Discover the countryside towns and historic landmarks of the Dordogne River region as you bike along its banks on this eight-day itinerary. You'll pass by prehistoric dwellings, Roman ruins, medieval castles, and some of France's officially designated most beautiful villages, accompanied by picturesque natural landscapes and rich cuisine.

Highlights

  • Explore medieval French country towns
  • Visit the official replica of the Lascaux cave
  • Travel through prehistoric Vezère Valley
  • Take in the views from Beynac castle
  • Bike along the banks of the Dordogne River

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Souillac Souillac
Day 2 Souillac to Montignac Montignac
Day 3 Montignac to Sarlat Sarlat
Day 4 Sarlat Loop Sarlat
Day 5 Sarlat to Rocamadour Rocamadour
Day 6 Rocamadour Loop Rocamadour
Day 7 Rocamadour to Souillac Souillac
Day 8 Depart Souillac  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Souillac

Welcome to the Dordogne
Welcome to the Dordogne

Welcome to your adventure! You can arrive in Souillac by train from either Paris or Toulouse to meet your guide at the train station for a transfer to your hotel. Medieval Souillac sits at the crossroads of Perigord and Quercy and is yours to explore for the day. Be sure to leave time for an indulgent evening meal—rich, hearty gastronomy is part of the region's heritage.

Day 2: Souillac to Montignac

Quiet roads
Quiet roads

Today’s itinerary will take you on quiet roads through scenic Perigord farmland. Stop by the magnificently landscaped Jardins d’Eyrignac, an ideal spot for a picnic, before proceeding through the quaint villages of Salignac and Saint-Amand-de-Coly.

Your final destination is the lovely village of Montignac, which rose to fame in 1940 when four schoolkids stumbled upon the entrance of what became known as the Lascaux cave. It contains some of the oldest and best-known prehistoric cave paintings in the world, which earn its official UNESCO World Heritage Site designation tenfold. Although the original cave is restricted to a handful of scientists, you can visit an exact replica on a guided tour.

Cycling distance: 28 miles (45 km)

Day 3: Montignac to Sarlat

Villages along the way
Villages along the way

Discover another UNESCO World Heritage Site on today's route through the Vezère Valley, known as the cradle of prehistory. Take some time to visit the area's museums and natural attractions, including caves and ancient dwellings. Les Eyzies is home home to the Font-de-Gaume cave and the Natural Museum of Prehistory.

You'll also pass the unusual cliff-hanging site of La Roque Saint-Christophe, a multi-tiered, natural rock shelter used from prehistory through the Middle Ages. Afterwards, a ride through picture-perfect duck and geese farms will give you time for contemplation. The afternoon route is no less scenic. You'll end in Sarlat, once the biggest medieval town in Europe and still an extraordinary place.

Cycling distance: 33 miles (53 km)

Day 4: Sarlat Loop

Dordogne's countryside
Dordogne's countryside

Be sure you've charged your camera battery before heading out along today's route. Your first stop along the road is the mesmerizing village of La Roque Gageac, both carved out of and nestled into a clay cliff. Further on, you’ll cycle through Beynac. Climb up the cliffside to its medieval Beynac castle to take in the views of the town and Dordogne River from one of the most iconic and well-preserved castles in Dordogne.

Across the river, you'll find the medieval fortress of Castelnaud. Keep going to the medieval village of Domme, accompanied by views over the Dordogne tributaries. Domme is known for being one of “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France,” one of the most beautiful villages of France. On the way back, you will ride by the Chateau de Montfort.

Cycling distance: 27 miles (44 km)

Day 5: Sarlat to Rocamadour

Ride along the Dordogne river
Ride along the Dordogne river

Today's route has high mileage for high rewards.The first part of the ride takes you along a traffic-free bikeway, with the rest on quiet roads through authentic villages. You’ll pass from the tranquil forested Perigord to the bare limestone causses, or plateaus, of Quercy, which offer spectacular perspectives of the region. 

Stop for a lunchtime picnic at any one of the idyllic spots along the road. By the end of the day you'll reach Rocamadour, a town gently cradling the side of a cliff overlooking a tributary of the Dordogne River. Follow the path down from the upper town to the main medieval street via a walking path that will lead you to the town’s historic, holy sanctuaries.

Cycling distance: 33 miles (53 km)

Day 6: Rocamadour Loop

Rocamadour's landscape
Rocamadour's landscape

Take a free day to explore Rocamadour off your bike, or hop back into the saddle for a loop around the area. The bike route will take you to the 100-meter deep Padirac Chasm, one of this region’s most otherworldly sites, where you can cycle along an underground river. You’ll also ride through the small villages of Carennac and Loubressac, two more members of the group of “France’s Most Beautiful Villages" before an early return to relax in Rocamadour.

Cycling distance: 36 miles (58 km)

Day 7: Rocamadour to Souillac

Chateau de Belcastel
Chateau de Belcastel

Spend your last full day on a relaxed ride. Follow a scenic route to the Dordogne River and its magnificent viewpoints of the postcard-worthy Chateau de Belcastel, then continue along its banks back to Souillac.

Cycling distance: 26 miles (41 km)

Day 8: Depart Souillac

Say goodbye to the Dordogne
Say goodbye to the Dordogne

Wave farewell to France as you catch a transfer back to the Souillac train station for your departure.

Map

Map of Biking the Dordogne - 8 Days
Map of Biking the Dordogne - 8 Days