Did you know that, in terms of production and acreage, Bordeaux is the largest wine region in France?
While those 300,000 acres of vineyard can keep any traveler occupied for days, the surrounding area boasts a number of sites you won’t want to miss. From elegant and grandiose chateaux’s to climbing Europe’s largest sand dune, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of France.
After having your fill of some of the best wines the world has to offer, check out these 5 best day trips from Bordeaux. Whether you’re looking for adventure, history, or more wine tastings, we’ve found day trips to suit your needs.
Learn more about the best day trips from Bordeaux below and start planning your unforgettable trip today.
1. Saint Émilion
Located just 35 kilometers northeast of Bordeaux is the medieval village of Saint Émilion. Nestled between Castillon-la-Bataille and Libourne, the village takes its name from the 8th century travelling monk who settled in a hermitage here. While the monks who followed him were responsible for the beginnings of commercial wine production in the area, vineyards have been planted here as early as the 2nd century.
Today, Saint Émilion is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the best day trips from Bordeaux if you’re looking for history, beauty, and a little of what Bordeaux is famous for (aka wine). The streets are dotted with Romanesque churches, medieval ruins, and narrow, cobbled streets that will take you back in time. And with our guided tour of this historic town, you’ll get 8 hours-worth of exploration, food, and wine tasting.
2. Visit Châteaux’s in Bordeaux (Via Public Transport)
The Bordeaux region houses no less than 6,000 different chateaux’s – any one of which makes for a great Bordeaux day trip. The best part? The majority of these are accessible via public transport.
There are chateaux’s to suit every taste and style. Architectural designs range from Gothic to Classical, Renaissance to contemporary. Wines range from travel budget-friendly to luxurious. But one thing all chateaux’s share in common is their elegance.
Thanks to an efficient and affordable public transport system, you can fit more than one chateaux into your day trips from Bordeaux. You might hit Pessac-Leognan and Pape Clemente in one day. Depending on how early you rise, it’s possible to fit La Mission Haut Brion or Les Carmes Haut Brion into that same day. But if you prefer quality over quantity, Chateau d’Agassac or Sarlat make for a great full day of exploration.
3. Arcachon and Dune du Pilat
Between 2010 and 2015, the number of tourists visiting Bordeaux more than doubled, from 2.4 million to 5.8 million. Although a large portion of those tourists are coming for the vineyards and vintages that make the Bordeaux region famous, others are equally as interested in what the surrounding area has to offer.
That brings us to our adventure option for day trips from Bordeaux: The Bay of Arachon or, more specifically, the Dune du Pilat.
Dominating the landscape of the Arachon Bay on the western coast of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Pyla, as it’s known by locals, is the highest sand dune in Europe. At 2.9 kilometers long, 616 meters wide, and 110 meters high, there’s no better spot to take in views of the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic pine forest surrounding the peninsula.
You can reach this fantastic full day adventure by train or car. The local train takes only 5 minutes longer than the 45 minutes you’d spend in the car, and you’ll be thankful for not having to drive after hiking along this enormous dune all day.
One word of advice: the sand dune will be busy during peak travel seasons so, if you can, try and hit this spot when there won’t be swarms of tourists accessing it.
4. Wine Tasting in Margaux
Just northwest of the city of Bordeaux, sitting on the left bank of the Garonne estuary, is Margaux. This wine growing commune is part of the Appellation d’origine controlee which includes the villages of Arsac, Cantenac, Labarde, and Soussans. But the most important village of the Appellation is, by and large, the village of Margaux.
The primary point of interest here is the chateaux that goes by the same name. With less than an hour travel time via train, bus, or car, you’ll be tasting some of the best Bordeaux wines the region has to offer. And with 21 cru classé châteaux, Margaux produces more than any other commune in the Bordeaux region.
Better yet, discover more about the wines and landscapes of Margaux, Pauillac, and Saint-Julien appellations with our full day Medoc tour.
5. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The first applications to UNESCO under the “urban ensemble exception” category went to the Ministry of Culture in 2005. By June 28, 2007, Bordeaux was officially added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Approximately 2718 acres of Bordeaux’s 10,872 acre total are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites – and that fact makes it unique among UNESCO membership.
Sites such as Port de la Lune, neighborhoods like Bassin a Flots and Baccalan, and architectural masterpieces kept perfectly intact since the 18th and 19th centuries will delight more than just history buffs on these Bordeaux day trips.
Day Trips from Bordeaux With GoCar Tours
The Bordeaux region is France’s largest and, as such, it boasts more than just vineyards and chateaux’s for visitors to enjoy. Surrounding the area are natural and historical sites that appeal to travelers of all ages, interests, and abilities.
Choose to adventure out to Pyla for a day of walking along the giant sand dune or spend a full day exploring the seemingly endless number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And for even more day trips from Bordeaux options, check out our full list of guided GoCar tours here.