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How to Spend 3 Days in the Loire Valley

How to Spend 3 Days in the Loire Valley

With three days to explore the Loire Valley, fill your itinerary with historic towns, magnificent châteaus, and unforgettable experiences. There’s time to see all the top attractions and visit the cities of the western Loire, but planning ahead is essential to ensure you fit it all in and minimize your travel time. Here are your options.

Day 1: Visit the Loire Castles

Kick off your Loire Valley sightseeing tour with a visit to the largest of all the Loire châteaus: Château de Chambord. The lavish former home of Francois I is renowned for its dramatic double-helix staircase, believed to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci, and its extravagant parks and gardens, which cover a vast 13,500 acres (5,440 hectares).

 

Not far from Chambord, the Château de Cheverny has two unusual claims to fame: The castle was the inspiration for one of Hergé’s famous Tintin stories, “The Treasure of Rackham the Red,” and is renowned for breeding hunting dogs. Be sure to check out the Tintin exhibition and visit the kennels during your visit.

 

Stop for dinner in the medieval town of Blois before visiting the final castle of the day, the Château de Chenonceau. Set along the Cher River, this fairy-tale castle is even more magical after dark, with both the château and its gardens beautifully illuminated.

 

Day 2: Views and Vineyards

The UNESCO-listed landscapes of the Loire Valley afford some incredible photo opportunities, but the most spectacular views are from above. Take to the skies for a thrilling helicopter flight or float over the castles and vineyards on a romantic hot-air balloon flight.

After an unforgettable morning, enjoy a leisurely afternoon bike tour around the forests and vineyards of the Loire. Along the way, stop in riverside towns like Amboise, admire landmarks like the Château du Clos Lucé, and visit château wineries to sample the Loire’s famous wines.

 

In the evening, head to another of the Loire Valley’s most visited attractions—the Chateau of Villandry, which is known for its stunning Renaissance gardens. Time your visit for the summer “Nights of a Thousand Lights,” when the gardens are lit up by more than 2,000 candles and guided walking tours are followed by a dazzling fireworks display.

 

Day 3: Visit the cities of the Loire

Spend your final day exploring one of the less-visited cities of the Loire Valley. West of Chinon, the city of Saumur is the historic home of the French Cavalry and is renowned for its unique troglodyte dwellings. Admire its medieval castle, perched on the banks of the Loire River; stroll around the atmospheric old town; or watch a performance at the Cadre Noir, France’s most prestigious riding school.

Alternatively, Nantes is the westernmost city of the Loire and home to the grand Château de Ducs de Bretagne. A mix of historic and modern, the city’s star attraction is Les Machines de l’île, an open-air theme park of mechanical creatures based on the fantasy books of local author Jules Verne. Take a ride on a life-size mechanical elephant, ride the Marine Worlds Carousel, or go behind the scenes and see how the innovative creations are made at the Galerie.

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9 Tours and Activities | All Loire Valley Tours

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Hot-Air Balloon Ride over the Loire Valley, from Amboise & Chenonceau

Hot-Air Balloon Ride over the Loire Valley, from Amboise & Chenonceau

star-4.5
The sweeping vineyards, lush forests and fairy-tale castles of the Loire Valley are even more impressive from above and this 3-hour hot-air balloon experience is the ideal way to enjoy an aerial view. Float over the UNESCO-listed landscapes of the Loire, Indre or Cher Valleys; spot landmarks like the Chateau of Chenonceau or the gardens of Villandry; then toast your safe landing with a glass of Champagne or sparkling grape juice.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$289.11
From
$289.11
Taking safety measures

Tour of a Vineyard, Winery & Cellar with Wine Tasting in Vouvray, Loire Valley

Tour of a Vineyard, Winery & Cellar with Wine Tasting in Vouvray, Loire Valley

star-5
Enjoy an intimate, grape-to-wine tour of the ins and outs of wine production in the stunning Loire Valley. Go behind the scenes in a family-run Vouvray vineyard, and enjoy a guided walk through the vines, winery, and rock-hewn cellar. Get an exclusive taste of different wine varieties, accompanied by fresh local amuse-bouches. Tours are capped at 12 people for personalized attention.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.12
From
$60.12
Taking safety measures

Private tour of Loire Valley most visited castles

Private tour of Loire Valley most visited castles

star-5
The magnificent castles of Chenonceau and Chambord are two of the most famous and most visited chateaux of the Loire Valley. Enjoy guided tours of both on this full-day tour and benefit from the undivided attention of a private guide. Explore the Renaissance castle of Chenonceau with its stunning gardens, enjoy wine tasting and lunch (optional) at the Caves Duhard winery, then visit the UNESCO-listed castle of Chambord.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$444.86
From
$444.86
Taking safety measures

Loire Valley Half Day Tour from City of Tours : Villandry and l'Islette Castles

Loire Valley Half Day Tour from City of Tours : Villandry and l'Islette Castles

star-4.5
Marvel over the majestic châteaux of the Loire Valley on this memorable half-day excursion from Tours. First, experience the glory of the French Renaissance as you explore the famous Château de Villandry and stroll the magnificent gardens. Admire the manicured landscapes and ornamental gardens; wander through the kitchen garden and classical water garden, then attempt to find your way through the maze. Next, journey further back in time with a tour of an authentic 16th-century château, where you’ll indulge in a traditional aperitif and perhaps meet its noble residents.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.50
From
$95.50
Taking safety measures

Private tour of the Loire Valley wines

Private tour of the Loire Valley wines

The Loire Valley produces a wide variety of wines from award-winning white varietals to full-bodied reds and sweet dessert wines. This private tasting tour ensures a tailor-made experience, visiting three of the most renowned wine regions—Vouvray, Chinon, and Bourgueil. Tour three different wineries, enjoy expert-led wine tastings, tuck into a gourmet wine tasting lunch (own expense), and explore the medieval town of Chinon.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$444.86
From
$444.86
Taking safety measures

Loire Valley Day Tour from Tours : Villandry, l'Islette & 2 Vouvray Wineries

Loire Valley Day Tour from Tours : Villandry, l'Islette & 2 Vouvray Wineries

star-5
Cover the standout sights of the Loire Valley on this insider’s guided tour, allowing you to tick off the top attractions on a single action-packed ride. Get exclusive access to a family-owned chateau and enjoy a local delicacy, then taste your way around the wine-rich region as you learn to identify vintages like a true connoisseur. You’ll listen to fun-filled anecdotes along the way.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$179.18
From
$179.18
Taking safety measures

Segway:

Segway: "Inside the Historical Center of Nantes" - city tour Nantes - 1H00

star-5
Discover the top attractions in Nantes in a fun, and time-saving way—on a Segway tour. Whizz through the streets, and cover more ground than you would on a walking tour. Travel past River Erdre, see the Cathedral, Château des ducs de Bretagne, and learn about the city’s fascinating history. With this small-group tour, get a more personalized experience.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$37.07
From
$37.07

Loire Valley Self-Ride E-bike Tour from Amboise : Amboise & Vouvray vineyards

Loire Valley Self-Ride E-bike Tour from Amboise : Amboise & Vouvray vineyards

Explore the Loire Valley by electric bike on this tour that introduces you to the beauty and elegant architecture of the French countryside. You'll see Chateau du Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci once lived, and pass by the town of Amboise while learning about the history of the region, which is known for its chateaus and wine. Traveling by e-bike allows you to put in as much or as little effort as you wish for a relaxing experience.
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  • 5 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$84.03
From
$84.03
Taking safety measures

Loire Valley Castles Helicopter Tour

Loire Valley Castles Helicopter Tour

star-4
The sweeping vineyards and fairy-tale castles of the Loire Valley appear even more magnificent from above and this 20-minute helicopter flight is a perfect introduction to the region. Soar over the UNESCO-listed valley and spot landmarks such as the Château d'Amboise, Château de Clos Lucé, the Pagode de Chanteloup, and Jardins de Valmer.
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  • 25 minutes
From
$314.49
From
$314.49