Explore the river valleys, medieval villages, ancient woodland and fairytale chateaux on our Dordogne trips in France. This stunning region is set apart by its dramatic scenery, exquisite cuisine and peaceful lanes that make it a perfect choice for cycling trips and walking holidays. Whether you’re pedalling along the riverbanks or walking along glorious golden-pink limestone cliffs, passing walnut groves and truffle woods as you go, there’s no better way to explore the Dordogne.
We also offer safe, undemanding canoeing tours along the picturesque scenery that fringes the Dordogne River. You’ll learn about the rich history of the area as you go, discovering how the river formed the frontier between France and England during the Hundred Years War. Along its banks, there are more than a thousand castles steeped in legend and history which have witnessed centuries of conquests and conflict. Follow the twists and turns of the valley and climb through fields and shaded woodland to hilltop towns and fortified strongholds with impressive views.
Our Dordogne self-guided activities are ideal for those who want to explore the area on foot, by bike and canoe, combining three activities in one trip. Our well-planned routes and itineraries mean you get to experience the best bits at your own pace, allowing you to spend more or less time in the places you choose. Visit interesting sights on our Dordogne tours, such as the famous grottos and caves, and immerse yourself in the local culture at medieval villages, sampling delicious French cuisine along the way.
9 Daysfrom£ 1,939
Self-Guided Holidays (Excl. Flights)
Safe, undemanding canoeing holiday on the most celebrated river in France
Carennac: Resembling a scene from a fairy tale, the village of Carennac dates back to the 11th century and its narrow streets are lined with pretty stone cottages, medieval architecture and a Romanesque church. The village nestles below the Causse’s plateau overlooking the Dordogne River and it’s a wonderful slice of French history where you can step back in time. Some of the most notable sites to visit include the delightful Renaissance Chateau des Doyens with its fortified wall and tower, and the ornate church of Saint Pierre. It’s also worth stopping by the weekly market on our Dordogne tours to get a true sense of local life in the village.
Beynac: Nestled on the riverbanks of the Dordogne, Beynac is one of the most beautiful villages you’ll ever see. Perched on the hilltop above the village stands an imposing fortified castle, and cobbled streets wind up to fabulous views across the river. This is a great place to spend some time when visiting Dordogne as there are lots of bars and restaurants where you can try the local French dishes and soak up the tranquil ambience. You might also come across one of the many secret galleries that are tucked away in the alleyways or local craftsmen making artisan gifts.
Gouffre de Padirac: A trip to see this natural wonder takes you on a magical journey deep below the earth’s surface. The Gouffre de Padirac is one of the largest chasms in Europe and was first discovered by Edouard Martel, a French cave explorer. As you descend into the underground cave, you’ll be in awe of its size and the emerald subterranean river that runs through it. You’ll be transported by boat through the limestone caverns where giant stalactites hang down. The chasm drops an incredible 75 metres underground and it has been dubbed the ’Devil’s Hole’ by locals.
Souillac: Most famous for the 12th century Abbey Sainte Marie and its idyllic location in the heart of the Dordogne Valley, Souillac is a vibrant and historical town once serving as a port along its old trading route. Explore its ancient streets where you’ll find bustling food markets, bars and restaurants, and wooden shuttered houses lining the riverbanks. In the summer months, many of the buildings are draped in various shades of wisteria, and in July the streets come alive with the sound of music at the annual Jazz Festival.
Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse: Set above a beautiful part of the Dordogne River, this quaint French village is home to some fascinating history that is evident in its ancient buildings and landmarks. Walk among the streets to discover old churches, stone fountains and Perigord-style houses, or head to the outskirts for stunning rural views. In the commune of Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse, you’ll also find two small castles: the Renaissance Chateau de Panassou and the Chateau de Monrecour, which now serves as a hotel.
The trip was well planned out and so very relaxing and enjoyable. The hotels and especially the food were awesome. Would absolutely take another trip like this.
We booked this trip to have some cycling time with our son who is a novice cyclist but fit. My husband and I are strong cyclists and have done trips with Exodus that are rated as a ‘4’ and ‘3’; no difficulties with cycling experienced on those trips. However, this Dordogne trip starts off the first cycling day with grades of 5% to 10% and as high as 16%. The second day of cycling has two optional rides with the same thing and even as high as 20% showing on our Garmin. Our son was not here to train for the Tour de France … the goal was to have some relaxing cycling … this is NOT relaxing cycling. I confirmed with an Exodus agent that a trip rated as a ‘2’ should be relatively flat terrain. When you are continuously experiencing elevation grades greater than 6%, it’s a seriously challenging ride. We ride in the Canadian Rockies … some great but tough rides there … this Dordogne trip is as tough as our mountain rides in Canada but not as many kilometres. The difficulty rating of this ride has been totally misrepresented by Exodus. Had we known, we would have booked an ebike. We were unable to get an ebike because we didn’t realize it was necessary until we had done a couple of days of cycling … now they are unable to get us one … so we’re stuck sitting around doing nothing. BEWARE!!!!