A popular travel destination, the city of Bordeaux is the gateway to the wine regions of the Medoc and Entre-Deux-Mers, and the surf waves of the Atlantic coast.
Best ways to get to Bordeaux
With the convenience of an international airport only 9km from the city centre of Bordeaux, flying is by far the quickest and easiest option. The regular 40-minute bus service that runs between the airport and the city means that you will get to your end destination quickly. You might prefer the comfort and ease of an airport transfer or taxi, both of which are plentyful.
Onward travel around the Bordeaux region is easiest by car and car hire is a readily available at the airport.
Flying to Bordeaux
The closest airport is, of course, Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport situated just 9km away from the city centre. It is serviced by a number of the major airlines. This wide choice of airlines means that prices are often competitive. Have a look at our Flight Finder to help your planning. As always, prices will be at a premium during the school holidays and at weekends. As a popular destination throughout the year, you will find that most routes are available all year round, although the number of weekly flights may be reduced in autumn and spring with particular airlines.
For onward travel from the airport, transfers or shuttle services are convenient and car hire is a widely available, allowing you to drive directly to your accommodation. Some of the luxury hotels offer an airport pick-up service so it is best to enquire about this directly before you book a car.
You can also take public transport (bus, train or tram) from the airport into the centre of Bordeaux or out to the Arcachon area on the Atlantic coast.
Getting from the airport to Bordeaux
Airport transfers or shuttle services are a convenient option for onward travel to your destination. Companies generally offer two types of service private and shared transfers.
Private transfers are exclusively for you - once you arrive at the airport they will take you directly to your accommodation. Some hotels offer a private airport pick-up service, so don't forget to enquire about this directly before you travel.
Shared transfers are usually more cost-effective, especially for individuals and couples, the trade-off being you may need to wait for other passengers and the possibility of being dropped-off at a more central location.
You should always book transfers in advance.
Once you've arrived at the airport, it is very simple to get on the bus and head directly into the city centre. You can take either the airport shuttle or the local bus line, number 1, into the main train station at Saint-Jean where you can connect with other bus routes and also the tram lines that run across the city.
Trains to Bordeaux
Bordeaux is connected to the rest of France via the SNCF train network. The TGV, France's intercity high-speed rail service, runs directly from Paris, Lille and Biarritz to Bordeaux, with a new route from Tours planned for July 2017. Advance reservation for the TGV train is necessary. Journey time from Paris to Bordeaux is a little over 3 hours.
The city of Bordeaux is also served by the Auto Train service where you deposit your car on the train and take alternative transport to your destination. Perfect for long journeys and when you want to have your own car when you arrive at your destination.
Once you reach Bordeaux the local train and tram network makes it surprisingly easy to travel, not only around the city but along the coast and to tourist attractions inland.
Driving to Bordeaux
The main advantage to having a car is flexibility and driving in France can be a pleasure. Being able to drive yourself around the area is far more comfortable and convenient, allowing you to take day trips, visit other resorts, towns and villages.
You should bear in mind that you will probably be using the main toll roads as you drive through France and this may take much longer if you chose to travel on a busy Saturday during the summer.
If you wish to bring your car with you from the UK, then you will probably take a ferry to Calais where the onward drive is around 9 hours to Bordeaux. Fuel cost will be roughly around €90 and you will need to budget an additional €70-80 in toll costs. It might be worth considering arriving at a ferry port closer to the west of France, such as Cherbourg (just over 7 hours drive, €60-70 for fuel and €25 for tolls), Caen (6 hour drive, €50-60 in fuel and €56 in tolls) or Saint Malo (just under 6 hour drive, €50 in fuel and €25 in tolls).
Bringing your skis, snowboard or bike to Bordeaux
If you are planning to bring your own sports equipment, perhaps a road bike, or a set of golf clubs, then it’s well worth checking the details in advance. Each airline, train and transfer company will have their own individual policy terms and conditions depending on the type of sporting equipment you are transporting. Here's a snapshot of the different transport options and a guide to their restrictions:
Some airlines charge for taking equipment and this can also apply to bikes, golf clubs, watersports equipment - so check before you book. Make sure you pack your gear well, as it’s not unusual for there to be a few bumps and bruises along the way if you don’t! The same applies for your bike, whether that be a mountain bike, road bike or touring bike...pack it well and ensure it falls within the packaging guidelines specified by the carrier. For more information see our Cycling and Mountain Biking Guides.
Airport Transfer companies always need to know exactly what you’re bringing, so that they have sufficient capacity in the vehicle.
Travelling by train can involve several changes, depending on your route, and almost certainly lugging your gear up and down a few sets of stairs or escalators. Eurostar has an additional charge of around £30 for their registered luggage service for these types of equipment. Check before you travel.