Mercantour hiking: from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails
    • France - French Riviera
    • 8 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to December
    • 2 - 10 travellers
      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Charming
      • Trip code : B1112

About the Mercantour hiking: from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails trip

About your French Riviera walking tour

Your French Riviera walking holiday: Behind the French Riviera, the Alps rise dramatically. Almost all tourists visit the tiny strip of land along the coast, but the backcountry is dotted with timeless villages that have escaped the glitz and glamour of the towns along the sea.

During this self-guided walking trip, the centuries-old paths lead from one village to the next, with jawdropping panoramas of mountains and Mediterranean Sea. You reach the town of Menton, one of the prettiest villages of the coastline, where you can stroll along the beaches and enjoy an ambiance only the Côte d'Azur can offer.
You then enjoy 2 walks to the charming village of Eze and the beautiful Cap ferrat cape.

Highlights of the trip

  • Genuine mountain villages surrounded by the Alps mountains
  • The mixed influences of Italian and French culture
  • The magnificent perched village of Sainte Agnès
  • 4 dinners & 2 picnics included

  • The coloured town of Menton right on the Med SeaPlease note: the hotels in the backcountry are quite rustic and simple, but you will appreciate the charm and authenticity. Once you get to Menton & Villefranche, you can choose your level of quality and comfort

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

From the blog

Mercantour hiking, from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails: Day By Day

1 - Arrival in Sospel

best hike in the french riviera in sospel

  • You arrive on your own in the timeless village of Sospel - by train - nestled in the mountains near the Italian border, with its beautiful architecture and its centuries-old homes with colourful façades. 
  • Night in Sospel
  • MEALS included: Dinner

Day 2 - From Breil to Sospel

  • Walk - Breil sur Roya > Sospel - 5h30 - 15 km / 9 miles - Ascent: +600 m / Descent: -550 m
  • Short transfer to Breil. You leave Breil sur Roya by foot, giving you a wonderful panorama of the valley. There are two choices in paths above the village and we’ve chosen the one less travelled, following abandoned stone terraces, now dotted with olive trees. You reach the stunning ghost town of Piène Haute, more Italian than French, perched above the valley. Your path then takes you to Italy – to the colourful town of Olivetta – before returning France and to the town of Sospel. Sospel is a genuine and medieval mountain town with a n old stone toll bridge crossing the Brévera river.
  • Night in Sospel. 
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Dinner

  • Breil sur Roya: market on Tuesday & Thursday morning

Day 3 - From Sospel to the highest coastline village

hikers walking from sospel to sainte agnes

    • Sospel > Sainte Agnes 
      4 hours - 10km / 6.2 miles - Ascent: +500 m / Descent: -500 m
    • A short transfer takes you to the Col de Castillon pass, where you are teased with views of the shining blue Med Sea. You follow a path under the shade of an ash forest and zigzag upward towards the watchtower of Mont Ours before the true panorama is laid out: the entire Riviera and even the island of Corsica in clear weather. The medieval town of Sainte Agnes sits perched like an eagle's nest between you and the sea.  Sainte Agnès is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, its narrow cobbled streets built over the centuries with massive granite blocks. Only 3km from the sea as the crow flies, and perched at 800m in altitude, Sainte Agnès is listed as Europe's highest coastline village.
    • Night in Sainte Agnès
    • MEALS included: Breakfast & Dinner

    • Market on Thursday & Sunday (small one) morning in Sospel

Day 4 - A walk to Gorbio or Baudon mountain

  • Today, you have 2 walk options
  • Picnic included
  • Walk - St Agnes > Gorbio > St Agnes ( Walk out-and-back to Gorbio ) 
    4h - 10km / 6.2 miles - Ascent 450m  - Descent 450m
    The perched little village of Gorbio - on its rocky spur - is worth a lengthy visit. Those who come to visit it often remark that it is one of the most authentic villages along the Riviera. The Renaissance castle at the edge of the village - converted into a museum - and the two chapels attest to the village’s rich medieval history.
  • Sainte Agnès > Cime de Baudon > Menton
    4 hours 30 - 14km / 8.7 miles - Ascent: +600 m / Descent: -600 m
    Starting from the perched village of Sainte Agnès, it is a steady climb over the Bausson pass. For 30 minutes you take a small mountain road with a panoramic view of the sea (this small road is not very busy with cars and is mostly used by cyclists). The summit of the Cime de Baudon offers an exceptional 360° view of the whole region and the surrounding mountain peaks: a very beautiful orientation table which allows you to see as far as the summit of the Sainte Beaume and the Alps.
  • Night in Sainte Agnès
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic & Dinner

Day 5 - Down to coloured Menton on the Med sea

menton on the med sea on the french riviera

  • Walk - Castellar > Menton 
    2h - 7km - Ascent: +250 m / Descent: -450 m
  • Transfer after breakfast to Castellar. The village of Castellar, with its quiet streets, sole grocery store, bar and two restaurants, is a last bastion of tranquility before arriving on the Riviera. From Castellar you find an old path winding down, and soon you've reached a set of ancient steps set directly above the old village of Menton. Menton is rightfully listed as the prettiest town on the Riviera with colourful and very well restored homes, and with rich and interesting religious architecture. The microclimate around Menton, even more mild than the rest of the French Riviera, is favorable for growing citrus fruit. The local economy these days is based around high-end tourism, but the local lemons and lemon products are still to be found (including lemoncello).   
  • Free afternoon to discover the lovely coloured town of Menton, and to swim in the Med sea ! 
  • Night in Menton
  • MEALS included: Breakfast & Picnic

  • Lots of markets in Menton : Covered market every morning, on Tuesday morning on Carei Square, on Saturday morning fish market at the port

Day 6 - The Cap ferrat Cape

  • Walk - Villefranche > St Jean cap Ferrat cape > Villefranche
    . 3h - 11 km - Ascent: +100 m / Descent: -100 m
    . Detour: walk around the eastern arm of the peninsula, add one hour.
  • Today, you take the train in the morning ( not included ) to Villefranche sur mer. You drop your bag at the hotel and leave by foot to explore the famous Cap Ferrat cape : it’s a beautiful 3 hours coastal walk. You can also add a detour and walk around the Eastern 
  • Night in Villefranche
  • MEALS included: Breakfast 

Day 7 - The lovely perched village of Eze

menton on the med sea

  • Walk - Eze station> Eze village > Eze station
    . 2h 30 - Ascent: +400 m / Descent: -400 m
  • Today, you take the train in the morning to Eze. The perched, medieval village of Eze sits defiantly on a rocky spur, soaring high above the coastline. Today’s walk takes you on a well-maintained path from the coastline to Eze, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The narrow cobbled roads in Eze are worth exploring, while a fabulous cactus garden sits on the very top of the village. The entrance fee for the garden is 5€; and even if you aren’t a fan of succulents, the 360 degree views from the top are alone worth the entrance price.
    Train back to Villefranche
  • Night in Villefranche
  • MEALS included: Breakfast 

Day 8 - Bye Bye French Riviera

  • End of your trip after breakfast

  • Return:
    . Regular train lines from Menton > Nice
    . Regular flights from Nice - See this link

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    • Genuine mountain villages surrounded by the Alps mountains
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    • The lovely perched village of Sainte Agnes
    • 4 dinners & 3 picnics included
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    • The coloured italian-style town of Menton on the Med Sea
    • Option walk : The lovely town of Eze and the charming Saint Jean Cap ferrat cape

    • Please note :  the hotels in the backcountry are quite rustic and simple, but you will appreciate the charm and authenticity. Once you get to Menton, you can choose your level of quality and comfort



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

      • France - French Riviera
      • 6 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
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  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Charming
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    • The lakes, mountains and rock carvings of the "Vallée des Merveilles"
    • A true Alpine experience 
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    • 3 dinners & 3 picnics included
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    • Walks on centuries old paths in some outstandingly beautiful valleys 



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

      • France - French Riviera
      • 7 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From March to November
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
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  • Highlights of your walk in the French Riviera

    • Authentic villages nestled in deep wooded valleys, surrounded by high mountains
    • The cultural mesh of Italian and French influences
    • The lost village of La Brigue, on the Italian border
    • 4 dinners & 1 picnic included
    • The magnificent perched village of Sainte Agnès
    • The coloured italian-style town of Menton on the Mediterranean Sea

    • Please note :  the hotels in the backcountry are quite rustic and simple, but you will appreciate the charm and authenticity. Once you get to Menton, you can choose your level of quality and comfort


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

    Mercantour hiking: from the Southern Alps to the French Riviera trails
        • France - French Riviera
        • 2 adults (2x1060€)
        • 0 children (0x1060€)
      • 8 days
      • Simple
    Total 2120€
    Deposit 680€
    Book now !