6 canoeing and kayaking spots to discover the Dordogne river

Où faire du canoë kayak en Dordogne ?

If you’re looking for a canoeing circuit in the Dordogne, here are 6 unmissable spots for a great day out on the Vézère, Dordogne or Dronne rivers!


Do you want a region where you can visit castles, abbeys, caves, troglodyte villages, Unesco-listed sites and dense forests? Add to that a multitude of sporting activities? Have we sold you on it? Then head for the Périgord! This south-western region in the Dordogne department of France continues to win acclaim. National and international tourists alike are flocking to this haven of peace, which combines cultural visits with nature-based activities.

The most popular of these activities is canoeing on the region’s rivers. And just in time, we’ve selected 6 spots for you to discover the Dordogne by canoe. The Dronne, Vézère and Dordogne are the three main rivers in the region. What they have in common is that they all pass through ancient villages and wind their way through breathtaking scenery.

A canoe trip in the Dordogne is the perfect way to see a castle, a listed village or a breathtaking cliff… Sailing on the waters of the Périgord is sure to be an unforgettable experience for a great day of sport and relaxation! With family or friends, follow this guide to find out where you can go canoeing in the Dordogne.

In the footsteps of Charlemagne at Brantôme

Canoe en dordogne CheckYeti

Photo credit: CheckYeti

  • 📍 Location: Brantôme
  • 🛶 Level: easy
  • 💙 We like: the approach to Brantôme as seen from the Dronne before being able to walk around it.

For this first suggestion, let’s head for the Périgord Vert. From Brantôme-en-Périgord, you can take your canoe or kayak on the Dronne to navigate between natural gateways. Lime and ash trees form planted arches where your canoe rushes along an exceptional course. Between the slides, you’ll pass the 8th-century Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Brantôme. Legend has it that it was Charlemagne who had it built.

Departures are always upstream from the village, allowing you to cross Brantôme by canoe before disembarking on the other side. Depending on your preference, you can choose between a 4km, 8km or 12km circuit. Once you’ve seen the village from the water, drop off your canoe and all you have to do is visit it on foot. And relax with a seat on the terrace. In a word, it’s the ideal setting after a beautiful day sailing and swimming in a refreshing river.

From La Roque-Gageac, head for the Dordogne (7km from Sarlat-la-Canéda)

Caneo kayak en famille en dordogne

Photo credit: CheckYeti

  • 📍 Location: La Roque-Gageac
  • 🛶 Level: easy to medium
  • 💙 We like:the density of monuments to see on this stretch of the Dordogne descent

Here, the river is different: you can canoe down the Dordogne! Just a few kilometers from the magnificent medieval town of Sarlat, you’ll find La Roque-Gageac. From this starting point, there are 3 possible circuits: 9 km, 16 km or the full 25 km. The village of La Roque-Gageac is well worth a visit in itself. In fact, it’s a listed site and was also voted most beautiful village in France!

It is home to a magnificent 12th-century fortress. After that, the route is dotted with architectural and natural wonders. On the short circuit, you’ll find the Marqueyssac hanging gardens and the village of Beynac. On the long route, you’ll also find the cliffs of Caudond and Pendeuils.

A ride on the Vézère

Des gens font du canoe kayak en dordogne

Photo credit: CheckYeti

  • 📍 Location: Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère
  • 🛶 Level: easy
  • 💙 We like:The impressive finish at La Roque Saint-Christophe

For this3rd suggestion, we’re changing rivers again! Head for Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère on the Vézère. Here, a 13 km(or 12 km) course awaits you for a canoe-kayak session on the Vézère. Just a stone’s throw from the famous Lascaux caves, the start of the course plunges you into the heart of the Périgord Noir.

You’ll sail along cliffs where you’ll find beautiful villages and ancient castles. We’re not saying it’s the most beautiful course, because they all are, but it sure looks like it. What’s more, it’s easy and accessible to all! And when you arrive, there’s a cherry on top… You’ll land at Europe’s largest troglodyte site, La Roque Saint-Christophe.

Les Eyzies and cave dwellings

Balade en canoe-kayak avec CheckYeti

Photo credit: CheckYeti

  • 📍 Location: Les Eyzies
  • 🛶 Level: easy
  • 💙 We like:The troglodyte dwellings to be seen along the way

We stay on the Vézère, a few kilometers downstream of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère. This canoeing session in the Dordogne will be unforgettable for several reasons. For a start, you leave from the troglodytic site of La Roque Saint-Christophe. That’s almost enough to fill you up for the whole day, but that’s not all! You’ll also spot other troglodyte dwellings along the way.

This canoe-kakayk session from Les Eyzies is simply breathtaking! The length of the trip (13 km) and the ease with which it can be done make it suitable for children aged 5 and over. This discovery tour is the ideal way for the whole family to immerse themselves in history. The troglodyte buildings are awe-inspiring, especially for young and old alike. A 9km circuit is also available.

In the meanders of the Dordogne at Domme (3km from Vitrac)

Canoe-Kayak en dordogne sur CheckYeti

Photo credit: CheckYeti

  • 📍 Location: Domme
  • 🛶 Level: easy
  • 💙 We like: the passage in front of the Caudon rock: breathtaking.

Want to go canoeing in Domme? You’ll navigate the meandering Dordogne for 9 km, 12 km or 16 km, depending on the circuit you choose. You’ll pass the impressive Château de Montfort and the Caudon rock. The latter is a rock formation overlooking the river that never ceases to amaze visitors. Tours on this stretch of the Dordogne also take you past the listed village of La Roque-Gageac. So there’s plenty to see in a short space of time! The shortest route involves 1 h 30 on the canoe, while the longest takes 3 hours. The nice thing is that you can take your time and swim in the river (and picnic!) whenever you like.

The cliffs and castles tour in Cénac-et-Saint-Julien

Joli paysage de dordogne pour faire du canoe

Photo credit: CheckYeti

  • 📍 Location: Cénac-et-Saint-Julien
  • 🛶 Level: easy
  • 💙 We love: the succession of castles in a breathtaking setting

Expect breathtaking scenery on this trip! Enjoy a magnificent canoe trip down the Dordogne. Alone on your kayak or in a group on your canoe, the Dordogne will lead you to magnificent viewpoints. The program includes a whole series of medieval castles: Montfort, Castelnaud, Feyrad, Malartrie and Roque-Gageac. Some of these castles sit atop incredible rocky promontories, and you’ll wind your way between beautiful cliffs. You’ll also see some magnificent stone villages. This tour is one of the musts for a canoe-kayak session on the Dordogne. You can also opt for a similar 12km circuit, between castles and limestone cliffs.

The Dordogne department is blessed with such a wealth of nature and heritage! It would be a shame not to take a trip… You’ve seen that thanks to the three major rivers, there’s something for everyone when it comes to canoeing and kayaking in the Dordogne. So book your next vacation now!

More about CheckYeti

Thanks to CheckYeti, holidaymakers and sports and activity enthusiasts can enjoy their holidays, in summer or winter, with the best guides and instructors in the region.

CheckYeti is Europe’s leading online activity booking service for over 1,500 destinations in the mountains, on the water and in the air. Ski and snowboard lessons, canoeing, rafting, canyoning, surfing, diving, mountain biking, paragliding, hot-air ballooning, jet skiing, boat trips and much more: CheckYeti already offers over 12,000 activities in 16 European countries. Thanks to CheckYeti, holidaymakers and sports and activity enthusiasts can enjoy their holidays, in summer or winter, with the best guides and instructors in the region.

Find out all about canoeing in the Dordogne and France. If you have any further questions, the experts at CheckYeti will be delighted to help you, by e-mail at support@checkyeti.com or by phone on +33 4 80 82 00 00.