Sampling wines in Saint Emilion

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
67 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 200
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
152nd/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 40% SUMMARY RATING: Superb


The Bordeaux region is arguably the most famous and respected wine region in the world.  Whilst staying in Bordeaux the city is indeed nice with its UNESCO World Heritage listed old town and wide variety of wineries and restaurants (see experience entry Wandering Bordeaux for more tips), it misses out on that wonderful feeling of staying in the wine region itself. St Emilion and its surround wineries give you that feeling, and should be prioritised far ahead of Bordeaux the town.  The medieval village itself is gorgeous, sitting just above the vineyards for views all across the valleys (also UNESCO World Heritage listed), and its surrounding vineyards give that feeling of being in the premier spot for wine in the world . . . summer early evenings when the temperature is dropping, any remnants of the day tourists have left and you are there to enjoy world-class meal in a small part of paradise . . . the French, I must say, do this all very well



  • St Emilion itself – it can get busy in the day, so considering trying to spend time there in the early evening to avoid the crowds.  It’s worth also seeing if you can get to the balcony of the Hotel de Pavie – other than one of the church towers, it has the best views of the village and largely overlooked by fellow tourists who head down to the main square
  • Wineries – the highlight of the trip is finding a spot to have a meal in the vineyards, and potentially a wine tour / tasting.  We went to Chateau Petit Faurie de Soutard (Le Jardin), L’Atelier de Candale and Restaurant du Grand Barrail and would very much recommend all.  I’d also recommend Chateau Soutard for the wine tour
  • Where to stay – St Emilion is either daft expensive or very basic, so aim to stay out.  We stayed in a vineyard , Chateau Soutard Cadet, within walking distance of St Emilion and it was magical (but pricey).  Have a shop around for places further away that will be far cheaper and likely just as pretty, but be aware that public transport is basically zero so will need your own car


#1 Booking a lunch or dinner in one of the vineyards and working your way through the menu and, in order not to be rude, the wines

#2 Having drinks overlooking the town from the balcony of the Hotel de Pavie

#3 Exploring the village itself - a surprising number of spots to explore

#4 Checking out some of the churches within Saint Emilion itself, and seeing some of the stained glass windows with superbly bright colours

#5 Heading out into the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage listed vineyards to learning to sample . . . a lot . . . of wine

#6 Being fortunate enough to stay in one of the chateaus within walking distance of the town

#7 Exploring the cellars - wandering through the hundreds (thousands?) of wines waiting to mature

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone