france/dordogne/0011c4/View-over-the-Dordog-g.jpg

Dordogne River Walk

from $2,749.00

This walking holiday explores the limestone cliffs, wooded valleys and beautiful medieval villages that are so unique to France’s Dordogne region. World famous prehistoric sites and fine local wines add a further dimension to a stay here.

  • Reviews 21 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Dordogne River Walk.

Perigord is one of the largest and most picturesque areas in France. It is divided into two by the River Dordogne which founded the historic frontier between France and England during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). Along its banks you’ll find over a thousand castles steeped in legend and history, and witness to centuries of conquests and conflict. Today the rich and varied culture of this land is still here for you to discover. You will meander along paths that follow the twists and turns of the valley and you will climb through fields and shaded woodland to hilltop towns and fortified strongholds with impressive views.
You’re never far from the River Dordogne, the walks will take you past dramatic limestone cliffs, along tranquil riverside paths and through quiet mediaeval villages and sleepy hamlets – you might walk for miles and see no one but the occasional farmer or angler!
The Perigord is renowned for its traditional gastronomy and at the end of each day you’ll experience a delicious Perigord feast, perhaps washed down with fine Cahors or Bergerac wines. Try the gourmet fare of foie gras, truffles, confits d’oie and the walnut liqueur eau de noix. You will stay in characterful *** and **** hotels throughout, including a grand country manor set in its own private parkland, two beautifully preserved chateaux and a traditional family-run auberge. All hotels have private swimming pools.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 8 Nights accommodations, hotel-to-hotel
  • Headwater wine service
  • Continental breakfasts and all evening meals
  • Route directions and maps
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (at designated place and time)
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Unspoiled scenery, woodland valleys, well-marked tranquil riverside paths
  • Pretty medieval villages; traditional Perigourdine markets, fairy tale chateaux
  • La Roque Gageac, one of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’
  • Wonderful river wildlife: heron, coypu,kites, kingfishers, buzzards and dragonflies
  • Friendly, family-run hotels, all with pools and good food
  1. Day 1 Day 1 - Arrive in Martel

    Arrive at your hotel in Martel, a picturesque town also known as ’la ville aux sept tours’ or the town of seven towers. Your Hotel is a former convent school in 7000m2 of private gardens. (Staying at Le Relais Sainte-Anne, Half Board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 - Martel to Meyronne 10km/6.5mi/2.5hr

    Before leaving Martel, take time to enjoy its mediaeval streets, in particular the Palais de la Raymondie and the Place de la Halle. Martel is where the son of Henry II, (called Henry Court-Mantel for the new short cloak he made fashionable) died during the Hundred Years War; the house where he died is still visible today. Enjoy wonderful 360 views of the Dordogne Valley from the summit of Mont Mercou, before arriving at your C11 chateau hotel. (Staying at Hotel de la Terrasse, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 - At Meyronne

    You have lots of choices today. Either relax by the hotel pool or walk south of the river to Rocher Sainte-Marie and the Grottes de Lacave. If you prefer, head to the town of Rocamadour, home to the shrine of the Black Madonna and one of France’s most venerated religious sites. Alternatively, travel by taxi to the Gouffre de Padirac, an enormous chasm where you descend into an underground cave system that you then explore by boat along the subterranean stream. (Staying at Hotel de la Terrasse, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 - Meyronne to Souillac 18km/11mi/5hr

    Leave Meyronne following the rewarding path along the Roc de Monges with spectacular panoramic views along the river and buzzards and kites soaring overhead. Take the GR6 path through sleepy hamlets and lush farmland, rejoining the river at Chateau de la Treyne before continuing on to the atmospheric small town of Souillac. (Staying at La Vielle Auberge, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 - At Souillac

    Wander around this delightful town or visit the Musee de l’Automate, which holds the largest collection of mechanical toys and dolls in France. Alternatively, walk to La Durantie for more stunning views along the Dordogne Valley. (Staying at La Vielle Auberge, Half Board)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 - Souillac to Carsac 13km/8mi/3.5hr or 16km/10mi/4.5hr

    Take a transfer to Roufillac then head along the south bank of the Dordogne River into the heart of the Perigord Nord. You can also take a short detour to visit Chateau de Fenelon en route to Carsac. (Staying at La Villa Romaine, Half Board)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 - At Carsac

    Walk along the disused railway line that is now a ’voie verte’ into Sarlat and explore this mediaeval town, the capital of the Perigord Noir. Wander the warren of old lanes and charming courtyards with their Renaissance facades and richly ornamented buildings, now protected by law. (Staying at La Villa Romaine, Half Board)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 - Carsac to Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse 23km/14mi/5.5hr or 19km/12mi/5hr

    Today’s wonderful day of walking takes you along one of the historically interesting sections of the Dordogne River. Pass stone bories (dry stone huts) and small country hamlets as you walk between Chateau de Montfort, Vitrac port and La Roque-Gageac, with incredible views. With the fortifications of Castelnau just across the river from you, stroll into the incredible towering stronghold of Beynac with its quaint cobbled lanes, once besieged by Richard the Lionheart. Take a short but steep detour up to the Chateau de Beynac – perhaps enjoy a refreshing drink on a cafe terrace, with stunning views over the river, then continue through the serene countryside to your hotel. (Staying at the Domaine de Monrecour Chateau Hotel, Half Board)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 - Leave Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse
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Where you stay
Le Relais Sainte-Anne
The rooms in the charming Relais Sainte-Anne are tastefully decorated with antique furniture. The grounds include a pool and extensive gardens to wander and relax in. Evening meals can be taken on the terrace in good weather.
Hotel La Terrasse
The Hotel La Terrasse, ideally situated overlooking the Dordogne, is a converted C11 chateau, which has survived in spite of the turbulent history of the region. It was converted into a hotel in the 1920s by the Liebus family – who still own the hotel – but it still retains many of its original features – wooden beams, exposed stone walls, stone fire places and stone spiral stairwell. Period furniture completes the impressive, yet comfortable, interior. Your evening meal is taken in the hotel’s restaurant, where the menu reflects the local specialities. If you eat on the hotel’s terrace, you’ll also get to savour views over the river!
La Vieille Auberge
La Vieille Auberge, a coach house from Napoleonic times, has been modernised to create a charming auberge in a quiet part of Souillac. The restaurant serves traditional regional specialities with a modern twist.
La Villa Romaine
Dating back to the Roman occupation of the area, La Villa Romaine sits on what was once part of a vast Gallo-Roman farm. Bought by the De Bars family in C15 and developed in C19 into a prosperous farm, La Villa Romaine was turned into a hotel in 1948. The hotel now offers 17 large and comfortable rooms and suites, all equipped with air-conditioning, satellite TV, minibar and complimentary Wi-Fi and decorated in a modern style but with traditional twists. The hotel’s three buildings form a large courtyard and the extensive grounds hold an infinity edge pool, water gardens and terraces. There is a restaurant serving regional dishes made with locally sourced (and organic where possible) ingredients. Dinners are served in the dining room or on the terrace.
Chateau de Monrecour
The Chateau de Monrecour is located in Saint Vincent de Cosse, just a few kilometres from stunning Beynac. Guest rooms are traditionally decorated and equipped with a private bathroom, free Wi-Fi access and TV. The hotel also has a swimming pool and a large south-facing terrace. Breakfast is served in the chateau’s ballroom, which is decorated with tapestries and features a large stone fireplace. During good weather, guests can enjoy breakfast on the terrace, which has a view of the C15 Chateau des Milandes. Evening meals are served in the hotel restaurant and are a real treat: be prepared to sample sumptuous local dishes, prepared with fresh products.
Eating and Drinking

Continental breakfasts and all evening meals.

The Dordogne has a rich cuisine based on ‘produits du terroir’ (locally grown produce). A typical first course would be ‘tourain’, an onion and garlic soup cooked in a broth with duck or goose fat, and ladled over slices of country bread and cheese. Paté, often duck or goose, is equally popular, as is foie gras. Main course specialities also include duck and goose, often served in light cream sauces and, in the autumn, fresh cepes. Duck or goose fat is also used for the accompanying pommes de terre sarladaises – slices of potato sauteed in goose fat, with garlic, parsley and wild mushrooms. Traditional desserts include tarte aux noix, and flognarde, a type of flan with fruit and liqueur. A local cheese that is worth tasting is Bleu des Causses, similar to Roquefort, as well as Rocamadour goat’s cheese. There are also some fantastic wines that come from the local area and a little further afield in Bordeaux that will accompany your meals perfectly.

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
Average daily distance: 16.5km/10.5 miles
No. of days walking: 4
Terrain and route: The suggested walking mainly follows Peaceful well-marked walks mainly through forests, sunflower fields and along riverside paths. Rolling hills, so no need for a head for heights.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 22/08/2019
5/5

Mr Sykes

This was our third walking holiday with Headwater and lived up to expectations. The walking was lovely, although the second one was quite challenging! All the hotels were comfortable and the last two were luxurious, but all had wonderful food. France is not an easy place to be if you are gluten free, as one of our party is, but the last two hotels were particularly good. Taxis too, are scarce and very expensive, if you wish to go out on your rest days. However, the reps (Janet and Andrew) were very helpful and we all had a lovely holiday, and would certainly use Headwater again.

Reviewed On 19/07/2019
5/5

Mr Allen

Very enjoyable walks with excellent notes. We are experienced walkers but even we struggled with very high temperatures on Day 4. We were offered the opportunity to swap one day’s walk to canoeing; this is an example of Janet and Andrew ( the reps) going out of their way to tailor our holiday to suit both us and the weather conditions. We thoroughly enjoyed the canoeing and it added a new dimension to our holiday! The hotels were very high quality as we have come to expect with Headwater ( our ninth holiday with you). The only exception was La Terrace in Meyronne where the menu was limited and was the same on both evenings. It gave the impression that we were less important guests and didn’t add to the ambience.

Headwater response:
Thank you for leaving a lovely review. We are so pleased that you enjoyed the canoeing a great alternative to walking in the extreme heat that you were experiencing. Janet and Andrew will be really pleased to read what you have written. I am sorry that the menu in La Terrace was limited and would like to assure you that your comments have been fed back to them.
Kind regards
Customer Services

Reviewed On 26/11/2018
5/5

Mr Hewson

Wonderful walking in picturesque varied countryside with many historical features. Ample shade. Hotels luxurious and/or extremely comfortable with delicious food.

Reviewed On 07/09/2018
5/5

Mrs Loaring

Very well planned and organised by knowledgable and helpful staff. Route notes generally accurate and helpful, although the wording can at times be confusing and imprecise as can some of the distances between way marks. The degree of difficulty on some days is under estimated and had we not been as fit as we are,we may have struggled with some of the climbs.. The local reps were superb, always charming, helpful, patient and totally reliable. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. All of the hotels were excellent and two in particular were superb, both in terms of the cuisine and the rooms that we were accommodated in. However, in two hotels the menu did not change from day to day, and therefore, as non meat eaters we were limited to having the same meals on consecutive evenings; particularly as there were no vegetarian options and only one type of fish (which my wife does not like) available. The walk routes were glorious, beautiful scenery, varied terrain, and wonderful spring flowers (particularly many and varied orchids).

Reviewed On 06/09/2018
5/5

Mr Ekers

Wonderful trip! Everything was so well set up for- transfers, trip notes etc. The walks themselves were stunning, and it was amazing to jump into the pool at the end of the day. A great way to see the Dordogne and experience a different part of France.

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September 24, 2019
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