Dordogne Self-Guided Activities

9 days
Suitable for:
Age 8+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Min age:

Combine three of our exciting holidays to experience the ultimate activity holiday in the Dordogne. 

Explore one of the most fascinating corners of the Dordogne on this varied and flexible, walking, cycling and canoeing holiday. The Perigord Noir, arguably one of the most attractive parts of the Dordogne, is named as such for its rich dark oak and chestnut forests which fill the very heart of this region. The area offers spectacular scenery with ancient chateaux perched high above the rugged cliffs overlooking the entire valley. You'll find mediaeval villages full of character and a plethora of historical sites including the Benedictine Abbaye Sainte-Marie in Souillac, founded during the C12 and which suffered badly during the Hundred Years' War. 


  • Three activities in one holiday: two days canoeing with a choice of walking or cycling for the remaining days
  • Impressive chateaux, troglodyte cave dwellings, Rocamadour, Grottes de Lacave and Gouffre de Padirac
  • Dramatic river valleys, pinky-gold cliffs and mediaeval villages
  • Friendly, family-run hotels, all with pools and fine food

Key information

  • 8 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Every 2 days from 2 Jun '19 to 24 Sep '19
  • Route notes and maps provided 
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Route notes and maps provided 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Buoyancy aid and helmet provided
  • Canadian canoes or sit-on top kayaks included
  • Countries visited: France

What's included

  • All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals 
  • All accommodation
  • Route notes and maps 
  • High quality bikes 
  • Route notes and maps 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 
  • Buoyancy aid and helmet 
  • Canadian canoes or sit-on top kayaks 

What's not included

  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplements
Call for general departures:
00 97150 6599 170
Call for private group trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Family

The walking and cycling is a mixture of shady wood and farmland, along quiet country roads and cycle tracks, dotted with little Périgord villages. The Dordogne is an ideal canoeing river, not only fast flowing, mostly quite shallow and with a gravelly bottom so it's more difficult to run aground, even in high summer.

Day by day breakdown
Day 215.0km/10.0miles
Day 417.0km/11.0miles
Day 620.0km/13.0miles
Day 832.0km/20.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Arrive in Martel

    Arrive at your 3-star hotel, a former convent school in 7000m2 of private gardens. (Staying at Le Relais St Anne)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Martel to Meyronne

    Today, walkers will enjoy wonderful 360 degree views from the summit of Mont Mercou, along with views over the Dordogne Valley, while cyclists will pass the lovely village of Gluges, on the banks of the Dordogne River. Before you leave Martel, why not explore its medieval streets, in particular the Palais de la Raymondie and the Place de la Halle? (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    At Meyronne

    You have lots of choices today. Either relax by the hotel pool or walk south of the river to Rochers Ste Marie and the Grottes de Lacave. If you prefer to cycle (or use our walking route notes) head to the town of Rocamadour, home to the shrine of the Black Madonna and one of France's most venerated religious sites. Alternatively, travel by taxi to the Gouffre de Padirac, an enormous chasm where you descend into an underground cave system which you then explore by boat along the subterranean stream. (Staying at Hotel La Terrasse)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Meyronne to Souillac Canoe

    We meet you after breakfast for your briefing and canoeing lesson before you set off on this easy paddle, taking you below pinky-gold cliffs with buzzards and kites soaring overhead and the imposing chateaux of Belcastel and de la Treyne (to name but two), perched up high above the river. (Staying at La Vieille Auberge)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Souillac

    Wander round this bustling town, people watch or visit the Musee de l'Automate which holds the largest collection of mechanical toys and dolls in France. You might also like to walk to La Durantie for some of the most stunning views along the Dordogne Valley or cycle to the Chateau de Fenelon, a Cathar stronghold during the 12th and 13th century. There is also the option to cycle to the impressive Jardins de Cadiot made up of ten gardens within two hectares of land - the choice is yours! (Staying at La Vieille Auberge)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Souillac to Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse Canoe

    Its gentle paddling again today down to Grolejac through the heart of peaceful and prosperous Perigord countryside, leaving plenty of time for swimming, picnicking or just lazing by the river. We pick you up and take you to the tranquil Chateau de Monrecour where you stay for the next two nights. (Staying at Chateau de Monrecour)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    At Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse

    Stroll to Beynac and climb the steep footpath lined with 15th to 17th century stone houses up to the spectacular 13th century hilltop chateau; the reward for your effort is the breathtaking view of the serpentine sweep of the river. Or you could visit the beautiful Jardins de Marqueyssac and the impressive Chateau de Castelnaud (approximately 6km/4mi away). (Staying at Chateau de Monrecour)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse to Sarlat

    Today you can choose to go on foot or pedal through pretty villages and shaded woods before arriving at medieval Sarlat with its Renaissance facades and richly ornamented buildings now protected by law. Wander through the narrow streets, discovering ancient courtyards as you peep through ornate archways, then its on to the tranquility of your hotel, in time for a last dip in the pool before dinner. (Staying at Hotel Meysset)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Leave Sarlat

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and evening meals included.

The Dordogne has a rich cuisine based on produits du terroir (locally grown produce). Typical first courses include tourain, an onion and garlic soup cooked in a broth with duck or goose fat, and ladled over slices of country bread and cheese. Pâté, often duck or goose, is equally popular, as is foie gras - ideally washed down with a glass of Sauternes or Monbazillac. Main course specialities also include duck and goose, often served in light cream sauces and, in the autumn, fresh cèpes. Duck or goose fat is also used for the accompanying pommes de terre sarladaises - slices of potato sautéed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms - delicious! Traditional desserts include tarte aux noix (walnut tart), gâteau aux noix, and flognarde, a type of flan with fruit and liqueur. A local cheese worth tasting is Bleu des Causses, similar to Roquefort, as well as Rocamadour goat’s cheese.

Some of the finest wines of France come from the south-west. Bordeaux is the largest wine region in the world, producing over 500 million litres a year. There are over 40 different appellations, including some of the most prestigious in France - Sauternes, Saint Emilion and Pauillac. Monbazillac is a renowned sweet dessert wine, while many of the lesser known regional wines are much cheaper but well worth trying. Bergerac reds and whites are also highly recommended; there is a delicious rosé too. Pécharment red is another one to try. See the section on Wine Service in our ‘All you need to know Guide’.


Summers in the Dordogne are warm-hot with temperatures reaching 25-35 degrees Celcius. There may be occasional storms and showers, these are usually short but you should be prepared. Colder spells can also arrive and last a day or two. Temperatures in the early morning can still be quite mild, so it is a good idea to have an additional layer.

In spring and autumn the weather in the Dordogne is similar but milder, with temperatures around 22-28 degrees Celcius and with a greater chance of rain - especially in late spring.

Is this trip for you?

On foot, bike and by canoe, venture through the Perigord experiencing what this picturesque region has to offer. You have total flexibility with the choice of either walking or cycling routes when you're not canoeing. The canoeing is safe and undemanding, and we will give you a lesson in handling your canoe before you set off. Your journey starts in Martel, a picturesque town also known as 'la ville aux sept tours' or the town of seven towers, moving on to Meyronne, on the banks of the Dordogne. From here you pick up your paddle, canoeing downstream to Souillac and on to Beynac with its hilltop castle, captured by Richard the Lionheart in 1179, finally arriving in mediaeval Sarlat. 

NB: All customers must be able to swim at least 50m fully clothed. We provide 2/3 person canoes (minimum age 8 years). Single-person kayaks are also available if specified when you book. Only suitable for children over 12 unless experienced. Should the river, at any point, be deemed too high to safely canoe, we will provide Headwater bikes at no extra charge for all days affected.

Call for general departures:
00 97150 6599 170
Call for private group trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.



You will stay in characterful 3-star hotels throughout, all with private swimming pools. These range from a stunningly converted 11th century chateau to a panoramic country house, set in its own private parkland. You'll enjoy delicious evening meals in this area renowned for its gastronomic traditions. 

Call for general departures:
00 97150 6599 170
Call for private group trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 00 97150 6599 170