Hiking in the Verdon gorges, Europe's grand canyon - Challenging
    • France - Verdon
    • 8 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From May to October
    • 2 - 10 travellers
      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Superior
      • Trip code : A1143

About the Hiking in the Verdon gorges, Europe's grand canyon - Challenging trip

About the trip in Provence

Your self-guided Provence walking holidayA sensational self-guided walking holiday that explores Europe’s most beautiful and spectacular river canyon: the Verdon Gorge situated between Provence and the Alps.

The tour starts and finishes in the quaint medieval village of Castellane nestled in Alpine foothills of Haute Provence.  The most famous part of the itinerary is the Blanc-Martel trail, around 15km long  including a series of steps, tunnels, ladders and bridges. You will enjoy the dramatic landscapes : high jagged mountain peaks, limestone cliffs, great panoramic views from the surrounding alpine mountains, the emerald-green river snaking its way along the bottom of the gorge and the authentic atmosphere of the Provencal villages : La Palud, Trigance and Castellane where you can sample local delicacies such as truffles, oil, tapenade, lavender honey, wine and goats cheese and enjoy the simple, good life in Provence.

Please note : if you suffer from severe fear of heightsthis itinerary is not recommended.

Highlights of the trip

  • Spectacular hikes through the Verdon Gorge: a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Dramatic wild landscapes and picturesque Provencal villages
  • The perfect spring and autumn destination for experienced hikers
  • 3 dinners and 3 picnics included
  • Sampling Provencal cuisine and local specialities
  • Preserved nature & bird watching, especially vultures
  • Exciting challenging hikes through the gorge along the famous Blanc-Martel trail


    Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

From the blog

Hiking in the Verdon gorges, Europe's Grand Canyon: Day by Day

- Additionnal information on this challenging hike

. A very good level of fitness is required, expect to walk 5-7 hours per day not including lunch stops and with an elevation gain of +/-950m.
. You have to be comfortable with walking on steep mountainous terrain.
. You have to be sure-footed on mountain paths and have a good head for heights.
. You need good walking boots throughout the trip.
. The hikes take place on good paths for the most part, although they are sometimes steep and rocky in nature with some loose limestone. In addition, on the sections in the gorge you will encounter steps, tunnels, metal ladders and bridges.
. There are steep ascents/descents, sometimes in hot weather.
. We have chosen to grade the walking holiday difficult with a challenging notion largely due to the nature of the trail itself rather than the elevation gain or distance each day.
. It is NOT suitable for those suffering from vertigo.

Day 1 - Castellane, a charming village in the heart of the Verdon

castellane village in the verdon gorges

  • Walk - Castellane > Notre dame du Roc > Castellane
    2h - 5km - Ascent: +250 m / Descent: -250 m
  • Arrival on your own in Castellane, a medieval village nestled at the foot of an impressive limestone block, Le Roc (a listed natural site). Classified as a "city of character" at the gateway to the Verdon Gorge, Castellane will charm those curious about culture as well as nature lovers, young and old. Thus, you will be able to admire the narrow streets of a typical village of Haute-Provence.
  • Depending on your arrival time, you have the possibility of taking a short walk.
     A walk along the paths and vegetation that  smells of the South of France, to reach the wonderful little" Chapel of Notre Dame du Roc" that protects and overlooks the village of Castellane, passing by the ruins of the ancient city of Petra Castellana and finishing the loop by the Pentagonal Tower.  At the top of this majestic block of limestone overlooking the village, you will be amply rewarded for your efforts with an incredible 360° view of the gorges, a glimpse of the backwaters of the Verdon and the emerald colors of Lake Castillon. At the top, an orientation table awaits you. You will also discover the Notre Dame du Roc chapel, dating from the 13th century.
  • Night in Castellane

  • Morning market every Wednesday & Saturday morning in Castellane

  • We recommend : 
    . Have an extra pre-tour night in Aix en Provence,  a beautiful city of art & culture

  • Access
    . Regular train lines from Paris to Marseille city/airport and to Aix en Provence. Info on the SNCF train website 
    . Train from Nice to Digne (panoramic small historic train - Train des Pignes ) and bus line from Digne to Castellane
    . Bus line from Aix en provence to Castellane - Bus LER 27 -  schedule 
    . Bus line from Nice to Castellane -  Bus LER 31 - Schedule

Day 2 - From Castellane to "Point Sublime"

verdon gorge the grand canyon of europe

  • Walk - Castellane > Point Sublime
    . 5 hours - Ascent: +750 m / Descent: -750 m
  • Today you follow the GR4 from Castellane, an old Roman road on the heights of the deep Verdon valley. The path climbs gradually overlooking the Verdon to the small shepherds village of Chasteuil - the ideal place for your picnic - before leaving for the high limestone moors and pastures.  You descend towards Rougon perched on a rocky spur above the famous gorges before reaching the famous Sublime Point.
  • Dinner included and night in Point Sublime
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Dinner

  • Please note :
    It may be necessary to spend two nights at La Palud (if the Auberge du Point Sublime is not available) and to add transfers to and from La Palud. Please note that the restaurant at the Auberge du Point Sublime is not open every day. The usual closing days are Wednesday or Sunday but this can change during the season.  If you stay at the hotel when the restaurant is closed, you will be served a cold plate dinner.

Day 3 - Hiking on the famous Martel trail in the Verdon gorges

best hike in the verdon gorges in provence

  • Walk - Point Sublime > La Maline 
    . 7 hours - Ascent: +900 m / Descent: -800 m
  • Picnic included
  • Today you are embarking on a must-see hike through the cliffs of the "Verdon Grand Canyon".  Named after Edouard Alfred Martel, who was the first to explore the Grand Canyon in 1905, the Blanc-Martel trail is probably the most famous hiking route in the Verdon. You descend into the Gorges and follow the course of the river to the Point Sublime.
    Along the way you encounter the Brèche Imbert, six metal ladders with a total of 252 steps that facilitate the steep descent of this difficult part of the trail (difficult for hikers prone to vertigo). You go through the tunnels of Trescaire and Baou (torch or headlamp and warm jacket required), through walkways and on stairs. It is a long but superb and unforgettable experience! 
  • At the end of the walk transfer by taxi to La Palud.
  • Night in La palud
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic

  • Important :
    1.    This hike, although very well equipped and secure, is to be avoided if you are afraid of heights. Not recommended either for children under 8 years old. It is a rocky and steep terrain, with technical installations (metal stairs, handrails, tunnels - head lamps and sweaters required). Plan a minimum of 3 litres of  water/person
    2.    Swimming in the Verdon is prohibited for 2 reasons :  the river is dangerous and because of the EDF (electricity firm) releasing high pressure water. During the season, EDF have fixed days (usually Tuesdays and Fridays) where they can release the water - but this can change depending on electricity needs and/or weather conditions. The gorges are also used for water sports such as rafting. For safe swimming, you can enjoy the lakes in Sainte Croix and Castillon, with beaches and nautical bases. 

Day 4 - From La Maline belvedere to the typical village of La Palud

hiking trip in the gorges verdon

  • Walk - La Maline > la Palud 
    . 7 hours - Ascent: +950 m / Descent: -950 m
    Important : a 400m ascent with altitude difference that requires training.
  • After breakfast, short transfer to the start of your hike from La Maline.  Today you see the huge contrast between the gorges, the garrigue and the Barbin forest. You follow the Bastidon path, high above the Verdon Grand Canyon overlooking the gorges some  700m below. From the Belvedere de Mayreste, the second part of the trail is more sporty and goes up the Brusc ravine to reach the Barbin plateau before heading down to the small village of La Palud.
  • Night in La Palud
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

  • Market on Sunday morning in La palud

Day 5 - From La Palud to the impressive Point Sublime

best walks in the verdon gorges in provence

  • Walk - La Palud > Rougon > Point Sublime
    5 hours 30 - Ascent: +470 m / Descent: -600 m
  • After a rather steep climb, you can discover hundred-year-old oaks and beech trees as well as other plant species before admiring the gorges seen from above and the village of La Palud sur Verdon. You continue on the "Baou path" between cliffs and ravines to Rougon, a balcony dominating the Gorges, the ideal location for bird watching, especially vultures.
  • Dinner included and night in Point Sublime.
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6 - From Point Sublime to Trigance perched village

  • self guided walking tour in the verdon gorgesWalk - Point Sublime > Trigance
    5 hours - Ascent: +650 m / Descent: -900 m
  • Picnic included
  • Today’s hike takes you over the Verdon’s riverbed via an ancient Roman bridge.  Once you pass the left bank, you head up to the hamlet of Entreverges. When you arrive at the Rancoumas lookout, nestled at an altitude of 981 metres, you will discover a natural ramp overlooking the Verdon, allowing you to fully enjoy a plunging view of the Verdon which flows several hundred metres below. You follow the cliff to Trigance, a typical Provencal village dominated by a beautiful feudal building with four towers dating back to the 11th century. It contains historical treasures and can be visited.  You can also take a tour of the botanical trail that allows you to discover the flora of the Var highlands.
  • Dinner included & night in Trigance
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic & Dinner

  • Important:
    . If you are accompanied by children or people prone to dizziness, you will need to be extremely careful as this is a natural lookout without a safety barrier and a sheer drop. 
    . People who are sensitive to vertigo will also need to take precautions and hang back.

Day 7 - From Trigance to the Jabron gorges

hiking in verdon gorge

  • Walk - Trigance > Jabron Gorges > Castellane 
    6 hours - Ascent: +520 m / Descent: -580 m
  • Picnic included
  • During your last hike, you cross the gorges and the Jabron valley with the bonus of a picnic break by the green waters of the Verdon at the Pont de Carajuan, gateway to the wonderful gorges of the Verdon.  You follow the river before starting a regular and pleasant ascent to reach the Col du Pertuis de la Colle (1151m), ideal place for your picnic with a 360° view of the region before starting your descent to Castellane through the state forest. 
  • Night in Castellane
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic

Day 8 - Bye Bye Verdon !

  • End of the trip after breakfast
  • MEALS included: Breakfast 

  • Return : 
    . Regular train lines from Paris to Marseille city/airport and to Aix en Provence. Info on the SNCF train website 
    . Train from Nice to Digne ( panoramic small historic train - Train des Pignes ) and bus line from Digne to Castellane
    . Bus line from Aix en provence to Castellane - Bus LER 27 -  schedule 
    . Bus line from Nice to Castellane -  Bus LER 31 - Schedule

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    • France - Verdon
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  • Highlights of the trip

    • The fantastic Verdon Gorges - unique in Europe : a UNESCO World Heritage site
    • The perfect spring and autumn destination for all hikers
    • Panoramic landscapes of immense limestone cliffs, narrow gorges and magnificent turquoise blue waters
    • 1 dinner and 2 picnics included
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      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

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    • Spectacular hikes through the Verdon Gorge: a UNESCO World Heritage site
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      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

      • France - Verdon
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    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From May to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Superior
  • Highlights of the trip

    • Spectacular hikes through the Verdon Gorge: a UNESCO World Heritage site
    • Dramatic wild landscapes and picturesque Provencal villages
    • The perfect spring and autumn destination for experienced hikers
    • 3 dinners and 3 picnics included
    • Sampling Provencal cuisine and local specialities
    • Preserved nature & bird watching, especially vultures
    • Exciting challenging hikes through the gorge along the famous Blanc-Martel trail


      Go Private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

    Hiking in the Verdon gorges, Europe's grand canyon - Challenging
        • France - Verdon
        • 2 adults (2x1240€)
        • 0 children (0x1240€)
      • 8 days
      • Simple
    Total 2480€
    Deposit 800€
    Book now !