One of the wonders of visiting Bordeaux is the day trips you can do in the region. Gironde (Bordeaux’s department) is one of the most fascinating areas in France, rich with beaches, beautiful villages, nature, and heritage. If you’re spending more than a weekend in Bordeaux, be sure to leave some time to discover its surroundings.
There are quite a few beautiful spots to visit around Bordeaux and some are even accessible by public transport. I have a long article with all the best day trips you can do around Gironde. However, this article is dedicated to all the destinations around Bordeaux, which you can reach by train.
If you have more time to discover the southwest of France, here are a few other destinations you should check out. All of these are easily reachable by train from Bordeaux.
All the tickets to the suggested destinations can be bought directly at the Saint Jean train station in Bordeaux. Angouleme is the only one I recommend booking a bit in advance as the city sits on the busy train line to Paris. You can book your train tickets here.
Now let’s start discovering the best day trips from Bordeaux by train!
Arcachon and Dune du Pilat – a day trip from Bordeaux to the Ocean
Arcachon is one of the most popular summer destinations in southwest France. A seaside resort town renowned for its beautiful beaches, impressive architecture, and vibrant atmosphere.
The town is divided into four districts, named after the four seasons. Ville d’Été, covering the tourist center, main beach, restaurants, and boutiques. Ville d’Hiver – the historic center adorned with glamorous 19th-century villas. Ville de Printemps is where the most beautiful beaches are located. Ville d’Automne is the port area, packed with great seafood restaurants.
A day trip from Bordeaux to Arcachon can easily take a whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. I have a detailed guide to a day trip to Arcachon and the dune, be sure to read it before you go.
How to get to Arcachon by train?
There is a direct train to the center of Arcachon from the Gare Saint Jean train station (or Pessac train station). To continue to Dune du Pilat, take bus number 1 from the train station in Arcachon. The train leaves Bordeaux every 30 minutes from 6 am to 11:30 pm. You can buy tickets here or at the station.
Saint Émilion – a day trip to the Bordeaux wine region
Saint Émilion is probably the most famous wine-related day trip out of Bordeaux. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent attraction for tourists in the area.
One of the main attractions of Saint Emilion is visiting wineries. I would highly recommend this activity to anyone traveling in the region. If you need some help choosing a winery to visit, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. If you’re visiting without a car, I’d also recommend reading my article about all the wineries you can visit by public transport.
Another option for visiting Saint Emilion is taking a wine tour from Bordeaux. Here you can find my recommendations for the best wine tours from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion.
Saint Emilion, however, is worth a visit even if you’re not a wine enthusiast. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. You can read about all the special things to do on a day trip to Saint Emilion in my article.
One of the famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. Check out the tourist office’s website for all the information about tours in the historic city.
How to get to Saint Emilion by train?
You can get to Saint Emilion by train from the Saint Jean station in Bordeaux. There’s a 15-20 minutes walk from the station to the city center. For more details about getting to Saint Emilion, read this article. You can buy train tickets at the station or online.
If you have time to stay the night in Saint Emilion, that is also a perfect destination for a weekend. Here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in the Saint Emilion region.
Visit Châteaux in Bordeaux by tram or bus
Did you know that some of the best wineries in the Bordeaux wine region are actually located within Bordeaux Metropole? Meaning you don’t have to make the effort to get to Saint Emilion or Medoc if you want to visit chateaux in the region.
A few months ago I published a detailed list of all the wineries you can get to by public transport. However, here I want to mention the closest one to the center of Bordeaux.
I highly recommend booking your visit before you go.
Take line B to Pessac Centre and then continue for 20 minutes by foot or take a direct bus from Place Tourny in Bordeaux (line 4). You can book the tour online – just click here.
Chateau du Taillan is a beautiful winery in Medoc. You can reach it by bus 5N from Place Tourny in Bordeaux.
For more info click here.
Take line C to the Blanquefort train station and then continue 20 minutes by foot or take bus 29 from the Blanquefort train station.
For more info click here.
If you’re visiting with kids, this is one of the most kids-friendly wineries to visit in the Bordeaux wine region.
Another gem in the Pessac Leognan appellation is Château Olivier. Just a few km from Bordeaux, you’ll find a beautiful château, surrounded by a forest and vines.
Take bus number 5 from Palais de Justice in Bordeaux to get to the winery. Book your visit here.
La Réole – a charming medieval town
La Réole is a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne river about 50 km from Bordeaux. It’s considered one of the most beautiful villages in Gironde.
The town developed around a monastery founded in the 7th or 8th century. However, its golden era was during medieval times when it became the second-largest city in the region after Bordeaux.
Today La Reole is a quiet town that often holds interesting cultural events as well as one of the best markets in Gironde on Saturday mornings.
Get lost in the narrow charming streets of the historic center of La Réole and let the beautiful architecture take you back in time.For more info: http://www.lareole.fr/
How to get there by train? It takes about 40 minutes to get from Bordeaux to La Réole train station. The train leaves from Gare Saint Jean every two hours.
Discover other beautiful villages around Bordeaux in my article.
Wine tasting in Margaux
Margaux is one of the most prestigious wine appelations in the Bordeaux wine region. It’s one of the 8 wine appelations in Medoc, a region I recommended visiting by car. Having said that, visiting wineries in Margaux by train is very easy.
A train will bring you directly from Bordeaux to the town of Margaux. Some of the best wineries in this appellation are located within a walking distance from the train station. When there don’t miss the chance to dine in one of the great restaurants this town has to offer.
Here are the names of several recommended wine châteaux which are close to the train station (all require prior reservation):
- Château Marquis de Terme: 3 Route de Rauzan, 33460 Margaux – you can book your visit here.
- Château Ferriere: 33bis Rue de la Tremoille, 33460 Margaux- Book your visit here.
- Château Lascombes: 1 Cours de Verdun, 33460 Margaux – book your visit here.
The beautiful Château Margaux is only a 25 minutes walk from the train station. Unfortunately, their tours are only open to professionals but you can walk around the winery, see the beautiful vines and take photos of the famous chateau. Check out all the wineries you can visit in the Bordeaux region by public transport.
*If you do rent a car you should check out my article about a two-day itinerary in the Medoc wine region.
For more info about Bordeaux check out the tourist office website.
How to get there by public transport: There’s a train leaving Bordeaux to Margaux every couple of hours.
Saint Macaire – a charming medieval town
Saint Macaire is a medieval city located some 50 km from Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne river. It’s not a familiar destination to most people visiting Bordeaux, but it’s definitely worth a day trip.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, Saint Macaire was one of the most prosperous cities in Aquitaine due to its significant agricultural and trade activities. The charming town with its narrow streets and beautiful old houses is a great place for those looking to get a sense of the region’s heritage.
Saint Macaire is also well known for its white wine. Guided tours are organized by the tourist office, including tastings of the Côtes de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire wines.
It’s really worth visiting Saint Macaire at the end of August when the Fêtes médiévales takes place. The little town gets very lively with amazing costumes, music, medieval games, and more.
How to get there by public transport? You can get to Saint Macaire by train from the Saint Jean station in Bordeaux. There are several trains running to Saint Macaire on Saturdays and fewer during the week.
A more flexible option would be to get to Langon, the main town of southeast Gironde, and then take a taxi (it’s a 10 minutes ride from Langon). Or if you have a bike you can take it with you on the train to Langon and then ride about 15 minutes to Saint Macaire.
Libourne – One of the best markets in Gironde
Libourne is a beautiful town located at the confluence of the Isle and Dordogne rivers. Founded as a Bastide town in the 13th century it used to be an important port city central to the wine and wood trade in the region.
Surrounded by some of the world’s most renowned wine labels such as Saint Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac, it used to play an important role in the economy of the region. While it’s not as attractive as Bordeaux, it’s the main city in northern Gironde and it’s rich with history and beautiful architecture.
Due to its location, many people see it as a wine destination from which you can visit the numerous chateaux in the area. But this city has more to offer and is worth a separate visit.
You can start your day trip at Place Abel-Surchamp, the main square of the city hosting the outdoor market every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. This is one of the main markets in the area, attracting people from all the little towns around Libourne. It’s recommended to visit the city on one of the market days as it really lifts the atmosphere.
You can see a lot of interesting buildings on the little streets leading to the main square. Two of my favorites are Rue Victor Hugo and Rue Fonneuve. Don’t forget to take a walk on the beautiful quais of the Isle river.
Read more about the city on the page of the tourist office.
How to get there by train? There’s a train from Bordeaux to Libourne every 20-60 minutes, depending on the time of your departure.
Sainte Foy la Grande – visit a bastide town
This beautiful bastide town, situated in the northeast of Gironde, is one of the most charming towns in the Libournais area. The Dordogne river runs through the town, unusual for bastides which are typically situated on hilltops.
Many of the buildings in the center of this medieval town date back to the 15th century and give St. Foy la Grande its charming look. It’s a small lively town with little cafés on the main central Place du Marché square.
Although it’s not a very touristy destination it does get quite busy during Saturday’s market. The market is one of the biggest in the area and it’s the recommended day to visit Sainte Foy la Grande. If you want to spend the whole day there you can cross the river to the other side and visit a small river beach called Plage des Bardoulets.
You can combine this day trip with a visit to the Chateau de Vayres. The stunning castle is located in Vayres, a village sited on the same train line as Sainte Foy la Grande.
How to get there by train? It takes about an hour by train from Saint Jean station to Sainte Foy la Grande.
Gujan-Mestras – discover oyster farming
Gujan-Mestras is a little town known as the capital of oyster farming on the Bassin d’Arcachon. It has seven oyster ports which you can visit and watch oyster farmers work.
The best way to discover the town and its ports is by bike. You can rent one in the Gujan itself, here’s the link to the bike rental shop.
You can even join one of the farmers and take part in their work for a few hours. Find the list of farmers providing that experience on the tourist office website.
Alternatively, you can take a private tour, provided by Anne from Aquitaine Travel guide. Anne will introduce you to the current production methods in Arcachon. You’ll get to accompany an oyster farmer and taste the freshest oysters in Arcachon. See the details here.
A place I particularly like in Gijan Mestras is La “Maison de Huitre”, an interactive museum where you discover everything about oyster farming.
Gujan also has a very cute beach, Plade de la Hume. You can see more details about it in my article about the best beaches around Bordeaux.
No matter what you choose to do in Gojan Mestra, there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss – taste oysters! Along the ports and especially at Port de Larros, you’ll find tend of oyster cabanes. That’s where most Bordelaise will go for fresh oysters.
Discover other fun places to visit in Arcachon in my article.
How to get there by train? Gujan-Mestras is one of the stations on the way from Bordeaux to Arcachon. The train leaves every 30 minutes from Bordeaux Saint Jean or Pessac Centre stations.
Angoulême – the capital of comics and street art
Angouleme is one of the biggest cities in the southwest region, known as the capital of comics in France. In recent years it’s have been attracting many tourists thanks to its beautiful historic center and vibrant cultural life.
The town is located on a plateau overlooking the Charente river. Stroll the streets to explore the historic part of the city and the beautiful boulevards with their view on the original ramparts.
It’s a vibrant city with plenty of cafes and restaurants, a big market, museums, and historic monuments. It’s also famous for its huge comics museum and the International Comics festival taking place every January.
One of the biggest attractions Angouleme has to offer is its street art scene. There are more than 20 murals of comics and illustrations on buildings in almost every neighborhood around the city. Discover the best murals in my article about street art in Angouleme.
For more info: http://www.angouleme-tourisme.com/
How to get there by train? The TGV train to Paris stops in Angouleme, so even though it’s located 130 km from Bordeaux, you can still get there from Bordeaux in about 35 minutes. You can book your tickets in advance.
Pin this article, so you can use it when in Bordeaux!
Before I end my article, here are a few other articles you might want to read when you’re traveling around Bordeaux:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Best places to visit on the Arcachon Bay
A weekend in Medoc- Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion
A weekend in Toulouse
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 🙂