The most beautiful roadtrips starting from Bordeaux
Without any doubt, a roadtrip across France is wonderful – you can enjoy imposing castles, idyllic wine streets and dreamy beaches. Simply book a camping van at our roadsurfer location in Bordeaux and off you go. But to make your tour an experience, we will present our three best roadtrips starting from Bordeaux. Here we go!
1. Roadtrip from Bordeaux: On the trail of wine
Literally, France can be called the country of good taste – whether it is fashion, culture, cheese or wine. On your roadtrip from Bordeaux, there are several routes where wine lovers can get their money’s worth and besides, enjoy the beauty of southern France to the fullest.
The key data of our wine route:
- The stations: Bordeaux – St. Émilion – La Roque-Gageac – Millau – Gorges du Tarn – Le Puy-en-Vélay – Beaune
- Kilometers: 850
- Total travel time: 12 hours
Station 1: St. Émilion
About 40 kilometers from Bordeaux, amidst the vineyards of the Dordogne, lies the medieval town of St. Émilion. Not only is the wine a highlight here but also the town itself. With the numerous buildings of the 13th century, a well-preserved Romanesque city wall and the absolute highlight – the Église Monolithe – it really is a feast for the eyes. What makes the church unique? It was carved directly out of limestone in the 12th century and therefore lays subterraneous.
You have no desire for fancy wine and culture anymore? Fortunately, your stopover in St. Émilion offers a lot in terms of sports as well: By bike or by foot, you can explore the area doing wonderful hikes, dare a horse ride or make a boat trip on the Dordogne.
Station 2: La Roque-Gageac
Less than two hours later you reach the small village of La Roque-Gageac – one of the most beautiful villages in France. The village idyllically nestles against a high rock face on the banks of the Dordogne. You reach the church via a steep staircase in the heart of that beautiful city.
From their terrace with its romantic garden you have a fabulous view over the Dordogne valley and the lovely little alleys. If you let your gaze wander, you will discover one of the most interesting historical fortresses in the Périgord – The Castelnaud Castle. Spectacularly, you will find remains of the old cave fortresses in the vertical rock face! But it can only be reached by climbing 140 steps – That means you should be free from giddiness.
Station 3: Millau
In Millau, it is getting sporty since it is considered to be the Mecca of paragliding. You will find eight take-off sites, from where you can swing up in the air with a hang-glider. High up in the sky as well is one of the world’s highest bridges – the Viaduc de Millau. From here you can move on towards the Tarn Valley.
Station 4: Gorges du Tarn
In the north of Millau, you will find a gorge up to 500 meters deep and about 35 kilometers long. The Gorges du Tarn is one of the greatest natural wonders on earth where you can drive straight through and enjoy the view at one of the resting points. In addition, the many small grottos offer a lot of fun for adventurers and “mermaids” – whitewater canoe trips included.
Station 5: Le Puy-en-Vélay
The place of pilgrimage Le Puy-en-Vélay is about a two hours’ drive from Gorges du Tarn. Get enchanted by the romantic alleys as well as the cathedral and enjoy culinary delights on top.
With a three hours’ drive, the final stage of our first roadtrip from Bordeaux is the longest of your route. Arrived in the Burgundy wine capital Beaune, again you shouldn’t miss a tasting. In addition to the good wines, you will also enjoy the historic buildings, castles, monasteries and city gardens. On this place, changing your van against a hot-air balloon ride, a helicopter tour or a flight in an ultra-light plane is worth it.
Second Roadtrip from Bordeaux: A journey to the Atlantic Coast
You’d rather drive to the sea? Simply look north from Bordeaux and steer your van along the rough and beautiful Atlantic coast.
The key data of our coastal route:
- The stations: Bordeaux – Arcachon – Royan – Île d’Oleron – La Rochelle – Cognac
- Kilometers: 400
- Total travel time: 5.5 hours
Station 1: Arcachon
Before heading north, you should not miss a short detour to the south: The Bassin d’Arcachon – a large bay on the Atlantic coast – offers fantastic beaches and the impressive Dune du Pilat. The drifting dune is the largest in Europe and up to 110 meters high and 2.7 kilometers long – a mini desert surrounded by pine groves right on the coast.
Station 2: Royan
On your roadtrip from Bordeaux, you reach the village of Royan starting from Arcachon after three hours. Since the city has almost been completely destroyed during the war, you’ll experience modern architecture. You were looking for medieval backdrops? No chance! But you will find a wonderful promenade with cozy cafés and a fine sandy beach. But also sports enthusiasts will be happy: kitesurfing, sailing, hiking and cycling are just a few of the activities offered here.
Station 3: Île d’Oleron
If you speak a little French, you know that the next destination on your roadtrip from Bordeaux is an island which can easily be reached via bridge. As a fish and seafood lover, you’re right here since the Atlantic island is a stronghold of oyster farming – there’s hardly a fresher place.
Even though the French people come here for holiday too, you can let your soul dangle as it rarely is overcrowded. Enjoy the cozy beaches on the outskirts of the small villages and visit the Citadelle du Ch’teau d’Oléron. Learn about the history of salt extraction at Port de Salines. Finally, Fort Boyard will make you shudder.
Station 4: La Rochelle
Back from the island you visit the town of La Rochelle, which has a proud population of 75,000. Nevertheless it still looks like a dreamy little town. In summer, the port city unfortunately is overcrowded by the numerous tourists – a pity, but no excuse to skip the city! Our tip: get up early and go off to the harbor with its impressive towers. You will have a have a magnificent view from the Tour Saint-Nicolas.
Third Roadtrip from Bordeaux: discover the Basque Country
You want to experience not only France but also the north of Spain? Then your road trip takes you from Bordeaux via Toulouse through the Pyrenees directly to the Basque Country of the Iberian Peninsula.
The key data of the mountain route
- The stations: Bordeaux – Bergerac – Cahors – Toulouse – Biarritz – San Sebastián/Bilbao
- Kilometers: 970
- Total travel time: 13 hours
Station 1: Bergerac
The city of Bergerac is located at the Dordogne and above all known for its wines. Also worth seeing is the bridge over the river and the local tobacco museum. The sweet alleyways invite you to stroll thinking about the mysterious legend Cyrano de Bergerac – It is said, that the mysterious Count has never really been here. Nevertheless, there is still a statue.
Here, you should definitely visit the weekly markets where you will find traditional commercial art at its best – Thick geese and tasty fruits will make your mouth start to water. Winter travelers should not miss the truffles sold every Saturday morning in January.
Station 2: Cahors
Cahors is less than two hours away from Bergerac. The city has impressive historic buildings, first and foremost Pont Valentré with its three fortified towers and six arches built in the 14th century. The defensive construction became the city’s symbol and part of the French Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela – the bridge has also been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy the best view from Mont Saint-Cyr.
Station 3: Toulouse
Toulouse doesn’t carry its nickname “La ville rose”, meaning “the pink city”, with no reason. Most of the buildings in France’s fourth largest metropolis are made of red bricks. It is located on the Garonne and the Pont neuf – the oldest bridge of its kind – is definitely worth a visit. Besides, you shouldn’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Basilica St-Sernin de Toulouse. If you’re getting hungry, the culinary highlight of the city will help: Cassoulet is a stew of white beans with different meat. Another highlight: the old Maison de l’eau et Fontaine of Chartreux, which still provides the city with drinking water today.
Station 4: Biarritz
The really spectacular thing about Biarritz? The journey! Your drive takes you straight through the western foothills of the Pyrenees – meaning you should bring some driving skills. The seaside and spa town shines through the Grand Plage – the city beach – with its 73-metre-high lighthouse. Another highlight of the city is the rock reef Rocher de la Vierge which is close to the fishing port. Over a bridge constructed by Gustave Effel, you can easily reach the natural highlight.
Station 5: San Sebastián & Bilbao
From Biarritz it goes directly to the Atlantic coast and straight into the heart of the Spanish Basque Country. In San Sebastián, you can enjoy delicious tapas in beach cafés and visit the world-famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Basque capital. And after a ride with the small cable car up to the city mountain Artxanda, you can enjoy the most beautiful view over the city.