no alt text

Bucket list destination:

Last updated: 19 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Synonymous with the world’s finest wines, Bordeaux itself has flamboyantly popped the cork after a grand 15-year facelift. Its elegant 18th-century architecture once earned it the nickname of ‘Little Paris’, and it has since been bestowed with World Heritage status.

The recent additions of a beautiful riverfront park and gourmet restaurants add to the joie de vivre that radiates from the busy outdoor cafés, while old riverside warehouses now house art galleries and cocktail bars.

Join the jolly crowds at either the colourful Marche des Capucins or the Marche des Quais: the latter is perfect for a Sunday brunch of white wine and fresh oysters. It’s perfect for a romantic weekend – or make it your base for visiting the great wine chateaux of the wider area, or the sandy beaches and dunes at Arcachon.

Orientation

Located where the Garonne flows into the Gironde estuary, Bordeaux is surrounded by gravelly landscapes and low hills covered with vines. Medieval Bordeaux survives in the Quartier Saint-Pierre, but much of the city was rebuilt during the 18th century – including the construction of one of Europe’s most elegant waterfronts, around a bend in the river known as Port de la Lune. The riverfront Place des Quinconces separates this from Chartrons, the picturesque wine merchants’ quarter.

Tours, tickets & transfers

5

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Private - Best of Bordeaux Walking Tour + Glass of Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux

Private - Best of Bordeaux Walking Tour + Glass of Bordeaux Wine
DISCOVER THE BEST OF BORDEAUX ON THIS TAILORED MADE WALKING TOUR EXCLUSIVELY DESIGN TO SEE THE BEST OF BORDEAUX WITH A FRIENDLY & EXPERIENCED GUIDE. We will visit the main sights like the beautiful Gothic cathedral, the famous Water Mirror and the stunning neoclassical theatre; but also some hidden and lesser known places. Get to know the glorious history of this city, some of its secrets, its special gastronomy and rich culture by joining our tour. By booking a private tour you can design your own itinerary. You can choose this Private tour between 3 hours as well. Get a glass of Bordeaux natural wine after the tour or later in the evening. A guide exclusively for you will explain the history, anecdotes and curiosities of the most iconic places in Bordeaux and those that are most interesting to you. We are looking forward to showing your our beautiful city Bordeaux.

Price: €85

Min age: 1

Rating 4.92 / 5 [236 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Bordeaux Essentials Sightseeing Bike Tour with a Local Guide

Bordeaux

Bordeaux Essentials Sightseeing Bike Tour with a Local Guide
Meet your guide in the city center of Bordeaux, a few steps from Saint-Andre cathedral.  This friendly and passionate character will explain you what your day will be filled with : an easy going bike ride that will take you to meet those elements that make, and made Bordeaux Bordeaux. A city classified Unesco World Heritage since 2007, and elected European destination of the yeay in 2015, which can surprise any visitor willing to get lost in. For starters, expect an immersion in the historic heart of the old city, before stepping away along the Garonne River, discorvering the districts , old and new, that gave Bordeaux its richness and reputation. A leasurely journey embellished with some local tips that will make this ride one of your best moment during your stay in Bordeaux!

Price: €32

Min age: 0

Rating 4.87 / 5 [120 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Bordeaux City - Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Sophia

Bordeaux

Bordeaux City - Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Sophia
Personalised private tour. This tour is a great introduction to the city and will help you gather your bearings whilst discovering hidden treasures that only a local like me would know. We will spend the tour visiting the main Historical Monuments of the city as well as different neighbourhoods which give Bordeaux its character. There may even be a couple delicious treats in store. Let me know what interests you, allow me to plan so that you can relax, wander and enjoy this gorgeous city. Times can be adjusted to suit your schedule. Feel free to contact me.

Price: €85

Min age: 13

Rating 4.99 / 5 [114 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Bordeaux City Wine & Cultural Guided Walking Tour with 4 Tastings

Bordeaux

Bordeaux City Wine & Cultural Guided Walking Tour with 4 Tastings
The Bacchus Wine Tour is an original, playful and œnologic walk in the city of Bordeaux. You can visit the city and discover the wines at the same time!

Price: €69

Min age: 7

Rating 4.89 / 5 [46 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

2-Hour Bordeaux Segway Tour

Bordeaux

2-Hour Bordeaux Segway Tour
Explore UNESCO–listed Bordeaux in style and discover top attractions with ease on this 2-hour Segway tour. Follow a guide through the streets of Bordeaux by Segway and take in sites of interest including 11th-century Bordeaux Cathedral, Place de la Comédie, and Place des Quinconces. Spin along the banks of the Garonne River and admire sweeping views over the bridges that span the waterway. Along the way, listen as a guide brings Bordeaux’s colorful past to life.

Price: €55

Min age: 14

Rating 4.61 / 5 [31 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Travel advice

When to go

Cultured Bordeaux is a year-round destination, although winters can be wet and grey, dulling the joys of its wine tourism. The main tourist season begins around Easter, when it’s warm and sunny enough to sit outside and the vines sprout their first leaves.

By June, it’s warm enough to swim at Arcachon – summers can be hot, but rarely uncomfortably so. Mid-June to mid-July is the prime time for local festivals; while September and October offer mild temperatures, the excitement of the grape harvest and the dazzling autumn colours of the vines.

Getting there and away

Bordeaux–Merignac Airport (BOD) is a 30-minute drive from the city centre. Jet’Bus services link the airport with the centre and main train station, departing every 45 minutes. Alternatively, the Liane 1 bus runs from the airport to Place des Quinconces, linking up with Bordeaux’s three tram lines. Taxis are also a decent-value option.

Getting around

Most sights in Bordeaux’s centre are within walking distance, with sleek trams and a city bus on hand for longer distances. A riverboat shuttles between Quai Richelieu and Place Aristide Briand. The city has a municipal bike hire scheme (VCub) and taxis are plentiful, with stands in key locations. There are numerous parking garages for road-trippers – but driving in the city centre isn’t much fun, with one-way streets and traffic galore.

Where to stay

The city centre (around Place de la Comedie, Place Gambetta and Place des Quinconces) and the medieval Quartier Saint-Pierre are ideal areas for first-time visitors who want to see the sights and enjoy the city’s cafés, restaurants and nightlife. Wine tours nearly always depart from the city centre.

Wine buffs or anyone after a rural retreat will enjoy staying at a hotel or château in the vineyards; those on the slopes around Saint-Emilion are exceptionally pretty, and only about an hour’s drive out of the city.