Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
Bordeaux is one of the most popular destinations in France. While the city is an incredible place and there are many things to do and see in Bordeaux, you will be glad to know that there are also many other magical places to visit near Bordeaux: charming villages, captivating seaside towns, and top-notch wineries… there’s a Bordeaux day trip perfect for everyone!
In this article, you will find a list of the best day trips from Bordeaux, France, to plan something that will make your holiday extra special.
Best Bordeaux Day Trips
Bordeaux Day Trips in a Nutshell
Best day trips from Bordeaux by train: Saint-Emilion, Arcachon (the town)
Best day trips from Bordeaux by car: Route des Châteaux of Médoc, Basque Country, and Dordogne (Sarlat and medieval castles)
A Saint-Emilion wine tour from Bordeaux is super popular. Saint-Emilion is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in France. It is located in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, 49km from Bordeaux. Immersed in Bordeaux’s wine region, Saint-Emilion is home to more than 800 wineries and wine châteaux, making it an unmissable wine capital.
Saint-Emilion is one of the top places to visit near Bordeaux for history lovers and foodies. Besides its incredible wine production and Michelin-starred restaurants, Saint-Emilion is a medieval town listed as a UNESCO site due to its many monuments. The Medieval Monolithic Church (book tickets in advance!) and the King’s Tower (Tour de Roy), from which you can admire a landscape of vineyards, are must-sees!
If you are particularly interested in exploring wineries, we recommend this fantastic Saint-Emilion half-day wine tour, which combines culture and wine tasting in a classified château.
Of course, you can visit Saint-Emilion without a tour (there are frequent trains from Bordeaux to Saint-Emilion, and the journey only takes 40 minutes), but if you want to visit one of the world-famous Châteaux of Saint-Emilion, a car will be necessary. Château Cadet Bon is one of the closest châteaux to the medieval town and has been a Grand Cru Classé certified organic since 2017. There, you will be able to visit the cellars of vinification and taste various wines (guided tours in French and English). If you don’t have a car, you can rent one in Bordeaux.
2. Châteaux du Médoc
30 km from Bordeaux is the commune of Margaux, the starting point of the stunning Médoc Wine Route, dotted with elegant châteaux and endless vineyards. Also known as Route des Châteaux, the châteaux are big private mansions built from the 18th century onwards with an undeniable historical value.
What’s special about these châteaux is the on-site vineyards that host the full process of Bordeaux wine production, making them the perfect location for a wine-tasting experience!
This half-day trip is a fantastic way to explore the Châteaux du Médoc if you don’t have a car. If you have a car, check out our quick guide to the Châteaux du Médoc for all the tips to organize your day!
The Route des Châteaux is a perfect day trip from Bordeaux for everyone loving road trips, wine, and history-rich castles!
3. Arcachon and Dune du Pilat
Among the best day trips from Bordeaux, Arcachon is one of our favorites. Located 65 km from Bordeaux, Arcachon is a trendy resort town in the Côte d’Argent s surrounded by the vast pine forests of the Landes.
Besides being famous for its sandy beaches, Arcachon has elegant 19th-century buildings and delicious seafood restaurants everywhere. This seaside town is also known for its oysters, so much so that there are many oyster farms in Arcachon Bay to visit.
South of Arcachon is the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune and one of the best places to visit in Western France. At the height of 102 meters, there is a tall staircase to reach the top of the dune and enjoy the impressive views of the Landes Forest and the Atlantic Ocean!
Arcachon and the Dune du Pilat are great places to travel to if you love relaxing at the beach, but they are also perfect for adventure seekers and surf lovers. This fun day tour from Bordeaux, with an English-speaking guide, combines the best of the area. The tour will take you to Arcachon Bay to enjoy an exquisite oyster tasting and visit the famous Dune du Pilat.
Located 120km from Bordeaux, Cognac is a lovely town in the Charente department. Here, you can try another of the famous French drinks, the cognac, produced in this special wine region.
The town itself is incredibly pretty, with the cobbled streets of the Old Town, the medieval walls with the curtain towers (Tours Saint Jacques), the Charente riverside, and the beautiful Château de Cognac.
Unmissable is a visit with some tastings to one of the prestigious Cognac Houses, with the best ones being Rémy Martin, Hennessy, Martell, and Courvoisier. All of them offer guided visits and tastings, with the possibility of buying your favorite bottles in the on-site shop. Advance booking is necessary, and you can do it through the links provided.
If you are looking to spend a relaxing day strolling around a gorgeous town, tasting delicious French dishes, and sipping one of the region’s best products, then Cognac is one of the best Bordeaux day trips! We recommend taking a guided wine tour to Cognac to learn more about this prestigious French drink and do as many tastings as you want without thinking about how to get back to Bordeaux! This private Cognac tour from Bordeaux always gets good reviews.
5. Sarlat-la-Canéda in Dordogne
A commune in the department of Dordogne, 190 km from Bordeaux, Sarlat-la-Canéda is a picturesque city located right in the heart of the French area where the Périgord Noir truffle can be found.
Sarlat-la-Canéda’s medieval Old Town is an impressive ensemble of narrow streets and wonderful mansions with Gothic and Renaissance influences. Actuallly, Sarlat boasts the highest concentration of listed historical monuments per square meter in France!
There are many direct trains from Bordeaux to Sarlat-la-Canéda, and the train journey takes 2,5 hours (one way). If you visit Sarlat on Saturday, don’t miss its lively market, where you can find many regional delicacies, including truffles (seasonal), foie gras, Rocamadour cheese, and nougat.
A Bordeaux day trip to Sarlat-la-Canéda is ideal if you love trying local food specialties, picking items in small shops and markets, and visiting historical spots.
A famous seaside resort town in the Landes, around 80 km from Biarritz, Biscarrosse offers leisure activities by the shores of the sea and the lake.
Cycle paths and hiking trails cross the surrounding forests and dunes to sandy beaches. Therefore, the area is ideal for sporty people and nature lovers, with many opportunities for cycling, canoeing, and hiking, both along the coast and on the Etang de Cazaux et de Sanguinet (Lake Cazaux).
Frequented by many for surfing, the beautiful long beaches of Biscarosse are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and taking long walks as well.
Whether you are looking for an active day, a relaxing one, or a fun one with your family, Biscarrosse is one of the best day trips from Bordeaux, France.
Located along the Bay of Biscay, close to the Spanish border and 200 km from Bordeaux, Biarritz is one of the most popular beach resorts in France. Long beach walks, sunbathing, and surfing in the ocean, are among the top things to do in Biarritz.
This seaside city has many spots to admire incredible views, such as the Lighthouse and the Plateau de l’Atalaye. Around the town, you will find many stunning Art Déco buildings, particularly the Hotel du Palais, the summer residence of Napoleon III and his wife, and the Casino of Biarritz.
Also unmissable is Port des Pêcheurs (Fishermen’s port), which conserves its ancient charm and is the place to be for a delicious seafood dinner.
If you love going to the beach or admiring history-rich buildings, then Biarritz is one of the best Bordeaux day trips! The train from Bordeaux to Biarritz takes two hours, so if you leave early in the morning, you can get the most out of Biarritz in a day.
8. Cap Ferret
Located on the northern shore of Arcachon Bay, Cap Ferret is a charming seaside town 50 km from Bordeaux.
Surrounded by tall pine trees, oyster farms, and sandy beaches, Cap Ferret is a fantastic spot to relax, sunbathe, or play water sports like kayaking and surfing. Nicknamed the ‘Saint Tropez of the Atlantic’, Cap Ferret is one of the favorite playgrounds for French stars and has upscale independent shops and boutiques for a fun afternoon of shopping.
Besides being such a touristy spot, the area is also inextricably intertwined with the history of France, as there are many bunkhouses along the coastline. You can visit one of the most important bunkhouses in Cap Ferret, directly next to the lighthouse. So, Cap Ferret is also a great place to visit from Bordeaux also if you are a history lover.
For an unforgettable experience, take this guided tour to Cap Ferret, which explores a combination of sites passing from the ocean to the lighthouse, to history with La Chapelle, and to finish with a local and typical tasting.
Bordeaux Day Tours
If you want to see the absolute best sites around Bordeaux, then you should explore on a day tour with an expert guide. A Bordeaux day tour will give you the guidance of a knowledgeable guide as well as a reliable and comfortable car to make your travels that extra bit convenient and special. Here’s the list of the best day tours from Bordeaux, fun-filled Bordeaux day tours with something for everyone:
- Saint-Emilion full-day e-bike tour with lunch and wines
- Saint-Emilion and Médoc full-day wine experience
- Trip to Arcachon & Dune du Pilat + oyster tasting
- Private visit to Cognac with tastings
- Basque Country private tour
And there you have it, the best day trips from Bordeaux, France. Which Bordeaux day trips tempt you most?