The Best Things to Do in Dordogne, France

Dordogne – where it is and when to go

Looking for the best things to do in Dordogne, France? You’re at the right place! Dordogne’s rich history and geography make it one of the most beautiful travel destinations in France. Here’s a map for you!

Most people visit Dordogne during the summer months, with a peak in July and August. We would recommend that you go when we went- late June or early July. This will allow you to avoid some of the tourist crowds and still get sunny weather and not as much rain.

Dordogne is a charming rural region, so having/renting a car to move around is highly recommended. You can fly close to the region- the largest airport is Bordeaux Airport. Depending on where you are flying from, you can also use Bergerac Dordogne Perigord Airport orĀ  Brive Airport.

Now, let’s get into the best things to do in Dordogne

Visit the castles

Beynac Castle Dordogne France
Beynac Castle, our photo

You will find many amazing castles (Beynac, Biron and many others) nestled on top of hills. England and France fought the Hundred Years’ War in the region, in the Middle Ages, and signs of it are all around. Have kids, like we do? They will love the ramparts and towers of some of these fortresses, dating back to the 1200s. Trust us even your older kids and teens will enjoy these fortresses!

Us in Kaiak Dordogne France
Us Kaiaking in Dordogne

Rent a kaiak or canoe

Beginner or more advanced, there’s something for everyone. An adventure down the river is definitely one of the best things to do in Dordogne. We chose Canoe Loisirs and kaiaked from La Roque Gageac then returned to visit Beynac Castle. You will pass under 3 bridges in your kaiak and you will see several medieval fortresses up on the hills along the way.

Visit the charming towns and villages, enjoy life

In Monpazier, by bike

In 2023, we booked accommodation very close the bastide of Monpazier. We longed to go back to this place since our first visit two years prior. A bastide is a small medieval town design, with defensive walls. It has a rectangular grid structure organized around a central square. We were able to bike into town and enjoyed lively lunches and special quiet evenings. Most of the people gathering to eat at lunchtime were locals and people from the UK that seemed to own vacation properties in the area.

Us in Sarlat la Caneda Dordogne France
Us in Sarlat-la-Caneda

We highly recommend booking a table in advance by phone, as the opening hours on sites like Google are not up to date. Restaurant owners maintain a busy, yet casual atmosphere, with customers seemingly popping out of thin air during lunchtime. Sometimes the owners set the menu to only a few choices, and when the food runs out, they will not cook extra portions. We ate excellent duck once, as the small family restaurant ran out of another dish we initially came for (and assumed it will be available no matter what). I remember some charming little village we stopped in. A local pub shared its tables with a visiting burger van in the village square. The perfect evening.

Biron Castle Chaple Dordogne France
Biron Castle Chapel, our photo

On the list of the best things to do in Dordogne include visiting places like Domme, Sarlat-la-Caneda, Monpazier or La Roque Gageac.

Go see the caves

You can explore some of the most impressive caves in the world in the Dordogne region. Admire some of the oldest cave paintings in the world at the famous Lascaux cave complex. gift yourself a unique experience and go inside the Cave of Padirac (Gouffre de Padirac) where you can ride in a boat on an underground river in the cave. Descend vertically into the depths of Gouffre de Proumeyssac via an iron basket, and see it all from above. We loved the underground boat ride (no pictures to show you, though, there was not enough light for decent photos)!

To sum it up

Take these ideas as a starting point for your research on Dordogne’s treasures. For us, those were some of the best things to do in Dordogne!

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