Bordeaux Wine Region River Cruises – Garonne River, Dordogne River and Gironde River Cruises

The Bordeaux region, located in southwestern France, is a dream destination for wine enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers alike. With its picturesque vineyards, stunning châteaux, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that Bordeaux is often referred to as the wine capital of the world. One of the best ways to explore this enchanting region is through a river cruise along the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde rivers, which offer a unique and unforgettable experience. A Bordeaux river cruise provides an intimate and luxurious journey through the heart of the region, allowing you to discover its many treasures at a leisurely pace. As you glide along the waterways, you’ll be treated to ever-changing vistas of rolling hills, lush vineyards, and charming villages. Most river cruises in Bordeaux last between seven and ten days, with itineraries designed to showcase the region’s highlights. These may include visits to renowned wine estates, guided tours of historic sites, and opportunities to sample local cuisine.

Find special deals, Browse Viking Routes & itineraries and Reserve Today your Viking River Cruise by clicking here.

The Bordeaux River Cruise Experience

No Bordeaux river cruise would be complete without exploring the region’s legendary vineyards and tasting its world-class wines. The area is home to more than 10,000 wine-producing châteaux and over 60 appellations, ensuring a diverse and delightful experience for all palates.

During your cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of these prestigious estates, learn about the winemaking process, and, of course, indulge in tastings. Some popular stops include the Médoc region, known for its full-bodied reds; Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its Merlot-based wines; and Sauternes, where the highly prized sweet white wines are produced.

Bordeaux’s rich history is evident in its many well-preserved architectural gems, from medieval fortresses to elegant 18th-century mansions. Your river cruise will likely include guided tours of some of these fascinating sites.

One such highlight is the city of Bordeaux itself, which boasts an impressive collection of historic buildings and monuments. The Port de la Lune, or Port of the Moon, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features an array of architectural styles spanning centuries. Other notable stops along your cruise may include the imposing Roquetaillade Castle, the picturesque town of Libourne, and the stunning Blaye Citadel.

French cuisine is renowned worldwide, and the Bordeaux region offers a bounty of culinary experiences for food lovers. In addition to sampling the area’s exquisite wines, you’ll have ample opportunities to savor local specialties such as fresh oysters from Arcachon Bay, succulent Lamb from Pauillac, and decadent canelés – small caramelized pastries with a soft custard center.

Many river cruises also offer cooking demonstrations and classes, allowing you to learn the secrets of French cuisine firsthand. And, of course, you can expect exceptional onboard dining, with menus crafted by skilled chefs using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The Bordeaux region is not only known for its wine and history but also for its breathtaking landscapes. As you cruise along the rivers, you’ll be captivated by the area’s natural beauty – from the verdant vineyards to the serene waters of the Gironde Estuary.

For those seeking a more active experience, many river cruises offer opportunities for outdoor activities such as biking through the countryside or kayaking along the Dordogne River. These excursions provide a chance to immerse yourself in the region’s stunning scenery while getting some exercise.

Find special deals, Browse Viking Routes & itineraries and Reserve Today your Viking River Cruise by clicking here.

The Best Bordeaux River Cruises Itineraries

Bordeaux, known as the wine capital of the world, is a region steeped in history, culture, and unparalleled natural beauty. Exploring this enchanting destination through a river cruise offers a unique and immersive experience that takes travelers on a journey through picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world. Here, we delve into some of the best Bordeaux river cruise itineraries that promise unforgettable adventures along the iconic waterways of this enchanting region.

1. The Garonne and Dordogne Rivers:

Embark on a captivating journey along the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, where the magic of Bordeaux unfolds at every turn. This itinerary typically begins in Bordeaux, the vibrant heart of the region, before meandering through the lush vineyards of the Médoc and the picturesque landscapes of the Entre-Deux-Mers region. Highlights include visits to iconic wine estates such as Château Lafite Rothschild and Château d’Yquem, as well as charming medieval towns like Saint-Émilion and Bergerac.

2. The Gironde Estuary:

For those seeking a truly unique river cruising experience, the Gironde Estuary offers an unrivaled blend of history, nature, and culinary delights. This itinerary often includes stops in the historic port cities of Blaye and Bourg, where medieval fortresses and charming cobblestone streets await. Travelers can also explore the stunning landscapes of the Médoc Peninsula, home to some of the world’s most prestigious wine appellations, including Pauillac and Margaux.

3. The Garonne Canal:

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Garonne Canal as you cruise through the heart of Bordeaux’s wine country. This itinerary typically begins in the city of Castets-en-Dorthe, where travelers can embark on leisurely excursions through the idyllic countryside and visit charming villages like Cadillac and Saint-Macaire. Along the way, indulge in wine tastings at local vineyards, sample regional delicacies, and soak up the breathtaking scenery of the Garonne Valley.

4. The Bordeaux City Cruise:

For those short on time, a Bordeaux city cruise offers a perfect introduction to the region’s rich cultural heritage and gastronomic delights. This itinerary usually includes guided tours of Bordeaux’s UNESCO-listed city center, where travelers can admire stunning architecture, explore bustling markets, and sample delectable local specialties such as canelés and oysters. Additionally, city cruises often feature exclusive wine tastings at renowned wineries located just a short distance from the city center.

5. The Bordeaux Wine Festival Cruise:

Experience the excitement of Bordeaux’s renowned wine festival aboard a luxurious river cruise ship. This special itinerary coincides with the biennial Bordeaux Wine Festival, where travelers can enjoy exclusive access to wine tastings, gourmet dining experiences, and live entertainment along the banks of the Garonne River. From grand wine estates to charming riverside villages, this cruise offers an unparalleled opportunity to savor the best of Bordeaux’s wine culture in a truly festive atmosphere.

Find special deals, Browse Viking Routes & itineraries and Reserve Today your Viking River Cruise by clicking here.


Bordeaux is an increasingly popular destination for river cruises in France, offering travelers the opportunity to explore the renowned wine region and its historic towns along the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde rivers. Based on the search results, here is a comprehensive overview of the best Bordeaux river cruise itineraries:

The standard Bordeaux river cruise itinerary is typically 7-8 nights and operates roundtrip from the city of Bordeaux. These cruises generally include visits to key wine regions and towns along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, such as Médoc, Sauternes, Cognac, and Saint-Émilion. Some cruise lines, like Scenic and Uniworld, offer longer 12-22 night itineraries that combine the Bordeaux region with cruises on other French rivers like the Seine, Rhône, and Saône. These extended voyages provide more time to explore the diverse landscapes and attractions of France. Cruise lines with Bordeaux river cruise offerings include AmaWaterways, CroisiEurope, Scenic, Uniworld, and Viking. The ships used are typically smaller river cruise vessels that can navigate the narrower waterways.

Find special deals, Browse Viking Routes & itineraries and Reserve Today your Viking River Cruise by clicking here.

What to Expect on a Bordeaux River Cruise

Bordeaux river cruises offer a more intimate and immersive experience compared to ocean cruises, with the ability to dock right in the heart of towns and cities. Excursions are typically included, allowing passengers to explore the local wine estates, historic sites, and charming villages. The cuisine and wine on board are highlights, with menus featuring regional specialties and local vintages. Many cruises include wine tastings and visits to renowned chateaux. Passengers on Bordeaux river cruises tend to be older, often over 50, and hail from countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK. The atmosphere is generally more relaxed and refined.

When selecting a Bordeaux river cruise, key factors to consider include the cruise line, length of itinerary, included excursions, and onboard amenities. Travelers should also be aware that the cruise schedule can be influenced by tidal conditions on the rivers. Prices for Bordeaux river cruises can vary significantly, with longer itineraries and more luxurious cruise lines commanding higher rates. However, the all-inclusive nature of many river cruise packages can provide good value. The best time to visit Bordeaux is generally during the harvest months of September and October, when the weather is mild and the wine country is in full bloom. However, cruises are offered year-round, with shoulder seasons offering potential savings.

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