DAY 1: Arrive St-Dalmas-de-Tende
St-Dalmas-de-Tende is located in the hills of the Mercantour National Park very close to the Italian border. The best way to reach the village is to fly into Nice and take the morning train via Briel (1hr 40mins). Your information pack including route notes and maps will be waiting for you at your Hotel in St Dalmas de Tende, please arrive before 19:00 hrs, in time for your evening meal.
Overnight: St Dalmas de Tende - Hotel Le Prieure - DB&B
DAY 2: Circular walk around St-Dalmas-de-Tende
Todays walk passes through two superb medieval villages packed with history. La Brigue is the first village you come to after walking through lush forests and through a couple of ravines. Take time to explore the village with its pretty church and winding cobbled streets. Heading onwards you follow the path uphill slightly to get some fabulous views below to Tende which is the next village you come across. You pass Eagles Monument which is a wonderful place to stop for a picnic lunch. The museum in Tende is worth a visit aswell as all the shops and cobbled streets. You have the option from here to take the train back to St Dalmas de Tende or walk back through woodland paths.
Walk: 9.2-15.7km, 3.30-5.30 hrs, 600m ascent / -500m descent
Overnight: St Dalmas de Tende - Hotel Le Prieure - DB&B
DAY 3: Walk to Fontan
Today’s walk passes through a series of isolated villages which are built of dry stone walls and roofed with the local slate from the area. Some woodland walking today and as you head to Granile you have superb views down to the turquoise waters of the Med. From here you follow a zigzagging track alongside some cliffs until you cross the vallon de Burghe by a remarkable bridge which then heads into Fontan for your overnight stay.
Walk: 15 km, 5.30 hrs, 900m ascent / - 1000m descent
Overnight: Fontan - Hotel Le Terminus - DB&B
DAY 4: Walk to Breil-sur-Roya
You follow the old salt road to Breil-sur-Roya today passing through the impressive village of Saorge perched high on the hillside. It overlooks the Roya Valley and its full of picturesque streets, ancient churches and chapels and sundials. The village is stretched out in an arc with views across to the North as well as the South. The trail from Saorge passes some beautiful water filled pot-holes which are very tempting to bathe in! From here to Breil-sur-Roya you follow river crossings and head downhill on curved paths passing many dry-stoned walls and footpaths. As you approach the village you follow the route parallel to the river until you reach the main square of Breil-sur-Roya.
Walk: 12.5 km, 5.30 hrs, 700m ascent / - 800m descent
Overnight: Breil-sur-Roya - Hotel La Bonne Auberge - DB&B
DAY 5: Walk to Sospel
The walking today starts off heading uphill along the GR510 (one of Frances National Network of long distance footpaths). You soon leave the main path to follow the valley route passing pine trees and gently flowing streams. You end up in Piene Haute another perched village with outstanding views to the surrounding mountains and also the sea. Explore the village by heading to the church and the ruined chateau which is closeby. The next section to Sospel passes an old lime kiln and magnificent footpath renowned for its wild flowers. You are very close to the Italian border on todays walk and you can see a chapel in the midst of olive groves which is between France and Italy.
Walk: 15km, 5.30hrs, 600m ascent/ -700m descent
Overnight: Sospel Hotel - Auberge du Pont Vieux - DB&B
DAY 6: Walk to Sainte-Agnes
Before leaving Sospel visit the remains of the fortified castle and the cathedral of this ancient village. A steep start to todays walk for the first hour but you are rewarded with wonderful views over Sospel village. The walking levels out after the initial climb and heads through farmland until you reach the foot of the cliffs of Barme Routa. From here the path undulates again until you reach Col de Castillon. The next section follows a good path until you reach a tiny chapel where the path climbs up a stony track into the village of Sainte-Agnes which is the highest coastal village of Europe.
Walk: 18 km, 3-5hrs, 580m - 1040m ascent/ -240-700 descent
Overnight: Sainte Agnes - Hotel Le Saint-Yves - DB&B
DAY 7: Walk to Menton
Your final days walking follows a route down through the village of Castellar which overlooks the sea, it is built on a hill and the views across to Menton and the Med are spectacular. There are many interesting features of the village including the ancient church and chapel. The track then heads downhill into Menton via the cathedral. Menton is renowned for its beauty, exceptional climate and its flaura and fauna. It has charm and its old quarter overlooks harbours and beaches.
Walk: 13km, 5.30hrs, 150m ascent / -700m descent
Overnight: Menton - Hotel Moderne - B&B
DAY 8: Onward Travel
Grade & Fitness
This walking tour is graded Moderate. Daily walks are a mixture of rugged quiet trails and forest paths. A couple of days are long and some of the trails have some short, steep climbs. You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this holiday.
Some of the routes on this holiday are not way marked so you will need to follow the route notes with maps that our local partner provide upon arrival in France.
This holiday is available to start on any day of the week between 1st April - 31st October.
We specifically select your accommodation to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We aim to give you an authentic experience and use local family run accommodations in traditional Hotels.
During high season, you might be booked into different accommodations which are not listed in the description, and the start or end of some of your walking routes may be slightly altered. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same standard as those described.
If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.
This holiday is NOT available for solo walkers due to safety reasons high in the mountian villages.
You can add additional nights at any point along the walk, please contact us for more details and we can add this to your booking. We would recommend and extra night in Menton at then end to relax by the sea after your walking adventure.
A delicious breakfast is included each morning and an evening meal on 6 of your overnights. On the last night dinner is not included which gives you the option to chose from one of the many local eateries. With every village having their own Patisserie, you will have no problem getting lunch each day.
Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.
Getting to St-Dalmas-de-Tende
By Air - The closest airport to fly into is Nice. Many low cost and charter airlines fly from both the UK and Europe.
From Nice Airport - You can take a shuttle into the centre of Nice (20mins) and then a train to St Dalmas de Tende (1hr 40 mins). You need to arrive in your hotel in St Dalmas de Tende in time for your evening meal (before 7pm)
Getting from Menton
Travelling onward from Menton couldn't be easier, you can take the train to Nice (35mins) and then the shuttle to the airport and onward travel from here. Alternatively you can take the train from Nice to any other destination in France.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.
How fit do I need to be?
The walking is graded moderate so you will enjoy the holiday more if you already enjoy an active lifestyle. Daily walks are a mixture of country paths and forest trails. A couple of days are long and some have short steep climbs. If you have a good level of fitness you will have no problem with the walk
Which is the best airport to fly to?
The closest airport is Nice, from here you can catch a train to St Dalmas-de-Tende for the start of your walking holiday. Please refer to the travel details section of the website for more information.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this holiday is extremely popular especially in the summer months. Please note you can start this holiday on any day of the week. This You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.
When is the best time of year?
The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and September when the weather is fair. Spring and Autumn are also very good times for walking as the air is a little cooler for walking and the wild flowers are in bloom.
This holiday is available to start any day of the week between April - October. To make a provisional reservation select "Book". Option & Extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.
Because every holiday we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:
- You provisionally book the tour/s you are interested in on your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
- We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5 working days).
- If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.
||Mountain Villages of the Mercantour
||8 Days & 7 Nights
- Accommodation for 7 Nights in comfortable, traditional Hotels
- 7 breakfasts
- 6 Evening Meals
- Daily Luggage transfers as per your itinerary
- Detailed road book and maps on arrival
- Pre-departure Information pack
- 24-hour assistance by phone
- Flights and transfers to first / from last accommodation in France
- Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned in the program
- Single room supplement(s) if applicable
- Airport/taxi transfers
- Additional nights during the walk.