Itinerary to explore Barcelona, Southern France and a little of Italy in just 11 days is now live on the blog.
If leave is a serious constraint for you working adults, this 11 day Itinerary which covers the bulk of Southern France will get you started somewhere. Obviously, if you’re looking for a true blue experience of Southern France, you won’t be able to do cover that in 11 days (I’m being very honest here). France is a very big country and you’ll probably need to stay at least a month or more to soak in the ambience, culture and basically get yourselves familiar with the way the locals live, eat, drink etc. One thing for sure… the locals really know how to enjoy life! It’s so different from what we do on a daily basis in Singapore. Life over there is certainly more slow pace, peaceful and possibly less stressful. That is the life, everyone wants to live yeah?
Summary of our 11 day travel Itinerary
We did a return flight from Singapore to Barcelona by Swiss/ Lufthansa. Rented a car at Barcelona Airport and drove the coastal route all the way down to Italy ( furthest we went was Cinque Terra) and back to Barcelona. We did 2 nights in Avignon/Provence, 2 nights in Cannes/Nice, 2 Nights in Italy (Genoa area), 3 nights in Marseille and finally the last night in Barcelona for last minute shopping before flying back to Singapore.
While every town had their own charm, we definitely had our favorites. If we had to visit all over again, we would have probably allocated more time to Nice, Cannes and Italy. Nice and Cannes were one of the more beautiful areas. Monaco is actually quite overrated and super congested. It’s probably not a good idea to stay there. I am not a fan of Marseille but we stayed 3 nights there as we wanted to hike the gorge. Feel free to adjust your itinerary accordingly to your preference!
Day 1- (Barcelona/ Avignon)
Our 11 day itinerary started with road tripping from Barcelona. We took the day slow as our flight arrived early in the morning and we just flew over 10+ Hours across the Globe. We stopped by the city of Girona on our way to Avignon. It was a little break inbtw for us hungry fellows. Bionbo Cafe Gastrobar offers delicious and very reasonably priced set lunches. Their set lunches are fixed at EUR13.50 nett. Which includes an appetizer, main, dessert and drink ( coffee/wine/beer/tea/softdrink). We were shocked at how cheap a set menu would cost. Btw do call them to book in advance as the place is really small and it gets really packed during lunch hour.
We had the pumpkin soup which was delicious, horsemeat patty which was juicy, seared tuna, carrot cake, and molten cake with peanut butter ice cream ( So good!).
Restaurant: Bionbo Cafe Gastrobar
Location: Carrer del Carme, 113, 17004 Girona, Spain
The town of Girona was a short walk from the Gastrobar. It was then that we had our first Gelato in Europe. ( Btw we had altogether 50+ scoops of Gelato in our 11 days of itinerary). Do the Math but I dunno anybody who doesn’t go crazy for Gelatos in Europe??
Gelato: La Gioconda
Location: Placa da Catalunya, 17004 Girona Spain
La Gioconda offers mini cones at EUR1. Great for those who are really full after a meal but really need their Gelato fix.
Gelato: Victoriano Candela, gelats i torrons
Location: Carrer de l’Argenteria, 8, 17004 Girona, Spain
Victoriano Candela also offers a variety of gelatos to choose from. Both the interior and exterior of the shop is very pretty. They also sell nougats and other candies.
After exploring the small town of Girona, we made our way back to our Airbnb which was situated in Comps ( a 20-30mins drive away from the city of Avignon). Had dinner at a restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host- Le Vintage (Restaurant was situated in the town of Beaucaire). Plenty of cafes and restaurants there.
Gelato: Le Vintage
Location: 30 quai General de Gaulle, 30300 Beaucaire, France
Day 2 Itinerary (Avignon/Provence):
We started day 2 of our 11 day itinerary by visiting Halles d’Avignon. It’s sort of a farmers market selling a variety of fresh produce, vegetables, fruits, spices, sausages, meat, seafood, pastries etc. They have a “wet market” section where you can buy fresh meat and seafood. Do visit the place on an empty stomach as they have a lot of things there to eat and buy.
Location: Place Pie, Avignon, France
Continue the afternoon by exploring the town of Avignon. Bask in the ambience of stone walls, cobbled pathway and buildings. You just started your trip to France- so be excited! You will be amazed at how reasonable the prices of set lunches here in France.
We headed down to Restaurant Avenio for lunch and paid just EUR 19 for a complete set lunch which consist of an appetizer, main, dessert and a drink. As with all other tourist, we depended on tripadvisor, Michelin guides and thefork ( This is such a great reservation app to use in Europe!! I highly recommend this. It can give up to 40% discount off during certain timings of the day) to get by our meals.
Location: 19 Rue Des Trois Faucons, 84000 Avignon, France
This restaurant didn’t disappoint. Some of us took the Avenio menu which was EUR42 for a starter and main course (Because some of us wanted foie gras- their foie gras was so good!!) but there was the more reasonable EUR19 one which was their daily lunch specials.
Avenio Menu – We had the pan fried foie gras, Roasted pigeon (their specialty)/ Organic Beef filet.
Lunch Menu- My friends had the Chicken and fish.
We ordered an ala carte Creamy risotto with wild shrimps and Iberian chorizo which was the bomb!
Amorino specializes in rose shape gelatos. They might not have a big selection of gelatos but they are definitely photoworthy.
Location: 16 Rue Saint-Agricol, 84000 Avignon, France
Regal Glace for our second fix of Gelato for the day. Wide variety of flavors but still cant compare to the gelatos we had in Italy.
Location: 2 Place du change, 84000 Avignon, France
Rest of the day was just spent walking around the town, exploring the Palais des Papes, Pont D’avignon- Broken bridge( Not sure why that was even an attraction) and then heading to the picturesque medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence.
If you love truffles, there’s a store inside the village called Signorini that sells truffle oil, truffle spreads, truffle vinegar, chips and a whole lot more. They do offer free tasting too!
We had a beautiful lamb dinner at L’epicerie de Cecile. Their set menu consist of a drink, main and dessert for just EUR16.50. What a steal I must say and the owners are very friendly and homely.
L’epicerie de Cecile
Location: Place de la République, 30300 Beaucaire, France
Day 3 Itinerary (Cannes/Nice):
Drove from Provence to Cannes and stayed 2 nights there. Cannes reminds me of Beverly Hills. Rows of trees, branded shops and buildings on the left and the coastal area on the right. I could totally imagine myself sitting at a restaurant by the sea for the entire day just people watching, relaxing and having a nice seafood meal. It was so peaceful.
If time permits, you can head down to Nice which is an hour away from Cannes by car. Walk around and chill. It’s more happening there and there are a lot of restaurants for you to chill at.
We wanted to have a truffle meal so we “fork it” as usual and landed ourselves in Le Boudoir which had an extensive truffle menu. We heard a lot of good reviews on it so we had to try it. Remember to make a reservation as the place is really packed!
The scrambled eggs with truffles and the parmesan truffle risotto were to die for!! My friends had the beef filet with mushroom truffle sauce and it was delicious as well.
Location: 10 Rue Chauvain, 06000 Nice, France
Location: 2 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice, France
Day 4 (Cannes):
We spent day 4 of our itinerary walking around Cannes. You can stroll by the harbor or spend some time shopping along the shops opposite the coastal area. Lots of branded shops there and nice hotels/ buildings. Our favourite was Carlton Intercontinental. The exterior looks really posh and beautiful. You might want to consider staying there the next time you’re in Cannes.
We had our lunch at Restaurant Italien Le Ciro. Love the spicy Lobster pasta here. We requested for the pasta to be a little more spicy to suit our tastebuds. The chilli flakes that we requested for was pretty fiery. Beware, it actually packs quite abit of heat. They have reasonable set lunches too. Overall prices were reasonable
Restaurant Italien Le Ciro
Location: 33 Rue Bivouac Napoléon, 06400 Cannes, France
Landed ourselves at Gelato Junkie for our gelato fix. They have a great selection of Gelatos but the dark chocolate was one of my favourites. The cone waffles were crispy and delicious!
Location: 4 Rue Félix Faure, 06400 Cannes, France
Mainly a place where you can have burgers, fries and milkshakes all in one place.
Steak and Shake
Location: 3 Place du Général de Gaulle, 06400 Cannes, France
Day 5 (Italy- Portofino)
We drove down to Italy early in the morning around 8am. We knew we were in Italy as soon as we crossed the checkpoint as the place was swarmed with rows and rows of colorful pastel houses. The Airbnb we stayed at overlooked the coast and there was a beautiful garden outside.
Made our way to Portofino after. Portofino is a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline, southeast of Genoa city. There are many pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques and seafood restaurants. It overlooks the harbor that is lined with yachts.
They say the best place to capture a good picture of Portofino is at Castello Brown. It’s a path and a series of steps that lead you high enough to take a good shot. Unfortunately we arrived too late and the area was closed but we still managed to get a shot of Portofino.
Location: Piazzetta della Magnolia, 2, 16034 Portofino GE, Italy
Just Perruzi was a restaurant with a good view of the coast. You can choose to sit at the outdoor deck on inside. As it was rather chilly at night, we opted for indoor dining. Pasta portions were huge. One of our favourites were the pasta with fresh octopus.
Location: Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 132, 16031 Bogliasco GE, Italy
Day 6 (Italy- Cinque Terra)
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you’ll probably have heard of Cinque Terra. It’s one of the most visited tourist attractions in Italy. What so special about it? It’s a famous cluster of pastel houses that Italy is so known for. Cinque Terra comprises of 5 villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore and each village has its own charm and beauty.
The roads in each village is really narrow and the place is really packed. My advice is not to drive into the village but rather park at Levanto where there are quite a few parking areas. We managed to get a lot up the hill for free. We bought an unlimited train ticket to access the 5 villages. It’s good to get the unlimited ticket as it allows you free access to the toilets in the villages ( Which otherwise is chargeable). Almost all villages sell the same food.. Gelatos, battered calamari etc. The ones at Vernazza tasted the freshest and tastiest.
As we only had a day in Cinque Terra, we visited 3 of the “nicer” looking villages first incase we had no time to see the rest. It was down to Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Honestly after the 3rd village, it was pretty much the same “scenery” and pastel houses all through… We had more time to spare but decided that we were fine not visiting the other 2 villages.
Each village has its own charm so I’ll let pictures do the talking. Hope you enjoyed the itinerary so far!!
1) Vernazza Village
2) Manarola Village
If you hike all the way, you can actually dine at a restaurant with a view.
We got lost in the alleys of Colored houses. Great place for OOTD too!
3) Riomaggiore Village
Driving into the town of Genova was the worse idea ever!! The town is so jam packed and the roads were narrow, parking was crazy. One thing about Italy is their parking lots are so narrow, only smaller cars can fit. No wonder most of the cars in Italy are tiny. If you’re thinking of driving a bigger than average car, good luck with parking. Parking in Italy needs skills too. Parallel parking in particular. Soooo we roamed the town of Genoa from 6-8pm trying to find a parking lot.
It’s a good thing, we ended the day with a homely and delicious dinner at Le Rune (again recommended by the Michelin Guide).Their fresh octopus was ammaaazingg.. Their homemade pasta with artichokes was yummy too!
Location: vicino alla Farmacia, Salita Inferiore di Sant’Anna, 13r Adiacente a, Piazza del Portello, 16125 Genova GE, Italy
Day 7 (Monaco/Marseille)
We spent day 7 driving back to France. We made a stop at Monaco ( which we thought was necessary) as who goes to Southern France without touring the famous Monaco…. Monte Carlo Casino etc. Does that ring a bell? It was totally not what we had imagine the place to be. Firstly the place was so packed, we had difficulty parking as most of the parking garage was full. Secondly, Where are the luxury cars???
Thirdly, the casino is quite sad in my opinion. Honestly, if you’re looking for the wow factor and “vibe”, just go to Las Vegas. Nothing beats that place. And so we were out of Monaco in a mere 2 hours.
Drove back down to Marseille for dinner. Dinner was at La Cantinetta which blew us away. Their Burrata cheese was out of this world. Their vongole and lobster pasta were terrific too. We had a second serving of pasta and cheese and made reservations for dinner the very next day.
Location: 24 Cours Julien, 13006 Marseille, France
Day 8 (Calanques National Park)
What’s a trip without hiking. We spent the day 8 of our South France + Italy itinerary at Calanques National Park taking in its beauty. Pictures speak louder than words so enjoy!
Day 9 Itinerary ( Marseille)
We had an extra day at Marseille. We stayed in Marseille for 3 nights which we eventually felt was too long. Perhaps you can consider putting this extra day in Nice or Italy if you’re thinking of following this itinerary. Marseille felt a little more unsafe compared to the rest of the other towns.
Day 10 Itinerary ( La Roca Village)
This was the start of a long drive back to Barcelona from Marseille. We made a pit stop at the La Roca Village specially for shopping. The village is huge. Almost reminds me of one of those premium outlets in the US! Now’s the time to prepare your credit cards for some serious damage. Enjoy
Day 11 Itinerary (Barcelona)
Spent our last day touring the city of Barcelona. We walked to the main shopping street and to Sagrada Família / Casa Milà taking in the beautiful sight of the city.
It felt so peaceful just walking around. It’s a good thing the weather was cooling at this time of the year ( April). Will definitely make a trip back to Spain.
And that concludes our 11 day itinerary to Barcelona, Southern France and a little bit of Italy. It’s a short trip for those of you travelers tight on time but still want to experience the beauty of each town. Hope you managed to get a little out of this 11 day itinerary of Southern France + Italy and I wish you all the best planning! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to help!
You might also be interested in my Hawaii Itinerary. CHECK OUT THE AMAZING THINGS to do in the island of Honolulu (Oahu) Hawaii. Travel Guide below
Top things to do in Oahu Honolulu Hawaii
Top things to Eat in Oahu Honolulu Hawaii
Share the love by pinning on Pininterest or visiting @Sherbakes on instagram