bateau bus toulonToulon offers a wide range of local transport. And, not just a way of getting around, the tourist train, boats and cable car are great rides in their own right.

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The centre of Toulon is compact and can easily be visited on foot, especially if you are arriving by cruise ship at the city centre terminal (follow the brass plaques set in the ground to tour the main sights). But you'll need one of the options detailed below to get to other areas, such as the beaches and Mont Faron.

Insider tip public transport in ToulonThe very modestly priced "1 Jour téléphérique" ticket gives you unlimited travel for one day on Toulon's buses and boat shuttles as well as on the cable car. If you don't intend to take the cable car, you can buy the even cheaper "1 Jour", which offers unlimited travel just on the buses and boats.

These tickets are on sale at the Toulon Tourist Office, at newsagents and tobacconists all over the city and on the website of the Réseau Mistral, which runs public transport in the region.

 

PETIT TRAIN

Toulon's petits trains (little tourist trains) are the same jolly blue and white toy-town type found in Marseille, as opposed to the sleek modern variety favoured by Aix and Avignon.

toulon petit trainTwo 45-minute circuits are available. The first comes with an English and French commentary and takes you round many of the main tourist sights: the street market on the Cours Lafayette, the Stade Mayol rugby stadium, Port Saint Louis and the beaches of Le Mourillon, the Opéra and Haussmann Quarter and the Old Town.

This tour leaves from the harbour front near the Toulon Tourist Office and goes into the central cruise ship terminal to pick up passengers en route. You can get off in the beach area to bask in the sun for a while and catch another train later

The second tour, offered in French only, goes right inside the military naval base (this is the only way a tourist can visit it). You will require photo ID in order to take this tour, on which there are various strict security restrictions.

Both tours run during the summer and shoulder seasons only Click on the petit train website for details.

News for transport in ToulonFollowing the terrorist attacks in France in 2015, the tour inside the naval base is currently unavailable.

If you are arriving by cruise ship at the terminal across the bay in La Seyne sur Mer, you can pick up a petit train there too. It runs into the centre of La Seyne, then goes on to the beaches at Les Sablettes.

RAIL

Toulon's train station and next-door bus station have recently been enlarged and refurbished, and now have a large drop-off point and plenty of spots to wait in comfort. They're located in the north of the city about 20 minutes' walk from the cruise port. Buses no.3, no.9 and no.23 will take you there.

Trains from Toulon run to Hyères in one direction and to Sanary sur Mer, Bandol, La Ciotat, Aubagne and Marseille in the other. Click here for the train timetable Marseille-Hyères via Toulon. Select timetable no.1 from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

The Toulon station website includes live travel information about train arrivals and departures.

From here buses also run to Hyères, Six Fours les Plages and Sanary with the Réseau Mistral. Another bus network, Varlib, roves further afield to destinations such as Saint Tropez, and a third, the Lignes Express Régionales, goes to Aix en Provence.

CABLE CAR

toulon01The seven-minute ride up Mont Faron in Toulon's iconic little red téléphérique (cable car) is one of the city's most popular attractions. Click here for our full guide to it and to the sights on Mont Faron.

The lower station is a good 30-40 minute uphill walk from the city centre, but you can catch a bus there: the no.40. The cable car closes in the middle of winter.

BUS

The buses in Toulon are part of a larger network in the region run by Réseau Mistral and you can consult the route and timetables on its website.

Here you will also find a list of the various tariffs available, from single fares to day passes and pre-loaded magnetic chipped tickets, as well as where to buy them around town. Alternatively you can pay for your fare when you get on the bus.

A downside of the main bus service in Toulon is that it stops in the middle of the evening. However night buses (Les Nocturnes) run on Friday and Saturday until just after midnight, mostly leaving from the place de la Liberté.

From Sunday to Thursday a shared taxi service (Taxi Bus) is available, again until just after midnight. You can either pick up one of these taxis on the place de la Liberté or phone ahead to book a place on one. Tel: (+33) 4 94 09 38 07.

TAXI

Taxis in Toulon are all co-ordinated by Taxis Région Toulonnaise and you can either phone for a cab or pick it up at one of the town's eight taxi ranks, the place de la Liberté probably being the main one. Tel: (+33) 4 94 93 51 51.

Alternatively, you can book a taxi ahead with our afiliate partner, Holiday Taxis. The low-cost peer-to-peer car-sharing service UberPOP is now banned in France though it continues to operate under a slightly different branding.

 

BICYCLE

Toulon has no municipal bike hire scheme, but there are several commercial companies in and around the bus station. The Tourist Office has details of the current providers.

WHEELCHAIR

Toulon has made a big effort to welcome and provide for disabled visitors and a list of places which rent out equipment or provide wheelchair-friendly transport is available (with plenty of other relevant information) on the Tourist Office website.

CAR

Like many large cities, Toulon can get very congested with traffic and driving is not an ideal way to explore.

If you wish to rent a car, most of the main providers have offices in Toulon (the train and bus station are, as usual, a good place to look).

If you are intending to book a car ahead of your trip, do consider our comparison search engine for all grades of hire car from Smarts to 4x4s and limousines.

Powered by our affiliate partner, it will instantly compare the current rates on offer from all the suppliers at your chosen pick-up point to ensure you get the best deal.

There are ten covered car-parks in the centre of Toulon, one of the largest being Mayol (3000 places), next door to the rugby stadium and opposite the cruise ship terminal.

Toulon's secure parc relais (park and ride) is on the N8 about 5 km / 3 miles west of the city, and parking there is free; there are regular buses into town.

The only snag is that it closes early during the week: at 10pm from Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays it's open until 2am, however.

Be sure to keep your bus or boat ticket with you once you have used it: you will need it to get out of the car-park.

BOAT

Three bateaux-bus (boat buses), one of which is pictured top left, shuttle across the bay between Toulon and La Seyne sur Mer (no.8M), Saint Mandrier (no.28M) and Les Sablettes (no.18M).

They too are part of the Réseau Mistral public transport network and widely used by commuters as well as tourists (around 30 million trips are made on them a year). All three routes depart in Toulon from the gare maritime (boat pier) on the quai Cronstadt near the Town Hall.

For a guided boat or catamaran tour around the bay, you can choose from several companies lined up a few metres away on the quai de la Sinse, opposite the place Louis Blanc (where the Tourist Office is located). Click here to read more about them.

Also on the harbour front, boat tour operators offer excursions - in summer - to the island of Porquerolles. Click here to read more about it.

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