Cycling the Dordogne Valley is one of the most adventurous activities you can do while visiting the French region of Aquitaine, known for its gorgeous river landscape, rolling green countryside, culinary prowess as well as its historical towns and landmarks.
But before you think that cycling the Dordogne is a piece of cake, take note that the valley actually has an undulating countryside. Thus, biking here involves doing more than a few ascents, however, your effort will be rewarded by incredible views and the discovery of stunning chateaux and churches. In addition, biking uphill eventually gives you the thrill of going downhill at a fast speed.
There are a couple of outfitters that offer organized cycling tours. But you can always arrange a self-guided cycling itinerary on your own. Cycling tours around the Dordogne usually lasts six days. This length gives you enough time to explore the region’s most fascinating sites like the hanging village of Rocamadour, the fascinating cave of the Gouffre de Padirac, and the grottos in Lascaux.
You cycling adventure can start at the charming market town of Souillac and end at Loubressac, a pretty hill-top village. In Souillac, you can visit the exquisite Benedictine Monastery. By the time, you pass through the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, you will find lovely fortified towns and grand castles.
The large town of Bergerac is a terrific transport hub with excellent rail services. This is the reason why it is the favored gateway to Black Perigord, which is a magnificent historic city. When you ride from Bergerac to Tremolat, the terrain becomes hilly especially towards to the viewpoint of Les Cingles de Tremolat.
The later days of cycling usually involve riding into Les Eyzies, another exquisite town steeped with history. With its old sites and museums, Les Eyzies is definitely a must-stop in the valley region. This is also the home of the Font de Gaume, a cave which contains highly precious prehistoric polychrome cave paintings. Just nearby the town of Montignac, sits another important stop in the cycling route is Lascaux II. This site is only a replica, the original Lascaux is now closed to the public to preserve the art.
Sarlat is another town that will instantly captivate you. With its cobbled streets, traditional roofs and stone walls, walking around Sarlat is all about revisiting the medieval past. This 14th century French town was originally built around a Benedictine abbey. While here, you can drop by the iconic and well-preserved Sarlat Cathedral.
Other picturesque villages that you should consider visiting include Beynac and La Roque Gageac. La Roque Gageac, in particular, is considered by many travel experts as one of the most beautiful villages’ of France. Sitting on the edge of a cliff, right along the river, the village is simply stunning with its gardens and old fort. Just a few miles away is the Beynac village, which boasts a formidable-looking historic castle.
Cycling the Dordogne valley is not all about communing with nature, it is also the perfect opportunity to indulge into the rich gastronomy of the region. After burning calories all day long, treat yourself to the most scrumptious dishes offered by family-run hotels and affordable village restaurants.