Villas in Aquitaine

If you’re looking for a destination that has a bit of everything, then Aquitaine should be top of your list. This Southwestern region of France caters to foodies with its gourmet food and wine scene, history nuts with its historical sites, sports enthusiasts with its sandboarding and cycling, surfers with its salty waves and stunning coastline, and above all, people who just want to soak up the warm temperatures, laidback lifestyle and traditional towns and villages.

With a variety of places to stay in Aquitaine, from chateaux to elegant maisons, we guarantee you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for… and you’ll be perfectly situated to enjoy all this diverse region has to offer.


Why visit?

  • The food and wine scene is next level. Renowned for its foie gras, truffles and red wine, this is the ideal region for any discerning foodie.
  • The warm climate last longer than summer , with temperatures still reported in the high teens in October.
  • It's home to Europe's longest sand dune - the Dune of Pilat - great for sunset views and a thrilling sand boarding ride. 

Read the Aquitaine Travel Guide

Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in the Aquitaine have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Aquitaine Villas: Our Top Picks

Why visit

Spread over approximately 16,000 sq. miles, Aquitaine is a large and varied region that boasts a wide range of sights. From the vibrant seaside towns that line the beautiful Atlantic Coast, to the Basque towns spread throughout the Pyrenees, and the fortified medieval towns of the Dordogne. The region enjoys remarkable cultural and natural diversity. 

Pyrenees, Aquitaine

Beaches, mountains and endless activities

Villas in Aquitaine are perfect for a fun-filled family holiday, as it’s the ideal destination for families who want to combine relaxed beach days with a few adventure activities and a little sightseeing. While the beach is home to some of the best surf in Europe, the region’s rivers are also perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Hiking, cycling, and horse riding are all on the cards too, while the proximity of the Pyrenees means there’s mountaineering activities aplenty.

Wine and food

Aquitaine has always been an important agricultural region and food plays a crucial role in local culture. Visitors to the region are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out, and wine aficionados will love staying in the heart of Bordeaux’s iconic wine region.

In the Basque areas, foodies should sample piment d'Espelette, a local pepper that features heavily in the local cuisine. Down on the plains, wild mushrooms and truffles are a speciality, while the coast is all about fresh seafood.

If you want more information, you can also check the Aquitaine Travel Guide or get some inspiration about things to do in Aquitaine in our blog.

What Oliver loves

Aquitaine is home to countless examples of luxurious French architecture and grand chateaux, surrounded by picture-perfect countryside. This allows us to offer some spectacular villas for an unforgettable holiday. 

Best time to go

  • While the months running from June through to September are both the hottest and driest, they’re also the region’s busiest. Though the Aquitaine never gets too busy (with the exception of some coastal areas), crowds do swell during the summer, particularly in popular tourist towns. 
  • If you’re willing to sacrifice a few degrees, the Aquitaine is perhaps most beautiful during the cooler shoulder seasons.
  • In spring, temperatures remain relatively high and the countryside is in full bloom.
  • Autumn is the grape-harvesting season and an ideal time to visit if you want to experience the region as it swings into action.

Top tips

  • Aquitaine is home to the earliest human art known to man. Its fascinating cave paintings are a humbling experience for kids and adults alike.
  • The highest peak in Aquitaine is Midi d’Ossau. At a height of 2,885 metres, it’s an imposing mountain that dominates the French Pyrenees.
  • Aquitaine has been fought over for much of its history. The Romans, Franks, and English have all left their mark, resulting in an intriguing local history. 

Where to go

Aquitaine is effortlessly charming, with perfectly preserved medieval villages, stunning landscapes, and great local produce, it’s a dreamy destination that you’ll struggle to leave. These are our favourite areas to stay in Aquitaine for a memorable holiday in this magical corner of France.

Bordeaux, Aquitaine

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the architecture in Bordeaux is nothing short of extraordinary - lose yourself in the streets, sip some of its world-famous wines, experience the vibrant food scene, and be thoroughly charmed by this special city.  

St-Émilion, Aquitaine

Another magical city to get lost in, St-Émilion is a Unesco-listed medieval village that looks like it's been plucked straight from a fairy tale. Indulge in locally made wine, tasty food in quaint French eateries and local markets. 

Family friendly

While our Aquitaine villas with private pools are likely to keep the kids busy while you’re at home, we’re sure you’ll want to get out and about to discover what the region has to offer. Fortunately, Aquitaine is an incredibly family-friendly holiday destination.

Theme parks and attractions

If you’re looking for kid-friendly activities, you can’t go wrong with the Puy de Fou. Located in the heart of the Vendee region, it’s the second most popular theme park in France and hosts a dazzling array of shows and performances, as well as a few rides. Alternatively, Futuroscope is another kid-friendly theme park. Situated in Poitiers, it specialises in cinema, multimedia, and audio-visual attractions.

Bring history to life

Aquitaine’s history is on proud display wherever you look. This makes it a great location for families who want to introduce a little culture into their holiday. Whether it’s watching re-enactments of medieval battles, visiting ancient cave painting, or exploring the ramparts of fortified towns, it’s a fantastic way of bringing history to life.

A natural playground

From the wild monkeys and apes of La Vallée des Singes to the gorgeous gardens of the Chateau de Marqueyssac, Aquitaine is a natural paradise that you’ll always enjoy exploring. Whether you’re drifting down the Dordogne in a family canoe or heading out on a day-long cycling excursion, the striking landscapes you encounter along the way make it a special holiday destination.

Kids kayaking in Aquitaine

Discover more information about things to do with family in Aquitaine in our blog.

Why it’s perfect for families

  • Good for babies: Many of the beaches in the region are designed for easy access, ensuring you can get baby and all their gear on to the sand with minimum fuss. Check out our baby-friendly villas.
  • Good for kids: Make it the holiday of a lifetime by taking your kids up in a hot air balloon. The region surrounding Bayonne is a popular ballooning spot and the views are out of this world. These are our villas ideal for kids.
  • Good for teens: The Aquitaine Coast boasts great surf and a diverse array of kids’ clubs and camps. Book your teen onto a surfing course and give them the chance to take to the water, learn something new and make some friends. Discover our villas for teens.

Top tips

  • Bayonne is the chocolate capital of France, so liberate your inner Willy Wonka and book the family onto a fascinating tour of a real-life chocolate factory.
  • Explore the pre-historic artwork that adorns the Font-de-Gaume cave networks. The spectacularly old paintings and special setting are bound to wow the kids.
  • Families can catch a boat to visit the Cordouan Lighthouse – the oldest lighthouse in France. However, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can also safely walk across at low tide.  

Best beaches in Aquitaine

The enormous, sweeping beaches of the Atlantic Coast are home to some of the region’s most famous towns and popular holiday destinations. As Europe’s longest stretch of sandy coastline – it runs for 230 km – it’s always possible to find a quiet spot and there's more than enough space to spread out your beach towels.

Discover historic seaside resorts

While Biarritz was once a sleepy fishing village, it’s now a glamorous seaside resort and one of the most visited towns on the coast. With its striped beach huts and quaint harbour, the town manages to conjure a sense of nostalgia for coastal resorts of the past, while still remaining culturally relevant and decidedly modern. Like many border towns, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is rich with history and its beautiful beach is certainly worth a visit. Further north, the beaches get quieter and the waterfront towns less frequent.

Though a few of our villas in Aquitaine are near the beach, the size of the Aquitaine region means location is an important consideration if you’re hoping to make regular trips to the beach.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

Plage de Moliets is a jaw-droppingly beautiful and completely unspoilt beach that’s located at the point where the Courant d'Huchet meets the sea. There’s nothing but soft, golden sand and lush forest for miles and even in the height of the summer season, the beach is never too crowded. 

Plage de Moliets beach

Dune du Pilat Beach

Europe’s single largest dune stretches for 2.7 km and is a must-visit natural wonder for visitors to the Aquitaine region. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and thick forest on the other, it’s a favourite with holidaymakers and locals alike. 

Soulac Sur Mer Beach

A charming beachside town with a large, pristine beach that boasts plenty of room for everyone, even at the busiest of times. It’s also a perfect place for a sunset stroll, as it offers excellent views of the village and its impressive architecture. 

Arbousiers Beach

A pretty beach situated close to several mouth-wateringly good seafood restaurants. By evening, the waterfront is bustling with people watching the spectacular sunset and enjoying a good meal. A guaranteed charmer - there’s even a lawn by the beach for those who don’t like sand. 

Central Hourtin Beach

A great surfing beach that’s a good option if you want to escape the summer crowds, it boasts easy access and a great choice of trendy beach bars and restaurants. It’s also situated close to the beautiful Lac d’Hourtin.  

Notre Dame Beach, Hossegor

World-class surf, a water park, casino, fresh seafood and a white, sandy, and spotlessly clean beach, Plage Notre Dame has it all. One of Hossegor’s most famous beaches, it’s a legendary surf spot where you can kick back and watch some of the best surfers in Europe strut their stuff. 

Things to do

There’s no shortage of things to keep you busy on your holiday to the Aquitaine region of France. While the fact that most of our Aquitaine villas have pools – and it might make you less likely to want to venture out… the rewards for doing so are worth it.

Food and wine

One of the great joys of visiting Aquitaine is throwing yourself into the local culinary culture. As one of the world’s foremost wine-producing regions, a holiday to the south-west of France is an incredible opportunity to experience some of the most iconic and well-respected vineyards in Europe. 

Outdoor activities

Aquitaine is a top holiday destination for anyone who enjoys getting out into the countryside and embracing nature. Renowned for its cycling trails, the area also boasts fantastic outdoor pursuits such as hiking, kayaking, and surfing opportunities.

Best activities in Aquitaine

  • Journey back in time on a tour of the exceptional Dordogne Valley. A stunning UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the world’s largest biosphere reserves, it’s a diverse and culturally rich landscape consisting of clifftop castles, picturesque villages, awe-inspiring architecture and prehistoric caves.
  • Just a short drive from the region’s wine capital, Bordeaux, you’ll find Cognac – home to another important regional drink. Take a tour around prestigious cognac houses, including Hennessy, Martell and Courvoisier, and learn about the history behind the ‘golden nectar.’
  • In the Aquitaine region, you’ll have access to some of the finest wines in the world. Tours are plentiful and allow you to marvel at the craftsmanship of modern production methods. Besides the wine, the architecture that’s found at many of the vineyards is reason alone to visit.
  • Bordeaux is not just for wine lovers - it’s also bursting with culture, art and history. Having repeatedly won awards for being Europe’s top holiday destination, it really shouldn’t be missed. When there, make sure you check out the striking Miroir d’eau - the world's largest reflecting pool.
  • Discover some of the most famous chateaux in France. Don’t miss the Château Pichon Longueville Baron – with its fairy tale turrets and stunning backdrop, it’s the perfect example of a traditional French chateau.
  • Take a surfing class of one of the most respected surfing hot spots in the world, Hossegor. Whether you're a first-timer or an old hand, it's an adrenaline-pumped experience like no other.

Oliver's Hidden Gem

Join the locals to watch a game of cesta punta. Also known as jai alai, it’s the Basque sport of choice in Aquitaine. Considered ‘the world’s fastest game’, the high-octane action doesn’t let up for a moment. More popular here than anywhere else in the world, cesta punta offers an excellent insight into the local culture.

Towns and villages

The region’s engrossing history means that Aquitaine is home to some of the most interesting and picturesque settlements in all of France. Whether it’s the Bastide towns of the lowlands, the Basque villages of the Pyrenees, or the influential cities and towns of the coastal reaches, you’ll find that Aquitaine boasts numerous sites of considerable interest to holidaymakers.

Bordeaux is the most well-known city in the Aquitaine region and a popular attraction for international visitors. While the focus is often understandably centred on its famous vineyards, the city itself enthrals and delights for myriad of other reasons. As a thriving artistic and cultural hub, it benefits from high-quality museums and galleries, as well a number of enjoyable public spaces.

Chateaux in Aquitaine

The area’s other major attraction is its abundance of stately chateaux and fortified residences. While there are so many that a tour of the region’s palaces and castles would tire out all but the most committed of French history buffs, it’s certainly worth making a trip to one or two of the most impressive. You can even stay in one of our chateaux.

Thanks to the central location of our villas in Aquitaine, the vast majority of these cities, villages are just a short drive from your accommodation. Discover our villas close to the best towns.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

Angoulème boasts a fascinating old town that you can explore via guided tour. The tour of the city walls comes highly recommended. The town also hosts the International Comic Festival in January and the Circuit des Remparts annual classic car race in September. 

Angoulème, Aquitaine

Bordeaux, Aquitaine

For wine lovers and foodies alike, the Bordeaux region is a gastronomic wonderland. Of course, a vineyard tour and tasting session should be top of your list of things to do, but don’t miss the breath-taking views over Bordeaux from le Parc de l’Ermitage Sainte-Catherine, either.

Saint Emilion, Aquitaine

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saint Emilion is the epitome of a classic French medieval town. Visitors should make sure they try the world-famous Semillon wine, and climbing the Collegiate Church tower offers spectacular views of the village.

Biarritz, Aquitaine

Stunning beaches, a thriving surf scene and a cultural hub, Biarritz is a holidaymaker’s paradise. From high-end restaurants to cheap pizza joints, spas and family parks, the city boasts something for everyone, and visitors are sure to fall head-over-heels for Biarritz’s charm. 

St Jean de Luz, Aquitaine

With both the Pyrenees foothills and several beaches close by, this is an understandably popular holiday spot. A thriving fishing village, visitors should arrive early enough to sample the morning catch at its freshest. Visit the Church of Saint John the Baptist for an insight into traditional Basque architecture.

Soorts-Hossegor, Aquitaine

With world-class surf and year-round events and competitions, including the always popular Quicksilver Pro France, Hossegor is a sporting mecca. A buzzing French town with striking architecture and a focus on brilliant food, it’s a must-visit town for visitors to Aquitaine. 

Bayonne, Aquitaine

A well-kept secret, Bayonne is a calm and atmospheric city that sucks you in with its rich history and winding, cobbled streets. A foodie haven, Bayonne is particularly famous for its chocolate. Visit the L’atelier du Chocolat, where you can learn about the history of the chocolatier. 

Getting there and around

Flights 

Bordeaux Airport is the main hub for flights coming into the region and several daily direct flights depart the UK for Bordeaux. From the airport, visitors can connect to other major towns and cities using the regions excellent public transportation links. 


Car rental

Though it’s possible to travel the region via public transport, we would highly recommend renting a car. Many of our Aquitaine villas are located in rural regions and a car is useful if you want the freedom to explore the surrounding area. 


Trains

If rail travel is your thing, it’s also possible to arrive in Aquitaine by train. The Eurostar runs from London to Paris, where you’ll transfer and board a train to Bordeaux. Travelling throughout the region via train is possible but will place restrictions on which towns and villages you can visit. 


Buses

The regional bus network is extensive, reliable, and affordable. However, exploring Aquitaine by bus can mean a considerable amount of your holiday is spent planning, transferring and waiting for buses. It is possible to arrive in the region via bus, with both Ouibus and Eurolines operating services from Paris


Taxis

Taxis are readily available in urban areas but are more difficult to come by in rural areas. If relying on taxi services to get you back home, it’s always a good idea to reserve your ride in advance.


Bicycles

Cycling is an increasingly popular means of transport in Aquitaine. La Rochelle and Bordeaux are regarded as two of the most cyclable towns in France and free rentals are available in both cities. The region is also home to a number of popular long-distance routes, most notably the Vélo Francette, which passes through the Thouet Valley, the Marais Poitevin and La Rochelle.


Ferries

Taking the ferry from the UK to France is also a possibility if you want to bring your own car. Depending on your arrival time, this may mean an overnight stop somewhere in central France. Ferries from the UK to Normandy and Brittany are a popular choice as you’ll disembark further south and shorten the ensuing journey. Motorway connections to Aquitaine from all major ports are relatively quick and easy. 

Top tips

  • When driving in France, it’s a legal requirement to carry high visibility vests for all passengers, as well as a warning triangle, a spare bulb for your lights and a breathalyser kit.

  • Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to travel in the front seat without a child safety restraint.

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