By car, bike or on foot, explore the Dordogne Valley’s stunning landscapes, hidden villages, markets, festivals, and castles.
Tucked away in south-western France, far from any industrial centres, holidays in the Dordogne Valley are so popular with walkers and cyclists because of the rich and varied landscapes, stunning scenery and surprisingly low population. Want to see more? Try this great video which showcases the area:
The network of small roads and lanes crosses the countryside with remarkably little traffic and is ideal for walkers and cyclists of all abilities. Well marked routes allow you to explore and enjoy the famous, and hidden, gems of the area.
The basin of the River Dordogne is listed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This recognises the area as being remarkable for its well-preserved natural setting, exceptional cultural heritage and the art de vivre linked to it. The River’s importance to the history of the area is huge and it’s one of the reasons for the many delightful medieval castles and villages dotted throughout the countryside. Clinging to the Dordogne’s cliffs, Domme, La Roque-Gageac, Beynac-et-Cazenac and Castelnaud-la-Chapelle occupy idyllic settings and are well worth a visit.
Some of the Dordogne Valley’s most precious treasures lie hidden from view in extensive cave systems. The most famous cave paintings in Europe are found here at Lascaux where bison, elk and horses gallop across the walls. The quality and quantity of the art are such that it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sadly, for their preservation, the originals are no longer on public view but visitors can view an excellent replica on the same hillside. At Les Eyzies, the original cave paintings and engravings can still be seen. There are some great routes taking in the Vezere valley and its many attractions.
Although the Dordogne is the “celebrity”, the Lot – River and department – have just as much to offer. Equally blessed with stunning scenery and history – several of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” provide a lovely backdrop to your travels. St Cirq Lapopie stands out but is not alone in being well worth a visit and there are varied routes taking in the Rivers and villages. You really shouldn’t miss a visit to Rocamadour – an important destination on the medieval pilgrim route of St Jacques de Compostelle and another of the area’s UNESCO World Heritage listings. Whether or not you decide to do the 216 stone Pilgrim Steps and explore the medieval sanctuaries the routes around the beautiful cliff top town and the Alzou valley are outstanding. Rocamadour and St Cirq Lapopie are both in the Causses de Quercy National Park which aims to protect and preserve the area’s diverse environment while facilitating access to the area. There are nearly 40 marked routes across the 175 000 hectares of Parc with strategically located orientation tables.
Explore the Dordogne Valley on two wheels.
We have an excellent selection of routes, maps and guide books to help you make the most of your explorations. If you would like to enjoy some cycling but don’t want to bring your own equipment there is an excellent local company who can deliver bikes to the cottage for your stay. They are English so no language difficulties and you make your arrangements in advance so everything will be set for your trip. You can check out their information at www.velodulot.com.
Looking for some inspiration? Read our Top 10 List for suggestions of what to see and do while you are here.
Find out all about our holiday cottage in the Dordogne – the perfect base for your trip to this beautiful area.