Visit Aquitaine, France
Aquitaine is among the most diverse regions of France, with magnificent long Atlantic surfing beaches, cities such as Bordeaux and Biarritz, the largest forest in France, and the lovely countryside of the Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne departments, dotted with medieval villages, wooded valleys and medieval castles
Six unmissable highlights of a visit to Aquitaine
Found in the south-west corner of France, Aquitaine reaches Spain at its southern frontier while the Atlantic Ocean runs along its western coast. For visitors the region falls into three distinct regions:
- the forest backed Atlantic coast of western Aquitaine, best known for the beaches, surfing, and summer fun
- the countryside of the Dordogne / Lot-et-Garonne departments further inland, and the history reflected in the castles and medieval villages set among the verdant countryside
- the foothills of the western Pyrenees, and the numerous typical Basque villages that they contain
Explore Aquitaine by department
Gironde - north-west Aquitaine
Based around Bordeaux, the important and impressive capital of Gironde, the department has several other notable highlights, including important coastal towns and the renowned wine regions of the Medoc and Saint Emilion.
Of particular interest during a visit to Gironde Bordeaux is one of the most impressive cities in France.
You can also see the highest sand dune in Europe at Dune de Pilat near Arcachon; visit the UNESCO protected town and vineyards of Saint-Emilion, and enjoy one of the popular coastal resorts such as Lacanau.
visit Gironde for more information
Landes - coastal Aquitaine
The Landes department is best known for its enormous forests, and for the many resorts and long sandy beaches that line the coast
The Landes department attracts large numbers of holidaymakers, to resorts such as Biscarrosse, Capbreton, Hossegor and Mimizan and is especially popular with windsurfers. Inland, the large forests planted by Napoleon III also provide great cycling and walking opportiunities.
Pyrenees-Atlantiques - south-western Aquitaine
Transition zone between the low western Pyrenees and the Atlantic coast, the Pyrenees-Atlantiques can offer beaches in the morning - and mountain villages in the afternoon - with lunch in a clasic resort such as Biarritz in between!
The popular city of Biarritz is a highlight in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques (along with nearby Bayonne) while a little to the south be sure to visit Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The quiet neighbour to Saint Jean de Luz at Ciboure was once home to Ravel and Matisse - and while in the region be sure to venture across the border into Spain to visit historical Hondarribia.
Inland the town of Pau is also popular, while the 'most beautiful villages' of Sare, Ainhoa and La Bastide-Clairence are also recommended. This attractive Basque country has many other small traditional towns and villages such as Espelette and Itxassou, while other selected highlights include Cambo-les-Bains, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Salies-de-Bearn and Sauveterre-de-Bearn
visit Pyrenees-Atlantiques for more information
Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne - inland Aquitaine
Heading inland, Aquitaine is well known for the medieval villages and bastide towns, the castles and the traditional farms of the regions along the Rivers Dordogne and Lot, and for some of the finest countryside scenery to be found in France.
This region of Aquitaine includes two departments: Dordogne to the north and Lot-et-Garonne to the south. The southern Dordogne around Sarlat attracts the most visitors, while the Lot-et-Garonne and northern Dordogne are quieter, unspoiled regions with many of their own highlights and attractions - from the forests of Perigord-Limousin to the 13th century villages of Lot-et-Garonne.
See also the dedicated Dordogne site that provided much of the tourist information for the Dordogne section of the Aquitaine travel guide
See more ideas at Aquitaine tourist information, with more towns, national monuments, national parks, towns in bloom etc across the Aquitaine region.
Map of Aquitaine
French version: Aquitaine (Francais)