A few of my close friends have indicated concerns about our upcoming June 2023 Bordeaux France River cruise, in that they’re not necessarily big wine drinkers so they figure this cruise isn’t for them. I thought it might be prudent to talk about all the other options with this cruise, including as well, the pre-tour of northern Spain!
Yes, the Bordeaux region of France, aptly named, is famous for its largely red Bordeaux premium blends representing 90%, while only 10% are white. But this cruise and this region have so much more to offer travelers than just wine.
Bordeaux itself is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site classified as a “City of Art & History”. Did you know that it has 362 historic monuments with some dating back to Roman times. In fact, Bordeaux has the most listed monuments in France, second only to Paris.
Non-wine excursions include heaps of history including medieval castles, cool catacombs of a 12th-15th century monolithic church, 17th century citadels and forts, 16th century underground tunnels with artifacts from WWII and so much more for history buffs.
(Photo courtesy of Amawaterways of Roquetaillade Castle)
There are also options in just about every port of the cruise (in fact, 4 of the 6 days of touring) to enjoy a bike ride touring the area! There’s also a hiking option one day so that with either biking or hiking, you can stay active and still eat all you want on the cruise if you choose to! There’s also a lovely coastal drive option on one of the days as well to see France’s Statue of Liberty and the oldest lighthouse in France.
(Picture courtesy of Amawaterways)
As a reminder, in 2 of the ports, we have optional golf opportunities on 2 fabulous courses of France as well. One is located in the Medoc region and the other is in the Dordogne region. The former “Golf du Medoc Resort” is in the top 100 best European golf courses and has also been host to the French Open. https://golfdumedocresort.com/en/parcours-golf-bordeaux/
The “Chateau des Vigiers” in the beautiful Dordogne region has 27 holes that surround the spectacular ‘Chateau’ built in the 16th century. Donald Steel designed this ‘natural’ course and it’s considered one of the top 10 in Southwest France. https://vigiers.com/golf-dordogne-france.php
There are also plenty of chances to visit open air markets and such to taste the food delicacies famous to the Bordeaux region as well including their special pastries and macaron cookies, seafood, and meats that tend to go so well with their famous red wines.
(Photo courtesy of Amawaterways)
As a reminder, these rivers in France rarely experience issues relative to either a shortage or overage of rain since they’re actually fed from the Atlantic Ocean so that they end up being influenced by the normal tidal action. Unlike some issues that have occurred on both the Rhine and the Danube, there’s not the need to ‘bus’ folks from one area to another based on rivers either being too deep with the bridges or too shallow from lack of rainfall.
There are excursions every day to keep you busy but also some wonderful opportunities to explore places on your own or simply enjoy the luxury of the ship as it cruises along quietly down these lovely French rivers including the Garonne and the Dordogne and also in the Gironde estuary that starts at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. Lots of tremendous scenery all along the way.
Apart from the cruise, there’s also wonderful experiences to be had in the north of Spain with the pre-tour if you elect to join us including an open-air market tour in Guernica, made famous by Picasso’s commissioned mural. Also included is a walking tour of Bilbao with an introduction to some very authentic Spanish tapas and, of course, a visit to the very famous Guggenheim Museum.
San Sebastian is also part of this 4-night pre-tour that includes an evening walk of the Old Town where it happens to be the most popular place to get their incredible ‘tapas’ called pintxos where they originated. San Sebastian was previously considered the foodie capital of Spain. So, not only is it fabulous for its scenery on the lovely “Bay of Biscaye” but it also has great food to indulge in as well!
Photo Courtesy of Amawaterways - San Sebastian, Spain
Post-cruise, there’s also the option to visit the Loire Valley and even spend some time in Paris, the “City of Lights” and the “City of Love”. Of course, if you happen to also LOVE wine, this is also MOST definitely an awesome option for you to consider as well!
Here’s a link if you’re interested in joining us next June 2023 with a fun group of people that are looking to get away and have a great time! AmaWaterways Charter River Cruise Bordeaux Region June 2023