Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. We earn a small commission on every purchase made at no extra cost to you.
Wondering how to spend 2 days in Bordeaux? We’re sharing a simple 2-day itinerary that includes all of the top highlights in Bordeaux, where to go wine tasting, some of our favorite restaurants, and the best hotels in the city.
Located in the southwest corner of France, Bordeaux is a lively city filled with incredible architecture, unique history, and amazing cuisine. Brimming with creative shops and locally-owned restaurants, you’re guaranteed to have a cultural getaway in this vibrant city.
Are you a wine enthusiast? Then head outside of the city for a wine-tasting day trip like no other, or simply enjoy a tasting at a wine bar in the city. After all, Bordeaux is known as the wine capital of France!
We spent two weeks in Bordeaux experiencing the best of the city center and beyond. Our takeaway? It’s one of France’s most wonderful hidden gems that’s definitely worth a visit. Even if you only have time to visit on a day trip from Paris – go for it.
In this two day Bordeaux itinerary, we’re sharing the top things you can’t miss during your French getaway.
What to do in Bordeaux in 2 days
Below, we’re sharing our ideal 2-day Bordeaux itinerary. The first day covers the city’s main highlights, such as important monuments and historical sights.
On day two, you have a couple of options. You can either stay in the city and go wine tasting on your own, plus visit some unique sights like an immersive art experience in a former submarine bunker.
Or you can choose to take a tour to wine country and explore the Bordeaux vineyards. Either way, you’ll absolutely love your time in this enchanting city.
Day 1 Bordeaux Itinerary
Visit the Grosse Cloche
Kick off your two days in Bordeaux, with a visit to the majestic Grosse Cloche. This remarkable historical monument towers over this well-loved French city showcasing a grand example of Gothic architecture and Bordeaux’s medieval past.
With origins from the 13th century, it’s one of the top things to do while visiting the city. In fact, it’s not to be missed while visiting Bordeaux!
For a unique experience, grab a drink from Books & Coffee to enjoy your morning coffee with a view. Trust me, it’s the perfect way to start your trip.
Visit the Porte Cailhou
Just a short walk from your last stop, you’ll find yourself at Porte Cailhou, one of Bordeaux’s main attractions. This captivating structure that dates back to the 15th century provides a fascinating glimpse into the city’s vibrant past.
As one of Bordeaux’s most iconic landmarks, a visit to Porte Cailhou is simply non-negotiable for anyone exploring the city. It’s a must-see attraction for those seeking deeper knowledge of the city’s cultural and architectural treasures.
For €5, you can visit an engaging exhibition that uncovers the secrets behind this architectural masterpiece and its construction. Plus, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views at the top.
Check out the Place de la Bourse
Only a short stroll away, you’ll find yourself at Place de la Bourse. As one of Bordeaux’s most beautiful squares, it’s something you can’t miss off your Bordeaux 2-day itinerary.
Located in the heart of the city, this square is renowned for its architectural gems, with the Palais Rohan standing out as the most impressive.
However, the real gem of this location is the enchanting Mirror of Water, the world’s largest reflecting pool. This is a mesmerizing water feature that mirrors the surrounding buildings.
It creates a stunning allure, especially as the night descends. If you’re seeking exceptional photo opportunities, this is your spot!
This is one of the best things to see in Bordeaux. You won’t want to miss out!
Place des Quinconces
Afterwards, head onwards to Place des Quinconces. With photo opportunities around each corner, it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
Covered in a canopy of trees, this is a sanctuary right in the heart of the city, you’ll find quiet corners to take in the chilled-out ambiance of this iconic square.
Afterward, you can admire the Monument aux Girondins, a large monument and fountain that commemorates those who fought in the French Revolution.
Relax in the Jardin Public
Another great place to find nature in the city is the Jardin Public; a serene park in the heart of Bordeaux. If you’re looking for free things to do in this popular French city, this is one place you can’t miss!
Inside of the park, you’ll find a palace, the botanical gardens, and a couple of cafes. We brought our own picnic for lunch and relaxed here for an hour or so on a nice fall day!
With plenty of spots to sit down and take in the views, it’s a lovely place to visit during your two days in Bordeaux. Especially if you’re visiting during summer and fall!
Wander through the old town
As a continent known for picturesque old towns, it’s no surprise that Bordeaux has its very own. As you enjoy your two-day adventure to Bordeaux, allow some time to explore the enchanting old town.
Stop inside some of the artisanal shops or simply enjoy the stunning architecture and the charming streets.
If you want to go on a little adventure around the old town, here are a few non-touristy spots that we suggest visiting:
- Palais Gallien – See the ruins of a 3rd century Roman amphitheater.
- Au Petrin Moissagais – Buy some bread or other treats from the oldest bakery in Bordeaux.
- Village Notre-Dame – If you are an antiques lover, then stop by this antique village in the Les Chartrons district.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Saint-André Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in Bordeaux. Also known as the Bordeaux Cathedral, it dates back to the 11th century and features imposing Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows.
In the 12th century, the wedding of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine took place here. It is one of the most significant historical events to have happened in Bordeaux.
There is a €2 fee to visit the Bordeaux Cathedral, which can be purchased upon entry. It is open Wednesday to Saturday from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.
Climb Pey Berland Tower
After a visit to the cathedral, head just across the square to the Pey Berland Tower. As one of the city’s most captivating landmarks, it stands out in terms of distinctive architecture. If impressive buildings are your thing, you won’t want to miss this unique gem in the heart of Bordeaux!
Back in the day, this extraordinary 12th-century tower was one of the tallest buildings in the city. Unfortunately, a storm damaged part of the building back in 1617.
Regardless, it remains one of the best places to experience the most beautiful views of Bordeaux.
For a fee of €6, you can venture up the tower’s 229 steps to enjoy a breathtaking viewpoint of the city. Despite the tiring climb, you’ll be glad you powered through as you admire the surrounding areas. Just don’t forget your camera!
Taste some of the city’s delicious foods
We are huge French pastry enthusiasts, and the desserts in Bordeaux are delicious! Here are a couple of pastries that you must-try during your weekend in Bordeaux.
Canelé from La Toque Cuivrée
One of the best desserts to try in Bordeaux is without a doubt Canelé. This mini caramelized sweet treat with a custard-like center and a rich, caramelized crust is a delight to enjoy after lunch. You’ll find them in various corners of the city, but for the most tasty, check out La Toque Cuivrée.
Cream puffs from Dunes Blanches chez Pascal
Next, hit up Dunes Blanche’s Chez Pascal for some cream puffs. Crafted from a special pastry called choux pastry, these delightful pastries come to life through a combination of flour, water, butter, and eggs and can be filled with an array of fillings. They are one of our favorite treats from Bordeaux!
Shop along Rue Saint-Catherine
Next, it’s time to indulge in a bit of retail therapy as you stroll down Rue Saint-Catherine, a bustling pedestrian street. As one of the longest shopping avenues in the whole continent, it’s the ultimate destination for shopping in the city.
Here, you’ll discover a selection of goods, from interior gems and boutique delights to rare vintage finds.
Day 2 Bordeaux Itinerary
Option #1: Spend another day in the city and continue your sightseeing journey through Bordeaux.
Visit the Marche des Capucins
Once you’re done savoring the delicious wine of the Bordeaux region, make your way to the Marche des Capucins. As one of the top markets in Bordeaux, it’s one of the best places to experience local life in the city.
You’ll find a selection of fresh produce for sale including fish, vegetables, fruit, and artisan cheese.
If you’re looking for a spot for lunch, this place gives an authentic experience like no other as a number of stalls offer freshly prepared dishes. Make sure to try some oysters, as they are freshly caught just an hour away on the Atlantic coast!
You can even enjoy a glass of local wine at this popular market hall!
Bassins des Lumieres
The Bassins des Lumieres is a unique light show that is located inside of a former submarine base. The show is projected onto the walls inside of this old bunker where the light fills up the space and reflects off of the pools of water.
It’s a completely immersive experience that features artists like Gaudi, Van Gogh, and Dali. There are also light shows of cartoons like Tintin and more.
We visited the Van Gogh light show a couple of years ago and were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it. If you have the time, we would highly recommending signing up for a showtime.
We recommend booking your tickets in advance online at the Bassins des Lumieres website. Full-price tickets start at €15 per person.
Enjoy wine tasting in the city
If you’re spending a weekend in Bordeaux, this is the perfect time to sample the local wines. There are two fab spots to do this:
Taste some wine at the Bar a Vin
As one of the top wine bars in Bordeaux, this is one of the best places to try the local flavors. In fact, many travelers spending two days in Bordeaux visit this bar at least once.
As well as high-quality wines, Bar a Vin serves small plates of tasty cheese, chocolates, and meat that pair well with your chosen beverage.
With a wide variety of wines including rosé and sparking delights, there’s something for everyone. They even have non-alcoholic drinks for kids and non-drinkers.
Visit La Cite du Vin – Bordeaux’s Wine Museum
Fancy learning more about the local wine region? Then head to Cite du Vin – the city’s wine museum.
This is the best place in the city to learn about the history of the wine region and about the popular wines from the region.
The museum offers wine experiences on the weekend, such as a 3-hour wine tasting workshop.
Make sure to stop by the Les Halles de Bacalan after your visit, a delicious food hall with local restaurants.
Option #2: Want to visit the countryside? Take a day trip to in one or both of Bordeaux’s famous wine regions.
Take a day trip to Bordeaux wine country
One of the best day trips from Bordeaux is to visit the stunning wine country just a short drive from the city. We recommend taking a wine tour where you’ll enjoy wine tastings and learn about the wine making process.
Bordeaux Wine Region Overview
The Bordeaux region is located in the southwest France near the Atlantic coast. The weather, soil, and terrain provide the perfect setting for growing grapes.
This wine region is one of the most well-known around the world and exploring it is a real treat for wine enthusiasts.
The six main grape varietals in Bordeaux are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
- Cabernet Franc (red)
- Merlot (red)
- Semillon (white)
- Sauvignon Blanc (white)
- Muscadelle (white)
The region is split into areas: Medoc on the left bank and Saint-Emilion on the right bank.
One of the best ways to experience the flavors of Bordeaux is by taking a tour to the different wine regions. Below, we’re sharing our recommendations for your day trip to the vineyards.
Wine tasting in Saint-Emilion
Saint-Emilion is known for rich red wines such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot making it a must-see for wine enthusiasts. In fact, it’s known for some of the best wines worldwide. Why not check it out for yourself?
Generally, the wines from this region are fruity with hints of strawberries and other red fruits. This is ideal if you enjoy sweeter wines. However, they become drier over time.
Some of the most famous vineyards in Saint-Emilion include Château Coutet, Chateau de Pressac, and Château Villemaurine. Each offers a different vibe and unique draw. If you have time, visiting more than one winery is a great way to spend a day outside of Bordeaux.
Not only is this spot great for wine tasting, but the town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re looking for beautiful places to visit in France, this is one place that needs to be on your bucket list!
Top 3 picks: Saint Emilion wine tours
- Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing Tour & Wine Tastings
- Full-Day tour to Saint-Emilion and Medoc
- Saint-Emilion Small-Group Electric Bike Wine Tour Tastings & Lunch
Check out our list of the top Saint Emilion wine tours for more options.
Wine tasting in Medoc
Medoc is another popular spot to go wine tasting in the country. Similarly to Saint Emilion, the most famous wines from this region are red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Generally, the wines here are stronger in flavor offering great taste in beautiful surroundings.
Looking for the best wineries in town? Then head to Château La Tour De By, Château Le Bourdieu, or Château Saint Ahon.
Prefer to head on a tour to Medoc from Bordeaux? Here are our tour recommendations.
Top 3 picks: Medoc wine tours
- Full-Day Gourmet Tour & Médoc Visit With Lunch
- Médoc Small-Group Wine Tour With Tastings & Château Visits
- Médoc Vineyards E-Bike Tour With Wine And Lunch
Check out our list of the top Medoc wine tours for more options.
Where to eat in Bordeaux
One of our favorite things about traveling is trying the local food and Bordeaux is no exception! With a wide selection of incredible restaurants, there’s something to suit all tastes in this wonderful French city.
- La Table Dereulle – This family-owned restaurant focuses their entire menu around cheese. They own a cheese shop down the street, so they take inspiration from that and create the most savory and delightful dishes. This is our top choice for lunch if you are in this area.
- L’Entrecôte – A French institution, this restaurant focuses mainly on two things: steak and fries. Worth a visit if you’re looking to try this classic French dish that is served with a flavorful sauce.
- Chez Dupont – A classic French restaurant serving typical dishes from the region.
- Le Loup – A lovely restaurant serving regional French dishes at an affordable price.
- La Brasserie Bordelaise – A wonderful spot to enjoy some local cooking focused on meats.
- Boulangerie “Maison Lamour Judaïque” – Our top pick for the best bakery in Bordeaux.
Make sure to call ahead and reserve in advance. Some restaurants may offer reservations online as well.
Where to stay in Bordeaux
No matter what your budget is, Bordeaux has a wide range of hotels to please every type of traveler. We love a good boutique hotel, so when we’re searching for where to stay, we look for design-forward hotels with modern amenities and local charm.
From luxury stays to boutique hotels and budget hotels, we’re sharing our top picks below.
Best Bordeaux Budget Hotel: Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre
This high-rated budget hotel is located in a 19th century building in the heart of the city, just a short walk from the Place de la Bourse. The rooms are spacious and clean with an optional breakfast included.
Best Bordeaux Boutique Hotel: Hôtel Singulier Bordeaux
This 4-star, highly rated boutique hotel is centrally located in Bordeaux and features beautifully decorated rooms. For those visiting during the summer, the rooms have A/C, which is a huge plus in France. Not only that, but you can enjoy their rooftop terrace with stunning views overlooking the city.
Best Bordeaux Mid-Range Hotel: Heym
Located next to the Jardin Public, this gorgeous hotel features spacious rooms and even an indoor swimming pool. Breakfast is included in the price.
Best Bordeaux Luxury Hotel:
This 5-star hotel is located in the center of Bordeaux and features well-designed rooms and modern amenities. Highly recommend staying here if you are looking for a boutique, luxury experience.
Another stunning 5-stair hotel, Le Palais Gallien features an outdoor swimming pool and stunning rooms. It’s central location makes it convenient for getting around the city by foot.
Bordeaux City Pass
The Bordeaux City Pass great way to save some cash as you explore the city. Even better, they have a 48-hour pass available for your weekend in Bordeaux.
What’s included in the pass?
The Bordeaux City Pass gives you free entry into a number of popular attractions. Based on this itinerary, here is what is included:
- Cite du Vin
- Bassins des Lumieres
- Pey Berland Tower
- Porte Cailhau
- Unlimited tram access
- Free city tour
- And so much more!
As well as entry into museums and galleries, you’ll also receive a free guided tour of the city. Once you’ve booked your tour at the city tourist office, you’ll discover more about this well-loved French city with a local guide. This is the best way to get some insider knowledge and discover hidden gems, trust me!
How much does the Bordeaux city pass cost?
The cost for the pass varies depending on how long you are staying.
We recommend purchasing your pass online in advance.
In addition to the museums and attractions, you’ll also have access to unlimited journeys on the tram, bus, and river shuttle allowing you to get between attractions with ease.
Is the Bordeaux city pass worth it?
If you plan to spend two full days in Bordeaux city center visiting all of the sights listed in this itinerary and taking public transportation, then yes the pass is worth it and you will save money.
If you take a day trip to the vineyards on your second day, then no, the pass is not worth it. You’ll be better off just paying as you go.
Getting around Bordeaux
While Bordeaux is a walkable city, there are other options to get around such as:
Taking the tram
With an extensive network, one of the best (and cheapest) ways to get around Boredeax is to travel by tram. The tram lines typically run from 5am until midnight (or the later time of 1am at weekends for all you partygoers).
During the day, services run almost constantly in central Bordeaux making it easy to get around the city. All you need to do is grab a card which you can purchase at each stop and tap in as you jump on the tram.
Tram tickets are included in the Bordeaux City Pass.
Riding the bus
The bus is another cheap way to get around the city. With over sixty bus routes, you can get around the city with ease no matter where you’re going. Tickets can be purchased on the bus as you start your journey.
Grabbing a taxi
If you’re looking to get from A to B as quickly as possible, grabbing a taxi is your best option. Without stopping at lots of other spots across the city, you can travel from door to door with ease.
However, it’s not the cheapest option so be prepared to spend a little extra money if this is your chosen method of transportation.
Getting to Bordeaux
Depending on where you are traveling from, there are a number of ways to get to Bordeaux, France.
Getting to Bordeaux by train
If you’re heading to the city from elsewhere in France, traveling by train is likely your best option. The closest train station to the city center is Bordeaux Saint-Jean Station which is just 15 minutes away from the city’s old town.
To book your train tickets, head to the SNCF website to book online. With services heading to Bordeaux from many destinations in France such as Biarritz, Paris, and many more, it’s a great way to get around the country.
We highly suggest booking your train tickets at least 3-4 weeks in advance to get the best price. Prices go up the closer you get to the departure date.
Paris to Bordeaux by train
The easiest and quickest way to get from Paris to Bordeaux is by high-speed train. The train only takes between 2-2.5 hours each way.
How to get to Bordeaux center from the train station
Getting from Gare Saint-Jean to Bordeaux city center is a breeze, and there are two convenient options to choose from. Your first option is to hop on the tram heading towards the city center. You can purchase tickets at the ticket machine outside of the tram stop. A single-ride ticket costs €1.70.
Alternatively, if your accommodation is not too far from the train station, you can walk. However, the walk to the city center takes 40 mintes, so it’s worth taking the tram with your luggage.
Of course, if you prefer, you can always take a taxi from the train station. Either have your accommodation arrange one in advance, or just hail one outside of the station.
Arriving by plane
The closest airport to Bordeaux city center is Bordeaux-Merignac International Airport. If you’re flying internationally, this is your best bet when it comes to getting to Bordeaux. It serves routes from elsewhere in France as well as other countries across the globe.
How to get from the Bordeaux airport to Bordeaux city center
The quickest and cheapest way to get to Bordeaux city center from the airport is via the direct shuttle bus. The shuttle only takes 30 minutes to reach the center and drops you off at the train station. The 30’Direct bus offers rides every hour from the airport, and it costs €8 each way.
Grab a taxi
Hopping in a taxi takes just 30 minutes and will typically set you back about €41 – €50.
When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
The best time to visit Bordeaux is during the wine harvest season, which is usually in September. Because this is such an important time of year, the city will be at its busiest during this time, but it’s worth it if you want to experience the wine harvest.
We visited in September and the weather was perfect. There were definitely crowds but it wasn’t overwhelming.
For the best weather, visit Bordeaux during the shoulder seasons. April to June and September to early November are ideal times.
Is 2 days in Bordeaux enough?
Yes, two days is generally enough time to spend in Bordeaux. If you take advantage of this 2 days in Bordeaux itinerary, it’s a good amount of time to see the main sights and do some wine tasting.
However, you should stay a few more days if you want to check out other nearby vineyards and towns.
More information for your trip to Bordeaux
- Planning to explore more of the Aquitaine region? One of the best day trips from Bordeaux is to visit the Dune du Pilat – Europe’s largest sand dune.