Getting to the beach from Bordeaux without a car - 5 alternative solutions
Are you passing through Bordeaux and fancy putting down your beach towel somewhere? No problem! There are several solutions for getting to the ocean and the dunes without taking a car, thus minimising your carbon footprint:
1) Take the Bordeaux - Lacanau bike route
A cycle track runs from Bordeaux to Lacanau, and it’s definitely the sportiest way to get to the ocean… But what a reward when you get there! This cycle track was created along an old disused railway line, so for the most part you will have an uninterrupted ride through 60 km of greenery, over a total distance of 66.5 km.
Starting from Bordeaux city centre, it takes about 5 hrs 30 mins to get to Lacanau, notably passing through the Marais de Bruges nature reserve (“the Bruges marshes”). Just pack your beach towel and sunscreen and enjoy the ride! Here’s a tip: if you want to do a 70 km loop that takes in lake, forest and ocean views, do the following; in Lacanau follow the signs for Lège-Le Porge until you get to Arès, then take the Médoc Sud coastside cycle track until Le Grand Crohot, then head back to Lacanau-Océan Le Porge-océan. After that, you can even continue your coastal bike trip along the Atlantic coast with ‘La Vélodyssée’: a cycling route between Roscoff in Brittany and Hendaye on the Spanish border. Hendaye is 323 km away… so you make sure you add a sleeping bag and some supplies to your backpack!
2) Take the coach
The Nouvelle Aquitaine transportation company puts on coaches travelling to the 12 main ocean beaches every day. You can board at several different points across the Bordeaux metropolitan area, such as the Saint-Jean train station, Buttinière, Quinconces and the Pellegrin hospital. If you want to bury your feet in the hot sand, choose from 12 different destinations, including Soulac, Le Porge and Lège Cap Ferret!
From 7th July to 29th August, a return trip to the seaside costs only €3.60 (it’s free for children under 4 years old). Each coach has air conditioning and the journey takes around 2 hours.
3) Get to the beach by train
The train can get you to the beach as well, and it’s quicker than the coach. The regional train network takes passengers from Bordeaux to Arcachon. In just one hour, you’ll have left the Bordeaux limestone for the charm of Arcachon’s iconic villas! You can easily make the return trip in a day.
The trains are specially equipped to carry bikes. Once you get to Arcachon, you’ll be able to use your bike to wind through the town’s streets at your leisure, and why not head out to the sand dune, just half an hour away?
Additionally, you can board at the Bordeaux, Pessac or Mérignac train stations and head to the beaches of the Médoc such as Soulac. Why not go all the way to La Pointe de Grave and explore the mouth of the Gironde Estuary?
If you have a little more time, the regional trains run down to the Basque Country. For example, almost 10 trains run to Guéthary - around 2 hours away - every day. However, watch out surfers, you can’t take your surfboard on board: think about hiring one. The TER 51 bus also goes to the beautiful cities of Bayonne and Biarritz where the Basque charm hits you as soon as you set foot on the platform!
4) Car share
Many choose to take the car to go for a swim in the sea. Very often, they have space left, so the car-sharing option is another solution for getting out to the beach. The famous site Blablacar advertises journeys to most oceanic sites every day. If you are a surfer, you can find Bordeaux surfer groups on Facebook where they organise car shares together: for example, the Bordeaux Surf Covoiturage or the Bordeaux Surf Connection pages.
Bordeaux Surf Covoiturage | Facebook
Bordeaux Surf Connection | Facebook
Bus or car share with BlaBlaCar
5) Lakeside beach by tram or bus
You can find several urban beaches in the Bordeaux metropolitan zone where you can roll out your beach towel, just a few stops away on the bus or tram: Bordeaux-Lac and Bègles-Plage are the main spots. You can either relax and work on your sun tan or swim, or even try out some water sports like sailing, paddle-boarding, canoeing, or take a pedalo out onto the lake.
Away from the city there are several different lakes that can be reached by bus or train. One advantage is that they are safer for children; there are no waves or riptides there, and the lakes are not very deep around the edges. Just like the urban beaches found in Bordeaux, these lakes also provide opportunities for trying out water sports, like paddleboarding or canoeing. To the west of Bordeaux, not far from the ocean, you can find the lakes of Lacanau, Biscarrosse, Sanguinet and Carcans. To the east, inland, you can visit the lakes at Hostens.
Why not try out something a little different when at the beach?
Whichever beach you choose, pack some bin bags and go on a litter-picking walk! The Surfrider Foundation’s goal is to protect the coastline, and they host beach clean-up events.