Winding, narrow village streets in the Luberon Region of France, with old stone houses and flower boxes.

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Perfect 3-Day Itinerary In Provence and the Luberon 

The Luberon region of Provence is a picturesque area in the southeastern part of France, renowned for its stunning landscapes, charming hilltop villages, and rich cultural heritage. Stretching across Vaucluse and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence’s departments (regions), the Luberon encompasses a diverse terrain ranging from lush valleys and vineyards to rugged limestone mountains. The goal of this 3-day itinerary of the Luberon is to show you the highlights of one of the best places in Europe. 

One of the Luberon’s defining features is its enchanting hill towns, each exuding its unique character and allure. These perched villages, built centuries ago for defensive purposes, dot the landscape atop the hillsides. From the iconic town of Gordes with its Renaissance castle perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop to the ochre-hued cliffs of Roussillon and the tranquil ambiance of Lourmarin, the Luberon’s hill towns captivate visitors with their timeless beauty and rustic charm.

Panoramic view of the Luberon Region

The Luberon’s natural beauty is equally captivating, with rolling vineyards, fragrant lavender fields, and olive groves painting a scenic tapestry across the landscape. The region is also home to the Luberon Regional Natural Park, a protected area encompassing over 600 square miles of pristine wilderness. Within the park, visitors can explore hiking trails that wind through forests, gorges, and limestone cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Culturally, the Luberon area is steeped in history and tradition, with a rich heritage shaped by centuries of Provencal life. Local markets burst with color and flavor as vendors sell fresh produce and artisanal crafts infused with the flavors of the Mediterranean. The region comes alive throughout the year with festivals celebrating everything from music and art to gastronomy and lavender. You can plan your tour to hit the local market held in each village, giving you a great perspective on each town.

In addition to its cultural attractions, the Luberon boasts a thriving culinary scene, with farm-to-table cuisine, local wines, and traditional Provençal specialties delighting the senses. Visitors can dine alfresco at charming cafes, indulge in gourmet meals at Michelin-starred restaurants, or enjoy wine tastings around the region.

As one of my favorite areas in Europe, I would love to share this perfect 3-day itinerary exploring Provence and the Luberon region, a unique part of France. 

Combine this trip with a visit to Switzerland

When we made our second visit to this region we combined it with a visit to Switzerland. It was an easy drive from Geneva to Provence. Check out my tips for a visit to the mountains in this post Switzerland Travel – A Visit To Mountains, Lakes & Cities.

Alphorn being played on a mountain side in the sun
Best Time To Visit

April through October is the best time to visit the Luberon region of France. The spring brings the countryside back to life after a mild winter. But if you want to see the lavender fields in bloom, wait until mid to late June, with the peak season occurring in July. However, the summer months will also coincide with the height of tourist season, when prices and tourists will be at their max. September and October have some of the best weather of the year, with bright sunny days but not quite as hot as summer, and the crowds tend to be slightly less.

Getting To The Region

To start your 3-Day Itinerary in the Luberon, you need to get there first; You can reach the Luberon by plane, train, or car. The nearest airport with direct flights from the US and Canada is Nice or Paris; for flights within Europe and the UK, you can consider towns such as Avignon and Marseille. The most common way to arrive in some of the larger cities in Luberon, such as Avignon and Aix En Provence, is by train, with service from several major European cities. But once you are in Provence, a car will be required. Traveling from village to village is best done with a rental car. But be warned, the narrow roads and driving here can be a bit stressful. 

Where To Stay

Exploring the Luberon from Avignon or Aix En Provence is possible, where you will find plenty of hotels at various prices. But the best bet is to pick one of the villages to stay in and find a hotel or VRBO rental. Gordes, Roussillon, and Lourmarin all have good options. But I recommend splurging and staying at La Coquillade near the village of Gargas. This splendid resort is set in a vineyard with fantastic views over the countryside. Built around an ancient small village, the hotel has an intimate feel. Grab a glass of Rosé and lounge by the pool under the warm province sun. And be sure to check out the Michelin star restaurant at the resort. I would rank this resort among the top 10 in which I have stayed in the world.

Getting Around the Luberon on Your 3-Day Itinerary

Although the region is very compact, the best way to experience the cliff villages is by car. You can up pick a rental in Avignon near the train station or in Nice at the airport. Parking can be a hassle in some areas during market days or events. And be sure to see if you need to pay for parking in some towns before leaving your car. It is possible to stay in the area without a car, but you will want to have pre-arranged day tours to ensure you can reach many sights.

The Ochre hills near Rousillon

Day 1 – Gordes & Rousillon

Start your first day with a visit to Gordes, France, one of the most beautiful villages in the area. Gordes is one of the most popular destinations in the region. This delightful village offers a lovely immersion into the beauty of Provence. Wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of Gordes, admire the charming medieval architecture, including the historic buildings such as the castle and the 16th-century Saint-Firmin church. If your visit falls on a Tuesday morning, take advantage of the weekly market in Gordes. It’s a vibrant affair where you can sample local produce, cheeses, and crafts. But be prepared for a crowd, especially during the summer and fall. Parking can be difficult, and you may have to walk a short distance, but the best place to park is in the lot just before you get to the village center. 

Just a short drive or hike from Gordes is the iconic Senanque Abbey, famous for its picturesque setting amidst lavender fields (in bloom from June to August). Even if you miss the lavender season, the Romanesque architecture and serene atmosphere make it worth a visit.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of Gordes’ charming restaurants, savoring Provencal specialties like ratatouille, pissaladière, or a hearty salad Niçoise. And don’t miss a stop at Le Fornil de Mamie Jeanne before you continue on for the day. It is the most fantastic boulangerie and patisserie; I think about sweets from this bakery to this day, and it puts a smile on my face!

Take a scenic drive through the Luberon region to the picturesque village of Roussillon. Spend an afternoon there, and you’ll be immersed in its vibrant ochre cliffs and charming Provençal ambiance. Roussillon is famous for its striking ochre cliffs, which range in color from golden yellows to deep reds. Take a short walk along the Sentier des Ocres (Ochre Trail) to experience these natural wonders up close. The trails wind through the former quarries and offer stunning views of the colorful landscape. The area reminded me so much of the American West, specifically Sedona, Arizona. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera to capture the beauty.

Visiting the Ochre Conservatory (Conservatoire des Ocres et de la Couleur) gives deeper insight into Roussillon’s ochre industry. Located in the heart of the village, this museum provides a fascinating look at the history of ochre mining and its importance to the region. You can learn about the extraction process, see displays of pigments, and even try your hand at mixing your own colors.

Take some time to wander through the narrow streets of Roussillon, lined with charming stone houses adorned with colorful shutters. Browse through artisan shops selling pottery, artwork, and other handmade goods, and perhaps stop for a coffee or glass of wine at one of the cozy cafés. Explore the village center, where you’ll find the Place de la Mairie (Town Hall Square) and the 19th-century church of Saint-Michel. 

Roussillon has long been a magnet for artists, drawn to its unique landscape and vibrant colors. Visit some of the local art galleries and studios to admire and purchase works inspired by the region’s beauty.

After exploring, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of Roussillon’s restaurants. Sample traditional Provençal dishes featuring fresh, local ingredients and savor the region’s flavors. You could try the La Grappe de Raisin, which has a terrace overlooking Roussillon, or Cafe De La Poste, a casual cafe on the main street next to the square. It’s a quintessential French cafe. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine for the whole experience.

A church in the Luberon against a bright blue sky.

Day 2 – Ménerbes, Lacoste and Bonnieux

Your first stop on the second day is the village of Ménerbes, one of the smaller villages known for its stunning views, historic architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Start your morning with a stroll through the narrow streets of Ménerbes. Admire the charming squares and beautiful gardens that dot the village.

Make your way to the top of the village to visit the imposing Château de Ménerbes. This 16th-century fortress offers panoramic views of the countryside and the Luberon mountains. Explore the castle grounds and learn about its fascinating history, which includes stints as a fortress, a residence, and even a museum dedicated to the author Nicolas de Staël.

Take a break from your explorations and relax at one of Ménerbes’ charming cafés. Order a café au lait or espresso and savor the moment as you watch village life unfold around you. 

Hop in the car and head to the medieval village of Lacoste. As you drive around the Luberon, if you are visiting during the summer, you will want to take in the fields of lavender throughout the region. On this Luberon road trip, you can easily explore the fields from the country roads since most fields abut the roadside. 

In an afternoon visit to Lacoste, you’ll find yourself in one of the most picturesque hilltop villages. Begin your visit by wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of Lacoste. Admire the charming houses adorned with colorful shutters and flowers, and soak up the peaceful ambiance of this Provençal village. Dominating the village skyline is the imposing Château de Lacoste, once owned by the infamous Marquis de Sade. While the château itself is privately owned and not open to the public, you can still admire its exterior and take in the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. I found the views from this perch some of the best in Provence.

Over the years, Lacoste has attracted many artists and artisans drawn to its inspiring landscapes and rich cultural heritage. It is home to SCAD Lacoste, a study abroad program at the famed Savannah College of Art and Design. Take some time to explore the local art galleries and studios, where you can admire and purchase works ranging from paintings and sculptures to pottery and textiles. As you wander this little village, you can feel the arts vibe. 

Lacoste is surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the scenic trails that wind through the Luberon Regional Nature Park, or pack a picnic and relax amidst the tranquil scenery. It is possible to hike/walk from Lacoste to our next town, Bonnieux. We enjoyed the Circular Walk between the towns; although not an official hiking trail, it was a great way to explore the area. Find the guide here. Regardless of how you make the journey to this charming village, exploring Bonnieux in the late afternoon offers a magical experience in the heart of the Luberon region. 

Begin your late afternoon by wandering through Bonnieux, one of my favorite and most beautiful hilltop villages. The golden light of the late afternoon sun enhances the village’s beauty, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Make your way to the Church of Saint Gregory (Église Haute), which sits at the top of the village and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Climb the stone steps to reach the church and take in the breathtaking vistas of vineyards, olive groves, and orchards stretching out below.

Relax at one of Bonnieux’s charming cafés or restaurants and enjoy a glass of local wine (the south of France is known for its rosé, perfect for a sunny summer afternoon) or a refreshing beverage on a terrace overlooking the village. Take in the sights and sounds of village life as locals and visitors gather to unwind and socialize in the waning light of the day.

End your late afternoon in Bonnieux by watching the sunset over the Luberon Valley from one of the village’s scenic viewpoints. Whether you admire the sunset from the Church of Saint Gregory, a hillside terrace, or the cedar forest, the changing colors of the sky and the tranquil beauty of the landscape make for a memorable and enchanting experience.

Mike hiking in Rousillon with the red rocks.

Day 3 – Apt and Lourmarin

Begin your final day of this 3-Day Itinerary in the Luberon in Apt, known as the gateway to the Luberon. Explore the town’s lively market (on Saturdays) to sample local produce, cheeses, olives, and artisanal goods. You might also pick up some provisions for a picnic later in the day. Apt is not one of the more picturesque villages, but it is worth a quick stop.

Take a scenic drive through the Luberon on your way to Lourmarin. Begin your afternoon by visiting the iconic Lourmarin Castle (Château de Lourmarin). This Renaissance castle dates back to the 15th century and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Explore the castle’s interior, which houses a museum showcasing local history and art exhibitions. Don’t miss the panoramic views of the village and surrounding countryside from the castle’s terrace.

Take a stroll through the streets of Lourmarin and soak up the ambiance of this charming Provençal village. It is considered one of the most enchanting villages in France. Unlike other Luberon villages, it is not perched on cliffs but is known more for its cafes and restaurants lining the cobblestone streets. Explore the village’s little shops and galleries, where you can find unique gifts, souvenirs, and local products.

Visit the Church of Saint-André, a beautiful Romanesque church in the village’s heart. Admire the church’s architectural details, including its ancient stone walls and bell tower. 

If your visit falls on a Friday afternoon, attend the market day in Lourmarin. Stroll through the market stalls selling fresh produce, cheeses, meats, baked goods, and artisanal products. Sample local specialties and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this traditional Provençal market.

Market day in a perch village in Provence.

Exploring The Luberon Is A Must-Do 3-Day Itinerary 

Exploring the Luberon region of Provence over three perfect days offers an unforgettable journey through picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage. From iconic hill towns like Gordes and Roussillon to the lovely villages of Lacoste and Bonnieux, each destination captivates its visitors.

The region’s natural beauty, with rolling vineyards, fragrant lavender fields, and lush olive groves, provides a scenic backdrop for outdoor adventures. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the region’s rich history and traditions, from exploring medieval castles and Romanesque churches to browsing bustling markets and sampling local cuisine.

Its compact size makes the Luberon easily accessible and navigable, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic Provencal experience. From Apt’s bustling markets to Lourmarin’s tranquil streets, each day in the Luberon promises new discoveries and memorable experiences. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on a 3-Day Itinerary in the Luberon one of the most beautiful regions in Europe.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS
    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
  • TOURS
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
  • FOOD EXPERIENCES
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
  • TRAINS
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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