Loire Valley: The Châteaux Trail

7 Days & 6 Nights
  • Enjoy easy-going walking in the heart of the Loire; the ‘garden of France’
  • Admire the historic Châteaux of Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry, Chinon, Amboise and Chenonceaux
  • Walk the most scenic sections of the GR3 trail from Chinon to Amboise
  • Indulge in classic French cuisine; confit de canard and full-bodied local red wine
  • Relax in carefully selected charming hotels and guesthouses
Discover the magnificent Loire Valley on foot and visit the historic and opulent Châteaux de la Loire. Once the favourite hunting ground of France’s nobility, aristocrats and royalty, the Loire is brimming with these fascinating relics of a bygone time. Walk from town to town past vineyards, along peaceful forest trails, quiet country roads and riverside paths. Start in the medieval town of Chinon, and meander your way along the GR3 following the red and white blazes to Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and Tours, before making a detour to Chenonceaux. Wander alongside the Cher river and through the woods to reach the charming town of Amboise; the former residence of Leonardo Da Vinci. Spend your evenings enjoying exceptional local cuisine such as rich beef steak, marinated duck, warm goat’s cheese salad and sweet Tarte Tatin. Enjoy a glass of locally produced wine and toast to another fantastic day of exploration while soaking up the French culture and atmosphere that make the Loire one of France’s most loved regions.
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What To Expect

If you are looking to explore the Loire and its Châteaux away from the bus tours and large groups, then this itinerary is perfect for you. See all the highlights as well as experiencing quiet walking trails, where you have a real sense of getting off the beaten track. This tour is ideal for foodies; the gastronomy is a delight. The walking is rated easy-moderate, and although there are a couple of long days, you will be walking on mostly good, flat paths and trails. Stay in welcoming, high-quality 3* hotels and guesthouses.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travelers, Families, Mixed Abilities, First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Foodie Adventures
  • Elegance & Unique Stays
  • Historical Journeys
  • Special Occasions

Featured in our collections:

Activity Level & Terrain

This tour is rated easy-moderate. You will be walking between 13.5 and 20 km each day, but the ascent/descent is negligible, making for quick progress. This allows for a short day of walking and plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the Châteaux and towns along the way. You will be walking on a combination of paved trails, forest paths, grassy paths and quiet country roads. At times you will be sharing wide paths with cyclists.

Navigation

All of the walks are way-marked and we also  provide you with turn-by-turn instructions for each walk, maps and access to our GPS smartphone navigation app, so you will have no problem finding your way.

Accommodations

Spend 6 nights in 3* hotels and high-quality guesthouses. All of our accommodations are hand-picked and offer a warm welcome to walkers. You will find an example of the accommodation we normally use below. If these accommodations are not available we will use an accommodation of a similar or better standard than those described.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo walkers but a solo walker supplement is payable. Single rooms and double rooms for single occupancy are available should someone in your party wish to have their own room, again a supplement is payable.

Meals

6 Breakfasts are included in the cost of your trip. In the larger hotels, breakfast is buffet-style with various options available. Expect a continental breakfast with bread, jams, pastries, yoghurt and muesli available. In guesthouses, breakfast will normally be served at the table and again will consist of fresh baguette, croissants, pain au chocolat, butter and homemade jams, and occasionally cold meats, cheese and fruits.   Dinners and lunches are not included so you have the freedom to choose from what’s on offer each day. You can find bakeries and shops in each town to stock up on food for your hikes. There are plenty of options for dinner each night, either at your hotel or in nearby restaurants. Food is synonymous with French culture and your week in the Loire is as much a gastronomic journey as it is a walking one! Expect rich dishes of confit de canard, steak, hearty salads and creative dishes made from seasonal and local produce. If you have any dietary requirements please let us know at the time of booking.

Included
  • 6 nights accommodation in 3* hotels and high-quality guesthouses
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Bag transfers as per the itinerary
  • Transfer on day 2 and day 5
  • Detailed information pack, route notes, maps and access to our navigation app
  • 24/7 support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Chinon and from Amboise
  • Entrance into the Châteaux and other attractions
  • Dinners & Lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
Extras
  • Additional nights before,during or after the holiday

When To Go

You can start your adventure on any day of the week between the start of April and the end of October. The shoulder months of April and October may be considerably quieter than the summer months, with fewer restaurants and amenities open, but for those looking for a quieter experience, this may be ideal. August is the busiest month in France for holiday makers, so expect a vibrant atmosphere in the towns along the way.

Getting to the Start

Most international airlines fly into Paris Charles De Gaulle. From here, take a TGV (Train á Grande Vitesse), France’s intercity high speed railway service to Saint Pierre des Corps (2 hours). Then take a local train via Tours to Chinon (1.5 hours). There are also TGV’s leaving from Paris Montparnasse should you be staying in Paris before heading to the Loire. For more information and guidance, check: www.sncf.com/en

Getting from the End

From Amboise you can travel by train to any other French destination, or back to the CDG airport.

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.

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.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Chinon Day 2: Transfer to Saint-Benoit-la-Fôret and walk to Azay-le-Rideau 10 miles / 16.4 km Day 3: Walk to Villandry 8.2 miles / 13.4 km Day 4: Walk to Tours 13.2 miles / 21.2 km Day 5: Transfer to Chenonceaux, walk to Amboise 13.3 miles / 21.5 km Day 6: Free Day in Amboise Day 7: Onward Travel

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