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Travel bucket list idea:

5 spectacular walks on the French Riviera

  • Cote d'Azur, France

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 15 March, 2024

When the Cote d’Azur seems too built-up and busy, the best cure is to strike out into nature – the craggy coastline and verdant interior that attracted visitors here in the first place.

There are many scenic walks along popular areas of the coast – or serious hikers will find more challenging paths between the villages-perches high above the coast, or in the spectacular Alpes Maritimes region north of Nice, home of the Mercantour National Park.

Who to go with: tour operators

5
  • Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

Starting at the quarry used to build Monaco’s port, this beautiful 4.8km circular path follows the wild, rocky southern tip of Cap Ferrat, and lasts around two hours. You’ll pass several highlights of the peninsula, including the fabulous Grand Hotel du Cap, the picturesque Cap Ferrat lighthouse, and the wave-splashed Pointe Malalongue.

By the sandy, foliage-framed Plage de Passable beach, cross east over the peninsula onto Avenue Denis Semeria (past the Villa des Cèdres and its botanical gardens, once home to notorious Leopold II of Belgium), and on to St-Jean.

Rolling Stones fans can gaze at Villa Nellcote, where the album Exile on Main Street was recorded: from the Plage de Passable, turn left on Avenue Denis Semeria and walk 1km to Avenue Louise Bordes. For an easier stroll in the area, there’s a pretty 3km walk from Paloma Beach to the 11th-century chapel of Saint Hospice, following the eastern protrusion of the coast just south of St-Jean.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2-3 hours

  • Cote d'Azur, France

This 3-hour 6.6km coastal walk, to Cap Martin’s tip and back, offers spectacular views and famous 20th-century architectural landmarks.

The walks starts at the Roquebrune train station, crosses the pebbly beach ‘Plage de Buse’, then climbs up through gardens to the famous ‘Cap Moderne’, a clutch of 20th-century UNESCO World Heritage architectural icons in gorgeous setting. The highlight is the Eileen Gray E-1027 House, the Modernist masterpiece (1929) of the famous Irish designer and her partner, Jean Badovici.

The Promenade then takes in sumptuous Mediterranean foliage along the white rocky coastline, with glimpses of fabulous villas and views of Monaco.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 3 hours

  • Eze, Cote d'Azur, France

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously walked up this beautiful, zigzagging path – and was inspired to finish Thus Spake Zarathustra in the process – but most non-philosophers prefer the views (and effort levels) when walking down.

This route stretches from the dramatic village perche of Eze to the train station in seaside Eze-Bord-du-Mer, covering 1.6km and a 400m decline, and takes the average walker just under an hour to descend. It’s more like an hour and a half to hike the trail upwards – either way, the path is well signposted. For the best views, start or finish at Eze’s succulent-filled Jardin Exotique at the top of the medieval village.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 1 hour

  • Saint-Tropez, Cote d'Azur, France

Rocky tree-covered coastline and blue sea

Bucket List Experience

Sentier du Littoral

In contrast to the ritzy, designer beach clubs of nearby Saint-Tropez, this rugged but well-maintained 18km coastal walking path offers an escape into pure nature. Signposted in yellow, it follows the wildest and most picturesque shores of the peninsula, protected by local authority the Conservatoire du Littoral.

Starting at the sandy, pine-fringed Gigaro Beach, the trail skirts the wild, protruding Cap Taillat – lapped by bright turquoise waters – and the wild cliffs of Cap Lardier, before ending at the Baie de Pampelonne, where there are sands to lounge on or frequent buses back to Saint-Tropez.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 5-7 hours

  • Cannes, Cote d'Azur, France

Escape civilization along this surprisingly wild, circular 5km coastal path that winds around Cap d’Antibes. Start at Garoupe Beach and pass rocky cliffs, high over the crashing waves.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2 hours

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 1-7 hours

Getting there & doing it

Komoot has a great list of mapped routes with photographs and recommendations by walkers. For the most part, these walks are easy to do under your own steam, with sturdy shoes, a hat, a bottle of water and a mobile phone.

 

When to do it

Seaside walks are fine year-round, but avoid wet or very windy days when parts of the coastline can be slippery and dangerous. In July and August, set out early to avoid the heat. For mountain walks, avoid November-April, when there’s snow in the Alpes Maritimes.