Updated August 2023
Spending part of our summer in Bordeaux was one of the most magical things we have ever done as a family. What made our experience even more enriching was the ability to take wonderful day trips from Bordeaux. From the amazing food to the architecture to the museums, Bordeaux is so rich in culture, and yet there is a lot to discover outside of the city.
This vibrant city is also surrounded by so many amazing towns and villages. That said, if you are in Bordeaux for longer than a few days, there are some worthwhile day trips to keep in mind. The public transport system is great in Bordeaux. It’s super easy to enter and leave the city via busses and trains. That said, for at least a couple of day trips, it’s not a bad idea to consider renting a car.
Also, while some travelers prefer to do things on their own and in their own time, Get Your Guide is a great resource for booking guided tours. In addition to hooking you up with some of the best tour guides, it also allows you to experience some unforgettable excursions that are otherwise difficult to enjoy without an expert. It’s one option for getting more personalized tours.
Without further ado, here are five beautiful day trips from Bordeaux that you don’t want to miss!
Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for Day Trips from Bordeaux:
- Wine tasting in Saint-Emilion
- Wine tasting in the Médoc
- Oyster tasting and Dune du Pilat sand dunes in Arcachon Bay
5 Beautiful Day Trips from Bordeaux
Saint-Emilion is a medieval city located in the heart of Libournais’s hilly wine country. There are around 800 wineries in Saint-Emilion, making this the ultimate Bordeaux day trip for wine lovers. Getting from Bordeaux to Saint-Emilion only takes a little over an hour via train, making public a great option.
Booking this Get Your Guide tour is a great way to visit all of the best wineries and enjoy and more in-depth experience. I would also highly recommend renting bikes and riding through the medieval architecture and past the stunning vineyards.
One of my favorite spots for wine tasting is in the Cloitre des Cordeliers which has beautiful gardens, a wine bar and restaurant, and an amazing cellar under the church. When it comes to food, definitely stop by Nadia Fermigier at 9 Rue Guadet, 33330 Saint-Émilion for melt-in-your-mouth macarons. Le Table de Pavie and Logis de la Cadène are both Michelin-starred restaurants, but you’ll definitely need to make a reservation in advance.
Looking to enjoy a picturesque day at the beach? Soulac-Sur-Mer is a quaint coastal town located in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Though it is only about an hour and a half north of Bordeaux, it is best visited by car rather than train.
Most of the beaches are wide and sandy, and kids are able to run around and splash in the shallow waters at the shoreline. Simple strolling along the coast is a great way to spend a day at Soulac-Sur-Mer, and there are some great restaurants along the water. Also, ordering oysters and other fresh seafood is an absolute must when visiting Soulac-Sur-Mer.
Le Grill Océan at 2 Esp. des Girondins, 33780 Soulac-Sur-Mer, France offers partial sea views that pair wonderfully with their fresh seafood-forward menu. Baïne café Soulac is a more casual eatery that also boasts breathtaking ocean views from the laid-back outdoor patio. Even just grabbing a drink at either of these restaurants before heading back to Bordeaux is a great way to end this mellow and beachy day trip.
Heading to Bordeaux? Check out my ultimate Bordeaux travel guide!
3. Spa day at Les Source de Caudalie
If you’re seeking something low-key and nearby, Les Source de Caudalie is only 30 minutes from Bordeaux. This luxury hotel is beyond dreamy, providing the perfect backdrop for a serene spa day. That said, you’ll definitely want to make reservations in advance.
Spa Vinotherapie offers unique “rituals” that send you into a trance of tranquility. From massages to facials, these treatment rituals use natural ingredients from grapes and grapevines to create a one-of-a-kind and fitting spa experience. After your service, you can spend some downtime in the heated swimming pools or natural hot baths that contain healing minerals from the spring directly under the ground.
Take this Bordeaux day trip to the next level by booking lunch at one of the 4 on-site restaurants. La Grand’Vigne is fancier, boasting two Michelin stars, while La Table du Lavoir provides a more casual, bistro-like setting. To get to Les Source de Caudalie, simply take the train down and then take a taxi directly to the hotel from the station.
Médoc is considered to be a wine-growing region. That said, when taking a day trip from Bordeaux, Médoc is most popular for wine tasting and touring the vineyards. Some of the main varietals produced in this region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Carménère.
While some prefer to tour at their own leisure, I wouldn’t recommend that in Médoc. This idyllic town is best experienced during a guided tour. However, if you map everything out beforehand and book in advance, a self-led tour is possible.
Though there are many different wineries to choose from, Chateau du Taillan is a family-owned estate that is now run by five sisters. It has been around since 1896, but now, its primary focus is bottling the best wines and highlighting the importance of having women in the wine industry.
Chateau d’Arsac is another favorite of mine that houses some incredible contemporary artwork in addition to quality vino. Visiting Chateau d’Arsac sort of doubles as a museum or art experience. Everything at this winery is very intentional and intrinsically linked, which has led to Chateau d’Arsac being one of the most visited places in Médoc.
5. Arcachon Bay
Arcachon Bay provides a nice blend of culinary and outdoorsy fun. It is best reached by taking the train from the city center of Bordeaux, which only takes around 50 minutes. Once you arrive, the beach is only about 10 minutes away by foot. There are also great day tours available from the city that offer a private guide and driver that include an oyster tasting and a visit to the Dune du Pilat sand dunes. This seaside town is best known for its ultra-fresh oysters and seafood, along with its breathtaking beaches that are located in the southern portion of the bay.
Since it’s so close, Arcachon Bay is a great place to plan activities at your leisure and take things at your own pace. There are several restaurants right on the water, allowing you to bounce back and forth between the beach and bites. The water at Arcachon Bay is striking, and you’ll want to enjoy the views and crisp ocean breeze as much as possible while visiting.
That said, if you’re looking to spend as much time on the water as possible, consider booking a boat excursion to Cap Ferret. This upscale, residential headland has great beaches for swimming and surfing, along with fun bars and delicious seafood restaurants.
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