Best Things to Do in Toulon From The Cruise Port

Best Things to Do in Toulon From The Cruise Port

March 1, 2024 0 By Kerry

Are you planning a cruise stop in Toulon and wondering how to make the most of your time? Toulon, located in the heart of the French Riviera, is a charming city known for its picturesque harbour, vibrant culture, and historical sites. With a rich maritime history and various sights to explore, it is the perfect destination for a day trip during your port stopover. In this article, I will highlight some of the best things to do in Toulon during your visit, especially if you’re pressed for time!

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Overview of Toulon as a famous cruise port city

Toulon is a picturesque city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and is a popular port destination for many travellers.

As one of the largest ports in France, Toulon has long welcomed ships from around the world, making it a bustling and cosmopolitan city. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, lively waterfront promenades, and charming Old Town.

Toulon is a popular stop for Mediterranean cruises, and many cruise lines offer excursions to nearby attractions such as the beautiful island of Porquerolles and the charming coastal town of Cassis. However, you can save time and money by exploring the local city; this guide will focus on what to do in Toulon for a short stopover.

Getting around Toulon

Getting around quickly and efficiently is important when you’re only in a city for a short time. Of course, you can easily catch a taxi, but this will soon rack up the costs. Most people taking a cruise stop in Toulon will travel on the Mistal network, which provides bus and boat services across Toulon. You can buy tickets in advance from the tourist information centre, saving you money on the cable car ticket. You can also pay for a ticket directly on the bus network; have some change handy.

Best Things to do in Toulon

Take a Cable Car to the Summit of Mont Faron

If you’re looking for a breathtaking view of the French Riviera, visiting Mont Faron is a must. This stunning mountain sits just outside Toulon and offers visitors an unparalleled panoramic view of the Côte d’Azur.

One of the most popular ways to reach the summit of Mount Faron is by taking the cable car, which provides a fun ride and offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape. Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by a large terrace where you can take in the sweeping vistas of Toulon, the Mediterranean Sea, and the neighbouring islands.

Things to do in toulon from the cruise port - Take a Cable Car to Mount Faron

For those who prefer a more active experience, several hiking trails lead to the summit. These trails offer a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the mountain and its surrounding forests.

Alternatively, visitors can explore the Mont Faron Zoo, home to various animals, including tigers, lions, and monkeys.

The history of Mont Faron dates back to ancient times when prehistoric civilizations inhabited it. Over the years, it has been a strategic military location, serving as a fortified stronghold during different periods, including the Roman and medieval eras and World War II. You can learn more about this at the military museum nearby.

In addition to its natural beauty and attractions, Mont Faron offers various dining options. Visitors can enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the mountain’s restaurants while enjoying the stunning views.

Getting to Mont Faron from the Cruise Port: Head to the tourist office next to the Passenger Terminal for the bus service to Mont Faron. Take bus 40 towards Mas du Faron and leave at the cable car stop. The journey is about 20 minutes, and the cable cars run every 15 minutes. You can buy your ticket at the cable car station; however, if you plan on taking the bus, get your ticket in advance from the tourist office as this will save you money.

Marvel at Porte d’Italie

Porte d’Italie is a grand stone arch that once served as the entrance to Toulon City.

Things to do in toulon from the cruise port - marvel at the Porte d'Italie fountain

Located just a short 12-minute walk from the cruise port in Toulon, Porte d’Italie is a grand stone arch that once served as the entrance to the city. Built-in the 18th century, this historical monument is now a popular attraction for visitors looking to explore the rich history of Toulon.

Explore Toulon Old Town

One of Toulon’s best things to do is stroll through the city’s old town. Here, you’ll find narrow winding streets, traditional Provençal architecture, and plenty of quaint cafes and shops to explore. The historic centre of Toulon is a must-visit for anyone interested in culture and history. You can choose to wander this beautiful area on your own, or you could increase the fun factor by doing a Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery game that helps you discover Toulon’s attractions in a unique way. Alternatively, you can opt for a private tour of the Port and Old Town, ensuring no point of interest is left undiscovered!

Tour the Toulon Cathedral

If you’re visiting Toulon on a cruise and looking for things to do near the port, one must-visit attraction is the Toulon Cathedral. Also known as Sainte-Marie-Majeure or the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Seds de Toulon, this stunning Gothic-style cathedral is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture and a must-see for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Dating back to the 11th century, the Cathedral has been a prominent landmark in Toulon for centuries. Nestled in the heart of the city, it is a must-visit attraction for anyone exploring Toulon from the cruise port. Best of all, you can walk there from the Port in 12 minutes.

Shop at the Provencal Markets

One of the best things to do in Toulon is to visit a Provencal market. The markets are typically held in town squares or streets and are usually bustling with locals and visitors alike. The atmosphere is lively and vibrant, with the smell of freshly baked bread and the sounds of vendors calling out their wares filling the air. The top markets in Toulon are listed below:

The Cours Lafayette Market is the most popular and provides ample opportunity to taste and sample the many local specialities. From creamy brie and sharp blue cheese to silky olive oils and fragrant lavender honey, there is no shortage of treats. Many vendors are proud producers of their goods so that you can be assured of high quality and authenticity.

Things to do in toulon from the cruise port - shop at provencal markets

This market is open between 0730 and 1230 every day except Monday, so be sure to disembark your cruise early to give yourself enough time to visit. It is located in Cours Lafayette, Rue Paul Lendrin, Place Louis Blanc, Rue de Lorgues and Place Paul Comte. You can walk here straight from the port and even stumble across it unintentionally. Best of all, it is close to the lively harbour and promenade, with many restaurants and bars to stop by.

The Mourillon Market is another popular market for cruise makers as it is within walking distance of the port on the Place Émile Claude and Place Monseigneur Deydie. Also, it is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 12:30 pm; this market has fresh local produce across 30 stalls.

Visit the Musée d’Art

Art enthusiasts should visit the Musée d’Art de Toulon, located in the heart of the city. The museum features an extensive collection of art spanning from the 16th century to contemporary works. Visitors can admire paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art from both French and international artists. The museum also frequently hosts temporary exhibitions, providing fresh pieces for you to enjoy. 

Things to do in toulon from the cruise port - Visit the Musee D'Art

For those looking to immerse themselves in Toulon’s art scene even further, consider taking a guided art tour to discover hidden gems and learn more about the city’s rich cultural history. 

The Musee d’Art is located approximately 15-20 minutes away from the Toulon cruise port on foot.

Take a Boat Trip to the Porquerolles Islands:

If you have more time to spare, consider taking a boat trip to the stunning Porquerolles Islands. These islands boast pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and untouched natural beauty. Explore the hiking trails, rent a bike, or relax on the dreamy beaches.

The ferry ride takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Toulon, departing once a day around 9am. Departure is roughly 5pm, but be sure to check the timetable in advance as it does differ depending on the time of season. This might be a bit of a stretch on a cruise stop from Toulon but your cruise provider may offer their own packages to visit these stunning islands.

Savor the Local Cuisine

No visit to Toulon is complete without indulging in the delectable Provençal cuisine. While you may have all-inclusive food on your cruise, nothing beats savouring the flavours of the region you’re visiting. Why not try a delicious vegetarian dish known as pissaladière, a savoury onion tart? There are also ample local wines and pastries, and something to tempt every palate. Explore the quaint restaurants and cafes in the Old Town or the harbour promenade and savour the region’s flavours.

I found the open-air restaurants outside the Toulon Opera House to have great selections of food. I enjoyed a delicious cheese board coupled with authentic French wine.

Shop at Le Centre Mayol

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, head to Le Centre Mayol. Getting here from Toulon Port is just a short walk from the right of the harbour. This modern shopping centre offers many boutiques, department stores, and speciality shops. Browse for fashion, cosmetics, and more. Perfect if you want a break from tourist-focused gift shops and souvenirs and a dose of local life.

Explore the Mourillon Quarter by Tourist Train

The Mourillon area offers a complete package – serene beaches to relax and vibrant streets filled with shops. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you stroll through typical colourful streets, discover unique souvenirs, people-watching in a café, or take some retail therapy. While it is a beautiful walk, if you’re strapped for time then take the quirky Tourist Train which gives you a guided 45 minute tour around some of the top spots; you can also jump off at the key points of interest. During cruise stops the queue for tickets can get very busy so I recommend getting your little tourist train ticket in advance.

Things to do in toulon from the cruise port - see the sights by tourist train

Discover the Toulon Naval Base and Maritime Museum

The Arsenal de Toulon, a naval base and shipyard in operation since the 17th century offers guided tours that give visitors a glimpse into the city’s long-standing naval heritage. Additionally, the Tour Royale, a historic coastal fortification that dates back to the 16th century, offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and provides a unique perspective on the city’s naval significance.

Also home to the National Maritime Museum of Toulon, visitors can explore naval vessels, including submarines, aircraft carriers, and warships, and learn about the base’s strategic importance in protecting France’s maritime interests. As one of France’s largest naval bases, visiting this historical site is one of the best things to do in Toulon.

Getting to the Maritime Museum and Navel Base from Toulon Cruise Port will take about 20 minutes, walking left of where you disembark. Alternatively, you can take the 15 or 40 bus, which will take about 12 minutes. The Navel Museum is open every day except Tuesdays.

Relax at Mourillon Beach

If you’re looking for an escape, explore Toulon’s picturesque beaches, specifically the Plage du Mourillon beach. With its beautiful coastal scenery, vast size and family-friendly atmosphere, this popular beach is an ideal destination for sunbathing, swimming and water sports. The Mourillon beaches offer a relaxing beach experience and plenty of options for entertainment and dining. Moreover, this area is lined with bars and restaurants, and these beaches cater to every taste bud.

Getting to Mourillon Beach: Conveniently located just a short journey from the passenger terminal by bus lines 3 and 23. You can also walk here in approximately 20 minutes.

Things to do in toulon from the cruise port - relax at Mourillon Beach

Things to do in Toulon in Summary

Overall, Toulon is a vibrant and diverse city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty for cruise passengers to enjoy during their visit. There are many things to do in Toulon that are within easy walking distance from the cruise terminal so you can be sure to have a packed itinerary. Whether exploring its historic sites, lounging on its beautiful beaches, or venturing into the surrounding countryside, Toulon will leave a lasting impression on any traveller.

I visited Toulon during my ‘Irresistible Med’ voyage with Virgin. If you haven’t travelled with Virgin Voyages yet, be sure to check out my Valiant Lady review to find out whether you should or not! If Ajaccio is also on your itinerary, check out the things to do there. Looking for other great cruise companies, then read my Review of Explora Journeys.

Finally, if you love France, then check out my post on the top honeymoon destinations in France for more inspiration. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon or not, these destinations should be on your bucket list.

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