If you have been dreaming of touring Tours, then now is the time to make it a reality! Not only dynamic and captivatingly historic, but also an imperative stopover for anyone on the Route of Loire Valley Castle.
Nestled in Val-de-Loire along both riverside shores of Loire and Cher Rivers, this town has about 135 thousand inhabitants including almost 30 thousands students! Its vibrant historical core serves as a perfect starting point for all tourists looking to explore its beauty.
Looking for things to do in Tours? Winalist takes you to discover the city and its surroundings in this guide selecting the best visits and activities. You will also find our tips on the best wine experiences in the Loire Valley and the Loire Valley wine route.
Things to do in Tours: Visit Tours in 1 day
Do you want to discover Tours, but only have one day to do so? here are the Top places that we recommend you to see first.
The historic city center of Tours
One of the most captivating things to do in Tours is exploring its historic city center, which will instantly transport you to a different era. The cobblestone streets and Tudor-style architecture evoke an almost mesmerizing atmosphere that encourages further exploration through every winding corner.
When visiting the city center of Tours, you will be delighted to discover an abundance of bars, restaurants and shops that come alive during summertime when their terraces are bustling.
Idea for a walk: In the evening, the city of Tours showcases all its riches by offering ” Light Trails “ by illuminating the city’s emblematic monuments. All you have to do is criss-cross the “Vieux-Tours” or “Balzac” route to enjoy this open-air spectacle.
One of the most impressive things to do in Tours is this special ampitheater. Built on the remains of the Gallo-Roman city Caesarodunum, the Saint-Gatien cathedral is right in the center of the city. It is also known as the “Tours Ampitheater“. In the past, it was one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the West.
Bringing together the pious, lovers of art, architecture or history, this building is a clever mix of Gothic construction and Renaissance style, testimony to its evolution through the ages.
Once you have entered the Saint-Gatien cathedral, you will not miss the stained glass windows and its imposing rose window which adorn the walls, as well as its large organ made up of around 4000 pipes.
Walk along the banks of the Loire
As you probably know, Tours is crossed by the Loire River. It is therefore natural that we advise walkers and hikers to tread the urban path starting from rue André Malraux.
For about 5 kilometers (1h30), you follow the banks of the Loire and discover Ile Aucard as well as Ile Simon which offers a beautiful view of the Pont Wilson for a photo break.
The botanical garden
Next on our list of things to do in Tours is its Botanical garden. Since 1843, the botanical garden has been an essential place for a walk. There is a space dedicated to plant collections, a playground for children and even an animal park.
Today this garden has several roles:
- ensure the safeguarding of rare and protected plants through their conservation
- coordinate scientific research work on the plants already present and those introduced into the park
- raise public awareness of species preservation
- provide a quiet place for locals and tourists
Visit the vineyards of the Val-de-Loire
With over 65 distinct appellations, the Loire Valley is renowned for its vineyards and iconic Castles.
Let Winalist guide you through this incredible region of white and rosé wines! Experience the beauty of local cellars, engage with passionate winegrowers and collect unforgettable memories while indulging in a variety of flavors.
Discover Maison Brédif in Rochecorbon
Founded in 1893, Maison Brédif and its wine-loving owner open their doors to you. In a few hours, you will discover how the different wines produced on the estate are made, and how they are kept in the 2 kilometers of cellars and underground galleries.
Private visits with Maison Brédif are one of the best things to do in Tours and are always accompanied by a tasting of 5 of the best wines from Maison Brédif (Chinon, Bourgueil or Saumur Champigny).
Among the themes of the various visits and tastings, you will have the choice between:
- The simple visit
- Visit with a selection of cheeses and charcuterie
- Taste wine directly in the troglodyte cellars, a magical place
See the details of the oenological experiences offered by Maison Brédif. Oneological experiences are some of the absolute best things to do in Tours, France.
What is the most beautiful castle to visit near Tours?
For one of the best things to do in Tours, you could visit the Château de Tours located in the center of the city. This is a Carolingian-style castle hosting exhibitions of contemporary and historical art.
But if you are rather looking to see one of the most beautiful castles of the Loire, we recommend that you go west from Tours to enter the magnificent Château de Villandry. This great Renaissance palace is notably surrounded by a famous park with a labyrinth: the famous gardens of Villandry.
What to do in Tours: The best activities
Here is a selection of ideal things to do in Tours during a stay with family or friends in this beautiful city:
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Visit Segway Tours
- Take a day trip to the vineyards
- Take a wine rally in the heart of the vineyards
The Museum of Fine Arts in Tours
Located in Old Tours near the cathedral, in the former episcopal palace, the Museum of Fine Arts in Tours has an important collection of paintings including several masterpieces. There are Italian Renaissance galleries, French paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries, as well as Flemish and Dutch paintings by Rubens.
This museum also preserves statues and sculptures, some of which date back to antiquity.
Visit Segway Tours
Don’t feel like walking? Then you can go to the Tours Tourist Office to rent a segway! After a brief introduction, all you have to do is explore Vieux-Tours thanks to this original and ecological means of transport.
The tourist office offers day and night rides by segway, on the banks of the Loire or in the town centre. Count about 1h30 for each walk.
Loire Valley Vineyard Day Trip
Discover the treasures of the Loire Valley comfortably seated in a 9-seater mini-bus with the Val de Loire Travel agency.
During a full day, you will be taken to several villages around Tours to discover the troglodytes, the know-how and the wines of the region . The wine tour will end with a visit to one of the most beautiful private castles in the region, located in the middle of the forest of Chinon.
The expedition will include several tastings of fine wines and a delightful meal, all meticulously planned by the organizers. At day’s end, you’ll be brought back to your launching point in Tours’ city center.
Oeno-Rally in the heart of the vineyards
If you’re looking for a fun way to explore the wines of the Loire Valley, Ame-Wine is your go-to! They offer custom quizzes that will reveal all the secrets of local vineyards – one glass at a time.
Tour, France is a beautiful city full of history and culture. From its impressive gardens to its majestic châteaux, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Tour. Whether you’re looking for some historic sites, outdoor activities or a vibrant nightlife, Tour has something for everyone. With its array of cultural attractions and stunning architecture, the city is sure to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. Discover more about how to have the best time in Tours, France, with Winalist.