Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights

  • Following trails through timeless perched villages such as Sainte Agnés
  • Discovering the cultural mix of French and Italian architecture, language and food
  • Basking in the warm sunshine of the French Riviera—331 days of the year to be precise!
  • Mesmerising views of the Alpes Maritimes and over the azure Mediterranean Sea
  • Exploring the incredible narrow alleyways of Menton’s old town
  • Crossing the border into Italy and to the colourful town of Olivetta

Behind the French Riviera’s glamour and glitz hide timeless perched villages, nestled in lush valleys and atop rocky crags. Ancient paths wind through forests and majestic olive groves, the views are consistently stunning and stretch far and wide over the Mediterranean Sea and the Southern Alps.

Most of these perched villages emerged during the 12th and 13th centuries when peasants clustered together to protect themselves from pirates and marauding armies. The centuries-old paths lead straight into the beautiful border town of Menton.

Begin your tour in the quaint town of Breil sur Roya which forms a compact crescent around a narrow rocky spur and is nestled in a deep valley. Your walk takes you over the Italian border to the vibrant town of Olivetta and then winds is way back into France to the medieval town of Sospel.

Breath-taking Sainte Agnés now appears on the horizon as you walk towards it. This incredible village with its cobblestoned streets, arched passageways, ruined chateaux and amazing position on the flank of a mountain with views over the Mediterranean, has been named as “One of the Most Beautiful in France”.

A walk from here into Menton offers panoramic views all the way and you’ll be mesmerised by this towns colourful streets, pretty architecture, the ancient alleyways of its old quarter and all of its Italian influences. With sunshine 331 days of the year, the Alpes Maritimes mountains behind you and the Mediterranean in front, this is an inspiring place in which to end your tour.

DAY 1: Arrive Breil sur Roya

Nestled along the banks of the River Roya, your walking tour begins in the picturesque town of Breil sur Roya, far from the bustle of the coastline. You’re surrounded by lush mountains and in a place where time has stood still. The town is shaped like a crescent along the waters, with colourful streets laden with cobbles. You’ll hear both French and Italian spoken and you’ll also feel both influences in food, culture, and in the architecture.


Overnight: La Bonne Auberge**, Breil sur Roya


A family run Auberge nestled in the heart of the village, taste their local homemade dishes served in their restaurant!


DAY 2: Walk to Sospel

This morning you’ll leave Breil sur Roya on foot, giving you a wonderful panorama of the valley. Your walk above the village takes the one less travelled, following abandoned stone terraces, now dotted with olive trees. Reach the stunning ghost town of Piène Haute, more Italian than French, perched above the valley. Your path then takes you across the border into Italy, to the colourful town of Olivetta, before returning to France and Sospel, a traditional medieval mountain town with an old stone toll bridge crossing the Brévera River.


Overnight: Hotel des Etrangers**, Sospel


Set in the heart of the village, this hotel has very  comfortable and modern rooms, a very warm welcome, excellent food, and a swimming pool set just above the river.


Walk: 15km


Ascent: 600m Descent: 550m


DAY 3: Short transfer. Walk to Sainte Agnès

A short transfer takes you to the start of today’s walk. After a gradual climb through a scenic beech forest a summit appears, perched well over 1000m above sea level. You are now within the Southern Alps and the Mediterranean Sea also appears in the distance. This afternoon reach the perched village of Sainte Agnès, listed among “One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France”, and set at 800m in altitude. It is the highest coastline village in Europe.


Overnight: Hotel St Yves*, Sainte Agnes


With rooms that have magnificent sea and mountain views, it's hard not to be enchanted with this hotel. Though there are no “bells and whistles”, the rooms are all modern, and the ambiance here is extremely warm and friendly.


Walk: 10km


Ascent: 550m Descent: 550m


DAY 4: Walk to Menton

Walk out of the village along a deep and scenic valley reaching the lost villages of Monti and Castellar, with their quaint streets and restaurants. The path then leads you into the heart of Menton, the prettiest town on the French Riviera with its colourful streets winding around in never-ending labyrinths.


Overnight: Hotel Paris-Rome***, Menton


This hotel is situated in a former 19th century mansion. With a recent renovation this stylish hotel offers gorgeous rooms just 20m from the beach and with magnificent views over the sea.


Walk: 14km  


Ascent: 250m Descent: 950m


DAY 5: Onward Travel

This morning after breakfast make your way to the airport to fly home.


Accommodation

Your tour in the French Riviera includes 4 nights in charming small hotels and guesthouses. They are all located in the heart of the villages and in Menton, opposite the marina.



 

 

 




La Bonne Auberge - Breil sur Roya

A family run Auberge nestled in the heart of the village, be sure to taste their local homemade dishes served in their restaurant!.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel des Etrangers - Sospel

Set in the heart of the village, this hotel has very comfortable and modern rooms, a very warm welcome, excellent food, and a swimming pool set just above the river.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel St Yves - St Agnes

With rooms that have magnificent sea and mountain views, it's hard not to be enchanted with this hotel. Though there are no “bells and whistles”, the rooms are all modern, and the ambiance here is extremely warm and friendly.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Paris-Rome - Menton

This hotel is situated in a former 19th century mansion. With a recent renovation this stylish hotel offers gorgeous rooms just 20m from the beach and with magnificent views over the sea.


 

 

 

Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Meals

4 Breakfasts are included. You can eat dinner either at your accommodations or in the local towns and villages. For lunches you can find regional cheeses, meats and bread in local markets or shops.  One picnic lunch on Day 4 is included.

Time of Year

We would encourage you to travel within April to June and September to October when the temperatures are pleasant for walking.


The French Riviera is known to have long, hot summers with July and August being the hottest months. You can also take this tour in July and August, but expect the temperatures to be very hot with little to no rainfall. It is important to make sure to stay hydrated and carry plenty of water. It is also advised to wear skin protecting clothing and use sun cream/screen, especially during the months of July and August.


Please note that if you wish to travel the last week in May there will be a supplement payable due to the Monaco Grand Prix.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Experience and Fitness

This tour is suitable for most people that are in excellent physical condition. This tour is rated moderate. Even though the daily walks are not that far there are quite significant elevation gains and losses as you will be walking in hilly areas and back down to the coast at the end of the tour. The trails are quite smooth (but maybe stony in some places) but if you take your time it is not too difficult. Get ready for your tour by taking a few uphill walks before leaving home.


Navigation

When you arrive at your first accommodation you will be provided with detailed maps and route notes to help you find your way. In some places, the routes are well-marked, in other places you will have to read your route notes carefully and pay attention to the trail and to the directions provided.


Baggage Transfers

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

Getting to Breil sur Roya

The closest airport tis Nice Airport.
From here take a bus (Line 99) to Nice Train Station (every 30 mins)
and from here a train to Breil sur Roya. These trains run hourly. For
train information please visit the SNCF website.


Getting from Menton

For your return trip you can also fly out of Nice. You can take a
direct train from Menton to St Laurent du Var Train Station and from
here a taxi to Nice Airport (a 5 minutes ride).  Once again please visit
the SNCF website for more details.

Included

  • 4 Nights in 2* and 3* small hotels and guesthouses
  • 4 Breakfasts
  • Picnic lunch on Day 4
  • Luggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps, and detailed information pack
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Provence and our office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Breil sur Roya
  • Travel from Menton
  • Dinners and lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required
  • Solo traveller supplement

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or for more advice from our team.
 

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the French Riviera is extremely popular during May/June and September. You will find up to date availability on our website and

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for most people that are in excellent physical condition. This tour is rated moderate. Even though the daily walks are not that far there are quite significant elevation gains and losses as you will be walking in hilly areas and back down to the coast at the end of the tour. The trails are quite smooth (but maybe stony in some places) but if you take your time it is not too difficult. Get ready for your tour by taking a few uphill walks before leaving home.

What personal equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

Which is the best airport?

The closest airport tis Nice Airport. From here take a bus (Line 99) to Nice Train Station (every 30 mins) and from here a train to Breil sur Roya. These trains run hourly. For train information please visit the SNCF website.

What about the navigation?

When you arrive at your first accommodation you will provided with detailed maps and route notes to help you find your way. In some places the routes are well-marked, in other places you will have to read your route notes carefully and pay attention to the trail and to the directions provided.

Are baggage transfers included?

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).

What happens if I cant walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Fantastic, satisfying trip full of surprises

5

This was our first organised walking holiday and I have to say that it was fantastic. The organisation and communication from Macs was not just spot on, it surpassed all my expectations. Everything went super smoothly, from check-ins, luggage transfers, meals, the road book..Was well worth using the tour company as we had no stress or issues at all (which I'm sure would not have been the case had we done it all alone!) and so we were able to really enjoy the time in the beautiful Riviera and set off with our day packs before reaching the next village where our luggage was waiting for us at the adorable hotels/guest houses. We used the recommendations in the road book to find places to eat and visit and the walks themselves were a good mix of challenging/moderate and always enjoyable. The villages we visited were beautiful and the locals were very friendly and helpful; taking pity on me and my GCSE French pronunciation but appreciating the effort to try! Amazing scenery, delicious food and perfect weather; could not have hoped for more! Thank you Mhairi for all your help before and during our trip.

KB

Sheffield

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Perched Villages Walk is really alpine walking

3

This walk was more strenuous than we anticipated. We modified our route days 2 and 3. Accomodations were disappointing 2 of the 4 nights. We did get lovely weather, almost too hot for late Sept. This was a memorable adventure but not quite what we expected.

Senior traveller

Toronto Canada

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Fantastic walk!

5

Fantastic walk, particularly second day up Bear Mountain (Mt Ours). Instructions clearly written and easy(ish) to follow, and font big enough to read without glasses (a big help when walking). Recommend the walk into Italy on Day 1. Hotels all friendly, helpful and with delicious food and bière pression (a necessity in Summer).

Rich

New Zealand

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a memorable holiday!

4

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but would categorise it moderate rather than easy /moderate. The climb down to Olivetti is particularly steep, with loose stone. Also, the weather in April was just right; I would not like to do these walks during the height of summer. Accommodation (apart from Menton) is certainly not luxurious but for me this added to the holiday. A warm welcome was given in each hotel. Every town/village was very different again making the holiday a wonderful experience. However, notes need to be updated: there is no bar, quaint Italien store or anything in Olivetti!! This was a bitter disappointment after deciding to add 45 mins to our already long walk , in order to savour the bar described in the notes. Also , it says in brochure that alternative transport would be available if you wanted to cut walk shorter . There was no public transport at all! Trains were not running in the area for some days(do not know why!)No buses available and impossible to book a taxi therefore once on the walk - no going back! It was an enjoyable challenge to work out the routes and very rewarding to arrive at each village and enjoy a well deserved drink.

gill

Swansea

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Highly recommended

5

Very well organized - trail guide was very precise - all the luggage transfers worked beautifully. Hotels were adequate, food and wine very good, people very friendly. It was a chance to see a little corner of Provence up close, enjoy vigorous walking, stunning scenery, and lots of peace and quiet.

dixiechikken

Philadelphia

true

A fabulous experience

4

A great way to see France and to get a real experience without getting out of your comfort zone

JCDCC

Sydney

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Perched Villaages on the Riviera to the Mediterranean

5

Our hiking trip "Perched Villages of the French Riviera" met all our expectations and more. The itinerary was not only perfect in its details but was amusing to read. Example, when the author of this particular trip made a wrong turn he made sure we didn't do the same. We did, but caught the mistake. The hike while challenging was so beautiful that one easily forgot that there might still be 5 K more to go, usually straight up to a village perched on top. The accommodations were always good and simple. We were so tired by the end of the day we could have slept on a rock. Each village had its own personality and always had friendly people. I have to thank the hotel owner in Breil sur Roya for doggedly chasing down our luggage, which did not arrive on the same plane, and getting it to our next stop. In Sospel our hostess even washed our clothes, which we had been wearing for 4 days. The restaurants recommended were always very good. Our arrival in Menton was dramatic, coming down from the hills. We found it quiet enough that our senses were not jarred too much by noise of the city. Seeing the Mediterranean after all the ups and downs in the mountains was a wonderful way to end the trip.

Cy

Richmond VA

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Perched Villages of the French Riviera

4.4 7

85.7

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