Home to the eponymous river The Dordogne, the south-central region of France is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and huge range of outdoor activities – on top of being jam-packed full of culture, history, and an abundance of tasty cuisine options.
With so many things to do in The Dordogne, you’re going to want to make the most of your time if you don’t have a lot of it. In this article, we highlight some of the best things to do throughout the region, detailing what we think you focus your time on doing.
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1. Visit Sarlat-la-Canéda
If you enjoy fairytale-like architecture, stunning markets and a truly French atmosphere, visiting Sarlat-la-Canéda is a must-do. One of the best-preserved medieval towns throughout the whole of France, Sarlat-la-Canéda is famed for its markets, where it offers a wide selection of wines, cheeses, and duck-related products on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Tip: Make sure you have your camera or phone with you (and that it’s charged) to take pictures. It’s hard to put into words just how scenic this town is!
2. Kayak along the river
Any length of trip to the Dordogne wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the river. And if you’re looking for outdoor adventure on your vacation, don’t stop there. Actually get on (or into) the river itself, by joining one of the numerous kayak tour providers – which you can book from your personal travel guide by Guidester.
Depending on your level of kayak skill and how long you want to spend rowing, many providers offer various routes for you to choose between. More advanced routes will often feature more rapids, whereas easier routes will typically be a lot more relaxed and gentile.
3. Taste some truffles
Another of the top things to do in the Dordogne is trying a truffle-or three. While these can be found throughout the region, if you’re looking for a truly authentic truffle tasting experience, head to the commune known as Sorges-et-Ligueux-en-Périgord, or Sorges for short.
Sorges is home to the famous black Périgord truffle. Here you can learn all about the fragrant fungi while visiting the Écomusée de la Truffe – a museum dedicated to the French delicacy – before embarking on a scenic truffle trail through various vineyards and walnut forests.
4. Take a trip to Rocamadour
If you’re looking to stay in a truly unique area of the Dordogne and Lot region, then look no further than Rocamadour. This small clifftop village can only be accessed by climbing the Grand Escalier – a monumental staircase which takes you right to the heart of the church square.
Once you reach the top you will then be able to visit some of Rocamadour’s most popular landmarks, including the Chapelle Notre-Dame and the Romenseque-Gothic Basilica of St- Sauveur.
The Guidester Difference: With so much to see, it’s easy to miss out. A personal travel guide by Guidester would make sure that before you make the climb, head to La Forêt des Singes de Rocamadour at the base of the cliff. Here you will encounter hundreds of free roaming macaque monkeys which you will be able to hand feed popcorn to.
5. Head to the Grotte de Lascaux
While the food, wine, and river may take the headlines, the Dordogne is also widely known for its history and abundance of prehistoric sites. One of the best places to soak up the region’s history is at the Grotte de Lascaux, a complex of prehistoric caves discovered in the 1940s by a group of teenagers who had lost their dog.
Are there other prehistoric sites in the area?
Where are they located?
If ancient sites are what you’re interested it, your Guidester™ will highlight the best spots around you – and your custom maps will show you exactly how to get there!
Although the original caves are now unfortunately closed to the public, an exact replica called Lascaux II has been built for tourists to explore instead. Here you will find more than 600 prehistoric cave paintings, each depicting how life would have been more than 17,000 years ago.
6. Drink wine – and lots of it!
From Bordeaux to Périgueux, the south of France is famed for its winemaking prowess. Therefore, no trip to the Dordogne would be complete without a glass of wine or ten! Whether you head to Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux or Monbazillac, wine tasting tours are available throughout the region – you can book it right through your personal travel guide by Guidester.
Plus, any bottles you wish to buy will be much cheaper to purchase there and then than when you get back home – if you can manage to last that long without drinking them, of course.
Whether you’re looking for a more relaxed holiday by the river, or an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride actually on the river, there’s no shortage of things to do in the Dordogne – it’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular choice for travelers.