Note: Prices and info have been updated and are current, as of June 2023.
The medieval village and Unesco World Heritage Site of Saint Emilion, France, is a fantastic full day trip to take from Bordeaux. St Emilion is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Bordeaux, so its proximity makes for an enchanting activity to pursue while in Bordeaux. It’s easily possible to travel from Bordeaux to St Emilion by train, car, or tour.
As soon as you arrive from Bordeaux to St Emilion, you will gaze upon a stunning sight. It’s the compact town of Saint Emilion, towering up from a sea of surrounding vineyards.
Beyond those beautiful grape vines is where you’ll eventually find yourself in the midst of narrow, and sometimes steep, cobblestoned streets and alleyways. It’s here where you can amble for hours past the quaint shops, magnificent churches, and historic monuments of Saint Emilion. It’s all a magical experience to have while traveling through France.
But awesome travel experiences like this can often get pricey. However, a day trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve found ways to get from Bordeaux to St Emilion for any budget, from budget-friendly day tour or set out on your own DIY (do-it-yourself) day trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion.
Four Ways To Travel From Bordeaux to St Emilion France:
There are four ways to take a day trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion. This post covers in detail, each of these four different ways to get from Bordeaux to St Emilion.
🚌 Half-Day Group Tour (Sunday or Monday only): €53
🚐 Small-Group Tour to St Emilion: €99-€150
🚆 Do It Yourself Day Trip to St Emilion by Train: €50
🚗 Self-drive for those with a car (costs vary)
Bordeaux to Saint Emilion: On Your Own or a Day Tour?
When deciding whether to go from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion on your own or as part of a day tour, there are a few main points to consider:
- Your physical ability: If taking the DIY recommendation, you’ll need to be comfortable walking at least 3-5 kilometers. The town of Saint Emilion itself is more than a kilometer walk from the train station.
- Your travel style: What’s more important to you: the flexibility to go your own way or the ease, simplicity and added information that comes with a tour?
- Your budget: A tour will usually cost more than a DIY trip to Saint Emilion, aside from two days per week
- Day of the week: If you can go on Sundays or Mondays, there’s a €53 half-day trip will be less expensive than going from Bordeaux to St Emilion independently.
- Do you have a car?: For those with a vehicle, you may want to consider a DIY trip using your car. Just don’t drink & drive. Also, factor in the expense of parking.
Budget-Friendly Day Tours from Bordeaux to St. Emilion
The Most Inexpensive Day Tour from Bordeaux to St Emilion
Taking DIY excursions is almost always a more economical option than a group tour. And to get from Bordeaux to St Emilion, that mostly holds true when comparing tours to the DIY costs we’ve listed above. Yet we found one tour from Bordeaux to St Emilion that will cost roughly the same. It’s only €53!
If you’re in Bordeaux on a Wednesday or Sunday, there is a great €53 half-day trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion that includes transport from Bordeaux, a tour of St Emilion including the underground, and a wine tasting & tour at a St Emilion chateau.
This is an excellent value! This tour costs even less than taking the train and doing similar activities on your own.
So what’s the catch? The only big downside is that you’ll be in a sizable group. But the value and savings can be absolutely worth it.
Additionally, this 5-hour tour only runs on Sundays and Mondays, as of 2023. So just be careful to only make your booking on a Sunday or Monday. The online booking website GetYourGuide will allow you to book other days too, but on those days the bus tour goes to different locations around Bordeaux, not Saint Emilion.
Also, do know that this inexpensive tour to St Emilion is very popular and does book up in advance, particularly in the summer high season. So be sure to reserve as soon as possible if planning this trip in the summer. Check availability now: €53 Half-Day Tour to St Emilion with Chateau & Wine Tasting
Other Budget-Friendly Day Tours from Bordeaux to St Emilion
For those who want to take a tour from Bordeaux to St Emilion, but can’t catch the Sunday or Monday bus tour or just don’t want to go with a large group, there are other more intimate, small-group tours available that depart all days of the week. We have carefully scoured the two most popular tour booking sites (Viator and GetYourGuide) to compare the best and most economical tours from Bordeaux to St Emilion.
The table below lays out the results, but be sure to click through the links to confirm the details. (We make our best effort to keep this page up-to-date, but pricing or other info can change periodically.)
|Bus (53 pp)
|SE Wine Tour
|SE Food & Wine
|Minivan (8 pp)
|Afternoon Wine Tasting
|Minibus (19 pp)
|Full Day SE Wine Tasting
|Minivan (16 pp)
|Chateaux Wine & Lunch
|Coach (25 pp)
|SE Wine Taste & Lunch
|Minivan (8 pp)
|Su, Tu, W, Th, F, Sa
All of the above-listed tours include English-speaking guides and a tour of St Emilion. The tours simply vary in group size, length, departure times, inclusions, and price.
Most do not include a tour of the St Emilion underground, which is often a highlight to visitors. Although even on tours in which the underground monuments are not included, there is sometimes free time in which you may have a chance to explore the underground if the timing works out. Read each tour description for further details.
How to Travel from Bordeaux to St. Emilion by Train
The remainder of this travel guide provides directions on how to get from Bordeaux to St Emilion by train for a DIY tour of this amazing historic village.
It’s easily possible to get from Bordeaux to St Emilion by train. There are several trains making the 35-minute trip throughout the day. You can check train times here and find one that works for you. The cost of taking the train from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion is €10, per person, each way.
You can purchase your Bordeaux to St Emilion train tickets online. But there’s a benefit to waiting and buying your tickets at the Bordeaux train station instead.
During our last visit, there were no rail ticketing services operating in St. Emilion. Therefore, it is advisable to secure your return ticket from Bordeaux to St Emilion in advance. If you’re not sure how much time you’d like to spend in St Emilion, you can book an “open return” rail ticket at the Bordeaux train station. At the time of writing, we are not aware of any way to book an “open return” ticket online. Hence our recommendation is to book this at the Bordeaux train station. To do this, you’ll need to see a ticket agent and cannot use the automated kiosks.
This “open return” train ticket won’t cost anything extra. Yet it will allow you to return whenever you’d like. The open return train ticket from Bordeaux to St Emilion can’t be booked online either, so that is why we recommend buying it at the Bordeaux train station.
Once arriving at the St. Emilion train station, be prepared for a one-kilometer walk into town and a bit further to reach the center. It’s a pleasant walk through the surrounding vineyards. So as long as you’re in decent shape, it’s easily manageable.
When within the town of St Emilion, head up to the Tourism Center where you can arm yourself with lots of information from the helpful staff. You will see well-marked signs that will get you there as you walk toward town. Here’s a map with walking directions from the St Emilion train station to the town of St Emilion.
What to Do in Saint Emilion on Your Own
If traveling from Bordeaux to St Emilion on your own, you obviously won’t have a tour guide to show around the village or take you to wineries in the area. You must figure out what to do in St Emilion on your own and you must also make reservations for certain activities before you arrive.
There are three main things to do in St Emilion:
- Take a tour of the St Emilion underground
- Visit a St Emilion winery
- Tour around the village of St Emilion
Sample Budget & Costs of a DIY Day Trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion
It’s possible to travel from Bordeaux to St Emilion on your own on a budget of €50 per person.
Here are some sample expenses you can expect to incur if following our recommendation for a DIY Day Trip to St Emilion:
- Roundtrip Bordeaux to Saint Emilion Train Tickets: €20 (It’s €10 each way)
- Winery Tour & Tastings: €5-€15
- Underground Tour: €15.00
- Lunch: €10
- Additional wine tasting: free
- Self-guided tour of the town: free
- Total: €50 per person
So if you’re comfortable with independent travel and don’t mind a good walk, you can realistically make a nice day trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion by train, plus a bit of walking.
Tour the St Emilion Underground
Once you arrive at the tourism center, you’ll most certainly want to book a tour of the St Emilion underground. This is always a highlight of our visits to St Emilion.
The fascinating underground tour culminates in the fascinating monolithic church. And while you can tour the streets of St Emilion on your own, you can only access the underground of St Emilion with the guided tour that you sign up to join at the St Emilion tourism office.
Additionally, you should know that there are only a few English-speaking tours per day and they do fill up. It is wise to book the St Emilion underground tour in advance online. But even if you don’t book in advance, you may still be able to buy a ticket from the tourism office in St. Emilion, which is also where the tour meets. The hour-long guided tour of the underground is priced at a very reasonable €15 per person. You can find times and make reservations directly from the English version of the Saint Emilion Tourism Board site here: St Emilion Tourism Board English Website to Book €15 Underground Tour
Tour a St Emilion Winery and Cellar
If you’d like to visit a winery (and you should), then be aware that you should arrive with advanced reservations to visit these estates. Instead of calling each winery and trying to make reservations in French, just use the website Rue des Vignerons to easily book wine tastings and tours in the chateaux around Saint Emilion, with instant confirmation.
The closest winery to book, easily walkable from the outskirts of town is Château Villemaurine. But there are a few different wineries to consider within a 20-minute walk from town. Search St Emilion wineries and check availability here.
The price of a St Emilion winery tour with tastings will range from about €5-€15 per person, depending on the winery, and will usually include at least two tastings.
Try to visit a St Emilion winery that includes a tour of the underground cellars, which are legendary in this region. The underground cellars house prized wine bottles that are often many decades old.
Tour the Town of Saint Emilion on Your Own
Lastly, when at the tourism office, be sure to pick up a complimentary map, which includes information about all the aboveground sites and monuments. This will enable you to tour this magnificent town on your own, in between your winery and underground tour.
Entrance to all of the sites and monuments is free, with the exception of the tower. The tower costs a mere €1.25.
Where to Eat in St Emilion on a Budget
Some of the package tours include lunch. Yet going to St Emilion on your own will give you the flexibility to eat wherever you want. There are many tourist restaurants around town, which tend to be horrendously overpriced. So use caution and always look at menu prices before sitting down.
Keep a keen eye and you will find some great chalkboard specials or a splendid sidewalk café where you can have a decent lunch of a salad or sandwich for under €10. Set menu deals can be found closer to the €20 range.
The tourism office has a bound directory of restaurants with menu price ranges. So it may be worthwhile to peruse their up-to-date listings before making a dining decision. Or you can just duck down an alleyway to find your own secret spot. Yet here are some of our budget-friendly suggestions for lunch in St Emilion:
For a quick & cheap lunch in St Emilion, we can recommend Mie and Merlot, for its sandwiches and pastries. It’s just a small, casual place to grab something for takeaway or to eat at one of the few tables. You’ll likely pass by this cheap eatery from the train station into town.
For an incredible value prix fixe lunch, try Restaurant Chez la Puce, where you can actually indulge in a 6-course set menu lunch for only €14! The only catch here is that it’s a bit out of the way. From the train station, you must walk about 12 minutes in the opposite direction from St Emilion village.
Where To Drink in St Emilion on a Budget
If the tastings during the winery tour aren’t enough for you, we have another spot to suggest… and it’s free! The Maison du Vin of Saint Emilion is located next to the tourism center and they generously offer complimentary tastings throughout their impressive wine selection. Check the times in advance because these free wine tastings don’t last all day.
During our last visit, open tastings were from 2:00-5:30 pm. So go enjoy your free tastings there. Then with all the money you’re saving from forgoing an expensive packaged tour, perhaps consider buying a bottle or two of the local St Emilion wine.
Saint Emilion Day Trip for Under €50
So that is exactly how you can go from Bordeaux to St Emilion for under €50. Either follow the directions by train laid out within this post or take the €53 Bordeaux Vineyards Wine Tasting Half-Day Trip that departs on Sundays or Mondays. Or join a small-group tour.
Whichever route you take, a day trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion should prove to be an economical and fun-filled day in this historic & charming place in the world.
Travel in Europe can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. We hope this travel guide helps you save some cash that you can now better spend elsewhere during your travels. Enjoy!
For more economical travel ideas in the region, be sure to check out our full travel guide: Things To Do in Bordeaux on a Budget.
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