6 best bordeaux day trips

Last updated Jun 04, 2023

There’s so much to see and do in Bordeaux itself that you might be tempted to stay put and soak up the history, culture and world-class food scene that’s right on your doorstep - no one would blame you! But if you have half a day (or more) to spare, and you’ve been dreaming of sprawling vineyards and sandy beaches then we’ve got you covered.  

Bordeaux is the ideal base to explore France’s most famous wine region and the surrounding areas of natural beauty including beaches, forests and protected bays. The best bit? You can find these gems within a 2 hour drive of the city… Let’s go!


1. the wine of saint-émilion & route des vins du médoc

The nectar of the Gods is calling… It should come as no surprise that Bordeaux is home to some of the world’s very best wines. Follow your palette along the Route des vins du Médoc stopping at wineries for tastings and tours of the vineyards. Don’t miss the stunning medieval town of Saint Émilion with shops, museums and wine bars spilling onto the cobbled streets. Pick up a few bottles to bring home, or hire a taxi to take you to the best wineries so you can indulge in a few glasses along the way. Most of the vineyards and wine stops are about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux city centre.

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2. surf’s up at lacanau

Get ready to ride some awesome waves along Lacanau’s 16km of beautiful beaches. Never surfed before? You’re in luck, there’s tons of surf schools offering lessons to noobs and improvers. Absolutely no interest in surfing? No problem, there’s a dreamy pine forest to explore and lots of lovely restaurants to check out. For a truly unique experience, leave the car behind and cycle the 66km through a dedicated cycle path from Bordeaux to Lacanau through stunning pine woodland. It’ll take around 4.5 hours to complete, but you can reward yourself with a beer on the beach! The journey is a 1 hour drive if you’re that way inclined.

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3. oysters and sand dunes at le bassin d’arcachon

For adventure seekers and boujee foodies alike! This whole region is bursting with incredible sights and experiences. Just an hour’s drive away from Bordeaux, climb the unmissable Dune du Pilat – the largest sand dune in Europe! You’ll be rewarded with views over the bay and a fun tumble down again. This region is particularly renowned for its oysters. Stroll along the bay to find "cabanes à huîtres" (oysters cabins) or go on a walking tour with an oyster farmer to learn more about these salty delicacies. If you’re a bird lover, take a boat trip or kayak to the “Ile aux Oiseaux” (Bird island) and spot the houses on stilts. End your day with a seafood feast in a restaurant at Lège-Cap Ferret, a pretty peninsula with the bay on one side and the ocean on the other. A perfect day out.

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4. nature at le parc naturel régional des landes de gascogne

Calling all nature lovers, immerse yourself in the massive forest of Le Parc Naturel Régional des Landes de Gascogne. Head off on a beautiful hike, hire a mountain bike, or try your hand at horse riding through the magical woodland. For a slice of culture, find the Contemporary Art Forest, a unique trail combining artworks and nature. There’s also the option of canoeing down the Leyre River, stopping for picnics and photo ops along the riverbank. The park is about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux.


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5. culture and castles at dordogne & périgord noir

Head just a little further away (1-2 hour drive) to find castles, prehistoric sites and plenty of traditional French cooking. You could explore the beautiful city of Bergerac or take the family to the Château de Bridoire, a medieval castle with kid’s activities, a labyrinth and events throughout the summer. Alternatively you could find the massive prehistoric caves, Grottes de Lascaux, and wander around Sarlat-la-Canéda, a stunning medieval town designed by Jean Nouvel that will seduce you with its beautiful architecture and excellent food.

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6. the beachy cities in basque country

Have a little more time to spare? Combine your Bordeaux trip with a couple of days in one of beautiful Basque cities of Bayonne, Biarritz or St. Jean de Luz. Set along the seafront with festivals and events programmed throughout the summer, and world famous food and shopping, it’s a no-brainer! The Fêtes de Bayonne (July 26th – 30th) is a particularly special spectacle. The whole city dresses in white and red and enjoys 5 days of music, games and general good vibes. Just over 2 hours’ drive away from Bordeaux, enjoy these beachy cities any time of year.


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Bordeaux France

staying at bordeaux city centre

Bordeaux: elegance, vineyards, tricorn hats, historic architecture, bicycles, canelés, brasseries, quaint trams, and stately mansions.