Holiday villa in the foothills of the beautiful Pyrénées Orientale region

Local Area Information

Casa Sola is located just outside the rural village of Arles-sur-Tech in the Pyrénées Oriental region of France.

Visitors to the villa can experience the best the south of France has to offer, right on their doorstep.

From relaxing in the sun in one of the two pools at the property, or on the beach, to skiing, hiking, cycling or enjoying cultural trips, you will find an option for everyone.

Here, at Casa Sola, we are regular bloggers, and update this website with many of the activities we get up to, which we hope will inspire you as well.

Below are a few ideas to get you started:

Activities

  • Walking - There are too many walks to mention here. We are regular walkers so will update our blog with a few of our favourites. As a starting point, just reaching the top of our garden is a good way to start the day. Plenty of information on walks is available in the villa.
  • Mount Canigou - That’s Mount Canigou at the top of the website! This peak remains capped in snow almost all year round. You can just sit and admire it from Casa Sola, or if you are feeling more adventurous you can climb to the top.
  • Mountain biking and cycling - There’s plenty of options for mountain bikers in the area with marked routes. For those just wishing to cycle in the local area we do have some bicycles available for use. Please note however we do not have cycle helmets and cycling is at users own risk. A local VTT centre is nearby for those wishing to hire bikes and explore routes http://sitesvtt.ffc.fr/trace-vtt/haut-vallespir-6/
  • Skiing - There are skiing resorts within an hour's drive from Casa Sola.
  • Food, restaurant and bars - You can get the basics in Arles-sur-Tech, and there is a Spar store which is open most days. Céret and Amelie-les-Bains have very good local markets, where you can pick up fresh fruit, vegetables and meat from local producers. All of the neighbouring towns have a good selection of restaurants and bars, and being just a short distance from the Mediterranean coast you can enjoy plenty of fresh fish in the coastal towns.
  • Beaches - Casa Sola is just a 45 minute drive to the coast. The nearest beach is at Argeles-sur-Mer; a 7km stretch of sandy beach and a 3km promenade make this perfect for families. North of Argeles is St Cyprien, which has a 3km sandy beach and a pretty fishing harbour with lots of quayside restaurants and boats for hire. Boca del Tech is at the mouth of the river Tech and has a long, sandy beach.
  • Wine tasting - Wine here is almost as easily accessible as water. Vineyards are visible as far as the eye can see and most of the domaines offer you the chance to try before you buy. If you take an empty plastic bottle or container, these can be filled up at the vineyard for just a few euros. Our welcome pack for our guests include a bottle of wine from Domaine Sol Payre, a favourite of ours and we can highly recommend a visit to tour the vineyard and taste more of their delicious wines.

Places to visit

  • Arles-sur-Tech - This village is just a two-minute drive from the villa, or a 15-minute walk. All amenities are available here, from your freshly baked bread in the morning to the special cake to finish off a lovely evening. The village is best known for its Abbaye Sainte-Marie, thought to be one of the oldest in Catalonia dating back to the eighth century, and it allegedly holds the relics of Saints Abdon and Sennon. The Gorges de la Fou is a must-visit; said to be the narrowest in the world, it is just a short distance outside of Arles-sur-Tech.
  • Amelie-les-Bains - If you need a bit of rest and relaxation, you need to take a trip to the charming town of Amelie-les-Bains, famous for its spas, which is only ten minutes away. The sulphurous waters are said to be beneficial for many ailments, particularly rheumatism and lung conditions. There is always a lot going on so it’s best to check the town’s official tourism website to see what’s happening during your visit.

  • Palalda - Just next to Amelie-les-Bains is the medieval village of Palalda, sitting higher up the hill, with spectacular views over Amelie and the surrounding area. Here, in a church dating back to 993 AD, a museum detailing artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh's years in Amelie-les-Bains and nearby Port Vendres. The Scottish furniture designer lived in the area for a period in the 1920s, and those interested in his work can also do the "Mackintosh Trail". The same museum hosting Mackintosh's work also houses the Musee de la Poste, which gives visitors an overview of the region's communications, with some wonderful vintage stamps and postcards. 

  • Céret - Visit Céret for some cherries! From January, the cherry trees blossom and the sumptuous fruit is celebrated with an annual festival in May. The French President traditionally gets to taste the first cherries picked in the town. But there is much more to Céret than its famed fruits. The cobbled streets of this medieval town are an adventure in themselves. Once known as the ‘Capital of Cubism’, artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Dali and Manolo flocked to the town, and are celebrated at the Museum of Modern Art. Festivities abound in this town, with bull fighting in July, a carnival on Shrove Tuesday and a Catalan Folk Dancing festival (the Sardana) taking place each August.
  • Collioure - Collioure is a favourite of ours and an easy 40-minute drive away. It is a picturesque medieval town famed for its connections to artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Derain. Many re-prints of their work can be found as you wander through the cobbled streets. You can organise a walk around the town through the tourist office where you will be shown the spots where Matisse and Derain got their inspiration. Along the main stretch of restaurants on the quay is Les Templiers and here you can sit among hundreds of original artworks.
  • Perpignan - Not just where one gets off the plane! It’s worth taking a trip into the city – the capital of the region - for its bustling streets and weekend market.
  • And if you feel like travelling a little further, you have Gerona and Figueres (home to the Dali museum) just an hour away, as well as Barcelona, Andorra and Carcassone - perfect for day trips.