The Dordogne, in south-west France, is the area of Aquitaine between the Loire and the Pyrenees. Named after the great Dordogne River this is quintessential France – think the Cotswolds but warmer and sunnier. The undulating countryside of the Dordogne is dotted with ancient forests, rivers and caves, majestic chateaux and manicured gardens. And whilst the tourist honeypots do get busy, much of the area remains off the beaten track.
The Dordogne's appeal for active travellers is the rivers and their surrounding environments. Watersports dominate the area with canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding and swimming all popular. River beaches are perfect for kicking back in the sunshine. Some, like Lyle beach, even have diving boards and life guards. Stepping away from the rivers there are many lakes to also enjoy. Lake Jemaye, between Montpon-Menesterol and Riberac, has a sandy beach and cycling and walking tracks skirting the lake. In the 1800km2 Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin you'll find cycling, hiking and horse-riding trails. The area near Argentat is more rugged and wild, and has become a hot spot for adventure sports. The granite gorges are perfect for rock climbing, bouldering and even hang gliding, and the surrounding hills and forests are mountain biking haven. Kayakers will also appreciate the faster flowing water closer to the source of the river. No visit to the Dordogne is complete without indulging in the local fayre – if foie gras and truffles don't float your boat then stick to the local cheese washed down with local wine.