Are you looking for the best day trips from Bordeaux for your upcoming France trip? We’ve got you covered!
Bordeaux is an excellent base for wine and Cognac enthusiasts! It’s also renowned for history lovers, or those looking for a quaint, countryside village.
This Bordeaux day trips guide covers some of the best trips in the region, broken down into four categories: history lovers’ day trips, wine lovers’ day trips, best beaches nearby, and day trips for those looking for peaceful village life.
Did we miss any amazing day tours from Bordeaux or places to visit nearby? Let us know in the comments!
In this post...
Best Day Trips from Bordeaux (for History Lovers)
Distance from Bordeaux: 210km (2 hours, 20 minutes)
Merely two and a half hour’s drive from Bordeaux, this beautiful Medieval town is like taking a step back in time and into the history books of France.
With half-timbered buildings that all seem to be on a lean, you can easily lose yourself in the narrow streets of Sarlat-La-Canéda.
The best days to visit are either a Wednesday or Saturday when the bustling farmers market is on. It is really one of France’s best getaways!
On Saturday the market is open all day with many artisanal food and drink stalls to choose from.
The cheese and wine selections are fantastic and have lots of locally-grown produce and other regional delicacies.
Famous for both its truffles and foie gras, both of which are celebrated with festivals, you’ll get a flavor of everything at the market.
One of the most iconic buildings in Sarlat is the Cathédrale Saint-Sacerdos, which dates back to the 12th century.
And if you have the energy it’s well worth climbing to the top of the cathedral’s bell tower.
The views are absolutely stunning and you can see for miles.
One more thing that should be on top of your list for a visit to Sarlat is the Jardins de Marqueyssac.
Overlooking the Dordogne River, the garden is famous for its perfectly manicured boxed hedges and panoramic views of the countryside.
Distance from Bordeaux: 52 km (52 minutes)
In under an hour, you can be in the picturesque town of Blaye.
Best known for its impressive Citadel, which was built in the 17th century by the famous military engineer Vauban, it dates back to the Roman era.
It was during the Middle Ages that the town in France really started to flourish, thanks to its strategic location on the Gironde estuary.
Fortifications were built up to protect it from invaders as it was an important center for trade and commerce.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can climb those ramparts to survey the landscape, and of course, watch out for enemies approaching.
From the top of the Citadel can see the two forts as well as the estuary.
But the Citadel isn’t the only thing Blaye has become known for.
Due to the numerous vineyards surrounding the town its production of red wine, Côtes de Blaye, is also in the spotlight.
To sample some of the region’s wines you can visit Maison du Vin on the Cours Vauban (the main street) where they have over 300 wines for you to choose from.
Distance from Bordeaux: 99 km (1 hour, 13 minutes)
Just over an hour away from Bordeaux is the bastide town of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande sitting on the South bank of the Dordogne River.
Founded by Alphonse de Poitiers in 1255 it’s the oldest bastide in Gironde.
One of the biggest attractions is the weekly Saturday morning market which was voted “Favorite French Market” in 2014 and is one of the biggest in the region.
The town center is closed off to traffic to ensure pedestrians can easily access it, so if you love a good farmers market this is the place to go.
As you wander through the streets you’ll see row upon row of traditionally timbered medieval houses and pretty little squares.
The main square, the Place Gambetta, has a 13th-century church, arcades with boutiques and shops, and some wonderful places to sit and have a coffee.
The most fascinating building though is the tourist office on Rue de la Republique.
It’s a two-story, half-timbered house with a turret, or “tower of ennoblement”, which was an addition made by the consul for services rendered to the king, although I’m not sure when this happened.
Bordeaux Wine Tours and Nearby Vineyards
4. Saint Émilion
Distance from Bordeaux: 48 km (43 minutes)
Although it only makes up around 6% of the vineyards in and around Bordeaux, it’s still one of the most well-known and respected.
It was actually the Romans back in the 3rd century BC that planted the first vines in this region.
Originally called Ascumbas it wasn’t till the 8th century when a monk called Emilian set up home in a cave that it changed its name.
The monk would give his blessing to all the travelers who came to see him and so it became known as Saint Émilion.
Depending on what you want to do at the vineyards you can either DIY your trip and visit some of the chateaux yourself, or you can do a guided tour.
The chateaux welcome visitors and you can often go in and do a tasting and buy your wine direct from the chateau.
The tourist office does a daily list of those open without needing to make an appointment here.
Distance from Bordeaux: 124 km (1 hour, 30 minutes)
Under two hours from Bordeaux is the beautiful town of Cognac famous for the drink by the same name. It is a great trip any time of the year – especially if you’re looking for a winter trip from Bordeaux!
There are several big Cognac houses in the region such as Rémy Martin, Martell, and Hennessy and they all offer great tours that allow you to do some tasting as well as learn about the history of Cognac.
The Hennessy tour includes a trip on their company boat along the Charente river to their cellars, which is absolutely fascinating seeing all the old barrels lined up as they mature.
However, although Cognac is definitely the star of the show there is also another spirit from the region, Pineau des Charentes.
The mix of grape juice and Cognac eau-de-vie makes it a really popular aperitif to enjoy sitting at one of the many wonderful restaurants on offer.
6. Château Pape Clément
Distance from Bordeaux: 7 km (20 minutes)
Just 20 minutes outside of Bordeaux is the famous Chateau Pape Clement in a little place called Pessac.
The Château itself is set on beautiful grounds surrounded by vineyards and the perfect place for a picnic, accompanied of course by a bottle of Château Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan (Grand Cru Classé de Graves).
It was Pope Clement V who planted the first vines back in the 13th century and the vineyard took on the name of its first owner.
They have quite a few tours to choose from, some of which include cheese pairing with wine tasting.
And for those who might indulge a little too much in their tasting, they have five rooms available for people to stay in.
Best Beaches near Bordeaux
7. Soulac Sur Mer
Distance from Bordeaux: 95 km (1 hour, 35 minutes)
Located on the top of the Medoc Atlantique, Soulac Sur Mer has one of the most beautiful beaches that just seems to stretch on for miles.
Just over 90 minutes from Bordeaux it’s the perfect way to spend some time on the Atlantic coast.
As you walk into the beautiful little town you can’t help but notice the 18th century, pink briquette villas which all add to its charm.
The pedestrianized center has plenty of shops and the basilica Notre-Dame-De-La-Fin-Des-Terres is worth a look.
The best restaurants are along the front and on the beach itself with seafood being the order of the day.
Walk off your lunch on the seven miles of beach and take a look at the village of LAmélie where you can walk among the dunes.
But remember to look out for the naturist beach, La Négade, 800 meters further on.
8. Cap Ferret
Distance from Bordeaux: 72 km (1 hour, 15 minutes)
Known as one of the summer playgrounds of the French elite, it’s located in the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon, and is about an hour from Bordeaux.
Famous for its ostréiculture industry you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving this French delicacy.
Enjoy your oysters with a view of the Bassin and its beautiful beaches.
One of the best ways to experience Cap Ferret is by bike as there are lots of great cycle paths allowing you to take in the scenery.
And don’t forget to stop off at the lighthouse, Le Phare du Cap Ferret.
You can secure your bike in the rack and climb to the top for spectacular 360° views.
You’ll be able to see all the pine trees, oyster farms, and beaches, as well as Bird Island (Île aux Oiseaux).
Right next to the lighthouse is a WWII bunker which is open to the public if you want a bit of history.
9. Lacanau-Océan Beach
Distance from Bordeaux: 58 km (1 hour)
If you love water sports then Lacanau-Océan Beach has fifteen spectacular kilometers of coastline and is just over an hour away from Bordeaux.
It’s a surfer’s paradise and the town is host to a few World Pro events during the year.
But you can also try kitesurfing, sea kayaking or even land-yachting for something different.
There are also some great foot and bike paths through the Lacanau forest where you’ll discover Étang de Cousseau, a nature reserve.
Bordered by dunes and marshland there are all sorts of wildlife to look out for and over 13 km of trails to follow.
If you’re a bird lover then grab your binoculars because you’re in for a treat. Black kites, cranes, kingfishers, who knows what you’ll see.
For the younger ones then a trip to the Aqualiday waterpark is a great option as they have great water slides for the kids, and massages for the adults.
Beautiful Villages near Bordeaux
Distance from Bordeaux: 147 km (1 hour, 46 minutes)
If it’s relaxation you’re looking for, then hop in your car and do the two-hour drive to Dax.
Since Roman times Dax has been the leading spa destination in France, known for its hot springs and its local thermal mud, Peloid.
With 15+ thermal baths in Dax and Saint-Paul-lès-Dax, you’re spoilt for choice.
And we can’t forget the hot springs. At over 60°C the water heats up deep down in the rock and is renowned for its health benefits.
The Place de la Fontaine Chaude was built in the 19th century and is said to be on the site of the Roman baths producing 2,400,000 liters of water every single day at a temperature of 64°C.
Overlooking the Adour River, in the heart of region the Landes, it’s nestled between the pine forest, the ocean, and the Pyrenees giving it a very mild climate.
It has a rich history and heritage which it has managed to maintain from the Gallo-Roman ramparts to the Andalusian-style bullring.
In August the town comes alive when it hosts the Fêtes de Dax, a five-day festival with live music, entertainment, and of course, bullfighting.
And if you’re a lover of architecture you won’t want to miss Hotel Splendid.
It’s an art deco masterpiece built on the ruins of an old castle in the 1920s by André Granet and Roger-Henri Expert.
It closed for a while for renovation, reopening in all its full glory in 2018.
Distance from Bordeaux: 101 km (1 hour, 25 minutes)
Classed as one of the most beautiful villages in the Charente region of rural France, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is just 90 minutes from Bordeaux.
In fact, it is on the official list of France’s 150 prettiest villages, ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’. It really is like stepping into a picture postcard.
Situated on the pilgrimage route from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain many pilgrims would stop off here on their journey.
Hidden deep underground is the stunning Saint-Jean church, a Monolithic church carved out of rock going down to a depth of 20 meters.
As a relatively small village, there is still lots to do with plenty of shops and boutiques.
But the best place for a coffee or a spot for lunch is Place Ludovic Trarieux, named after the French politician.
Born in 1840 he was the founder of the Human Rights League of France.
Distance from Bordeaux: 117 km (1 hour, 30 minutes)
Located in the Bergerac region of the Dordogne, where the British love to live, is the village of Eymet just over an hour’s drive from Bordeaux.
Founded in the 13th century, this Bastide town has a lot going on, especially if you’re a foodie, as there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from.
If you love a good market then make sure to go on a Thursday where on Place de la Bastide you’ll find some of the best produce in the region.
If you go on a Tuesday during July and August they also have the night market with live music and lots of great stalls.
If you drive just 15 minutes from Eymet to the vineyards of Monbazillac you’ll find the Château de Bridoire, which dates back to the 15th century.
As well as being able to tour the rooms of the château, the gardens play host to some giant wooden games.
From giant chess to croquet there is something for everyone and at Easter, they put on an escape-type game for adults and kids alike to enjoy.
Did we miss any of the best day trips from Bordeaux? Let us know your favorite Bordeaux day trips in the comments!
Author: Kylie Lang, blogger at Life in Rural France
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.