Bergerac is the capital of the southern part of the Dordogne, Périgord Pourpre, named after the colors of its wines. The town is considered one of the best places to base yourself while exploring the Dordogne region. Not only does it have a stunning and very lively city center but Bergerac is also surrounded by an impressive number of medieval villages, castles, and wineries. There are plenty of amazing day trips from Bergerac and I’m here to tell you about it.
To be able to explore the region properly I highly recommend renting a car. However, if you don’t want to go through that hassle I also suggested a few amazing day trips from, Bergerac you can do by train.
If you’re looking for what to do and eat in Bergerac, check out this travel guide with all my personalized recommendations.
Best day trips from Bergerac by car
Visit le Château de Monbazillac for wine-tasting
Château de Monbazillac is one of the most stunning, imposing castles of Perigord Pourpre and is located only about 10 minute’s drive from Bergerac. It’s a must-see when you visit the region both for its wines and for its architecture.
The Monbazillac wine appellation is renowned worldwide for its sweet white, with Château de Monbazillac being the focal point of this appellation. One of the best things to do when visiting Bergerac is a few hours’ trip to the chateau for wine tasting. While you’re there, take some time to discover the interior of the gorgeous chateau and the charming garden.
Apart from the traditional winery at Château de Monbazillac, you can also enjoy a variety of interactive activities in the Monbazillac vineyards such as electric scooters (a longer version of the same trip), quad biking, and more.
Visit one of the best markets in the region in Issigeac
Issigeac is one of the most charming villages in Perigord, which is well worth a visit when in the region. However, the main attraction is the famous Sunday morning market which is one of the best and most beautiful markets in the southwest of France.
Rows and rows of colorful stalls selling cheese, strawberries, nuts, wine, handmade picnic baskets, flowers, fresh bread, and much more are spread all over the cobblestone streets of this beautiful medieval town.
If you’re traveling in the Bergerac area on a Sunday, this market is a must. Just be sure to be there early as the market gets very busy and crowded after 11 am.
Eymet and Chateau de Bridoire
This cute little village with its picturesque houses and abundance of restaurants is a great option for a day trip from Bergerac. Eymet is a typical bastide or fortified town that was founded in the 13th century by Alphonse de Poitiers, the Count of Toulouse.
Bastide towns can be recognized by their arched central squares that were commonly built in the southwest of France between the 12th and the 14th centuries by both French and English kings. These were new towns (or “villes neuves” in French), built to encourage settlements of empty areas. There are many of them in the old Gascony region with most being small sleepy towns.
Eymet, however, is a rather lovely, lively little town with plenty of restaurants and a small cultural scene. Ironically, while the town was originally established by the French as part of a defensive strategy against an English invasion, today it’s one of the most “British” towns in Dordogne with 20% of the local residents being British.
As you stroll through the charming lanes, don’t miss the beautiful temple on Rue du Temple and the cute flowery passage between Rue du Temple and Rue Portanel.
On your way back to Bergerac, you have to stop at the beautiful, fun-filled Château de Bridoire, which is one of the best day trips for kids in the whole region. It’s known as Le Château des Jeux, the castle of games. You can read more about this fascinating chateau in my article about the best castles to visit in Dordogne.
A day trip to Limeuil – one of France’s most beautiful villages
Dordogne has plenty of stunning villages to offer to the point where it can be hard to choose which ones to visit if you’re short on time. One of my favorites, however, is Limeuil which is located only a 45-minute drive from Bergerac, so it’s perfect for a quick day trip.
Limeuil is a medieval town, built at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers and used to be an important port town. You can spend a full day here, exploring the stone houses on the small side streets rising from the banks of the river to the top of the hill. I dare to say that Limeuil is the most beautiful village in the region of Purple Perigord or at least the one with the most beautiful views.
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Limeuil is its beautiful panoramic garden (Jardins Panoramiques de Limeuil). On top of the impressive vegetation in the garden, you’ll also get to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of both the Dordogne and Vézère Rivers.
If you’re up to something more active you can go kayaking on one of the rivers. Aquafun Canoes Dordogne, which is located on the port of Limeuil is one of the companies offering kayaking and canyoning in this region (see other kayaking options in my article about kayaking in Dordogne).
If you find yourself going to Limeuil on a hot day, you can cross the Dordogne river to the other side and enjoy the nice little beach called Plage de Limeuil.
Wine tasting near Bergerac
While Bergerac wine is not as famous as the Bordeaux wine region around the world, locals and wine professionals know all about the Bergerac wines. They are excellent value for money and great for a change from the more upmarket Bordeaux wines. Bergerac wines are often softer and easier to drink for everyday pleasure than wines you would age for a long time.
Bergerac is home to thirteen different appellations, the most famous being Monbazillac, alongside Bergerac AOC, Montravel AOC, and more. Whether you like red, white, or rosé, you can find it all around Bergerac!
There are quite a few wineries to visit near Bergerac. Here are my personal recommendations:
Domaine du Haut Pécharmant – one of the most familiar names in the Bergerac wine region located about 10 minutes drive from the city center.
Château Feely – an excellent organic and bio-dynamic winery owned by a lovely couple from Johannesburg.
Château de Tiregand – another great wine from the Pécharmant appellation, located in a stunning chateau that often hosts events and activities for kids.
A visit to a caviar farm in Neuvic
One of the local delicacies that this part of Dordogne is known for is caviar. Did you know you can actually visit the farm that produces it? Talk about a unique outing!
Their tour is very enjoyable for both kids and adults. Visiting the farm I got to discover how the Sturgeons are raised and how caviar is produced and taste it of course. Here’s something interesting I discovered there: did you know that France is the 3rd biggest producer of Caviar in the world?!
The Caviar de Neuvic farm offers a variety of visits, including a brunch at the farm. You can even do a master class tasting! They are great hosts and it’s a very fun and interactive experience I highly recommend it.
Canoeing on the Dordogne river
This is one of my all-time favorite activities in Dordogne! It’s great for couples, friends, and families.
If you’re staying in Bergerac you have a few options when it comes to canoe/ kayak tours. You can either drive in the Bordeaux direction to Club FJEP de Pessac-sur-Dordogne. The club also has a fun bar where you can have a drink with a stunning river view.
The other option is doing it when you’re visiting Limeuil, where you can find the Canoës Limeuil club on the beach.
Here’s my comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about kayaking in the Dordogne where all your questions will be answered!
Visit the castle of Montagne
The stunning Château de Montaigne, located about 45 minutes drive from Bergerac and built in the 14th century. It’s mostly known as the former residence of philosopher and thinker Michel de Montaigne, an important figure in French and regional history.
However, even if you’ve never heard of Montaigne before, this is simply a magnificent castle to visit. If you’re staying in Bergerac, It can be a fun day trip for the whole family with fun activities ranging from wine tastings to games for kids on special occasions throughout the year.
You can choose to do a guided tour of the castle and learn about its history or simply walk around the gardens on a sunny day. You can snack on delicious cheese and charcuterie platters or buy some wines and souvenirs and the castle boutique.
Monpazier and Château de Biron
Monpazier is one of the most impressive bastide towns in the southwest of France, labeled as one of France’s most beautiful villages. A slice of paradise for history fans, the town has remained practically untouched since its creation in 1284. The few new cafés and boutiques match the ancient architecture perfectly and are a great spot from which to enjoy the view of the village’s main square.
If you consider the Monpazier as a day trip from Bergerac, try to combine it with a visit to the Biron castle, located within less than 10 minutes drive from the stunning village. You can see the majestic castle from far away, high on the hilltop overlooking the lush green countryside below.
Biron originates in the 12th century and was originally a fortress for defense purposes, but underwent a makeover in the Renaissance style after the Hundred Years War. Every century’s styles are still visible today in the mixed architecture of the buildings.
During the summer months, both Château de Biron and the village of Monpazier host the fantastic Bergerac Music Festival, also known as Festival du Périgord Pourpre – “L’Ete Musical en Bergerac”.
Les Jardins de Sardy
I already recommended the beautiful gardens of Limeuil, but if you’re really passionate about French gardens, then this is the one for you.
Located about 35 minutes by car from Bergerac, Les Jardins de Sardy are built around a fortified 18th-century Italian-style farm and underwent a total facelift in the mid-1900s. The land was acquired by the Imbs in 1956, who worked hard to turn it into a stunning English garden. Today, it is run by the son Frédéric Imbs and his family, who have opened the gardens to the public.
If you wan tot read more about the Sardy gardens, go to my article about the most beuatiufl gardens in Dordogne.
Finish off your visit to the gardens at the sweet café for a drink and a view over the peaceful greenery. Les Jardins de Sardy are open every day from May to September. In summer they sometimes host classical music concerts in the gardens, which make for a very romantic outing.
Grottes de Maxange
You don’t want to miss one of the most breathtaking caves in Dordogne. Situated about 50 minutes’ drive from Bergerac, Les Grottes de Maxange is one of the most interesting geological sites in the center of Dordogne. The caves, covered with thousands of speleothems looking like crystals, were discovered in 2000 and are supposedly date back 60 million years.
Les Grottes de Maxange are located in le Buisson-de-Cadouin, a small town with a very famous abbey that is well worth a visit. It’s a perfect spot for a hot summer’s day because the temperature inside as you wander through remains a cool 13 degrees Celsius/55 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is parking onsite as well as a fun boutique where you can buy crystals and other mineral souvenirs, a bar to stop for a drink and a snack, and a kids’ play area. I recommend booking your tickets online to avoid any potential queues in the summer months.
The castle and village of Duras
Duras is a charming little town in the Lot et Garonne department known for its imposing chateau and its wine. Located only 45 minutes’ drive from Bergerac, this small but very buzzing village hosts plenty of events. One of the best night markets takes place in the town center every Thursday during the summer. While you’re there, don’t miss the Maison des Vins de Duras, to try and buy some of the excellent local wine.
The Château de Duras has a great 4G screen that projects beautiful light shows onto the castle and attracts many tourists to the village three times a week during the summer season for open-air entertainment. Each school holiday and all through summer, there are plenty of fun activities at the castle.
Best day trips from Bergerac by train
Here’s a map that will help you understand which towns in the area are connected by train. From there, plan your train trips accordingly and get around France the local way! It’s also better for the environment and a fun experience.
Visit wineries in Saint Emilion
Saint-Émilion is a breathtaking medieval village located midway between Bordeaux and Bergerac. It’s famous worldwide for its prestigious wine and indeed, when in the region, a visit to Saint-Émilion can’t be missed!
Here’s my ultimate guide on a day trip to the beautiful village and all the things you can’t miss. If you’re planning on visiting one or more wineries in Saint-Émilion, check out this article about the best chateaux to visit in Saint Emilion..
A day trip to Sarlat for a market day
No visit to the Dordogne region is complete without at least a few hours in the stunning capital of Périgord Noir. Here’s an article on what to do, eat, and drink in Sarlat with detailed information about the most famous squares and cafés, the sights to see, and the best places to enjoy local delicacies like foie gras, walnuts, cheese, and wine.
Sarlat-la-Canéda is stunning every day of the year but the best days to visit it are Wednesday and Saturday, the market days. Sarlat is known as one of the best markets in Dordogne, but I must add here that it’s one of my favorites in the whole Southwest of France. You can even take a gourmet market tour in case you want to explore the local cuisine in more depth.
You can easily reach Salrat by train from Bergerac, so there’s no excuse not to visit this magnificent medieval town! Check out tickets here.
A day trip to Bordeaux – the capital of the Southwest
I may be biased because I live in Bordeaux but I think it’s one of the most exciting, beautiful cities in France. There’s so much to see, do, eat, drink, and taste! And it’s a great city to visit with or without kids – there’s something for everyone.
As someone who lives and writes about Bordeaux, I think you need at least a weekend to discover Bordeaux and its surrounding sights. But if all you have is one day, then a day trip to the capital of the southwest is definitely worth it!
In a day you can check out the historically covered Capucins market, taste some cannelés (traditional cinnamon pasties), cool off at the Miroir d’Eau, check out one of the state-of-the-art museums, and eat great food at one of the countless restaurants the city has to offer.
I’ve summed up the things you can’t miss when you have one day in Bordeaux in this article.
I have plenty of other articles about the Dordogne you may find useful when planning your trip, so be sure to check them out!
Where to stay in Dordogne
What to do in Bergerac
What to do, see and eat in Sarlat
The most beautiful villages to visit in Dordogne
The best castles (chateaux) to visit in Dordogne
The most beautiful gardens in Dordogne
The best things to do with kids in Dordogne
The most beautiful villages in Purple Perigord
The best places to do Kayaking on the Dordogne River
A day trip to Eymet, a beautiful village in Dordogne.
You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂