Villages of the Dordogne

A land of mellow fruitfulness
 

Holiday Highlights

Constantly changing landscape | Meandering rivers, rolling farmland, upland plateaux, and woodland.
Medieval villages | Of turreted mansions, half-timbered houses and Romanesque churches.
The Gouffre de Padirac | One of the most impressive cave systems in Europe.
Delicious regional cuisine | With hotel restaurants that showcase produce from the Dordogne.
Villages of the Dordogne. 7 nights
Villages of the Dordogne. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Dordogne Valley

Delight in ever-changing landscapes, wonderful views and delicious regional cuisine as you visit picturesque villages and enjoy the freedom of self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking with your luggage transported as you explore.
The upper reaches of the River Dordogne meander languidly through verdant valleys and ever-changing landscapes. Early morning mists dissipate under the first warming rays of the sun, revealing a rich tapestry of wooded, truffle-scented slopes, rolling farmland and thick orchards, heavy with ripening fruit. Wild plum, sloes and walnut trees edge the old stone ways which link the ancient villages.

Our walk starts in Beaulieu, whose origins date back to the 9th century, and explores the area south of the town, which is dotted with idyllic villages of turreted mansions and half-timbered houses with brown-tiled roofs, among them Autoire, Loubressac and Carennac – some of the most beautiful in France – all of which you visit on this holiday. Our routes are leisurely, with plenty of time for lazy picnics at the numerous viewpoints along the way, and are topped off by dinners of the flavoursome regional cuisine, featuring duck, truffles and wild mushrooms.
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on almost any day of the week, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 9 11 13 16 20 23 26 26 23 19 13 9
    mm 87 79 70 71 80 68 50 67 77 74 89 94
  • Arrival in Beaulieu
    Night 1: at Hotel Les Flots Bleus or Hotel Le Turenne (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Choice of walks from Beaulieu: 8km or 12km
    Spend at least part of your first day exploring historic Beaulieu, one of the most attractive medieval towns on the Dordogne. The focal point is the famed Romanesque church, which was once part of the town's Benedictine abbey, but the maze of ancient streets lined with 14th and 15th-century houses hold just as much allure.

    Circular walk from Beaulieu: 8km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 290m
    If you have time, you can explore the area upstream of Beaulieu on a short walk that introduces you to the region's landscape of meadows, copses and rolling hills scattered with stone farmhouses.

    Longer option: 12km, 4.5hrs; ascent/descent 260m
    We also offer a longer option which rises above the River Dordogne, passing through walnut groves and mixed woodland before emerging at an idyllically situated house and château. Return to Beaulieu along the riverbank.
    The Dordogne at Beaulieu
    Circular walk from Beaulieu: 8km
    Longer option: 12km
  • Choice of walks from Beaulieu to Port de Gagnac: 9km or 12km

    Shorter route: 9km, 3.5hrs; ascent 305m/descent 295m
    You cross the Dordogne via a small island to begin this gentle walk southwards towards the Cère, one of its tributaries. Wide, often shady, paths link a succession of tiny rural hamlets, across traditional farmland and through woodland and forest. On the way you gain glorious views back and forth over the river valleys and villages. In the quiet forest, you may spot deer in a clearing. Your destination is the village of Port de Gagnac and the Auberge du Vieux Port. If availability requires, we can also offer the nearby Hostellerie Belle Rive, which too enjoys a peaceful riverside setting.

    Longer route: 12km, 5hrs; ascent 370m/descent 360m
    This slightly longer route is a delightful ramble along country roads and tracks up onto the agricultural uplands. Ascending continually for the first half of the walk, you rise out of woodland to be rewarded with lovely views and a wonderful sense of openess. The second half of the walk then sees you descend through the interesting hamlet of Fontmerle before dropping through the woods to reach the River Cère and Port de Gagnac.
    En route to Port de Gagnac
    Shorter route: 9km
    Longer route: 12km
  • Port de Gagnac to Loubressac: 15km, 6hrs; ascent 420m/descent 350m
    Today’s walk is, in our view, undoubtedly one of the best of the holiday, with sweeping views over splendid countryside. A highlight on the walk is seeing one of France’s most spectacular medieval fortifications, the magnificent Château de Castelnau, on a promontory overlooking four valleys and three rivers. Your path takes you through meadows, between orchards and vineyards, and up steep stony paths through forest. You pass the region’s cheese factory – the Fromagerie de Rocamadour – before reaching Loubressac, a tiny, fortified village perched high on the hillside, with a 15th-century manor house and lovely views back towards the Château de Castelnau. Your hotel for your two nights here is the Relais de Castelnau.
    Château de Castelnau
    Port de Gagnac to Loubressac: 15km
  • Choice of walks from Loubressac: 9.5km or 14.5km

    Gouffre de Padirac option: 14.5km, 5.5hrs; ascent/descent 270m
    Our first option crosses a wild and uninhabited landscape to visit the vast caverns of the Gouffre de Padirac, one of the most impressive cave systems in Europe, where you can take a boat on the underground river. The caves extend for some 20 kilometres, with some caverns 100 metres high. (It is worth booking in advance; pay locally.)

    Circular walk via Autoire: 9.5km, 4hrs; ascent/descent 325m
    Alternatively, enjoy our circular walk along timeless, stone-edged paths and down through a gorge to the picturesque village of Autoire. There are several café-restaurants to offer sustenance before you take the steep route back to Loubressac.
    Gouffre de Padirac on the route around Loubressac © J C Lemee
    Gouffre de Padirac option: 14.5km
    Circular walk via Autoire: 9.5km
  • Loubressac to Martel: 16km, 6hrs; ascent 415m/descent 320m
    The day begins with a short transfer to the delightful village of Carennac. This is another of the ‘most beautiful villages in France’, perched high above the Dordogne, with immaculately restored manor houses and ornate dovecotes typical of the region, clustering round the old Cluniac priory. After you've explored the village, you set off into a quiet landscape, following footpaths and country lanes often bordered by old dry-stone walls. You pass through the pretty riverside village of Floirac to enter the open valley of the River Dordogne, sheltered on both sides by tall limestone cliffs. At the end of the walk you cross the river to reach the lively medieval market town of Martel and your guesthouse.
    Loubressac to Martel: 16km
    Martel
  • Circular walk from Martel: 12km, 4.5hrs; ascent/descent 305m
    The target of this final walk is Gluges, which you reach via a viewpoint affording a superb view of the River Dordogne. You'll no doubt wish to linger in Gluges, a picturesque village set into overhanging cliffs and with a romantic connection to Edith Piaf. You could even hire a canoe for an hour or two (pay locally) to see the river from a different perspective. When you are ready to return, you head back to Martel along a botanical trail across the limestone plateau that was used by apothecaries of yesteryear. Take time on your return to explore Martel itself, known as ‘the town of seven towers’. Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days.
    Circular walk from Martel: 11.5km
    Gluges
 

Accommodation

You stay in charming hotels and a chambre d'hôtes, all of which offer delicious regional cuisine.

In some places, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. All are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.

Whichever hotels you stay in, we recommend extra nights in Beaulieu and Martel for more time to explore these pretty towns. It's also worth adding an extra night in Loubressac to enjoy both of our suggested walks.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 19 April 2024 - 05 October 2024 & 19 April 2025 - 05 October 2025

    Start any day except Friday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    19 Apr - 19 May 2024 £1160 £260
    20 May - 31 Jul 2024 £1220 £260
    1 - 24 Aug 2024 £1120 £260
    25 Aug - 28 Sep 2024 £1205 £260
    19 Apr - 19 May 2025 £1210 £275
    20 May - 31 Jul 2025 £1270 £275
    1 - 24 Aug 2025 £1165 £275
    25 Aug - 28 Sep 2025 £1255 £275
    3rd & 4th person discount -£70 to -£73
    Single traveller supplement £70 to £73

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Deduct £38pp in 2023 or £42pp in 2024 if your stay at Hotel Les Flots Bleus falls on a day that its restaurant is closed (Monday throughout the year and Tuesday all year except in Jul/Aug)

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    7 nights: 19 April 2024 - 05 October 2024 & 19 April 2025 - 05 October 2025

    Start any day except Friday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    19 Apr - 19 May 2024 £1470 £260
    20 May - 31 Jul 2024 £1545 £260
    1 - 24 Aug 2024 £1445 £260
    25 Aug - 28 Sep 2024 £1505 £260
    19 Apr - 19 May 2025 £1530 £275
    20 May - 31 Jul 2025 £1610 £275
    1 - 24 Aug 2025 £1505 £275
    25 Aug - 28 Sep 2025 £1570 £275
    3rd & 4th person discount -£136 to -£140
    Single traveller supplement £136 to £145

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Deduct £38pp in 2023 or £42pp in 2024 if your stay at Hotel Les Flots Bleus falls on a day that its restaurant is closed (Monday throughout the year and Tuesday all year except in Jul/Aug)

    Included travel from the UK: UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Brive (Intercité), approx. duration 9h30 plus 0h45 taxi transfer. Home, Souillac–Paris (Intercité), Paris–UK (Eurostar), approx duration 9h40 plus 0h40 taxi transfer.
    > More about 'by rail' prices
    > The 'rail experience': what to expect

    If you book your holiday less than 10 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

    7 nights: 19 April 2024 - 05 October 2024 & 19 April 2025 - 05 October 2025

    Start any day except Friday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    19 Apr - 19 May 2024 £1345 £260
    20 May - 31 Jul 2024 £1405 £260
    1 - 24 Aug 2024 £1305 £260
    25 Aug - 28 Sep 2024 £1390 £260
    19 Apr - 19 May 2025 £1400 £275
    20 May - 31 Jul 2025 £1465 £275
    1 - 24 Aug 2025 £1360 £275
    25 Aug - 28 Sep 2025 £1450 £275
    3rd & 4th person discount -£255 to -£265
    Single traveller supplement £255 to £270

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus a return Channel crossing between Folkestone and Calais with LeShuttle for your party and one car.

    Deduct £38pp in 2023 or £42pp in 2024 if your stay at Hotel Les Flots Bleus falls on a day that its restaurant is closed (Monday throughout the year and Tuesday all year except in Jul/Aug)

    As we suggest you leave your car at the last hotel for the duration of the holiday, we include a transfer from the last hotel to the first hotel to begin your holiday.
    > More information about travelling self-drive

    A supplement of approximately £65 per car per single journey applies for travel at key dates over Easter, while from May onwards a supplement of approximately £42 per car per single journey applies for travel over public holidays and at weekends during school holidays. See the self-drive page or contact us for more details.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Auberge du Vieux Port, Port de Gagnac
    Superior: 19 Apr - 05 Oct 2024 £20
    Superior: 19 Apr - 05 Oct 2025 £21
    Le Petit Moulin, Martel
    Junior suite: 19 Apr - 05 Oct 2024 £13
    Junior suite: 19 Apr - 05 Oct 2025 £14

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Les Flots Bleus, Beaulieu (with dinner) Double room Single room
    19 Apr - 05 Oct 2024 £101 £141
    19 Apr - 05 Oct 2025 £105 £147
    Relais de Castelnau, Loubressac (with dinner) Double room Single room
    19 Apr - 05 Oct 2024 £105 £158
    19 Apr - 05 Oct 2025 £109 £164
    Le Petit Moulin, Martel (B&B) Double room Single room
    19 Apr - 05 Oct 2024 £66 £132
    19 Apr - 05 Oct 2025 £69 £138
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Brive, Limoges, Toulouse or Paris CDG
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Aberdeen - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Birmingham - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Limoges Ryanair 
    Bristol - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet 
    Bristol - Toulouse easyJet 
    Bristol - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Limoges Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Limoges Ryanair 
    Leeds Bradford - Paris CDG jet2 
    Leeds Bradford - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Liverpool - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Gatwick - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Paris CDG British Airways 
    Heathrow - Toulouse British Airways 
    Heathrow - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Heathrow - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Paris CDG easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Brive Vallée de la Dordogne Ryanair 
    Stansted - Limoges Ryanair 
    Stansted - Toulouse Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Limoges Ryanair 
    Manchester - Paris CDG Air France,  easyJet 
    Manchester - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Paris CDG Air France,  KLM 
    Newcastle - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Teesside International - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Paris CDG. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.
     

    Connecting travel options - flying via Brive Vallée de la Dordogne

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Brive Vallée de la Dordogne airport to hotel (1h) £58-£60 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Brive Vallée de la Dordogne airport (0h40) £30-£31 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Paris CDG

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    RER from CDG airport to Paris Austerlitz (0h45), rail Paris Austerlitz to Brive (4h20), taxi Brive to hotel (0h45) £128-£135 1045
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Brive (1h), rail Brive to Paris Austerlitz (4h20), RER from Paris Austerlitz to CDG airport (0h45) £110-£114 1530

    Connecting travel options - flying via Limoges

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Limoges Benedictins to Brive (1h-1h20), taxi Brive to hotel (0h45) £85-£88 1700 (1530 Sat & Sun)
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Brive (1h), rail Brive to Limoges Benedictins (1h-1h20) £68-£71 1200
    taxi hotel to Brive (1h), rail Brive to Limoges Benedictins (1h-1h20) £68-£71 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Toulouse

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Toulouse-Matabiau to Souillac (2h), taxi Souillac to hotel (1h) £81-£84 1500 (1300 Sat)
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Souillac (0h40), rail Souillac to Toulouse-Matabiau (2h) £55-£57 1300
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 6 dinners
    3 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfers on days 3 & 5
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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