease in reaching it from elsewhere. Easyjet provides direct flights to Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport, which is just a 20-minute drive from the central train station of Saint-Roch. You can organise airport transfers here.

You can also take the bus to Place de l’Europe where you can then take the tram to also end up at Gare Saint-Roch.

There are also regular flights to Montpellier Airport from Paris Orly and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports, respectively. You can fly from Madrid or Barcelona via Paris or Amsterdam, however, it’s shorter, easier and more eco-friendly to take the 3-hour train from Barcelona-Sants station, or the 6-7-hour train from Madrid-Puerta De Atocha station (though the latter option is not direct).

If you plan to travel from another French city (such as Toulouse, Paris, Marseille or Nice), you’ll find that SNCF is a great train company serving most of France, and at a reasonable price. You can view train schedules here.

However, if you’re looking to minimise your budget and potentially make some friends, the ride-sharing app BlaBlaCar works exceptionally well in France.

Within Montpellier itself, transportation is very easy. While the city centre is walkable, most attractions are close together and the area is largely flat, you can also make the most of the tram system.

There are three tram lines that reach across the majority of the city and its suburbs, as well as many bus routes covering even more distance. You can easily pick up a ticket at any of the tram stations or pay in cash on the buses.

There are bikes available to rent at small stations across the city as well, however, if you prefer to go further outside of the city or move according to your own schedule, you can easily rent a car at the airport or main train station.

Since it’s such an easily connected city, you can stay in any area and use public transport or walk into the centre, however, if you’re pushed for time or want to minimise your walking, Observatoire is a perfect area to stay in as it’s close to the central square and main train station.

Esplanade Charles de Gaulle in Montpellier, France.
Exploring Montpellier

2 to 3-Day Montpellier Itinerary

Whether you’re spending 1, 2 or 3 days in Montpellier, it’s useful to divide your days up into areas so you don’t waste time zigzagging across the city.

Here, we’ve chosen to spend the first two days getting a feel for the city and exploring its artistic side, and the third at the beach, but you can of course mix and match activities according to your own interests and time schedules.

Day 1 – City Centre Highlights

If you’re planning to only see Montpellier in 1 day, make sure you fill your day with the sites in Montpellier’s Old Town so you can make the most of your short time there. They’re close to each other so instead of spending time on transport outside of the city centre, you can enjoy ambling through the streets.

Place de la Comédie

You can’t leave Montpellier without having set foot in the renowned Place de la Comédie, so we definitely recommend starting your first day there. Whether you arrive during the day or the night, you’re sure to find a thriving glimpse into life in the city.

From street performers to commuters, artists to shoppers, even just a guy with a speaker looking to get a party started; you can find all kinds of life going on in the main square.

Located in the city centre, Place de la Comédie is lined with restaurants and bars facing the central area, complete with the decorative Fontaine de Trois Grâces. The square gets its name from the beautiful 18th-century opera house that sits at the west end, with the other end opening out into the quaint park alongside Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, a sprawling and lovely boulevard.

Here you can join locals playing chess, enjoy a drink at one of the park cafés or peruse the flower market Monday to Saturday, and the book fair Wednesdays and Saturdays.

From the main square, you can stroll around the old town and discover the incredible street art, take a tram to the riverside, or take a short walk up to the famous Arc de Triomphe.

Place de la Comédie
Place de la Comédie

Arc de Triomphe & Aqueduct de Saint Clément

The Arc de Triomphe, or, Porte du Peyrou, is an iconic landmark in the historic district of Montpellier and an important stop on your Montpellier itinerary.

Sitting between the Promenade du Peyrou and the city centre, this late 17th-century monument is a tribute to the Sun King, Louis XIV, and was designed in the style of the famous arch of the same name in Paris.

Its ornate design and yellow hues make it another must-see attraction in Montpellier; you can even climb the 88 steps inside to take in the stunning city skyline.

The neighbouring Promenade du Peyrou can be lively all day long with people enjoying the park, statues and views of the ruined Aqueduct de Saint Clément, however, around sunset, you can join many groups of young people gathering socially with music and drinks.

The aqueduct, also known as the Arceaux Aqueduct due to its many arches, brings water from the Saint Clément spring to the 18th-century Peyrou water tower located at the end of the park, which makes for incredible photographs at every angle.

Aqueduct de Saint Clement
Aqueduct de Saint Clement

Jardin des Plantes

A two-minute walk from the Promenade du Peyrou, the Jardin des Plantes is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe – the oldest in France – and it’s definitely worth a visit. Since it’s now owned by the university, it’s only open to visitors in the afternoons and closed altogether on Mondays.

But it is free to enter and you can enjoy a couple of hours walking through the various gardens and greenhouses, admiring the 2000-plus plant species within the 4.5-hectare area.

Cathédrale Saint-Pièrre

The gardens are also located next to the enormous Cathédrale Saint-Pièrre. First built in 1364 and rebuilt in the 17th century due to wartime damage, this immense Gothic style cathedral is free to enter and looks incredible from every angle, so we highly recommend taking a stroll around the historic building after your visit to the botanical gardens.

Montpellier Cathedral
Montpellier Cathedral

Place Jean Jaurès

By the time you’ve walked around the city centre, you’ll surely be looking for something to eat or a place to sit and have a drink, and where better than Place Jean Jaurès? Between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Comédie, Place Jean Jaurès is perfectly situated and hosts some of the best bars and restaurants in Montpellier.

It’s a classic quaint French square, with statues and buskers adding great charm to the popular area and providing some entertainment while you sip or dine on a terrace and reflect on your first day in Montpellier.

Day 2 – Street Art, Antigone & Place Saint-Come

There’s still a great deal to see in the city centre, so if you only have 1 day in the city, look out for the murals as you wander the streets. But if you’re seeing Montpellier in 2 days or more, then it’s a great idea to spend your second day enjoying the street art and the riverside now you have a feel for the city.


One of the best things about France in general is that they celebrate the arts, and nothing shows this more clearly than the copious amounts of street art, graffiti and trompe d’œil you can find dotted around every city.

Close to Montpellier centre, the best place to start your street art tour is Place Saint Roch. There are plenty of little cafés in the side streets surrounding the Saint Roch church in the centre of the square if you’re looking for a place for breakfast or brunch to start your day, but while you’re there, make sure you look closely at the building facade opposite the church front.

At first glance there’s nothing of note, however, when you look closely you can see that it’s not a real reflection of the church in a window, but rather a clever trompe d’œil.

Moving slightly further out of the centre, towards Observatoire tram stop, is Place Edouard Adam. Even more impressive than the cathedral reflection, here you can find a huge mural covering the entire side of two buildings on the corner of the square. It depicts a classic French building with ornate balconies, a bookshop at street level and various characters in the windows.

You can find more street art of all sizes if you venture down Avenue de la Croix du Capitaine, although it has to be said there’s not much else to see down this long road.

To stay closer to the centre of things, you can also head towards the Saint Roch area by the train station, where you can find numerous amazing artworks, especially on the corner where Rue Lorraine meets Rue de l’Aire.

From here you can walk or take the tram to Antigone, where we find our next attraction.


Arriving at Antigone you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re stepping into a university campus, but this interestingly designed area is simply a collection of shops, restaurants, apartments and offices. Walking through the area, you can find four squares next to each other, with the impressive Place de l’Europe at the end closest to the river Lez.

Here, there are several bar-restaurants overlooking the river where you can grab a drink or bite to eat, or, if you prefer, you can simply stroll along the riverside.

If you fancy a long walk, you can follow the river 3.5 km north to the beautiful natural area of Parc du Domaine de Méric, but bear in mind that it’s another 3.5 km back! Or, you can take tram line 2 from Saint Lazare station back to the centre.

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Montpellier during May, a trip down to the riverside is an absolute must. FISE, Festival International des Sports Extrêmes, is an extreme sports event taking place on and around the river for five days in May each year, where you can see wakeboarding, BMX and rollerblading among many other exciting events.

You can join thousands of locals and visitors on the banks of the river with food and drinks as well as accompany the locals to the inevitable afterparties scattered through the city. You can pay for tickets on the FISE website for optimum views of the sports, or if you simply have a casual interest, just head down and see what you can find.

Place de l’Europe in Antigone
Place de l’Europe in Antigone

Place Saint-Come

Back towards the Saint Roch church, hidden among the narrow streets, you can find a tiny square, Place Saint-Come. At one end of the square is the beautiful Ancien Amphithéatre Saint Come, and at the other is Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub – a favourite for French and international students alike.

Stop by this square for your apéritif before exploring the surrounding streets to find a place for dinner. You can find anything you can imagine in this area, from Asian cuisine to tapas and everything in between.

There are also plenty of authentic French restaurants dotted around, where you can try local dishes such as cassoulet, escargots, or anchovy-based sauce, beurre de Montpellier. Although restaurants go by many different names, if you’re looking for French cuisine, bistros and ateliers will offer great food at a reasonable price. But the best advice is: take a wander around and see what takes your fancy!

If you like this area, you can also check out Place Sainte Anne. It’s just a short walk away, and although it’s slightly smaller, it has a similar ambience.

Day 3 – Plage de Carnon & Palavas-les-Flots

For your third day, it’s time to get out of the city centre and head to the beach. If the beach isn’t your thing then you can also go on day tour of the surrounding countryside such as visiting some wineries in Pic Saint-Loup.

Plage de Carnon

Plage de Carnon may appear relatively far away on the map, but it’s actually very easy to get to. Starting at Gare Saint-Roch, you can take tram line 3 which you take to its final stop Étang de l’Or in Pérols.

Before you start your journey, however, think about what you’ll need for the rest of the day. It can be a great opportunity to have a picnic and join the thousands of others having a beer on the beach, so make note of the Monoprix in Place de la Comédie, or Lidl, Carrefour or Casino around the train station, to pick up some food and drink before you start your beach day.

When you get off the tram, you have a few options to get you to the last leg of the journey to the beach: take a rental bike from the bike rack, take bus route 28 two stops to Cabane de Pérols, or take a 35-minute walk.

From Cabane de Pérols to the beach, the walk is spectacular as you have two lagoons on either side of the road where you can observe the flamingos in their natural habitat. Some of them are non-migratory and can be seen all year long, however with the changing climate, some will disperse in search of warmer weather, so your best chance to catch a glimpse of this intriguing bird is from April through to September.

At the beach, you’re free to do as you please; swim in the Mediterranean, sunbathe and read a book, or take a stroll along the coast. If you’re looking for more action, there are several kitesurfing schools along the beach, so on windy days, you can take some lessons or rent your equipment and head out to ride the waves.


Staying along the beachside, you can head down to the quaint seaside town of Palavas-les-Flots for dinner or sunset.

On either side of the River Lez and around the port, you can find many different restaurants serving fresh fishto among other local foods, and after dark, the lights of the restaurants reflect wonderfully in the river to create a magical atmosphere.

To get back to the city centre, you can either reverse your journey from the morning or simply take a taxi back, which takes around 20-25 minutes.


Where to Stay in Montpellier

Hôtel Royal – This hip 3-star hotel is an excellent choice for mid-range visitors to Montpellier. They have cool, nicely decorated rooms on offer along with a 24-hour front desk and breakfast available. It’s also well-situated for exploring all this French city has to offer.

Hôtel Oceania Le Métropole – If you’re looking for luxury while in Montpellier, you’re sure to love this cool hotel. Centrally located for seeing all the top sites in the city, they also have a range of great rooms available and countless other amenities to ensure you have the best stay possible.

Appart’City Confort Montpellier Saint Roch – These apartments are an excellent choice for those after their own flat while visiting Montpellier. There are several different apartments available and they have a great location for exploring the city.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Montpellier hotels!

This Montpellier itinerary covers a range of activities for people with all kinds of interests and makes sure you’re never at a loose end, whether you’re seeing Montpellier in 1, 2 or 3 days. You’re sure to fall in love with the Mediterranean city as you walk from place to place and take in the stunning architecture and artwork that makes it one of France’s most beautiful cities.

Are you planning to visit Montpellier? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Brittany Scott-Gunfield

Brittany is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Colchester, England, she is slowly but surely travelling the world as a digital nomad. She loves to hike around different landscapes and has a deep love for travelling around France (and elsewhere in Europe).

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