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8 Best Day Trips from Bordeaux

A few kilometers from Bordeaux you will discover endless vineyards, postcard landscapes and medieval villages. The excursions I am going to mention here are perfect to get to know them.

Sonsoles Jimenez

Sonsoles Jimenez

11 min read

8 Best Day Trips from Bordeaux

Rio Gironda |©Olga Serjantu

Bordeaux is the capital of New Aquitaine, a region that hides villages and landscapes of great beauty. But it is also the wine capital of France. Therefore, many of the excursions you can do from this city will take you to visit vineyards and wineries.

If you plan to spend several days in the city, one of the best things to do in Bordeaux is to reserve at least one of the days to explore the surroundings. You will discover fascinating corners. To give you a small idea, here are the most interesting tours.

1. Excursion to the medieval village of Saint Émilion

Saint-Émilion|©Ewan Henderson
Saint-Émilion|©Ewan Henderson

Saint Émilion is a beautiful medieval walled village included in the World Heritage List. It is less than an hour from Bordeaux and its cobbled streets, its golden stone buildings and its charming atmosphere will seduce you from the first moment.

However, in addition to the above, this small village hides many other treasures that you should not miss. For example, here you will find the largest monolithic church in Europe. To give you an idea, the Church of Saint Émilion is 38 meters long and 12 meters high and was carved entirely into the rock in the 12th century.

Not only this church is carved into the rock, but also the 200 kilometers of subway galleries of the town, and this has its explanation: it is one of the largest wine-growing areas of Bordeaux and in these passages the wine was matured. If you like the world of oenology, you should not miss to book an excursion to Saint Émilion. Some of the tours include, in addition to the visit to the village, stops to contemplate the vineyards and to visit a winery. In these cases, you can usually enjoy a wine tasting.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 103 € per person for a half-day visit.
  • Duration: 4 hours approximately.
  • Advantages of this option: it allows an approach to the Bordeaux wine culture in one of the areas of greatest production.
  • Disadvantages of this option: tours with winery visits do not usually admit participants under 18 years of age.

Book an excursion to Saint Émilion

2. Excursion to Arcachon Bay and the largest dune in Europe

Arcachon dunes|©dorjey
Arcachon dunes|©dorjey

If you are going to enjoy at least three days in Bordeaux and want to discover an incredible place, I recommend you to book the excursion to Arcachon and the Pilat Dune. In the Arcachon Bay you will discover a place to enjoy with all five senses. And it is less than an hour from Bordeaux by car.

Do you know all that this bay hides? 76 kilometers of beaches, endless forests, the second largest lake in France, the longest pier in the country and the highest dune in Europe. The latter, the Pilat dune is almost 3 kilometers long, more than 600 meters wide and at some points reaches 110 meters high. For all these reasons, this is one of the most entertaining excursions you can enjoy with children. The little ones will feel like real adventurers as they climb this immense dune or run along the beaches of the bay.

The city of Arcachon is another little treasure. On the one hand, for its beautiful modernist architecture. On the other hand, because if you have a gourmet palate, here you can taste the delicious oysters that are raised in the waters of the bay and are renowned for their quality.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 303 € per person.
  • Duration: about 9 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you will tour one of the most scenic areas of France.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it is not accessible and requires a certain level of fitness to climb the dune.

Book the excursion to Arcachon and the Dune de Pilat

3. Excursion to visit the chateaux of Margaux

Château Margaux|©Norman27
Château Margaux|©Norman27

If your great interest is to know everything about Bordeaux wines, my advice is not to miss this experience. Margaux is famous for its magnificent stately mansions that dominate vineyards and where wines have been produced for centuries.

Among all of them, the Château Margaux stands out. In fact, this building has been called the "Versailles of the Médoc". And it is not only important for its architecture, but also for the quality of the wine it produces.

If you book an excursion to Margaux, you should know that the tours do not usually include a visit to this chateau, but they do include a visit to another winery where you can participate in a small wine tasting and take away a great taste of your visit to Bordeaux, from which this area is just over 30 kilometers away.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 89 € per person.
  • Duration: about 4 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a tour that allows you to learn how some of the world's best wines are produced.
  • Disadvantages of this option: only part of the Médoc, one of the largest wine production areas in Bordeaux, is visited.

Book an excursion to Margaux

4. Tour of the Dordogne to discover its most beautiful villages

Dordogne|©Javier Pereda
Dordogne|©Javier Pereda

Dordogne is one of the most interesting regions of the country. It is dotted with medieval villages that will make you fall in love at first sight. In fact, some of them are included in the list of the most beautiful villages in France.

But its territory hides many places of great interest. This is the case of the Lascaux cave, where valuable samples of cave art have been found. And it is also the case of the Périgord, with four different and equally beautiful natural regions.

If you book a private excursion to the Dordogne, you will obviously not be able to enjoy all that this region has to offer. But it is a good way to get closer to it, to discover some of its treasures and, perhaps, to make the decision to visit it more calmly on another occasion.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 1.183 €.
  • Duration: about 8 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you will visit a region very different from New Aquitaine, of which Bordeaux is the capital.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it is interesting only if you have already made another excursion around Bordeaux.

Book a private excursion to Dordogne

5. Excursion to the Médoc and its cellars

Médoc seen from above|©Julien Bramary
Médoc seen from above|©Julien Bramary

The Médoc is one of the most fascinating areas you can visit less than an hour from Bordeaux. On the one hand, it is bathed by the waters of the Gironde estuary, considered a natural marine park. On the other side, there are the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. And, in between, a territory planted with pine trees and, above all, vineyards.

This is one of the largest wine-producing areas in Bordeaux. In fact, some of the most internationally recognized wines are produced here for their excellent quality. That is the reason for most of the excursions to the Médoc: to learn about the process of elaboration of its excellent wines in one of its many cellars.

But the Médoc offers many other attractions. And some of them can be enjoyed on excursions from Bordeaux. This is the case of a variety of landscapes that few regions in France can match, or those chateaux, which more than wineries here are authentic mansions surrounded by vineyards.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 100 € per person for half-day visits and around 160 € for full-day visits.
  • Duration: between 4 and 9 hours, depending on the modality chosen.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a great experience for oenology enthusiasts.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the experiences with wine tasting are restricted to adults.

6. Garonne river cruise

Garonne River|©Bernard Blanc
Garonne River|©Bernard Blanc

This is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux with children. Aboard a small boat, you will sail along a stretch of the Garonne River, one of the greatest natural treasures of France. In addition, you have several options to choose the one that best suits your plans or the time you will stay in the city.

The shortest Garonne river cruises will only allow you to contemplate the beauty of the city of Bordeaux. You will also be able to admire the magnificent bridges that allow you to cross the riverbed nearby, such as the Jacques-Chaban-Delmas drawbridge or the Aquitaine suspension bridge.

If you have time, my advice is to choose a longer cruise. In some cases they include snacks, lunch or brunch. The advantage is that from them you will be able to contemplate the impressive Gironde estuary and also the beauty of one of Bordeaux's wine-growing areas: the Médoc. Do not hesitate to include it in your plans in Bordeaux in May or in the summer months, when temperatures are warm enough.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 58 € per person.
  • Duration: between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the type of cruise chosen.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a recommended excursion if you are traveling with small children. There is no age limit.
  • Disadvantages of this option: its realization depends on weather conditions.

7. Excursion to the citadel of Blaye

Blaye|©Herman Verheij
Blaye|©Herman Verheij

Blaye is a place you will really enjoy if you like history and, above all, military architecture. Here stands an impressive citadel designed by Vauban, a prominent 17th century engineer whose works are now part of the World Heritage List.

The citadel of Blaye, with its ramparts and bastions, was the guardian of the port of Bordeaux. If you want to enjoy great views of the Gironde estuary, this is one of the best places to do so. But the excursion to Blaye will also allow you to get to know the vineyards of this area and some of the wines produced there.

Blaye can be reached from Bordeaux by cruise ship or by the Corniche scenic road. Both possibilities offer unbeatable views of the Gironde estuary before reaching the city. Choosing one or the other will depend on your preferences.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 70 € per person.
  • Duration: about 3 to 4 hours, depending on whether the excursion is done by river or by land.
  • Advantages of this option: it combines history, nature and the wine tradition of the area. The cruise option is ideal if you are traveling with children.
  • Disadvantages of this option: short time to fully enjoy the landscapes or visit the citadel.

8. Tour of the French Basque Country

Hondarribia / Fuenterrabia|©Luis Pérez Contreras
Hondarribia / Fuenterrabia|©Luis Pérez Contreras

The French Basque Country is a land of contrasts, elegant cities and idyllic landscapes. From Bordeaux you can discover some of its most beautiful corners in a day trip that will be intense, but unforgettable.

These tours usually stop in the glamorous Biarritz, with its idyllic beaches, its beautiful harbor or its mansions. You will not be the only thing you will see, but you will also visit two postcard-perfect towns: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Espelette.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 590 € for groups of up to 8 people.
  • Duration: about 12 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: to know the strong contrasts between this territory and the rest of the New Aquitaine region.
  • Disadvantages of this option: due to its duration, it can be tiring.

Tips for enjoying the excursions from Bordeaux

Comfortable folded clothes|© Mnz
Comfortable folded clothes|© Mnz

Any of these excursions will make you enjoy unforgettable moments, but it is important that you also keep in mind some small tips to make the most of the experience:

  • Ideally, you should wear comfortable clothes and shoes, especially on excursions that include visits to vineyards. If you plan to visit Bordeaux in October or later, you should also take into account the likelihood of rain, so it is advisable to pack some waterproof clothing in your suitcase.
  • The weather may affect some of the excursions. In any case, you will always have the possibility to change the date at no cost or get your money back.
  • If you are traveling with children, check in advance the minimum age to participate in the excursions you are interested in. There are similar options in which the age limit varies slightly.
  • Boat excursions are usually in high demand, so it is important that you book as soon as possible to avoid missing out on them.
  • In some cases you can visit two areas of interest in a single excursion, such as the Saint Émilion and Médoc tours. It is possible to do them separately or in a single tour.
  • The ones I have mentioned are just some of the excursions you can do from Bordeaux. If your stay allows it, there are other places of great interest nearby, for example Angoulême, the Cognac area or the Landes de Gascogne Natural Park.

Book an excursion to Saint Émilion

What will I see on this type of excursion from Bordeaux?

Stone tower in the distance|© Dylan Leagh
Stone tower in the distance|© Dylan Leagh

One of the advantages of tours from Bordeaux is that they allow you to see many different places. Many of them focus on wine tours and will take you to places where you will discover the whole winemaking process, from the field to the table.

But this is only a part of what you can discover on tours from Bordeaux. You can also visit historical sites, amazing monuments, areas of great natural and scenic value or villages where time seems to stand still.

And all this, seasoned not only with good wines, but also with a special cuisine in which meat and seafood have a huge role.

Book the excursion to Arcachon and the Dune de Pilat

Why is it advisable to take a guided tour from Bordeaux?

Excursion in Bordeaux|©WorldSkills
Excursion in Bordeaux|©WorldSkills

Bordeaux has excellent communications with all its surrounding area to enjoy the best things to do in Bordeaux. Thanks to this you will be able to reach without difficulties by public transport the places of interest near the city. However, you will be dependent on schedules and transfers may cause you to lose time.

Guided tours pick you up in the center of Bordeaux and take you directly to those places worth visiting. This way you can get the most out of your stay in the city. And, on the other hand, you will not miss any site that is of interest, since the guides will show you the best things to see in each of the towns or places you visit.

You should also note that the offer of excursions from Bordeaux is very wide. You will always be able to find one that suits both your preferences and the time you are going to stay in the city, with the convenience of not having to worry about organizing anything at all.

Book an excursion to Margaux