Escapade on the Vélodyssée between Bordeaux and Biarritz
07 June 2023
Starting from Bordeaux, set off on the legendary Vélodyssée cycle route, a cycling itinerary with the scent of iodine and pine resin along the entire Atlantic coast. Offered by Abicyclette Voyages, the section of the Vélodyssée between Bordeaux and Biarritz offers a tasty mix of nature, heritage and idleness, with a varied and well-executed itinerary all the way to Biarritz!
Nearly 400 km of paved, well-maintained cycle routes await you. Most of the route is on secure greenways, and is fully signposted, making it ideal for families.
The Vélodyssée, a promise of escape
It’s amazing how quickly the wine capital disappears to make way for nature, tranquility and contemplation. It only takes a few kilometers to enter the peaceful atmosphere of the southwest.
After passing through Bordeaux’s famous Chartrons district and not far from the wine city, you arrive at Bordeaux-Lac, a first glimpse of what awaits you for the rest of the route. Pine trees, fine sand and the delicious scent of cycling holidays will follow you all the way to Biarritz!
Family cycling along the Atlantic coast
Many families cycle along the Vélodyssée, south of the Gironde estuary. It’s an ideal place to start bike traveling with children. In addition to a well-developed and adapted route, the beaches offer great breaks between two cycling sessions.
Along the way, a wide range of water activities on lakes or in seaside resorts offer a variety of pleasures. The many children’s playgrounds on the shores of the lakes make this route a real family affair.
If you’d like to cycle this route with the kids, we’ve put together a great family trip from Arcachon to Biarritz.
What is there to see on the Vélodyssée between Bordeaux and Biarritz?
Spanning three départements, this route takes you from the world-famous vineyards of Bordeaux to the Basque-Landes architecture of the Basque Country, along the Atlantic coast. You’ll be in the heart of the Landes forest, which was first planted to counteract the advance of sand for housing and cultivation. Today it is the largest artificial forest in Western Europe!
Most of the route is shaded and naturally sheltered from the wind, making the ride all the more enjoyable.
The wild beaches of the Côte d’Argent
On the Vélodyssée, you’ll discover beaches that are much more intimate and less crowded than the well-known seaside resorts of the Côte. Sometimes you’ll have to divert a little from the route to be able to combine the happy pleasure of physical activity with a refreshing swim.
Our favourite beaches :
- the small family resort of Porge-Océan
- the little-visited Grand-Crohot beach
- Plage de la Lagune, with its beautiful view of the Banc d’Arguin
- the immense Cap de l’Homy beach
Etang de Cousseau nature reserve
The magnificent Etang de Cousseau nature reserve is accessible from the Vélodyssée and even has bike parking. Take the opportunity to visit this beautiful area, renowned for its birdwatching. With a bit of luck and the right timing, you may even spot some otters!
The Cap-Ferret peninsula
With its lighthouse, unspoilt fishing ports and oysters, a detour to Cap-Ferret is a must if you can! A favorite destination for holidaymakers, Cap-Ferret is particularly well-suited to cycling, with numerous signposted cycle paths directly connected to the Vélodyssée. The village of L’Herbe and the Algerian chapel are well worth a visit and tasting!
Oyster tasting in Gujan-Mestras
If you haven’t had a chance to visit Cap-Ferret, Gujan-Mestras offers you a new opportunity to taste oysters. This typical fishing port is famous for its colorful oyster huts. You can also find out more about oyster culture at its museum, which is open to everyone, even those who don’t appreciate seafood!
The winter town of Arcachon
With its Belle Époque villas, you’ll love strolling through the streets of Arcachon, discovering these mansions, each more extravagantly styled than the last. In the town, divided into four districts named after the seasons, we particularly recommend a stroll through the Ville d’Hiver to admire the most beautiful villas.
The Pilat Dune
The undisputed star of the Vélodyssée, the 102 m-high Pilat Dune is a colossal force of nature. To think that 200 years ago, this immense sandcastle didn’t even exist! Every year, it gradually nibbles away at the forest and now stretches for 3.9 km. From the top, between two rolls in the sand, you can enjoy the view over the Arcachon Basin and the Banc d’Arguin.
As part of our Abicyclette Voyages trip on the Vélodyssée between Bordeaux and Biarritz, we suggest a day’s break in Arcachon, to give you time to visit the town and the Dune du Pilat. A break that will leave no room for boredom!
Mimizan Prieuré Museum
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient bell tower-porch, the only vestige of a former church, has preserved its polychrome portal and 13th and 15th century murals. To get to the Prieuré Museum, you’ll need to make a short detour from the route. On the way, take the opportunity to make a first stop and visit the Promenade Fleurie de Mimizan.
Visible from the Vélodyssée, the Contis lighthouse overlooks the Landes forest. With its black-and-white stripes, the only lighthouse in the Landes region is a real eye-catcher. Between April and October, you can climb the 184 steps to the top. A magnificent view over the immensity of the ocean and the Landes forest rewards you for your effort.
Le Courant d’Huchet
The Courant d’Huchet, with its unique nature reserve, is Léon’s main attraction. As a lover of flora and fauna, you’ll be amazed by a few hours’ walk along the current, or by a trip down in a traditional boat. This walk takes you through a wooded area nicknamed the “Landes Amazon” before reaching the Courant beach in Moliets.
Bayonne’s historic center is a lively, bustling city with many restaurants and bars, and a veritable jewel of Basque architecture. Half-timbered facades and cobbled streets invite you to take a stroll. Sainte-Marie Cathedral and its cloister are well worth a visit and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some practical information about the route
Interested in an adventure on La Vélodyssée? If this is your first time, we suggest you first read our article with 8 tips for preparing your first bike trip.
Which bike for the Vélodyssée?
This route is accessible to all levels, ages and types of bicycles. The paths are well maintained and regularly resurfaced, especially when they become too bumpy. A few roots may get in the way from time to time, but they won’t break a road bike.
If you’re not equipped, Abicyclette Voyages offers a rental service with quality bikes to make your bike vacation the best it can be.
Gear up for the Atlantic coast
When it comes to clothing, swimwear is a must! In your panniers, don’t hesitate to pack a padded cycling jacket, a breathable technical T-shirt, a rain jacket or poncho and a windproof jacket, very useful in the mornings on the Atlantic coast.
Add sunglasses, sunscreen, a microfiber towel and a few granola bars and you’re ready to go.
Abicyclette Voyages will take care of the transfer of your luggage from one accommodation to another and will provide you with a GPS with your itinerary. With us, you travel without constraints!
When to start the tour?
Spring to fall:
- In spring, the days are often beautiful with pleasant temperatures. However, it can rain for a few days south of the Gironde.
- Summer is generally fine and dry, although it can rain occasionally.
- Autumn is also a beautiful season, with beautiful days, pleasant temperatures and different landscapes thanks to the orange ferns. The strong presence of hunters around La Vélodyssée is the only major obstacle to cycling at this time of year.
So, are you ready for this trip? Check out our cycling vacations!