Named after the mountain range which covers it, Cantal is a department of south-central France that contains a number of towns and villages, and is an ideal destination for those who prefer to spend the vast majority of their holiday outdoors. Whether you go for the skiing, hiking, walking, climbing, fishing or simply to take in the scenery, you are sure to love your holiday in Cantal, France. Accommodation options include luxury chateaus and renovated farmhouses.
Tourism in Cantal can be split into two distinct seasons, which offer varying activities. Winter receives a good amount of snow, meaning a full spectrum of winter sports can be enjoyed. This includes hundreds of kilometres of cross country runs and some of the country’s best downhill slopes at the Le Lioran ski area in Monts du Cantal.
The Cantal department is dominated by mountains which were originally volcanic peaks, meaning some excellent walking, hiking and climbing opportunities for the warmer months of spring and summer, as well as a great range of other outdoor activities to participate in.
With Cantal covering 260 communes, there is a huge amount of choice when it comes to places to visit in this rugged region, and a wide range of holiday rental accommodation in Cantal to match. Some of the best outdoor activities can be enjoyed in the Volcanic National Park in the Massif Central, fishing is popular in the Cezalier plateau and Vieillevie is regarded as one of the finest places in the area to try your hand at white water rafting.
There are also a number of culture options, with the historic Castle of Val in Lanobre, the Castle of Clavieres in Ayrens and the Museum of Art and Arqueologia in Aurillac just some of the more popular choices.
Those heading to Cantal in the hope of experiencing some top French cuisine will not be disappointed either. Hams, cheese and vegetables are the basis of many local dishes, and there is also Cantal cheese, which is firm in texture and one of the oldest cheese in France.
With a number of towns and villages at different altitudes, it is unsurprising that Cantal has a many microclimates. Generally speaking, visitors heading to Cantal during winter can expect plenty of snow up in the mountains, with the eastern slopes drier and colder than those in the west. Peak summer temperatures are surprisingly warm, and exposed areas can feel well above 20C.
Your destination airport will depend on your choice of base location in Cantal, but those seeking a direct flight from the UK will most likely be heading for Rodez-Marcillac Airport (RDZ), which lies in the neighbouring Aveyron department. Ryanair fly to this destination from London Stansted.