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The beautiful Dordogne valley isn’t just home to great food and drink, it’s also got plenty of adventures on its doorstep. From hiking to wild swimming, canoeing and paragliding, there’s plenty to keep your adventurous side happy.
Canoeing the Dordogne River
Spending a day in a canoe on the Dordogne river is a popular past time in this region of france. It shouldn’t be a surprise really when you consider the beauty of the Dordogne Valley and the usually good summer weather
There are plenty of spots along the river from where you can hire a canoe and start your Dordogne Valley adventure. One of the best places to start is Beynac. From here you can drift downstream towards La Roque-Gageac one of the most beautiful villages in France.
You”ll find a few guinguettes along the way which make a great lunch stop along the river or, if you’re more organised, pull up along the banks of the Dordogne river and tuck into a packed lunch.
You’ll usually be given a big tub in which you an put towels,cameras and other non waterproof goods which is super handy. Most of the canoe companies will also come and pick you and your canoes up when you’re tired which saves you from paddling upstream after a day of adventure on the Dordogne River.
The Padirac Caves
The Padirac Caves (Gouffre de Padirac) are the latest in all of Europe and we’ll worth a visit if you’re in the Dordogne Valley.
At 75m deep and 99m wide around the rim of the caves, the Padirac caves will amaze you with the subterranean stream and the various underground caverns full of extraordinary rock formations. The caves so big that there’s even a boat ride along the rain water river (Lac de la Pluie) inside the caves as part of your trip!
During summer they do get busy so book a ticket online or arrive early to beat the queues.
Get outdoors and go hiking
There’s a lot of hiking in the Dordogne Valley.
Not ony does the Way of St James, perhaps better known by its Spanish name Camino de Santiago, passes through many of the towns in the region, but there’s also lots of exploring to be done elsewhere on foot.
Why not try the 7 brothers loop; a wonderful 6km / 2 hours trail that gives the hiker a chance to explore the medieval Tayac, before taking you along ancient trails that were used by market traders for 1000’s of years.
You may feel the need to cool off during the heat of a Dordogne summer and with the abundance of water around the Dordogne Valley you’re in luck should you be after a wild swimming adventure.
Besides swimming in the Dordogne River during your canoe trip or anther time, the short walk from the village of Autoire to the waterfall is a must.
This waterfall is a popular swimming area so go early or late if yore keen to have the place to yourself.
You could also head over to Domme where there’s a very quiet stretch of river alongside walnut orchards.
If you’re really after a Dordogne Valley adventure you won’t forget anyone soon then why not give paragliding a go?
One of the best spots is just outside the lovely town of Soulliac. You couldn’t get a better view of the Dordogne Valley than you will when paragliding.