If you’re unsure about whether to visit Dijon or Beaune, or wondering if it’s worth visiting both, this article can help. During our trip to Burgundy, we visited both cities and found that they offer distinct experiences. If you have the time, we highly recommend exploring both Dijon and Beaune, as well as the region in between. However, if you only have time for one, it can be a difficult decision to make. So, should you choose Dijon or Beaune?
How many days do you need to visit Dijon or Beaune in Burgundy?
If you’re planning a visit to Burgundy and wondering how many days to spend in Dijon or Beaune, we recommend planning for at least one day in each city, as well as one day in the region in between, especially if you’re interested in wine. There are many beautiful day trips from Dijon, and the surrounding vineyards are well worth exploring.
However, if you’re short on time, you can speed things up and spend half a day in each city. However, keep in mind that trying to fit too much into a short visit can be overwhelming, so it’s better to choose between Dijon or Beaune if your time is limited.
How to choose between Dijon or Beaune?
There’s no straight answer to this question, as both towns offer different experiences. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and interests. I personally preferred Dijon for its very charming historic town centre.
What I liked in Dijon
It’s easy to spend one day in Dijon, simply by following the Owl Trail to see all the most interesting places in the historic town centre. I was impressed by the collection of buildings from various time periods. It’s a gem for architecture lovers as it’s rare to find so many different types of buildings in such a small area.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Climats of Burgundy, recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List, you’ll find in Dijon the International Cité of Gastronomy and Wine, where you can delve deeper into the region’s rich culinary and wine culture. You can also go for wine tasting at the Cave de la Cité for a large choice of wine (not just from Burgundy) or in town at the Cave du Palais* for a more authentic cellar experience.
The region between Dijon and Beaune
If you have the time, consider visiting the vineyards between Dijon and Beaune to learn about the Climats directly from the winemakers. This region is home to some of the most famous wineries in Burgundy, including Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vougeot, and Gevret-Chambertin.
One great way to explore the vineyards is by renting e-bikes and cycling from village to village. During our trip, we cycled to Maison Boursot winery and then enjoyed a fine-dining experience at La Toute Petite Auberge. E-bikes are available for most fitness levels and are a great option for families. You can find e-bike tours* available from Dijon that offer a range of options to explore the area.
Why you may prefer Beaune
The Hospices de Beaune is the most famous attraction in the town and is a hospital foundation from the Middle Ages that was built to heal the poor. Visiting the hospices with an audioguide is easy and it offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the history of medicine and the different tools that were used over time. The varnished roof of the building is also remarkable and worth seeing. Although you could complete the tour in an hour, we spent close to two hours exploring the details.
Compared to Dijon, Beaune is a lot smaller, but it still has plenty of things to keep you busy for a day. Apart from the hospices, you can visit a mustard factory (surprisingly, it is in Beaune and not Dijon!) and wine cellars. While I found the town less charming and interesting than Dijon, it’s still worth a visit.
How to visit Dijon and Beaune
Dijon and Beaune are located approximately 320 km southeast of Paris and 200 km north of Lyon. Motorways will take you there if you’re driving, but taking the train is often more comfortable, faster and cheaper. Once you’re in Dijon or Beaune, it’s easy to reach the other town:
- If you have a vehicle, it takes only one hour to drive between Dijon and Beaune. But it’s worth stopping at a few wineries in between.
- If you don’t have a vehicle, then you can take a train from Dijon to Beaune. There are half-day and day tours organised from both towns to visit the region and the wineries.
Once you’re in Dijon or Beaune, the easiest way to get around is on foot, as both towns have compact historic centres.
Have you been to Dijon or Beaune? Share your experience in the comments below!
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